Friday, December 31, 2010

Scary Social Events, an update

I set a goal to average one "scary social event," that is, a social event with no family members, each week this year. That would be 52, of course. By my accounting, my final event, a New Year's Eve party tonight, will be number 42. Didn't quite make it. However, I long ago stopped counting ordinary outings with the boyfriend, as well as my nearly daily knitting meetups at work.

During this year, I joined the knitting group at work, resumed being in charge of a book club, and met up with a bunch of fellow basketball fans, one of whom turned into a boyfriend (well, now ex, but still). I rediscovered my love of bowling, which was enough to overcome my fear of those shared shoes.

All in all, pretty good, and certainly what I was hoping for.

During 2011, I want to continue this effort. I'd like to join a neighborhood knitting group, ask a promising female acquaintance out to coffee, and rekindle some old dropped friendships.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


I've been contemplating the timing of the break up of my relationship. My boyfriend started acting weird not long after I wrote the blog post (I think I wrote it anyway) about the possibility that he'd noticed the OCD book on my nightstand. I don't know that it's related, and if it is, it's a pretty clear sign (among many others) that he wasn't right for me.

But oh, it makes me so sad to consider that my OCD may have cost me yet another relationship. It also makes me even more determined to be sure that it never happens again.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

What an amazing year this has been. I'm feeling more optimistic about my OCD, and well, all kinds of things, than I have in years. It's an incredible feeling. I hope you've had a good year, too. And if you haven't, know that it's possible. Hope everyone who celebrates it has a fabulous Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Real Progress

I've been continuing to be able to do exposures that in the past I probably would have considered "too hard," including being around people who are sick without making excuses to leave an event early (it's still not easy, though, that's for sure!)

I've also realized that some things that used to really stress me out just aren't a very big deal anymore, including putting out the garbage can every week, whether it's raining or not. I've also had some success at alternately sitting with big pieces of anxiety, and being able to say to myself, yes that's a scary thought, but it doesn't actually have any significance and just pushing it aside and moving on with life.

Is my OCD gone? Not by a long shot. But I'm still feeling good, and it's awesome.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Eyeing OCD From the Other Side

This week, a coworker moved cubicles and is now right next to me. I've worked with him for 3 years, but never closely. Something about the way he cleaned and vacuumed that cubicle before he moved in, and the way his water bottles were lined up on the desk made me go "hmmmm."

THEN yesterday I sat next to him at the annual holiday potluck. After he got his food, he pulled out a baggy of wet wipes and washed his hands. I didn't think that much of it, as I've known non-OCD friends who do that. But then, he went back for seconds and did it again. Went through the dessert line and did it again! I was fascinated. A lot of people with OCD (myself included) will do exposures without compulsions sometimes just to avoid the embarrassment of doing those compulsions in public. Apparently my coworker isn't one of them. This particular coworker is sick a lot, though, so I'd like to remind him that his compulsions are apparently not working that well, but I probably won't. :)

Statistically in an organization the size of mine, there should be more than 20 people with OCD. Obviously not all of them will be handwashers, but it's surprising to not have noticed this type of thing before. Of course, I cannot really diagnose him based on these incidents, but I will anyway. He'll never know.

It made me feel even better about going through the whole potluck with no handwashing. Of course later in the day, I became convinced that my white elephant contribution was going to food poison someone (and it was ground coffee beans, for goodness sake!), so I can't really get TOO proud of myself.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Doing Great

Whether it's the medication, or the kick in the pants from my trip, or just random, I'm at least partway over the motivational hump I've faced for months now.

I've been doing exposures, pretty much never washing my hands at work, and feeling pretty good. On my trip, I got an extended glimpse of my non-OCD self, and I'm awesome! Friendly, happy, eager, curious, caring. A person I would really be happy and proud to be. If that's not motivating, I don't know what would be.

It's not perfect, of course, and I still have a lot of anxiety. But I feel equipped to move forward, and that's good news.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Keeping the Ball Rolling

I didn't make it to the store yesterday, but I did go today. I used the restroom there, right after a mom and little kid- more contaminated, don't you know.

Pushed my grocery cart around in normal fashion. Next I stopped at the video store. I ALWAYS wash my hands after the video store- not today.

Now I'm typing on my computer with those same unwashed hands. I feel like I'm further down the path on this than I've ever been, and it feels great and scary, and I want to keep on walking down it.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I DID IT!!!!!

I have just returned from 3 days in Phoenix.

I brought Purell, and used it once. I did the most cursory of bedbug "inspections" of the room, and then let it go. I ate finger food at every restaurant without washing.

I took six trips on public transit, and six on our hotel's shuttle. I bought food and souvenirs from multiple people and didn't contemplate whether they had colds. I sat next to a woman on the plane who I thought had a cold and didn't flip (although she later volunteered that she had allergies).

I used the bathroom at the airport. I rode on a plane!!!!!

I sat on the bedspread at the hotel. I walked in barefeet in the hotel. I watched my boyfriend contaminate the sheets of that hotel bed with his airplane clothes and I slept in it. I dropped my toothbrush on the hotel room floor and then I got a new one at the reception desk (c'mon, I have OCD!)

I had fun on a vacation for the first time in years. I took 100 photos, and that was with forgetting the camera in the hotel one full day.

And then weirdly enough, I decided I didn't like my boyfriend all that much (he was a complete doofus on this trip), and I broke up with him. That'll hit me harder soon, I'm sure, but for now I'm still giddy from the rest of it.

Tonight I'm going to walk down to the grocery store and use their bathroom, before I lose any momentum.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Weekend

This weekend I met about 50 member of my boyfriend's extended family. His dad has 7 siblings, and they almost all live nearby. It's a nice group, although I forgot most everyone's name. What I'm happiest about, though, is that I didn't feel very anxious, despite all the people, and a lot of hand shaking, and potluck food eating and game playing. That was a good thing.

But I do think I was storing up some stress, because when my mom called this morning to ask if she could leave something at my house for a friend to pick up, I said no, and then burst into tears. Oops. Well, as I've said before and I'll say again, baby steps.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Medication Update

Well, I've theoretically been taking a low dose of Prozac for about two weeks now. Unfortunately, I've forgotten to take it on at least 4 days. I can't help but think I have a some kind of block against it. Because when I had to take 90 days of my toenail fungus medication, I didn't miss a SINGLE day. So, anyway, I can't quite tell if it's making any difference yet. My regular PMS depression seemed a little milder than usual, but it was still there.

I do notice trouble sleeping while on it, but it's not major, and so far benedryl at night is enough to overcome it. So I will try to remember to actually take it regularly, and see what happens.