Lots to be Thankful for

In spite of having a long week with a lot of OCD flares due to stress and other things, we had a really nice Thanksgiving and I am so grateful. This week I had a few revelations that have been really positive.
1) I might not get over OCD, this might be my life.
I realize this sounds kind of macabre, but in truth I think its a positive. I realized that I have made “getting over OCD” my main goal in life. As a result, I think that I have not really been “living” my life; or I have been discounting the living I’m doing currently as not the life I want, therefore not real “living”. But this week, I realized, THIS IS MY LIFE, right now, today. Not tomorrow, or the days that I feel good and anxiety low. The days that are anxious, the days that include random anxiety-producing thoughts and fears of looping obsessions. Those days are still my life, whether I like it or not. I realized this week that I might not get “over” OCD. I might always have to deal with this. I don’t want to miss out on my life, even the bad days. I want to experience all that life has to offer, even if its a day that comes with pain, and anxiety. I want to be with my kids and play and have joy. So, with that said I am trying to choose to be mindful, fully present. I don’t know what the future holds, but I think I am finally in the place of acceptance.
2) Mental “checking” and review has been setting me back
My therapist often talks asks me what compulsions I need to prevent when I work on my homework. I thought it was just preventing myself from arguing with the OCD thoughts, and trying to find reassurance. But I realized a few days ago that I engage in something called Mental Review and Checking (good overview: http://ocdla.com/ocd-mental-checking-1947). I do this nearly all the time. It totally floored me to read this post and a few others I found on the topic. I usually spend a lot of my day examining how I feel, reviewing the day, reviewing the past, judging my current state of mind and anxiety and conjuring up the obsessions and wondering if they are gone. The writer of the blog talked about how with OCD if you are a checker, you are doing all of this before you even get out of bed and that resonated with me! The first thing I usually do is to wake up, review how I feel, check in with my anxiety – “Do I feel good?” Bad?” If bad, “how bad?” “Worse than the day before?” Anyway, after reading this blog, I have been trying to preemptively stop the checking. Its been surprising to see how many times I catch myself and stop and try and bring myself back into the present. This really feeds well into mindfulness as well. If you are constantly reviewing, checking and thinking about things, you are not in the present.
3) In spite of everything I have so much to be thankful for
I found myself having anxiety this Thanksgiving, fearful thoughts, but concurrently found myself enjoying the day, my kids, the food and wine, and also feeling so thankful. It is possible to LIVE and live well, even when faced with OCD. There are so many blessings, its impossible to count.



Processing the election, also ERP update and meds

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I’ve started writing a blog post three times and have quit every time out of frustration. I am saddened by the outcome of the election. I’m not a democrat and I think HRC had her own issues to be sure but like so many others, I am so baffled as to how Donald Trump is now our president. How do I tell my daughter that someone who admittedly talks about women in a gross, misogynist, and sickening manner is now our president. How did someone who is self-serving, bullying, and downright mean (just look at his Twitter feed) get the vote. Most troubling, why did 80 percent of self-proclaimed Christians vote for him?

This makes me truly sick. I know the answer, I’ve heard it, “I’m voting for the party not the man”, “I’m voting for the future of the supreme court”, “I’m voting to get Roe V Wade overturned”, “I’m voting because I can’t stand Hillary” – I just can’t understand how voting for Trump is not voting for the person. It will be HIS cabinet, HIS agenda, HIS personal ideology, HIS hateful and divisive words, and HIS example.

Last May, when it was becoming clear that Trump might be the nominee, I watched as Christian leaders stood up and supported him and I have to say it totally impacted my faith and made me completely question the church and beliefs I grew up with. I am grateful for this at the very least. I kept reading the gospels and seeing over and over what Jesus preached, “blessed are the poor”, he hung out with prostitutes, lepers, tax collectors, liars, and adulterers. He spent his ministry trying to INCLUDE and avoided any politicization.

