Why "71º & Sunny?"

I consider 71º to be the perfect temperature. Not too cold and not too hot. I also love perfect sunny days. The vast majority of days are not 71º & Sunny and yet, all days were created by God's hand and they are still gifts, even if they don't fit my ridiculous definition of perfection. My struggle with OCD has at times imprisoned me in an impossible attempt to achieve perfection. I'm now learning to love all kinds of days that don't even come close to 71º & Sunny.

Please leave me a comment below. I really want to know what you are thinking!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Scared

It would be incredibly easy to maintain the status quo in my recovery from OCD. I have many time periods of little to no obsessions. I was just telling someone that I had several obsession free hours last evening. The level of my daily torment and pain has gone done significantly. In fact, I have many truly wonderful days now. The bad days are the exception. I am still struggling some with depression, but my anxiety feels well under control. Even when I do have anxiety attacks, they are usually short lived and I have the tools to work through them. These attacks no longer ruin my day and I am able to move on with whatever my previous plans were once the attack has subsided. Basically, I have lots of reasons to be satisfied with where I am in my progress.

That would be a big mistake. I have lived with anxiety long enough to know that if I am not fighting against it, I am allowing it an inroads to more control of my life. I don't believe an anxiety disorder stays stagnant. It's either getting worse or getting better. I cannot allow it to regain control ever again. I really don't think I could go through that. It's so hard though, to keep fighting. It's tiring and draining. Sometimes, I never want to hear those three letters ever again. But, like anyone with a chronic illness, I don't have a choice. Those three letters are just a fact of my life.

Scary books
Moving forward is really frightening. I don't want to force myself to feel anxiety anymore. My next ERP is something I've been putting off for a few months. It has to do with that awful finished basement (of course). In particular, at my support group leader's suggestion, I am going to attempt to take a book off of the "mousy" bookshelf (where some mouse droppings landed), put it in a bag, and carry it around with me all day so that I can randomly touch it over and over.

So far, I just can't bring myself to do it. I have another support group meeting on Monday night, and I don't want to show up again without having accomplished my goal. But I'm so afraid. I know that once I touch the book and touch other things, I can't undo it. I just read an article about a couple of people catching hantavirus. I don't want to be responsible for passing that around to others. Can I touch the book, then go to the grocery store without washing my hands? Can I shake someone else's hand? My husband washed the bookshelf with Lysol wipes and he also washed down the covers of all the books. However, he couldn't wash every single page in each book. What if there are remnants of rodent droppings that we can't see? I'm scared.

14 comments:

  1. Hi Sunny!

    How happy I am to read about anxiety no longer seeming to ruin the day!!!! So wonderful at how you are using the tools to combat this!

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    Not to minimize the struggle at hand with your desire to accomplish this task to beat the fear over the "mousy" books ...

    I'd love to get my hands on your book shelf with as much love I have for books (I think its safe to call myself a book hoarder!)
    and I'd even be happy to grab a book off the shelf, and while you held open a bag, I'd put the book in there for you to carry for the day, so as you didn't actually touch it.

    Can that be a 'starter' idea? Maybe your husband put a book from the shelf into the bag of your choice while you held it open. And then you carry it with you for the day. And then the next step of course would be to put the book into the bag yourself on another day?



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    1. Thanks, Deanna, I AM very grateful for the relief I've experienced from constant anxiety! You could call me a book hoarder too! We have 5 bookcases in our house that are overflowing with books. We also have drawers filled with books and books stacked on the coffee table, which is why we both got Kindles because we literally have no more room.

      You know, that is a really good idea about breaking down the exposure. It's something I suggest all the time - don't know why I didn't think of it myself. Thank you.

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  2. Sunny, I am so sorry that this ERP is so scary. I know the whole basement episode was very upsetting. You are brave to know that you need to carry out the ERP.

    I know you don't want/need reassurance about the possible germs on the book. I sure do want to give it to you, though!

    Suffice it to say that I know you are strong. I love what you said about the anxiety disorder never being stagnant, but it gets better or worse. It sounds like the anxiety disorder is getting better and you are getting stronger. You can do this! :-)

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    1. Oh I WANT the reassurance, Tina, I just know its not good for me. Thank you for respecting that because I know it is hard not to give reassurance. My husband really has a hard time with it, and I even do too with others who have OCD.

      Thank you for your encouragement and for your confidence. I sure can use it right now!

