Saturday, April 11, 2015

Still Moving

Major life changes certainly bring out my anxiety. I'm hanging in there, and should be pretty much done by a week or so from now. But it's not easy.

I had finally started working on some mindfulness and meditation, but the change in schedule has sort of thrown it all out the window. I do realize that's a choice- if I were really dedicated to this process, I'd make it a higher priority.

Yesterday, I did something I haven't done in ages- I drove to work on a day I wasn't scheduled to be there, in order to check something. Checked on it twice, in fact. I was so mad at myself, but I still did it. When I'm less stressed, I can make myself make that right decision, and in fact have done that a lot lately. I guess this gives me a chance to practice self acceptance: I don't always make the right decisions, but it doesn't make me a bad or weak person, and I can wake up tomorrow and try to do better.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Moving Isn't All That Fun

I'm in the middle of moving. Well, actually I'm at the start of moving, but my place is in total disarray, so it sure feels like I'm in the middle. I'm pretty excited about my new home, but not as excited about the process.

Today I sold a piece of furniture on Craiglist, then immediately convinced myself that something bad would happen to the person using it. I was in the middle of reassuring myself that the chances were small, it would never happen, etc, etc. All of which I know I shouldn't do. So I guess it was a good thing that today I was also reminded of the fact that reassurance doesn't actually do any good:

Yesterday I was briefly worried that I'd kill the new seedlings I was growing. And then today I did, by leaving them out in the hot sun for too long. Now, it's not at all odd that I killed the plants, and I wasn't all that anxious about it happening. But their death still made it clear to me that my underlying idea that worrying about something is a talisman against that thing happening is simply not true. Once you remember that, there's not much reason to bother with reassurance.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Book Review: Daring to Challenge OCD by Joan Davidson



Last summer, New Harbinger Publications sent me a copy of Daring to Challenge OCD. It was a busy summer, one overtaken by preparing my house to sell. So while I skimmed the book, I didn't really have a chance to read it until this winter. The book is actually much broader than its title might indicate, covering the basics of OCD and Exposure and Response Prevention, including good information about building a hierarchy to guide your exposures. As the title does suggest, it has an extensive chapter about why treatment is worth it with tips and information to help overcome several common forms of resistance (what if exposure makes it worse? what if something bad does happen?)

I really like a number of things about this book:
-it has three "real" examples of people who went through ERP. The book follows all three throughout. I really appreciate when authors do this, as it seems more relatable/doable to me that way.
-those three people have different types of OCD, including the types where compulsions are more mental than physical.
-it has two useful sections that aren't seen in many books: "Overcoming Obstacles" and "Realistic Expectations for Recovery." These sections cover issues like the idea that you have to keep doing this stuff forever (answer: yes, you kind of do!) and confusion about what's OCD and what's not. These chapters also include anecdotes from the three OCD-ers, again really helping to make it feel real and relatable.

Overall, I was quite impressed with the book. As with any book on OCD, just reading it isn't going to change your life. You have to work it. But I do think for someone (I'm probably one of these) who has struggled with putting ERP into action, it provides some additional information about moving forward, as well as the inspiration of Gina, Mary and Ted, who all changed their lives through exposure and response prevention.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Does It Get Easier?

I can't say I know the answer to that question. I do know I'm making hard choices and avoiding avoiding. Due to an illness in the family, I've been faced with more germs in my life while at the same time trying to avoid bringing germs into this person's life (and yes, I'm fully aware that my struggle is not the important one here! But it is real nonetheless).

In any case, despite my fears about making a sick person even sicker, I'm still making the "right" choices most of the time, and not letting fear rule the day. I can feel some momentum building up this week, and I want to ride that out.

The plan to move is in full force, with a new lease starting in April. Lots of chances for exposure, and I have done some avoiding, but with the momentum I noted above, I think I'll be able to do less of it between now and when I move.

Lately I've thought occasionally about seeing a therapist again, but I can't quite justify the expense. If I felt like it was a necessity to my wellbeing, I'd do in a minute, but I don't think it is. In fact, I feel myself wanting a sounding board more than I want someone to push me to do exposures. I think I just need more friends. :)

I hope spring is starting for everyone out there (well, those that like spring anyway!) It's been beautiful here. Even today's rain was lovely.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Top Priorities? Not Quite Sure

I was out on a walk the other day, and I decided that I should stop everything (not literally!) and really really focus on my OCD work. That all my other life goals really depended on improving my anxiety situation. But then I thought about it a little more, and I realized that wasn't really true. One, it's not like I can't live my life while trying to improve the anxiety. And, what if my anxiety stays around despite increased efforts? Do I just give up on ever enjoying the rest of my life? I sure hope not.

I'm not feeling very optimistic about my chances at a successful relationship, but that's okay. I'll take that one as it evolves. But for now, I'll move forward with both working on ERP and mindfulness and just enjoying the rest of my life, and working to broaden my social horizons and just be happy.

My new job is going really well. The other day I realized I was looking forward to work on Tuesday. I cannot remember the last time that was true. So it's pretty exciting. I can even imagine finding an additional "super part time" job on top of this one. One step at a time, though.

In the meantime, my one year lease is ending in a few months. I think I will be moving again. Ugh! I like my current place, but I don't love it. And the things I don't love are starting to grate on me more and more. I've found a place that looks wonderful, a bit closer to my sister. I've been spending a lot of time at their house this winter, and I'd love to be in walking distance. This new place is less than a mile from her. My dad reminds me that it won't be perfect, and I shouldn't build it up too much and then be disappointed. Good point for sure. Best thing about renting though, is the flexibility. Every time I move, I get rid of about a third of my things, and I'll need to do that again, as the new place is a little smaller. At least the moving will get simpler every time!

As always, I'm hoping to get in a more regular posting routine. As always, I'll believe it when I see it.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Odds and Ends for January

I'm charging right along. I got the job I interviewed for, and even started last week. It's only one or two days a week, but it's a guarantee that I'll get out of the house. OCD creeps in: I find myself wanting to stay in the house so I don't get sick and have to call in so early in the job. Then I remind myself that I'm not allowed to do things like that anymore, and I head out to the store or to a restaurant to bask in some germs. The job itself makes my OCD twitch- am I doing it right, do they think I'm stupid, etc. etc- but there's nothing to do but let those thoughts hang out there and continue right along with life. I succeed at that to varying degrees.

The other day I was at my sister's house, and my brother-in-law, who works in an emergency room, came home from work. "You would not believe how much flu is out there right now!" he exclaimed. Thanks for the info! One sign of improvement, is that I'm moving from such a statement making me angry/irritable- I don't want to know this- to almost immediately being able to view it as just another exposure.

And finally, today my water heater started leaking. My landlords came over to fix it, and I was bothered less than usual about people clomping through the house. Well, I think I was anyway. I'm choosing to focus on the positive this weekend, so there you have it.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Moving in the Right Direction

As I noted in my New Year's post, I have decided to work toward a bunch of goals this year. Last week I took some action on several of them, with mixed results. I don't mind the negatives as much as I expected though, because it still indicates that I'm moving!

One the positive side, I have a job interview tomorrow. Woo! On the not so positive side, I reached out to someone I was interested in from my old job, and it appears my interest wasn't reciprocated. A disappointment, but not a crushing one.

I spent more time out of my house this week than I have in ages, and I have 5, count 'em 5! activities scheduled for the coming week. I've been surprised how happy being around other people has made me lately.

So, all in all, I'm feeling pretty good. Not working combined with a warm winter has allowed me to do a ton of exercising this winter. I can feel it helping with my mood, so that stays on the agenda for sure.