81 percent of “Evangelicals” voted for a man who has bullied and objectified women, who has said he will keep all Muslims from coming into the country, who wants to build a wall to keep people out. Look, I get that our borders are so porous that drugs and criminals and immigrants pass through every day. I am not opposed to tightening the borders whatsoever – but what I am alarmed about is more that my fellow Jesus followers seem to have such a lack of compassion for the poor people who are trying to get into our country for a better life. Persecuted, living is absolute terror, these people risk everything to get away from the danger they face on a daily basis.

So, the bottom line for me – the part that makes me the MOST sad is that so many people in this country now equate Jesus with the party that is united with Donald Trump. They see Christians as bigoted, more concerned with keeping people out of the country, stopping gay marriage and abortion than anything else. The sad fact is that Christians probably do more public service than any other group, they send more money to those in need, head more non-profits, etc. than any other group but there is no recognition for this because of politics. I really, truly believe that.

I know there is no easy or simple answer to this or any other questions raised by the election.

I am hopeful that the president Donald Trump will be a different person than the candidate, I am hoping that he is wise, reserved and truly governs with all Americans in mind.

I have SOOOO many more thoughts on this but will stop for now.

Quick update on the ERP and meds. I am up to 14 mg of the Celexa through the liquid – with no side effects. Its been 11 days – and I have three more weeks to get to 20. Praise God, its a miracle. I see an improvement on my overall mood, I am less anxious overall. However, the obsessions are still there. I have had leg twitching and every time I have that I get health fears. It sucks. I need to work on it with my therapist this week.

I will say though that the tactics overall of dealing with obsessions are working. Instead of arguing with them (sometimes that is super hard, your mind automatically raises questions/arguments) I have been doing the following:

1) Noticing the obsession for what it is (even though it feels SOO real, a problem I must solve or have certainty of)
2) Allow it to be there – and allow the worst case scenario to be an uncertainty – answering with an “ok” or “I don’t know” is usually what I do.
3) More and more I have been trying to bring in my faith – I say ok, “God, I don’t know what is going to happen but I trust you, and if that does happen I trust that your will, will be done, that you will be with me”

I feel like I have a long way to go, but my mind is slowly calming (I think) – I am more hopeful for the future than I was – though still terrified sometimes that this is going to always be my life. In reading blogs and so forth there seems to be a really wide range of how this disorder effects people. Some people get OCD as a child and it seems life-long and a struggle they always deal with. Some people like me have gotten it postpartum, and have been able to see a full remission of the symptoms. I don’t know where I fall – I am so hoping that over time I will recover. I see now that I’ve had it for a long time, but I did have two years where my anxiety was nearly gone. I pray every day for healing of my mind.



Tough decisions

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Isn’t that photo beautiful? I captured in on our way to Tahoe looking out over Mono Lake. It looks like the sky and the lake melt into one, and the stormy, moody clouds are breathtaking.

So, tough decisions is the title of this post because I made the decision a few days ago to try and up my anti-depressant to try and reset my brain chemistry. It was a really, really, really hard decision for a number of reasons.

1) I take 10 mg already of Celexa (full disclosure) – this isn’t actually a full/normal dose (the real dose would be 20 mg) – but its SOOO freaking hard to go on SSRIs for me that 10 was all I could do and it seemed to really help for several years until about May/June when everything fell apart and the anxiety and OCD went through the roof. So its not like I am going from zero to something. In June before I knew this was all OCD, I tried to break the pills into pieces to go up and it was not good. My hands and feet were sweating and heart racing, mind going crazy, sleep jacked up. It wasn’t good – I gave up. Bottom line I am scared to try and go up.

2) The therapy I am in, ERP (see related posts) is supposed to do the job of the SSRI (eventually) – resetting the brain. I worry about going on the SSRI, feeling better and it all being the meds making me feel better, and not the therapy. Basically I want to know that its ME and MY work making myself feel better, not a pill.

