Saturday, November 24, 2012

Practice, Practice, Practice

Today I had a funny experience at the grocery store. I was getting a salad from the salad bar, something that used to cause OCD issues but doesn't anymore (yay!)

But I walked up to the end of a conversation between the two people ahead of me. They seemed to be discussing germs on the salad bar tongs. The man was saying, "I'm not worried, I haven't had a cold in 8 years." The woman said, "wow, how do you manage that?!" And the man replied, "I mostly avoid people." Ha, not really a viable solution now, is it, although many of us have probably tried it.

In other news, I've finally started reading a book I purchased months ago. It's "Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Life" by Stephen Hayes and Spencer Smith. I'm only about halfway through but I'm finding it wonderful. It's the first workbook (of MANY I've read) that's actually motivated me to do the exercises. I like it much much more than the Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety, a book that spent what seemed like half its pages telling me why ACT was so much better than all other totally crappy therapy (ERP included, mind you). Anyway, one quote jumped out at me, because it reflects my experience so well: "The best way to do this is practice, practice, practice. You won't be able to make these techniques a part of your behavioral response patterns without practicing them. You can't just read them passively and hope to 'get it.'" Oh, how often do I do that, hope that just understanding how treatment is supposed to work will make me better. It just doesn't work like that.

Anyway, the authors are very interested in the roles language and symbolism play in the way human brains work, and based on the Amazon reviews for this book, not everyone appreciates this approach, but I like it. I still think ERP is my best bet for my contamination fears, but for rumination, I think this is the best take I've seen. Will hopefully provide an update on how it works out.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What Evidence Do I Have...

I came home today to a letter from my insurance company telling me they were not renewing part of my policy. I didn't panic, but I was concerned. I called the agent to ask exactly what this meant.

While talking to her, I noticed page four of the packet, that told me they were offering alternative coverage. It will cost 75% more than the old coverage, but still. Perhaps they could have put this on page one instead of hidden in the back!

Here's where OCD kicked in. The nice lady at the insurance agency said she'd look into the details of what happened and get back to me tomorrow. I of course thought up all kinds of scenarios where somehow my policy DOES get cancelled as a result of this conversation. I fretted a while.

Then I thought to myself, what evidence do you have that this worst case scenario will happen. Fact is, I have NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER.

Now, I know this kind of thinking can turn into a compulsion, where I suddenly spend hours contemplating evidence and probabilities. But in this case, I was able to think back to all the times I wasted hours, days, WEEKS of time worrying about things that I had no reason to believe would ever happen. I'm letting this one go.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Ups and Downs of OCD

Yesterday I visited my mom after work. For the first time in a while, I didn't say anything about a single OCD related issue. I wander through life noticing little things I'd do differently in areas like food preparation or cat litter dumping. My mom's one of the only people I "gripe" to, because I know her as well as I do.

But last night I just went with the flow, and it was all okay. It was a good night.

And then today, I've got a new thing to stew on. It doesn't even make any sense (nothing new there, I suppose). My mom wants to buy a steam mop. I have one and I love it. I recommended it to her. And now I'm sure something will go wrong, and it will be my fault. What will go wrong? Well, there are so many options. I still have fears of bedbugs arriving in my home in something I've purchased, so that's an option. Or it might be broken. Or hers might not get hot enough so if she uses it to clean the bathroom floor, she might spread germs around the house. Or if she cleans the steamer pads differently than I do, more spread of germs.

The ultimate irony in all of this of course is that steam mops are known for their sanitizing ability. I should be happy! But no...

Friday, November 2, 2012

Sad News From My House

Lots of OCD stuff has been going on- some decent exposures- but I have a big, unfortunate exposure from today. I came home to find that my sweet, vibrant Max had died sometime during the day. Max had lived with me for more than 14 years. I was a little hysterical earlier this evening. Now I'm just sad.

I know this picture is a bit fuzzy, but it's a favorite.

For several years now, I've had an OCD-based fear that if I didn't have any cats, I would be diagnosed with cancer soon after. This is based on observing an n of 2 where this happened to friends and family. Now I may well get another cat, but it will not be because OCD wins and bullies me into it.