Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Holiday Greetings!

Happy Christmas & A Wonderful New Year!

Here are my Christmas decorations- a little late, since I don't know how to download off a camera and so had to wait til hubby did it.

Katrina on Christmas day

Me in my new Christmas clothes.  Don't know if I'd like to live in India, but
I sure love their clothes and  bright colours!

My sister made this card for me using stamps.  I bot a frame and put it in!

  Most of what's under the tree is for Katrina.  Tom wanted cash and I am already wearing most of my 'gifts'.  Bruce put Tom's cash into a dvd disk, a candy cane box (Tom spent a while figuring out how he did that-  but it put a smile on his face) and other sundry small items.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Merry Christmas To All & To All An OCD & Anxiety-Free Holiday Season!

I wish!!

I've been working a lot (a bit) on my anxiety problems-  or rather my lack of social skills.  The goal is to learn to and be comfortable initiating conversations with strangers.  First of all, i hardly know what to say to people- i don't watch the latest tv programs and don't know if the other person does either, i'm not much into sports  teams and I feel that no-one will be interested in what I have to say anyway.

A lot of that comes from my childhood where i was picked on at home, school (until high school) and basically ignored at church when in my teens. I just played invisible.  That way i didn't get much overt teasing.

So while at my daughter's ballet class i'm supposed to converse.  And when I go to anywhere else too, Iguess. This wasn't working too well, as I don't know what to say to people I don't know, so I decided to go to Toastmasters.

Toastmasters is a non-profit organization where people come together to practise their public speaking and off-the-cuff speaking skills.  I observed 2 groups. The first met in the evening and was smaller and everyone 'had' to participate in the off-the-cuff section.  The second met at lunch time and people had to volunteer to speak because they had so many people attending.  I chose to go to the evening one even tho I don't like driving in the dark because I know myself well enuf to know that if I have a choice to participate and make a fool of myself,  I won't. 

On Wed. evening they were going to have a Christmas Party after an hour's worth of meeting.  I was thinking of skipping that (bringing a gift and all) but realized that there would be a perfect chance to chit-chat with a whole group of people I didn't know well.  So I decided to go, not realizing it would be an OCD trigger too.  OCD and Christmas don't mix in my book :). 

Not too long before it was time to go, I was on the Toastmaster web site for my group and I read:
' bring a $10 new or gently used gift'.   GENTLY USED????  That, piped up  screamed OCD could mean someone bringing some thing that's been in their basement  or attic for a year or more.  If you're not USING it, it's not in your living room, I bet.... If it's in the basement, how do you know it's not near something mice have touched????? ' 

So now this fun evening was going to turn into an OCD event:  When I went up to choose a gift,  I had to wonder which ones were NEW, and which ones might have something gently used in it.  Normal me is out of the picture and OCD is revving up the anxiety.  Then I had to go to the pulpit, open it in front of everyone else and tell why it was 'the greatest gift ever'.  That was the easy part after I  realized I got a box of caramel popcorn.  Pfew, It was NEW!!!  Problem solved, right? Wrong.

After everyone had chosen a gift came the opportunity to steal.  What if someone stole my 'new' gift, and i was left with something i couldn't tell was used or new- like a decoration/ ornament??  I certainly wasn't going to exchange my gift with anyone else! 

Fast forward 2 days to today.  I'd written out a bunch of Christmas cards that I stamped last night.  Bruce was supposed to take them to the mailbox on his way to work this morning but he forgot.  So I did.  No big deal.  Not until I put them into the mailbox.  Then OCD showed up.  Not BEFORE, when I could have thought about what I was going to do.  Nope, it shows up just after I put the letters in the slot:

"You, know, Karin,  the past owners of your house, the ones who left the mouse residue in your kitchen, could have put their letters in that very same mail slot you did.  What are you going to do now????' 

Well, it was too late to go into town to put them in another box or give them to a lady at the post office counter.  If I was smarter I could have done that.

Then sane, rational me piped up, no' spoke up calmly and said that those other people haven't been here in 4 years.  Any mice issues that weren't resolved in our own mailbox ( I touch the mail from our own box, altho at one time I refused to for those same reasons above)  would be DEAD by now, having been exposed to the elements for 3 more years after I decided that our particular mail box was just fine. (Well, that wasn't exactly a decision, it was my 'first' exposure and was very scary for me.)

So I touched the door handle to close it, put both hands on the steering wheel and drove back to my house (our mailbox is at the end of the road, a kilometre or so away).  I am now sitting at the computer NOT having washed my hands, wondering if it's ok to wash before I touch all my stuff, or whether to contaminate my house further- or rather NOT contaminate it as NOTHING is wrong.  Right?? Right?  Right.

So Merry Christmas OCD... go suck eggs....Get samonella poisoning and stop bugging me.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Why Is It That Mice Are Depicted as Cute Critters For Children's Story Books????

Well, this is it.  I'm going to CLEAN my daughter's room.  Shouldn't take more than an hour or so.  So what's the catch? 

A couple of months ago when we went to a pool party Katrina came home with some stuffed animals the 16yr old daughter of that family didn't want anymore.  She was thrilled.  I, of course, didn't think anything of it at the time  Katrina first mentioned it but before we went home I had plenty of time to think.  Like how a few yrs ago they'd had a mouse run thru one of the bedrooms.  And what if... those stuffed animals were somehow in the way of that, or any other mouse. (As far as I know the mouse went to one of the boys bedrooms, but why let facts get in the way of a good ocd story?)