3) The fear that I will need to be on these meds forever. It scares me, what if they poop out and I feel terrible again, or what if they don’t work and nothing works?

I know so many people are cool with popping pills, feeling better and going on with their life. Why do I make this so complicated? If I was sick with an injury or diabetes, I would take medication no problem, but why is the brain different? Why do I feel like a failure for taking the medication? I do think that there are also a lot of people like me who hate the stigma of anti-depressants. You hear all about how doing everything naturally is the way to go – and I totally wholeheartedly agree. But lately, man, its been so tough. On our recent vacation, I could just tell that my brain was off, my thoughts were sooo fearful, depressed, I couldn’t stop crying. I felt hopeless, scared and alone. And, that’s when I decided if the meds can help, I am going to try again. I owe it to myself and my family.

So, I emailed my dr. I’m four days into the increase and my dr. prescribed a liquid version of the anti-depressant that I can take tiny, tiny increments to go up and it seems to be working and helping with almost zero side effects (praise God!). I have therapy today, and a part of me is anxious about telling my therapist about my decision. Will she be disappointed in me? Am I sabotaging myself? Does anyone else worry about these things?

I suppose when I think about it more deeply, spiritually, there is part of me that (pridefully?) wants to be the one to get better, that medication is the weak way, the shortcut.

But what if it helps? What if its an answer to prayer, that the chemical imbalance gets corrected and combined with hard work in therapy, I find a way out of the hole – and I’m able to live in peace, live in hope and allow the fear and uncertainty to be in God’s hands.

What if?



The promise of a sand dollar

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Three years ago when all of my anxiety started I would go to the beach with the family and I got it in my head that if I just found a sand dollar it would be a sign from God that I was healed, that all was well. Every time we go to the beach I scour. Sand dollars are scarce in Southern California, at least for me.

This week we headed to Northern Ca for a week vacation and went out to Waddell State Beach – it was my first time and I loved the wild, windy, fall weather as we walked along the coast. Northern California beaches have such a different quality than Southern California. Northern California beaches feel wilder, perhaps a little unsteady, dangerous even. The boiling water, churning and launching onto rock formations, cold and dark is quite beautiful, but I have a sense of trepidation. When I walk on the beaches here at home in San Diego, the beaches seem so much tamer; I dip my toes in the water and know that I could swim out and be welcomed.

Which do I like better? I don’t know.

What I do know is that Waddell offered me a gift – the sand dollar I have been waiting for. As I walked along I first spotted a half sand dollar, excited that this beach might hold the promise of my request of God for these past years, I could feel the anticipation building. Could this be the sign? I’m healed? Could I find a perfect Sand Dollar that would signal that God has heard my prayers, that I can go back to being me? No OCD, no fear, no anxiety? I left the half sand dollar in the sand and kept searching. A woman ahead of me said she was so excited she found a perfect sand dollar in the sand. I couldn’t help feeling jealous, she found MY sand dollar. The ONE I was supposed to find.

As I walked with one eye on the angry gray water that threatened to wash up over my boots, and another on the wet sand where my answer-to-prayer might lie hidden, I spotted it. There it was, round, slightly purple. Oh wait, it was broken. The edge was not perfect.

I felt disappointed. This is NOT the perfect sand dollar I was looking for. I felt let down, would I ever be healed? Was God trying to tell me I would ALWAYS be broken?

As I looked at the sand dollar in my hand, all of the sudden I started to see it a little differently. Why does a sand dollar need to be perfect and unbroken to be special, to be seen as worthy. All of my efforts thus far have been to be healed, to feel perfect, to be “normal” and “Unbroken” – but really are any of us without a broken edge? A broken heart? A broken dream, or unfulfilled desires. The feeling that there is something more, that I am empty and need to be filled, fixed and loved?

My little imperfect sand dollar started to look pretty perfect.
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I excitedly put my treasure in the car on the passenger seat for safekeeping while we went to keep walking. Meanwhile my son asked if he could get a snack out of my purse in the car. Little did I know….

