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.
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