I was too chicken to tell my daughter she can't take the toys home because I didn't feel like arguing with her.  And my arguement wasn't going to sound all that convincing anyway.  Maybe it would have been better if I HAD argued.   Maybe Katrina would have asked the teen or her mom... no, Katrina wouldn't have done that.  She's too scared.  Maybe they would have heard the screaming of Katrina when she was told to leave the toys, came over and heard the story and kyboshed it right then and there. 

Nope. I thot I could handle my anxiety so I let her bring them in the van.  I let her take them in the house.  And that's as far as my kindness would go.  In her room they became contaminated.  (The van wasn't; don't ask me why not.  Ocd that doesn't happen is fine by me.)

So being left on the floor, among all her other toys, they were ignored by me.  I'd climb into her bed (uncontaminated) and read to her at night.  I'd put her clean laundry away as the dresser wasn't too far into her room an d I could get there. 

One time I tried to undo this whole thing with my husband there.  Both he and I touched something.  It didn't bother him and while I was with him it only bothered me a little.  But the next morning it was back.

So why do something about it now? 2 reasons.  First because my daughter's ballet suit is in the middle of the contaminated mess because I dropped it.  Last week she wore a blue exercise suit instead but it'won't be long before they'll be complaining about how Katrina needs to wear the prescribed colours.  And then what am i going to say?  'Sorry can't do that, it's contaminated' doesn't sound good when it's coming from an adult.  And if they actually believed my house was contaminated I'd soon expect to see CPS at my door wondering why we lived (and kept a child) in a contamination zone.

Second, and more important reason is that Katrina is now sleeping with us because her bed is contaminated too.  She pushed the blankets off one night, right onto one of THOSE stuffed animals.  Bruce, being kind, put the comforter back on the bed when he checked on her.  So then I wouldn't go near the bed either. She slept in her bed 2 nights ago because Bruce put her there after she fell asleep in our bed.  I didn't like it but I had to live with it. 

See, so this little story and the anxiety that goes with it is just screwing up too much of my life.  I could just call and get the scoop on thse stuffed animals but that would also be embarassing.  Bruce says there's nothing wrong with the toys- or her room, or her bed.  It's time for me to deal with it.
So that's my plan fo r the afternoon.

Thot record:

Situation:  above.
 Anxiety:  85+%. 
Hot thot:  Will I be contaminating everything else after I come out of her room NOT having washed
                 stuff down with vinegar, or putting the blanket in the washer, or wiping off the books that crashed onto the floor and came from the library.  Will I contaminate the rest of the house when I just wash my hands after windexing stuff that's supposed to be windexed- and that doesn't include the books or toys laying on the floor because if this weren't an ocd thing, i would just be picking them up,, right?

Evidence that my hot thot might be right:  There was a mouse once so maybe it (or another mouse)
                                                                      pooped on the stuffed animals.
                                                                     The people in MY HOUSE who lived here before us never cleaned up the mouse droppings they had in the kitchen cupboards, nor the poison they used either.  Cleaning that was gross.  So you never know about people.

Evidence that my hot thot might be wrong:  The above sounds ridiculous when I write it down.
                                                                       The rest of the house was clean, so maybe any mice
                                                                        droppings that were ever in the house would have been    cleaned up.
                                                                        Field mice aren't that dangerous?
                                                                         There was no evidence of any mouse droppings on the toys or I'd never have let my daughter touch them, never mind bringing them home.

Anxiety:  45%

Will do it anyway while playing the Les Miserables dvd, to keep my mind off the anxiety and help me pretend it's a normal weekly pickup job.

Anyone want to come over and do it FOR me?????????????????????????


Well.  I did it.  My hand is shaking and I am hoping that since all I did was wash my hands  and arms to my elbows, I won't think that my computer is contaminated. (It's sitting on my lap). I didn't change my clothes and i left the stuffed animals on Katrina's bed. 

I'm listening to Les Mis, which always makes me cry; that way I have an excuse for crying.  I mean it's not fun shoveling out a kid's room but it goes with the territory of  'mom'.  But it shouldn't be 'achievement of the week'?  Why do I let these 'stories' of mine take over my life?  Do I somehow enjoy (need)  the relief that finally comes when the anxiety finally goes down?  Won't chocolate do the same trick, with less havoc to my nervous system???

I actually noticed some good things this week:  I touched the knob of the dryer with my head while getting laundry out of it and I didn't go and wash my hair.  That must mean I'm finally believing that wiping the dryer does keep it clean until the next time I do the washing when i wipe it again.  That's the first step to not bothering to wipe it down every time I do a load of wash, just in case.                                                                        

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Symptom of My Anxiety Level

Last week at group meeting I noticed that I was rather quiet- could n't speak much. I was asked to 'tell about myself' to the new members of the group and I was so stunned that I couldn't remember anything about myself! My mind went blank.  The facilitator had to prompt me by asking me to tell what brought me to the group. That direct quection was easy to answer. That was the extent of my talking. Except to say that I didn't do my goal of starting a conversation with a stranger. Another group member even commented on how quiet I was.  All I said was something simple like 'I know'.

This meeting was in the middle of my FIL's visit and while I ''seemed' ok ( I didn't have physical symptoms of stress like sweating and such) I realized that my mind going blank and my inability to talk much must be MY way of showing my stress.

We have to tell everyone what our stress level for the week was ( between 1-100)  and I said 45-50.  So I actually took note of my stress level and then noticed the fact that I was non-vocal.  I knew that talking is not my thing until I get to know someone well or get really comfortable. But this time I really noticed how much my verballness and my anxiety are related.  Because I'm pretty comfortable at the meeting, so it wasn't 'fear' I was feeling-  the normal anxiety people get when put in with a new group of people, so this must be related to my stress level.