After we walked, we got back to the car and I nearly cried – my “perfect” sand dollar, my promise, my answer-to-prayer was sitting in a hundred crushed pieces on the car seat. My son had accidentally squished it.

“I’m so sorry he said” seeing my disappointment.

I looked at my husband, “Do you think this is a sign from God that I am never going to get better?”

My husband looks as me and said, “God promised you that you would find a sand dollar, he didn’t say you would get to keep it.”

So I am left with pictures, and the promise. I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that it will look imperfect, a little broken around the edges, and that’s ok.


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This is hard

One week in with ERP homework. I have had some crazy health anxiety the past few days. I woke up at 2 am with chest tightness and couldn’t go back to sleep. I am wondering if I made things worse this week. In typical fashion, I tried to make things as hard as possible and read articles each day around a specific health fear. The idea of course to trigger the anxiety and to sit with it until the anxiety begins to dissipate – habituation is always the goal. The first few days were ok, but the article I found three days ago was like my worst nightmare. It spiked my anxiety through the roof and I haven’t really been able to come down from it. One of the tough things I deal with specifically around health anxiety is that I get a lot of somatic symptoms when my anxiety spikes, muscles twitch, fingers tingle, I get pain, tension, tightness. When these happen, I get really anxious about them. NOT FUN.

I had therapy today and I asked my therapist about the articles, her thoughts and she had some feedback. After just two sessions where we discussed homework, I am getting the feel of what this type of therapy is about. I am sure every therapist is different, but my therapist said that with the ERP homework you want to have a controlled anxiety response. With reading random articles the response could be arbitrary, it could provoke anxiety, but it could also provoke other emotions like sadness which she said isn’t the goal. During our session we also do troubleshooting. We discuss the past week’s homework – we set up the plan for the week. I am doing audio scripts – two this week on different topics. I am listening through to them 1-2 times a day. Hopefully by the end of the week they won’t be as anxiety-evoking.

I was telling my therapist that its so weird, other than my brain malfunctioning, my life is totally normal LOL. I have a very normal, great family life and marriage and totally perform well at my job. I have great friends, support, go to church, work out, play, cook, read and do art. But all the while I have these crazy obsessive fears – and no one would really ever know. Sometimes now I look in a room of people – and knowing the stats are like 2-4% of people dealing with this I think about all the people dealing with OCD, probably just like me wondering how the hell this happened! My therapist said that most of her clients are highly intelligent, high functioning people, doctors, lawyers, teachers etc. who realize that the fears they have are totally irrational but they FEEL SO REAL. Its definitely humbling to have developed this – I used to think that I had it all figured out and it was all under control. Little did I know that my life would totally change at 35. Which, by the way, I found out is definitely less common – most people develop this at puberty or even childhood, but I guess women can get it post-partum (Bingo!).

On the bright side, the fear that had me up at night a week ago seems nearly non-existent now. The way this disorder seems to work for me is bizarre, one day its one fear and then another. I did some audio scripts that I listened to once or twice a day for some different fears, and by the end of the week, those were pretty easy to listen to and didn’t provoke anxiety, but the health anxiety was off the charts.

All I want to do is to research the internet and find home from people who got through OCD with treatment – for hope, but this in itself is OCD. The needing reassurance that I will be ok – because after all, treatment is designed to get me used to the idea that everything might NOT be ok, I might not recover, and there is no certainty.

Ok, after that bright, shiny post – is there a silver lining? Is there anything good that can be found in this? Its hard to see right now, because I’m anxious and tired, and so sick of OCD and the “brain lock” that occurs when a fear gets a hold. But, I will press on and cling to my faith that God has a plan. Right now, I will be totally honest, when I am crying out to God in the middle of the night asking for some relief from the fear and doubt and circling thoughts, he seems silent. So quiet. Its terrifying sometimes. But then I think about Jesus in those final hours before his death where he cried out to God to ask for a way out. The fear, uncertainty and terror must have engulfed him. As he hung on the cross in ultimate suffering, he also felt the fear of pain – and the suffering of what if’s. I comfort myself by knowing that He knows, he knows the pain of fear and doubt and I am not alone, even when it feels like it.


