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!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Motivation

Staying motivated to fight OCD is hard work. Because OCD is a chronic illness (some people do recover fully or almost fully - but it is somewhat uncommon), it means a life-long battle against the frightening thoughts that stalk us. Day in and day out, staying ahead of OCD is a challenge for me. I was just sharing with my support group last night that I'm definitely in a plateau. You see, after 2 1/2 years of CBT/ERP, I have recovered quite a bit. My life is not the living hell that it once was. There are so many days now that I am actually giddy with joy because of how I've gotten so much of my life back. Just being alive, and seeing the sun, and hearing the birds, and, and, and . . .

However, there is still so much more of my life that is in the stranglehold of OCD. As far as I've come, I know that there is a long way to go. It's just that I'm not in constant torment anymore, and frankly, I'd like to stay away from the pain as much as possible. Hmm . . . that kind of sounds like avoidance, doesn't it? So that is why I'm not really moving forward on fighting the obsessions and compulsions that still follow me around everywhere I go. I know that once I start fighting again, I will have to feel that old familiar pain. BUT, I also know from previous experience, that that pain will be short lived and it will lead to more freedom. So how do I motivate myself to move forward?

By reminding myself of everything that OCD has taken away from me. By remembering that OCD has limited me as a mom, a wife, a daughter, a friend, in ministry to others, in serving God, and in being the kind of person that I want to be.

I want to move forward, but I'm afraid. What motivates you to move forward?

20 comments:

  1. I understand that fear of moving forward so well Sunny. I know that when things come my way I have to fight them but actually seeking out ERP's and deliberately provoking anxiety is so hard to do because I want to stay in my comfort zone. Some days I just cannot do it and then there are days where I feel the strength to challenge myself and that is when I take the next step. What motivates me? Really, everything that you wrote in your post is what motivates me too because my life is also so much better than before.. and so ERP works! I had to step out of my comfort zone to get where I am today and it's so worth it. That is what motivates me. I am so happy for your success and wish you the best as you move forward!!

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    1. Oh, Krystal Lynn, you are definitely my ERP hero!!! Ann is so inspirational too. I truly do not know how the both of you keep pushing yourselves (without a doc nudging you in the background) to keep attacking this stuff. I really wish I could be like you both. I'm gonna keep working on it though. It IS hard to step out of your comfort zone on purpose, isn't it?

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  2. I know how it feels to be afraid to move forward. Sometimes I don't even know what I need to do to move forward. But the desire to be better than I am, to have more control over the OCD, is a motivator. When I realize how OCD still affects me, it reminds me of what I still need to work on.

    But even with those things to motivate me, I don't always take charge and move forward. :-(

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    1. Tina, I always appreciate your deep desire to move forward. I do always sense that you are working on trying to be better than you currently are and that motivates me to do the same. When doing ERPs, I often think of all of my fellow bloggers and it truly helps me. Isn't that funny? I feel kind of accountable to you guys (which is a great thing!).

      Hmmm. . . that's a really good point - "sometimes I don't even know what I need to move forward." Been there, done that!

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  3. It's wonderful that you've come so far! And you want to continue to move forward too! You have made amazing progress, Sunny!

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    1. Thanks so much for your support, sweet Elizabeth! You know, it really helps so much to know that my fellow OCD'ers in blogger-land are pulling for me!

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  4. I think this post sums up how so many people who've suffered from severe OCD likely feel, including my son. You are SO much better now than before, and it's wonderful, but.......OCD is still hanging around. Dan hasn't been to a therapist in over a year, and I know his OCD is still there, though I think (and truly hope)it is mild. He has to make his own choices, as does everyone, how much to push himself. As a mom, I'll always want to make it "all better," but it just doesn't work that way. Thank you for this post, Sunny, as it gives me insight. I think YOU are inspirational!

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    1. Aw, you are too kind, Janet!!

      Yes, unfortunately, we have to make the choice for ourselves. No one can do it for us. Nor can we do it for anyone else that we care about. I do feel guilt about not always working on it because I know that my health affects my family. But I do try to minimize the impact on them to the best of my ability. And well, some days I do better than others!