I'll ask about this at the meeting this week. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Grandpa's Visit


Things went very well with thanksgiving.  Bruce said afterwards that it was a good thing he and his dad stayed at a nearby hotel because his dad needed more assistance than we realized (being 5 hours away means that when we see him it's usually for a few hours while we're eating or sitting and chatting so we don't see bed and bath routines etc.).  Fortunately he's still mobile.  Unfortunately it was rainy and cold so he and our daughter couldn't go fishing together.

 Only a few ocd issues- bruce and dad had to walk near the garbage cans one day and I happened to see it.  They didn't TOUCH them but I was anxious all the same.  OTOH, I didn't make them wash just-in-case, so I'm more comfortable around garbage cans than I used to be.  Oh, and Bruce HAD to show him the garage.  That's not usually on my house tours, and it never occured to me to tell them to stay out of the garage ( did FIL brush by the garbage bin as they discussed the overhead pipe that has to be removed in order to get the garage door opener installed?).  I did nothing except tell my concern to Bruce.

On the plus side Bruce and his dad got to spend lots of time together, Katrina got to know and be comfortable around her grandpa ( we moved when she was just 2, so she doesn't see him a lot anymore.)  We had a nice thanksgiving dinner together on Monday.  All of us went to the local museum which I thought was going to be boring, but instead it brought back lots of memories for grandpa which he shared, so Bruce got to know more about his dad's younger life.  We tired him out :) !

I drove back south with the 2 of them which was fine until I (being bored)  noticed grandpa's cap.  It didn't look used, or worn but had the logo of his old business which he didn't have for at least 10 years, probably more now.  That meant the hat was new.  So my mind started working:  was this cap in a box in the basement where mice could have come? Or worse, in the garage where mice actually were???   So now he was sitting in MY seat, touching MY  door etc.  with THAT cap.   I quickly squashed the dread that was starting to come and tried to reason it out in my mind ( ie. a thot record):

#1:  He hasn't been living in his house for 10 or more years so any mouse residue would be long gone and / or not effective anymore.  Read NO GERMS.  So nothing is wrong.  Right???  Right??   Didn't work right away, but I had a long ride to sit with my anxiety and after 15 min or so I started to believe myself and the anxiety went away.  I actually get rather proud of my 'accomplishment' to disolve an ocd attack. (Later I did ask Bruce where his dad might have kept the box of business baseball caps and he said on their fridge, not in the basement at all... but it was ok anyway).

This brings me to this week's topic.  Ocd Talk did a post on the lonliness of ocd.  And this kind of works in.  When I'm proud of my accomplishments, I can't really share them with anyone except Bruce, or maybe my weekly group.  It's not like I can just talk about my 'hard work' getting thots out of my head and everyone will congradulate me.  In fact, they barely care... until I start asking them to wash, or not go there or something that makes the ocd visible.  Out of sight, out of mind.   Only not out of MY mind.

I know Bruce has talked to his sister and dad about the ocd, but I don't know exactly what he's said, except that I've improved a lot.  Do they believe him?  After all when I'm standing and talking to his sister or dad I don't show weird behaviors.  Do they think I'm weird now?   You know, mentally deranged  but are just too polite to say that?

Thursday, October 04, 2012

It's Always Fun When Grandpa Comes.....

Unless you have anxiety disorders.  Then it's stressful because you don't know what could happen.  When my husband asked if his father could come for a visit, i said 'sure'.   Because there was a very good chance that it wouldn't happen at all.  Anyway, it was over 3 months away so it seemed ok.  Not that I was doing a lot of planning that far in advance.

When it looked like it was going to work out after all I was still ok with it.  Ocd was not acting out much, so I kind of forgot what it could be like.  Then came the dog collecting my dirty socks from the basement floor and bringing them back into the living room and here was OCD wondering if the house would ever feel 'uncontaminated' again.  I was anxious and i tried to clean what i could. 

That's when I realized that Grandpa coming to visit may be very nice for my dh, and even my kids but for me it would be work and potentially anxiety-provoking.  So one night Bruce and I had a long talk where we decided that having Grandpa sleep at a hotel would give both him and me breathing space.  It would not be 24/hours a day company.  It's not like we are good friends or anything.  But I also wanted my husband to be able to spend time with his 84 yr old dad as,well, he's 84.

I don't know how much of my dislike of overnighters (altho I do let my dd have guests overnight) is because I'm introverted and like to have my space- or whether it's all due to OCD.

On the plus side, his dad wasn't insulted, Bruce will spend the nights with his dad at the hotel for extra male-bonding time ( and because FIL needs that extra care, as we found out by talking to the nurse at his assisted living place) and I don't have to clean up my daughter's room to make it ready for him as we have no guest rooms in our house.  Bruce is away on a business trip for the week and Katrina is sleeping with me at night.  She's getting tall and likes to sleep sideways and kick around in the bed so having all 3 of us sleep together probably wouldn't work out so well anymore anyway. (Sniff, sniff, my baby is growing up.)

It would be great if I were the type of person who would just say 'great, I'll add more potatoes to the pot' when people want to come over, but I'm not, and actually never really have been.

Hey, 4 years ago I would have freaked out even more because there would have been lots of places IN my house that were 'contaminated' and couldn't be touched and that there was no way I could have people just wandering around my house unsupervised.  Now it's basically the laundry room that's off limits and don't go touching the garbage can with your hands if you can help it- altho the dogs brush against it and I live with that.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The past 2 weeks have been very stressful.  I started going into Katrina's room (beyond the door/ dresser ) again and touched the stuffed animals that ocd says MAY have had mouse poop on them (haven't seen any, but that doesn't matter).  Then i got into my bed.  It was ok the night i did that because Bruce did it too.  The next day I didn't feel too good about having done that, so I got new pyjamas out that evening. 