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Tips for dealing with OCD from therapists/experts

I have been in therapy specifically for OCD for a very short while. I would say I am in the infancy state of recovery. However, I’ve gleaned some great tips and information that might be helpful for someone else experiencing the anxiety and fear of OCD thoughts. I also recently had a session with an OCD specialist and author – I have some insights from him below as well. I am NOT an expert in any way, so please take these tips and thoughts with a grain of salt. Always talk to a professional therapist trained to deal with OCD. I just have found these helpful and wanted to pass along information.

Tip 1: Therapy for OCD is different than normal anxiety and depression. I learned this after spending a lot of time over the past two years in therapy that helped a LOT with some of my thought distortions, and dealing with past hurts and all of the stuff that you carry around with you. But the therapy didn’t touch the OCD obsessive thoughts. To be fair, I didn’t know I had OCD – I thought I was just an excessive worrier who couldn’t stop. Now I know that dealing with OCD takes a certain type of therapy – specifically ERP – Exposure and Response Prevention along with changing the cognitions.

Tip 2: Think of ERP as marathon training. For anyone who wants to rush to the finish line (ME!) This therapy is all about slow and steady. When you start ERP – you will build a hierarchy of fears to expose yourself to. The idea is to expose yourself to the hears – allow the anxiety to spike, but then not perform any of the compulsions. For me my compulsions are to rationalize my fears, try to figure them out and argue with them. Instead, you have to allow the anxiety to be there, to live with the uncertainty. Before meeting with my therapist, I started to try ERP on my own, and so I would pick the most anxiety provoking things and then expose myself. I thought the point was to make myself as anxious as possible but my therapist actually said this is NOT the point. She said that our brains need time to habituate. You don’t run a marathon without training and with ERP, you need to slowly build up. For someone like me who wants to get better SO DARN BADLY – taking this slow is not easy.

Tip 3: Hearing is healing. For some reason saying homework out loud, listening is a key element. My therapist said that I should be sure that my brain “Hears” the homework. So I have recorded some audio scripts and when I do an exposure by reading an article online that triggers anxiety, I also say out loud the statement for example – If I read something that triggers some health anxiety – while I read it I say out loud, “I could get xxx”

Tip 4: Finding the right exposures and topics is important and you should work with your therapist to figure it out. Last week I had recorded a script to listen to and I told my therapist that rather than giving me anxiety, it made me crushingly sad. I would sob every time I listened to it. She quickly said that depression/sadness is NOT the goal, provoking anxiety is. So we reviewed the script and realized that I wasn’t targeting the right area.

Tip 5: Challenge the depressing thoughts. If it’s anxiety sit with it. This is a tough one – when you are dealing with OCD thoughts and you are trying to “accept” thoughts as is – it can become kind of confusing when depressing thoughts pop up. Do you accept them? According to my therapist “NO”. You challenge the thought distortions, you still need to be your biggest cheerleader. I still find this tough and I’m sure there are some blurred lines.

Tip 6: What do you do with a rational fear that becomes obsessional? This was something I dealt with the other day. I was thinking about my son, and a concern that I had. I was a rational concern, but I could tell that the OCD was ramping up and I could feel this anxiety building telling me I NEED TO DEAL WITH THIS RIGHT NOW! I NEED TO FIGURE THIS OUT NOW. I put this in all caps because this is how it feels when OCD strikes. Its like everything in your mind is telling you – WE MUST FIGURE THIS OUT. I could tell that it was the OCD and so I resisted the urge to try and ruminate and figure it out – about 15 minutes later it passed and I felt better. When I mentioned this to an OCD expert he gave me some advice.
He said, “Sometimes there are normal concerns that can become obsessive. The key to dealing with those is to schedule time to deal with it later- NOT during the OCD cycle. It needs to be on your time.”

