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!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

You Mean I Don't HAVE To Go On A Mission Trip?!

Map from: http://www.freeworld
For several years, my church has been sending short term mission teams to Africa and Central America. For a long time, I wanted to go on one of these trips, but was unable due to my OCD contamination fears. Sadly, the people that get served by our church's missionaries live in appalling circumstances, and it is not unusual for their living arrangements to be near open rivers of raw sewage. Given the severity of my OCD symptoms, spending time in this environment (without a complete meltdown) is not a very likely scenario.

I became convinced that being able to go on one of these trips would be proof of my recovery, and so I felt an obligation to go. I also felt the guilt about not being able to go. Ugh. It was just another thing that I wasn't able (or maybe willing?) to do. What kind of Christian was I? Not a very good one in my estimation.

The last thing I would ever want to do on a mission trip is be a complete distraction with my anxiety. People work hard on these trips and they are there to serve, not to babysit one of their team members. That would make the trip about me, and not the people the trip is supposed to be about. Also, I realized that I wanted to go on one of these trips just to prove my mental health. Not exactly a noble reason.

One day recently, it hit me totally out of the blue. Who said that I had to go on a mission to prove that I was better from OCD? There was only one person: me. I now understand that mission trips are not for everyone, and that maybe God wasn't even calling me to the mission field at all. I could certainly be there for others through financial support, prayers, and encouragement, but there was absolutely nothing dictating that I had to physically participate in a mission myself. So I've taken myself off the hook from having to serve in this way. You know what? It's been sweet relief. There are so many other ways I can serve Jesus and my fellow man (or woman!).

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

How Many Fears Do We Actually Have?

I first heard of John Acuff through his blog, "Stuff Christians Like." He's a witty guy who lovingly pokes fun at his fellow Christians as a way to challenge us to be more authentic followers of Jesus. More than once I've giggled at something he has said while simultaneously realizing that, "Oh wow, I do that too! Maybe I need to rethink that . . ."

I also follow John on Facebook. Ironically, lately he's been posting things having to do with fear. A couple of his posts actually hit the nail on the head when it comes to anxiety and OCD. Thought I'd share one with you.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Behind The Scenes

A few days ago, I posted a video log (or vlog) about how comfortable I'm becoming talking openly with others about living with OCD. What you don't know, is that I really struggled with putting that video up.

Aren't I just the cutest and
fluffiest little thing ever?
You see, my fur baby, Anna, was not in a very good mood when I taped that video, and she mewed and growled a bit on camera. After taping, I didn't want to post it, because I thought that Anna looked mad, and that someone would misunderstand and think I had hurt her and abused her, and I would be reported for animal cruelty, Anna would get taken away from me, I would be arrested, put in jail, and I would lose everything and everyone who cared about me. Hmmm . . . a bit of CATastrophizing, wouldn't you say? (Ha - pun intended!) Yes, indeed, but that sure is how OCD works. Cognitive distortions are the fuel for tormenting thoughts.

I told Jim that I was scared to post it, and he told me to post it anyway as an ERP. He also said that no one would think I hurt Anna just because she was acting like a little diva. Ugh. Ever since we brought Anna into our family, I've worried that someone would falsely think I was abusing her. I remember that until my kid turned 18, I constantly obsessed (and agonized) about someone mistakenly thinking I was an abusive parent and that my precious, precious child would be taken away from me.

I know that these fears are just OCD, as there was never any reason why either my child or my cat would ever be taken from me. Oh, but when these obsessions come, they feel so, so, so real. Like there is no possibility of anything else being the truth.

It is REALLY scary and humiliating admitting these crazy thoughts to you like this. But, I have them, and I suspect others have them too. Honestly, when I really think about this (and when I think about posting about these fears), it makes me panicky and sick to my stomach with horrifying anxiety. But I'm not going down without a fight. I'm tired of my illness controlling me - and I'm posting this in spite of my fear.

If you have these thoughts too, please remember, you are not alone. And the thoughts are not truth. OCD is a filthy liar.