I could just call my sister and see if there is any truth to the story I'm telling myself but am resisting doing that. 

A few days ago i finally thought to myself that if I could tell myself a mouse-on- stuffed-animal story, I could also tell myself a different story. So I did. This story isn't as dramatic or anxiety-provoking. It goes like this: My niece wants to get rid of some of her stuff now that she's going into high school. She tells her mother and my sister tells her to put all the stuffed animals into the washer first to get them clean. She does and my daughter brings some of them home with her. The end.

It COULD have happened like that. :) It comes from inside my head, just like the original story does. So why don't i believe it? I have just as much reason to believe that story over the first one.

I DO go into Katrina's bed now with her to read to her again. Before I made her come into my bed and she'd get to fall asleep there instead. I let her pick up toys laying around that room while silently hoping they haven't touched the stuffed animals. But I haven't cleaned up her room yet, and it needs it. Sigh.

Then last Wed. I noticed that my ankle socks were in the living room.  My husband said that Mieka was getting them out of my open drawer.  Unfortunately I believed him.  The next day and another pair of socks later i noticed that this 2nd pair seemed quite the same as the socks i'd worn to take out the garbage in.  They were left on the floor in the basement ready to add into the next colour load.

Sure enough, the socks were gone from the basement.  Now I had a choice:   listen to OCD telling me how dirty the socks were and try to clean everything from the dog to the bed or ignore it.  When i discovered a dirty sock in my bed the decision was made:  clean.  I washed the sheets and the blankets, picked up the living room and vacuumed it ( wiping down the vacuum cleaner afterwards) and wiping the dog's mouth and paws with water.    I did NOT wash the dogs' blankets, nor give the dogs a bath, even tho ocd was telling me that would be a good idea.   So I was still a bit anxious about the whole thing.

I liked it better when i felt my house was ocd free.  But slowly i'm getting that feeling back.

Animals can be hazardess to my health.  I guess, tho, in the long term, they are helping me. Even tho I don't want their help.

On a more positive note, I am only 50 books away from having read 1000 books (in my life) on goodreads.com.  I have set myself the goal to get to 1000 by the end of the year- and the only picture books i can add are ones that I or Katrina find are exceptionally good.  50 books in 3months... it might be close!  More novels and less mythology.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My Dogs as OCD Treatment

One of Tina's posts gave me something to think about.  She mentioned her pet cat as helping her  and I thot of how our new doggies have helped me not succumb to ocd as often.

I didn't want to get a pet until the contamination ocd had been pushed back to a dull roar because your supposed to be a kind pet owner, not a freak-out artist.  It was hard for me to let Katrina be a messy,  free child.  There were so many rooms/ items that were contaminated that i constantly had to watch out so she wouldn't accidently touch, fall over, knock down something that i didn't want touched.  So much so, that i enrolled her in day care 2ce a week starting when she was 14 or 15 months old.  She needed to learn that not everyone was afraid of the garbage can, the books, the car.

Not to mention that things became contaminated or uncontaminated too, so that what was bad yesterday was (thankfully) ok to touch today  but then a room or chair that she could touch with impunity yesterday was unclean today... Only problem was, there was no outward sign that anything had changed.  And she was a toddler!!  I could yell "no, don't touch"  and i MIGHT  have said it in time for her to stop.  Try that with a pet, tho!  Pets don't get that the garbage can is untouchable just because life is 'better' for me if they don't.  Tails just follow in the general path of the animal but they can swing or brush against  an item the animal itself didn't touch. Screaming at the animal doesn't get them to stop either! 

I needed to feel comfortable enough in my environment that i wouldn't give an animal cause to need therapy itself!

That finally happened this January!!  I was finished with therapy and didn't base my life anymore on what I couldn't do, but on what I was able to do again.

So 2 dogs came into our life- Mieka, a 1 yr old husky/collie with a lot of pep, bounce and energy.  Training not accompanied by a visible treat isn't worth doing.  Then came Zoe, a 7 yr old golden retriever who is cuddly, sweet and doesn't need to be running around all the time.

When Mieka brushes her tail against the garbage can I hold my breath and tell myself the outside of the can is CLEAN- I've cleaned it  at least a week ago!  Breathe, and let the dog go on.  Can't really explain it to her that I'd PREFER she keep her tail away from it.  Well, I guess I could but the time and effort that would take doesn't appeal to me!  (Sometimes being lazy is a good thing.)

One time I found Zoe laying under /beside the hanging laundry bags in a corner of our bedroom.  I grabbed her and got her off (NOBODY touches the laundry poles, bags etc. without washing afterwards.  Even tho laundry is not toxic-ly dirty.)  However, I was in no mood to bath the dog, so I just let her sleep on the floor and decided to worry about it the next day.  Even tho I didn't forget what she had done, again laziness helped me decide that cleaning the dog isn't as much fun as reading my book, so i just petted her on the bed and forgot about the series of contaminations- me, the bed, others who touch her etc.  

Not being physically able to explain myself to the dogs has helped me deal with the anxiety instead of just telling someone to wash up...pleease.