Tip 7: You know it’s OCD when it seems like something you HAVE to deal with urgently. OCD fears seem real, they seem like real concerns. But, there is a difference. When you feel like you must focus all of your thoughts, efforts etc. to deal with the thought you can bet its probably OCD.

Tip 8: If you are a person of faith like I am, this experience can be incredibly difficult. You feel as though God is far away, your thoughts can be so distorted, so terrible that the shame and fear can be overwhelming. But OCD can also be a gift. God wants us to be reliant upon Him and to hold on to him. With OCD, you have to learn that nothing is certain, that anything has potential to happen – good, bad, ugly. You need to be vulnerable and this is where God meets us. When the OCD strikes and the fear and doubt consume try and see the OCD as a way to increase your faith – to become less self-reliant as you realize that you can’t be certain about anything you can only trust that God will be with you.


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Exposure and Response Prevention, Oh My!

“We prefer clear and easy answers, but questions hold the greatest potential for opening us up to transformation.”

“We do not think ourselves into new ways of being; we live ourselves into new ways of thinking.”

– Quotes by Richard Rohr-

Well, after one week with a therapist, she has me doing new homework to help “rewire” my brain and treat the OCD head on. The treatment, apparently the only treatment that seriously works for OCD is called ERP – Exposure and Response Prevention. It is a form of CBT (Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy)

It works by exposing yourself to your fears. It could be an audio recording of yourself saying a script about something that triggers your anxiety. Or it could be something you read out loud. I have read that it can be news articles or anything else that will trigger your anxiety causing you to want to do a compulsion.

For me, since my OCD is purely thought based, I have to refrain from doing my compulsions which are thoughts and reassurances and rationalizing to make myself feel better. For example, when triggered with an OCD thought that perhaps I could become an evil person, the first thing I want to do is to of course reassure myself, “I am not a bad person, I am a loving person!” But with this therapy – when triggered, you would have to instead allow it to just be a possibility. “I might be or might not be, I will have to live with the possibility.”

I can’t tell you HOW TERRIBLE this feels. Because I want to be CERTAIN. I want to know and know now. But unlike pre-OCD where I could easily laugh off the thought. Today, it presents itself as this unending question, that unravels like when you pull the string of a rug. The questions become endless. Its so hard to explain and sounds crazy – even to me!

So back to the ERP, when doing the homework – you have to let your anxiety spike and then sit and wait for the awful, gut-wrenching anxiety to naturally go down. Your brain is screaming for you to please do something to take this pain away, assure me that you are certain that this thing, this fear that you are exposing me to will not happen!

But of course the point of ALL of this is to let your brain know that certainty isn’t possible. There is no way to be certain about anything, there is risk in nearly everything.

I am JUST now starting this process. I am fearful that it won’t work, I’m fearful that I will be stuck – but I am moving forward and throwing my all into this. I want to feel better and know that this is the path I need to take.



Lemons? Or Lemonade? Its a choice.

This morning I really had a nice talking to with my man. After a really disturbing dream I woke up this morning filled with anxiety. Ugh. My first thoughts were of panic, of trying to figure out why the bad dream? Why now? What next?

I cried, I carried on. I thought about all the bad shi* that is happening in the world, the sad stories I’ve heard recently and I emailed my therapist. I joined an online support group. Hm, anyone notice anything about this?

Goodness is easy for me to spiral down and not even realize it. Especially if I’m tired.

My hubby sometimes does the not so friendly, but needed a** kicking I need to show me where my eyes, thoughts and feelings are concentrated. Let me tell you its not on my beautiful, gorgeous children who at this stage think I’m the best, most fun mom. Its not on my home, great job or the fact that we live in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Its been on the sad things, the tough things, the battles inside my mind, and how hard it is. It IS hard, this recovery is not easy let me tell you, but I do know one thing, focusing on the good things in my life are worth it.

