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!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Hyper-Responsibility And Vulnerability

Yep, I like a lot of bling!

An area of great anxiety for me is the safety of children. I’m always worried that I will drop something that a small child can choke on.

As I was scheduled for sound mixing duty yesterday, I arrived at church around 6:45 a.m., shortly before rehearsal was to begin. At that time of the morning there are no kids in the building yet, so we early arrivers usually enter through the conveniently located back door, which leads to the elementary Sunday School wing. When I arrived at the sound booth, I looked down at my Kindle cover, and realized that I had lost a rhinestone. My first thought was that it fell off in the kids’ area, and that a child would eat it and suffocate on it. I was immediately sick with anxiety. I ran to the kids’ area and looked everywhere I had previously been to see if I could find it. I also compulsively searched the back parking lot, and even my car. Nothing. I could not find that rhinestone anywhere. I was fairly certain it was there when I left the house, so I was sure I lost it at church. Unfortunately, I was supposed to be manning the audio board, so I had to rush back to the sound booth, in spite of not being able to find my missing rhinestone.

A little later, I was able to sneak out back again. It was there that the worship minister’s wife (thankfully, a good friend of mine) found me searching outside. She asked me what was wrong. I admitted that I was having an OCD moment, and I told her what I was looking for. Though she knows all about the OCD and some of my basic symptoms, it is quite another thing to be in the middle of a trigger and show my panic to her. She was so sweet though, and helped me search as we walked back into the worship hall. At that point, it was time for rehearsal, so I had to stop searching. It was so hard not to cry and to keep my mind on business.

After a few minutes, I was able to go out back one more time. Luckily, I found the children's pastor. She also already knew about my OCD. I explained to her what happened, and that I was worried. She too was incredibly kind. She assured me that where I walked was a common area, and that tons of stuff falls on the floor there, and that it was not a concern. I then asked her if it would be an OCD thing if I decided not to bring my Kindle back to church again (in order to protect the kids). She told me it would be an OCD thing. I was so relieved that I hugged her and thanked her.

I was very emotional for the rest of the day. Honestly, I was just so humiliated about admitting to my struggles while they were still happening. During an OCD event, I am in an extremely vulnerable state. When I reveal this state to others, it's almost like I'm saying, "Here, look inside my heart and see all the pain and (crazy, irrational, nonsensical, shallow, and yes, even petty) fears I live with. I suspect you are secretly thinking I'm insane and I'm desperately hoping you will still like me after this and not think I'm weird. Please, please don't reject me."

I am so blessed. Days like yesterday used to be typical days for me. Now, they are the exception. You might really think I'm crazy when I tell you that in some weird way, I don't mind having an occasional bad OCD day. It reminds me of how far I've come. It reminds me of how much others with OCD suffer. It reminds me to take a risk, open myself up to people, and let them see who I really am. It reminds me that sometimes, I need to allow other people (outside of my family) to help and support me, even though I am most uncomfortable with that.

Oh, I found the rhinestone about 8 hours later. Guess where it was the whole time? Stuck to my inner left arm. For 8 entire hours. Sigh.

14 comments:

  1. Wow what a story and an adventure. I love how God hid that rhinestone in your arm until what He wanted to accomplish was finished. Also to show you how much He cares for you. Showing you the loving concern of the Body of Christ in your church. This story warmed my heart. Thank you for sharing dear one. And I know it was a BIG step for you too! Hugs.

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    1. JBR, I was thinking the same thing about finding that rhinestone later. I figured God wanted to show me something about trusting Him in the meantime.

      I did feel very loved and cared for yesterday, even if I did feel embarrassed. I do struggle with trying to maintain a very "put together" outer appearance, and God is slowly but surely chipping away at that. And to be honest - it is sweet relief.

      Hugs to you too.

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  2. Sunny, I could relate so much to this story. I've been there, searching for something, worrying about hurting someone. I'm so glad you had understanding friends to help. You handled this really well--you were able to go ahead and do your work with the sound, and to me, that is huge.

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    1. Oh, it was so hard, Tina, to keep myself together though. I really just wanted to sob my head off, but of course, that would have been even MORE embarrassing so I forced myself to pull it together.

      It is awful though, isn't it, when you feel so responsible for others and you're trying to fix it but you don't really want people to know you are trying to fix it. I'm sorry you could relate to this. Unfortunately, I think a lot of people with OCD experience this type of anxiety.

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  3. What an inspiration you are, Sunny! So many people would have hidden their suffering and not admitted to having an "OCD moment," but not you! Your story shows how it's not only okay to let someone see the real you, it can be helpful and comforting as well. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Aw, thanks, Janet! I can actually give most of the credit to my psychologist. She understood that for me, keeping secrets was really taking its toll. Some people can keep their "stuff" private, but it just wasn't working for me. I also think that is exactly what she was trying to teach me. Yes, there are uncaring people in the world, but there are also wonderful, kind people too and they can provide comfort. She also helped me to see that if I was more real with others, they would be more real with me too. Of course, I'm still choosy about who I share info with.

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  4. I'm glad you found some kind people to help. I've been frustrated with myself before over the difficulty in sharing a difficult time at the moment that it is happening. I can say "I struggled with this yesterday" but to say "I'm struggling right now! I need help." is really hard.

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    1. Yes, Kristina, it really is very, very hard to share an "in the moment of panic" type situation, compared to saying that I "had an issue." When we're relating an incident that already happened, we are at that moment at least in control and we can share the story however we want. When we are in the moment of panic, well, we're feeling out of control and it probably shows!

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  5. Yes, you are truly blessed to have people in your life who are so supportive. You have taken steps to reach out to people too and have shared your worries which is to be commended.
    I love the Kindle case!

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    1. Krystal Lynn, I had some fun putting all the sparkly stuff on my Kindle case (it came totally plain).

      Thanks for your support!

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  6. I counseled a friend of mine who was going through some tough times to accept the help that some of her friends were offering her. She's a person with a big heart and I said, "If you shut them down, if they ever need help- and you know you'd try to help if you could-- they won't be comfortable to ask you for it." But when the shoe's on the other foot-- it's so hard! It is so hard to let your vulnerabilities show. I believe it's why (one of the main reasons, anyway) I went untreated for so many years. Good for you, Sunny, for allowing those ladies a moment to extend some grace to you. And I'm glad you got through your ocd moment in such a positive way-- it's very inspiring.

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    1. Thank you RT, you are very kind.

      Sounds like you gave your friend some very wise counsel.

      The thing I'm afraid of is looking "needy." I don't people to see me coming and then feel like they have to run away from me because I might need something from them! But I do think there is a middle ground and I just have to find it.

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  7. Sunny you are a lovely person, I can tell that from your blog and this post just affirms that. Typical that you would find the rhine stone stuck to your arm-that is what would happen to me. Good for you being able to open up to those two ladies but you know I think God puts people in place to help us just at the right moment, at times. I am glad you felt accepted as you should have been. I hope you were kind to yourself after having such an emotional morning at church. Blessings

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    1. You are much too kind!

      I thought it was a typical thing too when I found it stuck to my arm. I was like, "Oh brother, it figures!" he he You're right, those two ladies were at just the right place, at just the right time for me. Yes, I did try to not be too hard on myself after that. I've definitely learned my limitations and when I've had a trying OCD trigger, I know that afterwards I just have to take it a bit easy, until I calm down and get back to normal.

      Blessings to you as well!

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