Just an update re Katrina.  Today I touched her on her back after eating a nectarine.  She started whimpering when i told her I had NOT washed my hands.  She wanted me to do that and then mentioned about her back needing to be cleaned.  Instead I distracted her.  I washed my hands so I could sit by her without a problem.  We looked at a toy catalogue. After a little while I mentioned that she didn't seem to have a problem with her back anymore- the bad feelings had gone away.  She said talking about it brought it all back to her but she never asked to have her back washed.  I wanted her to know that sitting with dread doesn't really hurt physically, but gets rid of it instead.  She insisted she doesn't have ocd!

They also make me get out to get some exercise.  Cuddling them and brushing them relaxes me.

An Apple A Day Keeps... Katrina.?!.. Away

Our daughter, Katrina has always been sensitive to smells, tastes and loud noises.  It was something I just thought she'd outgrow as she got older and more exposed to things.  She does not eat any fruits or veggies.  She will eat strawberry jam and strawberry bars and drink grape and apple juices.  But this doesn't convert to real apples or strawberries.  Weird, but I figured she'd outgrow it one year.

But now it's gotten worse.  If I have an apple in my hand I am told to wash my hands before i touch her or her stuff.  Today ate a raw carrot and then touseled her hair.  She cried and said she has to wash her hair.  But i didn't see her go to the bathroom so i thought i'd wait a while then ask her if the feelings inside of her had calmed down, thus demonstrating that ocd is conquered by NOT doing what it says.  When i said this to her, she told me she DID wash her hair.  She took a spray bottle filled with water from her vet kit and sprayed her hair.  Not exactly a 'wash' by my standards but it seemed to make her feel better.

She will run away from someone with fruit or veggies in their hands.  The dog had a grape in her mouth this morning and she ran away from her long after my son removed the grape from the dog.

In school she would sometimes not eat her lunch because the kids beside her had fruit or veggies.  I insisteed she must eat lunch.

When I mentioned to the doctor that she was starting to wash her hands/ want me to wash mine when I had eaten an apple before i was allowed to touch her computer, all he mentioned was that computers are dirty and it's ok for her to want others to wash before they touch it.  Is 6 too early for ocd?  Sometimes I wonder if she is faking it but her screaming and running in fright seem really genuine. And it is EVERY time I have fruit / veggies that she bugs me, not sporatically as if she's just remembered to do it.

I didn't have contamination ocd- or any other, I don't think- at that young age.  Did any of you?  Is it time to call a psychologist??  I'm not sure about how I should deal with it.  ERP for a 6 yr old seems like cruel and unusual punishment- do they have less horrific ways of dealing with it in children, since they  aren't as entrenched yet?? 

...Or do I just entertain myself by chasing her around the house with fruit?  lol. (I know, it's not funny to have ocd esp. at that young age but the thought has crossed my mind a few times)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Camping is for the Ducks...and the Bears!

We had a LOT of rain at Algonquin the past 10 days.  We did manage to spend 2 afternoons at the beach.  But by yesterday we were all getting frustrated at the constant rain.  They lifted the fire ban going on in the Algonquin park as the temperature was dropping too.  Good thing Bruce brought the space heater along, or the tent would have been damp and cold all week.  I just ignored the heater for the first couple of days he had it in the tent.  It came from Bruce's dad, thus full of ocd.  Fortunately I'm good at ignoring the elephant in the room.  When I finally asked Bruce if he cleaned the heater, he said yes, he did.  So all the things touched by the cord were still ok...That is if he wiped the cord down too.  Haven't asked that question. :)

Wednesday we had face painters from the area come down and do all our faces.  It was fun for everyone.  Unfortunately tho, that was one of the few sunny days, so they got washed off pretty quickly when the kids went swimming.

This year i did not put up a basin of water at the camp site for all my extra handwashing.  There was a jug of water and some soap if needed.  Having a basin full of water last year made it easy for me to just quickly give them a wash.  It didn't waste water.  This year i didn't feel i needed that crutch.  After all camping is living in/ with dirt!

It is pouring hard outside our house right now and I 'm grateful I'm in a warm, dry house and my food isn't a campsite away!  A rainstorm at camp is fun,  if you have tarps over the tents, a fire going and lots of company to while away the time.  It gets less fun if it drizzles and rains and storms day after day until the day we packed up.  My brother-in-law undid his tarps first, and when the storm hit us this morning, all their family's stuff was soaked.  Our tent was wet too, so we have to set everything up at home and let it dry out...whenever the rain stops.

The kids had a great time.  They didn't mind running around in the rain.  They made boats and sailed them in the river behind the camp sites,  did flower pictures with my dad, ate lots of ice cream and fed the chipmonks.  Katrina lost 2 teeth at camp!

My sister took a holey tarp to the garbage bins and the next time I saw her, she was helping with taking down our tarps.  I'm guessing she didn't wash her hands between the activities, but instead of getting upset, I just let it slide off my back.  I'm sure by next year any germs will be dead in the bin!  I also let black garbage bags touch my legs as i was carrying them to the garbage bins and didn't change my clothes.  I did  wash my hands.  I left a rubbermaid bin we were using as a garbage bag holder by the garbage as Ididn't want to take it home without cleaning it, even tho I probably should have.  Ocd won that one.  Bruce said I didn't have to bring it home, tho. :).

Our pictures show us laughing and having fun, so it wasn't all rained out.  Better luck next year!!

PS.  Tom took the dogs home after 2 days so they missed the really rainy, dirty ground.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

A' Camping We Will Go

Today was spent shopping and packing for camp Algonquin.  We leave tomorrow( well, as it's after midnight, i guess it's today). 

You'd think OCD would have a picnic with me out camping.  But actually it doesn't.  Not anymore.  I remember a few yrs ago Bruce and I spent a couple of days in a cute little cabin in the Algonquin area.  Ocd ran that holiday.  It was brutal.  And I was INSIDE most of the time, not out where the dirt actually is.  Thank goodness it's not anywhere near that bad anymore. 

