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, October 31, 2013

When Will I Learn?

So I had my date with the dentist today. Jim joined me for my cleaning, and actually held my hand through it. I know, I'm a big baby! The staff at my dentist's office is awesome. They were totally cool with Jim coming in, and the hygienist even told me that they see dental phobia often. She said that she has seen patients literally shaking in the chair and sometimes she's seen patients just sitting there with tears rolling down their face. Wow. I feel incredibly bad for those other patients. I'm so blessed that both my husband and my mom were willing to come with me.

Just having a little fun with
my new toothbrush!
Now, for the interesting part. Surely, I could sense your prayers and I thank you so much! Jim, my mom, and my worship pastor were also praying and I believe all those prayers made a huge difference. I slept well last night and I didn't feel too bad throughout the appointment, which is amazing. I did have a pretty severe dizzy spell as I was getting into my car to leave. I'm sure it was from all of the adrenaline coursing through my body. So I sat in my car and took deep breaths until I felt good enough to drive. In a lot of ways anxiety doesn't scare me anymore, and I usually recognize the symptoms right away. I waited until it passed and then went about my day.

The best part? I have no cavities and my gums are the healthiest they've been in years! So I was (of course!) worried, once again, about nothing. Absolutely NOTHING. When will I learn?

Oh, and just a quick shout out to the Boston Red Sox who are the 2013 champions! Yahoo! I'm not a huge baseball fan, but hey, I'll jump on the bandwagon!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Date With The Dentist

Oh boy. Tomorrow I have to go to a terrible appointment. A dental cleaning. I know, sounds silly, huh? Unfortunately, it's not silly to me. I have a massive dental phobia that has only grown worse as the years have gone on. The irony is that my psychologist once told me that dental phobia is one of the easiest phobias to treat. Of course, the treatment sure isn't fun. She suggested that I go online and watch any video I could of people in the dentist's chair, or pictures and videos of dental drills, etc. She also suggested that I drive to my dentist's office and hang out in the parking lot, then maybe after a few days of that, go into the building, then a few days later maybe just hang out in the waiting room for a while. Essentially, she wanted me to expose myself to all of these scary things for a while each day until I felt the anxiety go down. You know, good old fashioned Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).

Do you think I've done that? Nope. So my anxiety has increased (like it always does when I don't purposefully confront it). Because of that I have been putting off my cleaning for a long time. I'm too embarrassed to tell you how long! I now suspect that I have a cavity. I have very soft enamel and I've always had gum problems, so this turn of events is not exactly shocking. I have to deal with this, but I'm so s-s-s-scared. I finally had to ask my husband to call the office for me and set up an appointment. I just couldn't bring myself to do it. He did call this morning and managed to get me an appointment for tomorrow. I can't believe it, because my dentist's office is always booked for weeks.

So early tomorrow morning (I'm not a morning person, so this should be doubly fun) my husband will accompany me to the appointment. And he will sit in the room with me. Yep, I'm 45 years old and I need my husband to sit in the dentist's office with me. Sigh. Living with anxiety/OCD is certainly a humbling experience. You're in a grown-up's body, but it feels like you have the mind of a frightened child.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Feeling Better, But Already Worrying About Christmas!

It looks like the iron and Vitamin D are kicking in. I'm still tired, but not nearly as totally exhausted as I had been feeling. I still don't have a lot of motivation to do things, although I think it's partly because I'm so busy with projects at church that I really don't have much energy left to do stuff at home. It's not like I really enjoy doing things at home anyway, so it's no big loss!

I was doing a little shopping today at The Christmas Tree Shop. They carry tons of products besides just Christmas items. They did, of course, also have a whole lot of Christmas decorations for sale. When I saw them, I started to get really overwhelmed about the thought of having to decorate the house (sounds like anticipatory anxiety, don't ya think?). All I kept thinking about was how tired I still am and how much work it would be to get the house together for the holidays. I wondered if maybe I could skip it this year. But then I started thinking about my adult child coming home to visit and I wondered if that would make me a bad mom to leave the house undecorated. Ugh, guilt. The only time I ever skipped decorations was the winter of Jim's horrible flare.

I manage to worry about some pretty stupid stuff, don't I? I decided that I was getting all worked up for no good reason. I don't really have to think about this for at least another month. In the meantime, I'm taking the supplements prescribed by my doctor. For all I know, I might be feeling tremendously better in a month. Or not. In either case, it doesn't matter. I'm choosing to deal with it when the time comes, and not a moment before it is necessary. I refuse to waste time worrying for nothing.

For so many years, I didn't realize that I had choices, even about things as minor as this. I was so locked up in cognitive distortions that I couldn't think outside of the very tiny box that was my mind.

Monday, October 14, 2013

International OCD Awareness Week, October 14-20, 2013

I like this year's theme of "so OCD."

I'll be honest. I cringe whenever I hear someone say that. I know that no harm is meant by that statement. I also know that lots of people think that those of us who get upset about this type of stuff are too sensitive or uptight. But here's the thing. Living with severe OCD is absolute agony that I would never wish on anyone. I have literally been on the floor, on my hands and knees, screaming and sobbing because I was so utterly distraught. I have spent days upon days (before completing treatment) wishing that I never had to take another tortured breath on this earth. I have had lots of contact with others who have OCD through support groups and annual conferences, etc. I have seen the torment etched on their faces. I have seen eyes that reflect a deep all-consuming well of pain, and I have seen incredibly red hands (sometimes my own) that look so raw and painful that you wonder how they can continue to use their hands.

I once had a psychologist tell me that in their opinion, OCD was one of the most painful mental illnesses to be afflicted with. The thing is, when someone flippantly says, "I'm so OCD," it completely minimizes the suffering of everyone who has it.

Yes, I really am so OCD. Ask me and I'll be happy to tell you all about it.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Mental Illness Awareness Week

It's Mental Illness Awareness Week.

Sometimes, I feel like I have to do something grand to help fight the stigma and bring attention to what constitutes good mental health treatment. However, I'm just going to change my Facebook cover photo to this picture for the coming week. Yep. Just a little thing. But your little thing, with my little thing, with his little thing, and her little thing, well . . . then it's not so little anymore!

God bless my friends!