      I hope Dan's OCD is mild too. I know he has suffered a lot and I sure hope all the worst is behind him.

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  5. Perceived stress in obsessive–compulsive disorder is related with obsessive but not compulsive symptoms

    http://www.frontiersin.org/Journal/Abstract.aspx?ART_DOI=10.3389/fpsyt.2013.00021&name=addictive_disorders_and_behavioral_dyscontrol

    Interesting.

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    1. I was only able to find an abstract of this article, but yes, it does seem rather interesting. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. Sunny, great post! I had two thoughts as I read and nodded along in understanding.
    1) I love how you caught yourself with avoidance mid-sentence! One of the best parts of writing is the realizations we can come to while doing so, don't you think?
    2) My motivation is freedom. The way I see it, we're really lucky in a way. Freedom is more valuable to those who've earned it. Those with OCD (or who love OCs) get to experience a sense of freedom that is hard-won and unique. I don't want to waste or forget that. I keep working on ERPs because they are my ticket to freedom.

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    1. Hey MSS! Welcome to the blogging world. I just checked out your blog and it looks great.

      Absolutely - writing has been wonderful for my thought process. I've never been the type to keep a journal or a diary. The investment of time just never really interested me, however, this blog has pretty much turned into a journal and I have found it helpful at times to read older posts. Plus, just the act of writing stuff out makes me slow down my thinking and boy, can I use that!

      Ah, yes, freedom. Perhaps freedom is most appreciated and enjoyed by those who have been imprisoned. I think that's why there are a lot of days where I'm simply excited just to be - so many years before were just so painful.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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  7. Hi Sunny! (by the way I like the word 'Sunny' it's such a positive word:)

    As OCD isn't my battle in this life, but depression is- and anxiety too :(

    But I relate so much to what you write about the avoidance of things because of being afraid- mostly, because I am always on the look out for myself so that I can prevent flare ups in my illness.
    The only thing I really can say is the scriptures and clinging to the Lord's promises to me, to us is what keeps me moving day-to-day.

    God bless you!!!!!
    ~Deanna

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    1. Yes, I really like Sunny too! It's such a great name that my fellow bloggers gave to me before I shared my real identity.

      Oh, absolutely, you sure don't have to have OCD to feel like you need motivation to push through some hard things. And I can really relate to you too - trying to prevent flare ups. The funny thing, is that for OCD, to prevent flare ups, you have to face the very things that freak you out! A strange irony, for sure.

      You sure have a strong faith. It's very inspirational. Blessings to you too.

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  8. Hi Sunny, great post! I think sometimes many of us are afraid to move forward because we don't know what is there...or what will happen. Fear of the unknown is very common. From what I have seen, I think you have come very far and you should be proud of yourself. :)

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    1. Thank you, Linda! Yes, God has blessed me and I am a long way from where I used to be. I'm so thankful for that. You make an excellent point - fear of the unknown. In fact, that is pretty much the basis for OCD - uncertainty. It is what literally drives me crazy. Slowly but surely, I'm learning how uncertainty is not my enemy. In fact, it's probably the best gift ever, because it's what causes me to cling to God.

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  9. Monique appreciate you sharing openly your struggles with OCD. Hugs to you my dear as you continue on your journey to freedom.....

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    1. Thank you, JBR! Hugs to you too as you also continue your journey to freedom as well. : )

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  10. I feel "giddy" too sometimes when I realize how much better I feel. It is truly amazing! And also remarkable how much I can still struggle despite my improvements. I usually don't take on OCD unless it makes its appearance in the way of me doing something I want. So if I want to clean out files and it gets in the way, I might go through whatever exposure is necessary to let me clean out the desired files. Sometimes I do exposures when I feel like OCD is closing in on me again, too. But you are right; it is hard to actually seek out exposures because the fight can be so hard.

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    1. Oh it's true Abigail - sometimes I'm surprised by how much I still struggle at times in spite of my improvements. I like the idea that you pursue specific exposures when certain obsessions prevent you from doing what you want. So you're still moving forward. That's cool.

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