They change the atmosphere I’m living in. Today I’m choosing to let go of the negative, of the stuff I can’t change, the thoughts that come and go, and the things I definitely can’t control.

I’m choosing to love and be loved and to be proud of progress one day at a time.



Coming to grips with OCD

This is a post that has been a long time coming. I stopped blogging a while back I think feeling like I didn’t have anything to say. I was also busy, not that I’m not now but anyway – here I am, writing about OCD. Something I would NEVER have thought I would be writing about. Three and a half years ago I would have laughed in your face about the thought of me having issues with anxiety, mental illness.

But alas, its what’s happened and I’m not going to hide out about it anymore. Maybe my story can help someone or make someone not feel so alone, or abnormal or afraid. All of which are how you feel when your thoughts feel like they control you and drive you to the deepest, darkest places and make you question your life, your beliefs, your mind and sanity.

I am not out of the depths of this yet, but I am slowly and surely developing the tools and strategies to live life fully and to come out of the fearful place.

When people mention OCD, I think of people who have to wash their hands, or do things compulsively to rid themselves of contaminants.

I didn’t know that there is a whole area of OCD that is what some call pure O – where the compulsions are mental exercises.

Over the past three years, I have had ups and downs with obsessional thoughts – For me fears have ranged from serious health fears (a mole must be cancer, a muscle twitch is ALS etc) – these fears have become all consuming and paralyzing at times. I often wondered why I couldn’t shake the thoughts. The more I would try to reassure myself that I was fine, the worse I would feel. With OCD there is always a thread of doubt and so you never can have certainty – but all you want is to be certain.

More recently, what really made me seek help was what is called Harm OCD. I read an article about a mother who killed her two daughters. Her husband stated her unraveling started after the death of her father. For whatever reason, this article triggered an anxious thought that, “My anxiety started after the death of my Nana, oh no, what if I am like this woman?” And that’s where it all began.

Even though I knew it was so dumb – it didn’t seem to matter, the fear penetrated my very soul. I felt anxiety fill my body as thoughts began to swirl about what if I became like one of those people who go insane? What is to stop that from happening? What if I became evil? The more repulsed I was the more I needed to figure it out and be certain. It kept me up at night, the thread of doubt was like an unraveling rug, the more I pulled the more questions I had. I felt completely lost, adrift, alone and crazy. It felt like I was at war with my mind – and the worst part was that it was the fear that I might hurt what is most precious to me.

I had heard of this kind of thing with post-partum depression – but I had no idea that this is actually one of the most common forms of OCD – fear that you might harm a loved one. Knowing its common and “Just OCD” while comforting brought up a big “what’s next?”

And that’s where I am today. I have a therapist, have been working on a lot of techniques – primarily acceptance that my thoughts while intrusive and unpleasant are just thoughts like “the sky is beautiful” – allowing that to be the case when something pops up is not easy – the feelings of anxiety and fear are nearly automatic – and so I have been actively working on accepting. I have seen a LOT of progress. I no longer swirl with thoughts, I no longer feel like I have to argue with meaningless thoughts and often I have humor about it.

I’m learning to live in a place of uncertainty and it makes me uncomfortable, but I know its where healing resides.

I’m leaning on God and my faith that I am in His arms, that He loves me and is helping me through.

Part of recovery is also about exposure and facing fears. I didn’t realize how much I was avoiding triggers – so I have been working on exposing myself to things that make me afraid, news articles, etc. Letting myself sit with the discomfort without rationalizing.

Its been nearly three months since this started and I am proud of the changes that I have made and the progress. If someone is reading this and relates but has not looked for treatment – I would urge you to reach out. You are not alone.

I’ll continue to blog about my progress.



Indigo!

I am in love with indigo. I bought some hemp indigo dyed fabric from Thailand off etsy and sewed a few pillows. So happy with how they turned out and soooo much cheaper than buying a finished pillow.imageimage