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  3. I believe you can do it too. I wish I was as strong as you Sunny. It sounds like you have come such a long way and you should be so proud of yourself. Like Tina, I so want to reassure you that no germs could be in those books and I don't think there are but I know part of the ERP is to believe they are there and to do it anyway, am I right?
    By the way, when we first moved into our home in the country I was down in our finished basement and my husband left the door down there open and I am guessing a field mouse came in. It was fall and the farmer was cutting his corn down. I was hysterical and convinced the house was infested. The mouse was so tiny but when I screamed bloody murder he ran down the hallway and we never did find him. We have never seen another mouse in our house but it took me months to feel comfortable sitting downstairs to watch TV. It is weird because I do have contamination issues but I never considered that he left droppings. I kept thinking he would be trapped in here and die and there would be a horrible stench and that never happened either.
    Don't be too hard on yourself, if it takes you some time to do this ERP be kind to your spirit in accepting that..you will do it eventually and I am very proud of you for all you have accomplished thus far.

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    1. I think you are plenty strong Krystal Lynn! In fact I am often envious of how adventurous you are.

      Yes, you are right. I have to (shudder) sit with the idea that the books are contaminated and I have to touch them and interact with other things and other people normally.

      You are right, I should not be so hard on myself but when I think sometimes of how long it takes me to work through a silly ERP I tend to get frustrated with myself.

      I'm glad to hear your mouse problem was short lived. It has definitely not been a good experience.

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  4. That would be so hard for me too. Does it help to know that other people would go down there and read the books even knowing about the mouse? I think what Deanna said is a good idea. It could be a two-part thing couldn't it? Like you wouldn't have to do it all at once but could have someone else touch them first and then you later?
    I have read several of your entries, and I just want you to know that I really like your blog. I mean I'm not happy that you have to deal with OCD but since you do, you're doing a good thing by putting it out here and letting people read about it.

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    1. It does help, Kristina, thank you. That's definitely part of the problem for me - I wonder what other "normal" people would do, in spite of germs, etc. I've had OCD for so long that I doubt my ability to make good decisions.

      I'm so glad to hear you are finding some benefit from reading the blog. Anxiety disorders can be very isolating. I think it's important that people know they are not alone.

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  5. I do not suffer from OCD although I am begining to think that we all have a little OCD traits in us, hope you do not mind me saying that. but I would definaetly find this task very hard if not impossible to do. I had mice in my flat and had the bleach out over everything and I would not want to touch the books either. Sorry maybe that is not very encouraging when you are trying to do this but I think you are brave at wanting to.

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    1. Well, I'm not so sure I'm so brave. I would have already touched the books if I was. : )

      I'm sorry you had a bad experience with mice too. They are gross and I think whether someone has OCD or not, we all have different thresholds for "grossness" and mice certainly cross the threshold for a lot of people.

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  6. Hi, I feel a little weird commenting on your blog just because I don't know you but I want you to know that I have gained a lot of strength from what you write. I was diagnosed with OCD 3 years ago and it has been quite a roller coaster. I have been re-lapsing lately after having come off of medication and I am at the point where I am having to do ERP again for things and it is so hard! You are right. Thank you for writing, I write about it too but haven't been brave enough to open up my blog about it. Anyways, I just want you to know that I am rooting for you. I have read several people's blogs about OCD and every time someone has to do an Exposure I just wish I could be there to cheer them on. I understand and am grateful for other people's words, like yours...so thanks.

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    1. You are very kind, Katherine, thank you. I'm sorry to hear that your OCD has become more troublesome lately. It sure can be frustrating, huh? We always have to be vigilant against going backwards, but you know, sometimes life just throws some difficult things at us and it gets harder to fight the OCD. When I came off of medication in 2000, I had a serious relapse, but then again, I had not yet undergone CBT/ERP and I had no tools to help me from sinking back into the abyss. It was not until 2009 that I finally sought CBT/ERP.

      Good for you for pushing yourself through ERPs. You seem very determined and I suspect you will have victory over this. I'm rooting for you too.

      Oh, and please don't feel funny commenting - that is how I "meet" people online - that's how I met all my other wonderful bloggy friends - by us posting comments on each other's sites.

      Thanks for the encouragement and good luck with your own efforts towards better health! Please visit again. : )

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  7. This post really spoke to me.

    When you said: "I have lived with anxiety long enough to know that if I am not fighting against it, I am allowing it an inroads to more control of my life. I don't believe an anxiety disorder stays stagnant. It's either getting worse or getting better."

    That is the truth! Yet, like you, I get tired of fighting sometimes.

    I'm glad you're having more good days than bad now.

    I don't have any advice for you on the mousy books. You know me, I'm not where you are in recovery and there is no way I would touch those books.

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    1. Elizabeth, I just appreciate that you care! Thank you.

      Living with anxiety is definitely a marathon and not a sprint. Too bad. : ) That's why I think it's so great that we can encourage and urge each other on.

      I'm happy to hear you found something useful from this post. Happy Sunday!

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