I will be fine until next Wednesday when my parents arrive.  Then I'll see how it goes.  I have told myself a story that my parents have mice in their basement/ house.  My dad will be bringing dried flowers and picture frames *probably* coming from somewhere in their basement.  So far i've told myself that any mice living there are probably feasting on a pile of wheat they have stored down there, so they are 'clean' mice, with no disease.  I could probably ask my dad if they have mice, but if he says no, i won't believe it anyway, so what's the point.  But why worry about something that's not going to happen for almost a week?

We are also taking the 2 dogs, so that will be a little stressful for me until everyone settles into a routine.  We bought a huge tent; no more falling over the mattress, trying to get dressed.  It's the biggest tent we've ever owned.  I also packed a pile of books- can't leave home without those!!!.  I prepared some meals already and froze them so i don't have to cook/ clean up so much. 

We hired some face painters to  come and paint all the kids and adults.  It's our birthday presents to all the kids.  4 out  of my 5 siblings will come with their kids.  We take up a cul-de-sac and so the kids can run freely from one site to the next.

I hope all of you are enjoying your summer!! 

Below: (2011)  Me sleeping with my owl face still painted on my head.  Bruce thot i was awake, staring at hime with the yellow eyes!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Summer Holidays

I thot i'd only missed a month of blogging. Then i looked at my last blog and realized it's been almost 3 months!!!

And when i started this post, i realized that my chicken soup broth should be drained from the bones so I can put it in the fridge. And my laundry needs to be taken out of the washer and put into the dryer but I can't do that until i empty the dryer of the last load, but i can't do that until i empty the laundry basket out. And after that i'll be to tired to blog...again.

So tonight i'll put blogging ahead of my chores. I'd like to say i was on vacation but i haven't been. Except that it IS school vacation so i have a 6 yr old bored child around the house. I've finally put her on facebook so she can play her dragon game with me as a friend (why do these games need you invite all your 'friends' to play in order for the game to continue working? ) That way she could get some levels or dragons or whatever it is she needed.

We tried going swimming. That was going to be my weight loss program for the summer,exercise- wise. That worked for 2 or 3 days. She even made a friend at the lake. And I chit-chatted with her mother. Then one friday morning we both ended up looking like we had chicken pox . After spending 2 1/2 hrs at the clinic, it was confirmed that we had swimmer's itch. Itch being the operative word here! A couple of benedryl pills/ spoonfuls later it got better. But Katrina didn't like the taste of the benedryl so now i have real expensive medicine at home that she did NOT use much of. Result: she won't go swimming in the lake anymore and i'm not spending the money at the YMCA every day and sothere went my entertainment for the afternoons. Unfortunately we are out in the country; she doesn't have lots of next-door playmates to work off her energy with.

Katrina also has this little 'quirk'. She does not eat veggies or fruit. Hasn't since she was a toddler. Big bummer for me, since i like fruit and fruit is a healthy snack. It didn't matter so much when i was in the throws of ocd as i wasn't cooking much. Bruce would have to do that when he got home from work cause i was afraid of the kitchen- it didn't get cleaned before we moved into the semi. And then when we moved from the semi to this house we didn't have a kitchen (karin literally pitched it out the door because she found mouse crap in the drawers and had a fit) so we ate a lot of tv dinners. OCD had my life; what kd didn't want to eat was way down at the bottom of the list of things to worry about. After all toddlers/ preschoolers LIKE to eat the same foods for weeks on end, right? Unfortunately she hasn't outgrown this problem. In fact, it's gotten worse. She now will not even touch a fruit/ veggie! At first i thot it was just apple cores she didn't want to be near. Nope, it's the whole idea of a fruit/ veggie near her that bugs her. She's even gone so far as to NOT eat her lunch because someone beside her is eating veggies/ fruit! So I've been explaining this concern to various health care/ social workers. One Kid's Place has occupational therapists who deal with 'picky' eaters. They will be getting back to me this week as to strategies to improve her eating. The pediatrician says she's still within normal weight/ height ranges so except suggesting a protein drink for her, we don't have to go back there. Problem: she won't drink the protein drink as she doesn't like the taste. If i buy another kind, and she won't drink THAT, then i've got more stuff in my cupboards that are a waste of money. She has gone so far that she will insist i wash my hands if i've touched an apple before i touch her computer (never mind herself) Does this sound like anything else we know???? Like OCD maybe??? Who ever heard of a kid afraid of an apple. That's right. I don't have to scare her using tales of monsters and boogie men. I just put an apple in front of her and she goes into fright mode!

About a month after we got Mieka, we acquired another dog. A 7 yr old well-trained golden retriever. So now we have 2 dogs. And they are best friends, right? Wrong. The dog fights have been getting less, tho, and they are playing together more. Each is trying for 'top dog' status. Or rather Mieka is, and Zoe, being older and just as big, isn't playing along. Now they HAVE been teaching each other their own bad habits! Mieka likes to chew up stuff- wood, cardboard, plastic. Zoe now also chews stuff up. Just not as much. So every day or so i get to sweep up a room full of trash: ripped up kleenex boxes, kleenexes, toys that didn't get put away and so on. And they DO have a bunch of doggie chew toys, ropes, puppets ( stuffed animals were ripped open and de-stuffed). They just prefer wood and cardboard.

Zoey likes to bark. Mieka is not a barker. Zoe barks at every car going by. This gets Mieka all riled up and she runs to the window to see what is going on. Funny tho. If Zoe sees a car while she is OUTSIDE, she doesn't bark!!

They are fun to watch and play with and brush and if we take them for a walk in the morning, they will sleep well for a couple of hours in the afternoon. Obedience classes start in a couple of weeks. Mieka really needs them. She's ok at sit and down but heel and come have a long way to go. So does the potty training.

So that is the chaotic state of my house this summer! Kd won't do the lessons the speech therapist mailed us, neither is she interested in me reading to her during the day. She loves that i do it before she goes to bed but during the day she 'hates' books.

I still need a LOT of sleep every night- 10 - 12 hrs, so that cuts down my day time activities. If i get up early i feel groggy and tired all day. I talked to the pharmasist and she says the clomipramine pills STILL do that to me. I am now taking them around 4 in the afternoon, and i'm not sleeping til noon every day anymore. I'm going to keep back-tracking the pills until i'm taking them at lunch. Then hopefully they will be wearing off by the next day around 8 instead of 10 am.

Ontario put in this new energy saving program where electricity is cheaper at night. So now instead of doing my laundry etc. during the day, i get to wait til 7pm and do it at night. Fortunately i have a huge washer, so this doesn't happen EVERY night. The alternating nights, i get to do the dishes! Lucky me! Laundry still has an ocd ritual attached to it but it's only a 10 min. thing so for now i'm leaving it. Then when my washer konks out (which will be in 20 years because i want it to go next week!) i can get one that loads on top instead of the side. That's what i origonally intended to buy but OCD saw the sanitizer button on the front loader and wanted it. So what could i do?? I bought that machine instead but have NEVER used the sanitizer button- and never intend to. Can't imagine what that will lead to if i ever do that once!!

Oh, my computer busted last week. Well, it started smelling like it was burning and the guy at the store said it would cost $500 bucks to fix it, and i should buy a new one instead. Now i HATE switching all my stuff from one computer to another and I bought one 2 yrs ago, hoping it will work well and last a looong time- and unlike my washer, it busts. Of course, it's actually working now that i have a new one. But supposedly it could go dead at any time and i'd lose all my stuff. That is not on my list of 'things i'd like to experience', so i spent $500 on a computer and another $500 on the extended warranties/ load up stuff. Not that I have that kind of cash laying around. Just add that to my bill and I can worry about how to pay it off.

I got my first give-away book from goodreads a couple of weeks ago. It's called Y. About an adopted child who goes looking for her real parents. Was neither sappy-mushy nor girl-out-to-destroy-herself-because-she-was-adopted. Review got posted on goodreads.com.

As for the OCD/ therapy weekly sessions, that was going well. We got into how to find out our core beliefs and how to change them. Then sessions stopped for the summer. But in order to keep up our healty gains, we had to write down the things we needed to do to keep on a positive note and then check the ones we did each night.

My list:

Healthy eating. The idea of it on my chart is that healthy eating is supposed to make me feel good/ upbeat. I'm working on more of a vegan diet with less or no meat but it's not going perfectly well. Salads got old and boring fast! I like the fruit eating, and snacking on carrots or nuts or apples is no problem. But meat keeps sneaking in there somehow. Not a lot, but every once in a while it ends up in the grocery cart. And with Kd's no fruit, no veggie strike, she needs to eat meat- i think??
Today i saw chicken on sale, so bot 2, cooked them and put some away for kd's meals that i can just defrost later and some away for a camp meal next week and of course ate some tonight. I did also buy fresh beans tho, and am eating them out of the bag. Have also been making fruit and veggie drinks in the blender. And then I slacked off on the veggie drinks because they aren't as tasty as the fruit drinks.

Play. Play helps to relax us and decreases stress. Also not something I'm good at. Even tho Ihave a 6 yr old. I just am not interested in playing 'little pet shop' or 'my little pony'. Playing with the dogs also counts.

Chores. Keeping up to date with household chores by doing a little every day rather than waiting til the house looks like a bomb has hit it. Me, i'm the bomb- waiter, esp. as I got OCD and didn't want to touch the cleaners. I'm over that now, but still would rather read or sleep than clean up the kitchen or do laundry, or tidy the living room (again!) OTOH, I can't stand living in a slobby room. I just get more and more irritable until i finally tidy/ clean it up again. So this is a biggie for me. Not that I don't do it, but it is SO important that I keep up with my housework I stuck it on my list anyway. (And besides that, it is easier for me to DO the housework, knowing I get to put a checkmark beside it at the end of the day.)

Do something to attack OCD or do NOT give in to an OCD desire. That one comes from the OCD book that says to always be vigilant and pro-active with OCD, so that it doesn't sneek in to my life thru the back door a little at a time. Knowing I get to check off if I don't give in to an OCD wish helps me to stay strong.

Laugh: A good belly laugh is great for staying upbeat. True. I like to laugh but wasn't sure how often I did it so I put that one on the list.

Socialize. Something I'm kind of bad at. I CAN socialize. I just often don't see the need or would rather just stay to myself than make the effort to talk to strangers. It was a step to trusting people/ making friends. So I thot I better keep that one to remind me to do it!

Other things people could choose from included: taking meds daily, pet an animal, work on a hobby, write a gratitude journal daily... These are all things I don't have a problem doing, so I didn't feel the need to keep track of them on a daily basis. My hobby is reading, and not reading daily means my life was just too crazy or I'm not breathing. I guess I should have added in blogging/ journaling because obviously I'm not doing too well at that, either. Every so often I DID look at other bloggers posts and respond to them. Just didn't feel like writing my own. And the longer I didn't do it, the more I didn't want to or there was some chore that needed to get done. Until tonight when I decided it NEEDED to be done. And I think I will add it onto my list. It's that important.

Monday, April 30, 2012

We found a Dog!

I'm so excited.  Yesterday we found our new dog!  She was tied up but didn't get aggressive or protective when we went over to touch her.  She let our 5 yr. old touch her too, so Katrina isn't afraid of her. 

We pick her up later this week.  So now I'm all flustered.  I need to get dog stuff, find a vet, find a groomer for the day we pick her up etc.  Fortunately it's not anxiety anxious.  Just the 'i don't know what to do first' excitement.  Maybe first i should sweep the kitchen floor so the dog doesn't think her main job will be to scrounge dropped popcorn.

I had looked for vets already.  There is one near our house who makes house calls.  That's when i 'remembered' that one thing i liked about going to the vet's before was LEAVING.  It was all clean when i went in and whatever they did to clean up after my visit was not my problem.  I DO have issues about chemicals and such.  This vet will do vaccinations etc., even small surgeries at my house which sounds ok cause then i don't have to be around sick animals but will he put his used syringe on my carpet?  Will he open the front door after using a syringe without washing his hands?  When he comes, will he have clean hands or will he have just finished disecting some other animal's poop and then come calling at my house?

He says all he needs is a table and a sink (laundry is ok.)  But my laundry sink is 'dirty' even tho it's been cleaned.  I wanted Bruce to get rid of it long ago and put a clean sink in, one that actually looks clean when it is cleaned.  One that won't leak rust on the floor.  Another expense. 

It would be a great ERP exposure, or it would make me go nuts.  Problem is I won't know which until I do it, but that will be too late.  Should i just play it safe and find a vet to go to?  It would be nice tho, to not have to pick up dog poop and put it in my car and bring it to the vet.  This way i could just leave it outside and the vet could pick it up on his way to the car.  Any suggestions?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Rainy day.  Great for wearing contaminated coats...Hey, maybe i should have just stood outside while it was pouring and gotten a free coat wash! ...    Oh well, too late now.

I wish I could say that I just put on my coat without remembering it was contaminated, walked out the door and into the van without a second thought.  But I can't.  I silently noted that the door handle 'might' now be needing a wash as well as the mail I touched.

Somewhere between my house and home depot everything got magically uncontaminated though. I think I helped it along the way by deliberately sticking my finger in my mouth.  I wouldn't do that if I REALLY believed there was something stuck to my coat.  Then I actually LOOKED closely at my purple coat.   Nope, nothing dirty on it and invisible contaminated dirt just doesn't count anymore.  So that meant that when I got home I  did not have to wash my hands (altho, I admit, I thought about it but knew that if I did that, I would be back where I started.)  I just grabbed some nuts and had a snack.

And the mail is clean, the door handle is clean and so is the van.   The coat ('can I wash it NOW?' wails ocd) is clean but there's a good chance that I will have a bit of a hesitation the next time I want to wear it.
And when I finally do get to wash it,  ( winter time ) there will be a quiet sight of relief from ocd that I obeyed at last.  And I will let it think so, even though I know that I always wash seasonal coats before they get put away.

Thanks, Sunny & Tina for giving me a little push in the right direction this week!

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Dog Update

We looked at the dogs.  One of them sort of nipped Katrina while she tried to feed it and she got scared.  She likes animals but gets very timid around them.  The dogs seemed nice, but not overly affectionate or interested in us.  We thot it over and after talking to other people Bruce got cold feet and said no. :( 

Now my problem is whether to wear the coat that i wore to touch the dogs with.  Everyone else is wearing their coats like nothing was wrong, but even after doing a thot record about it at my weekly group meeting ( where i realized that the dogs didn't smell, so it must be ok) i''m still leary about actually putting the coat back on.  So far it's been fairly warm every time I've got out this week so I've been able to get away with just putting on a sweat shirt.  But that is just avoidance, and i'm good at that! 

It feels like there will be a big irreversable 'change' if I actually wear the coat.  Like every place i go with it on will be contaminated.  Shakes head.  I should just DO IT instead of agonizing what could happen if i do it. 

Or if I can't stand the idea, just wash the thing.  Either way, I should just make a decision and stick with it.  ... Why are decisions like this harder to make than ones that start with: ' will you marry me?'

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Hunger Games & Karin's Head's Game

Bruce and I saw the Hunger Games tonight.  I've been waiting a long time to see that movie.  And it didn't disappoint.  In some ways it was even better than the book.  It kept close to the book, was very intense but not too gory.  And it must have taken some really detailed choreography to make a movie where 24 teens fight to the death look real and at the same time keep the blood and guts part down to a bare minimum.  The actors and actresses did a fantastic job.  The only problem with it is that unlike Harry Potter, where seeing the movie increases my desire to reread the books, and reading the books makes me want to see the movies again, the Hunger Games violence-ness doesn't make me eager to re-experience it. 

While watching the movie tonight it suddenly hit me:  we're going to look at a pair of dogs tomorrow afternoon that we're thinking of keeping.  And up til then I've been excited, thinking of names, finding a place for them to do what dogs do, that I don't want them doing in my house and whether to get them a doggie bed or a cage.  The downside  is that we found out today that the matted fur that I was told came from the dog romping in a swamp (dirty but not contaminated) was in fact dog feces all over her body, according to the vet.  That's when OCD hit and I've been trying to figure out how to deal with it.  Can we bathe the dogs before they come to our house?  Can I just think that the vet shaving her down is clean enough?  What about the other dog?

 Then i got a call from a mobile vet that lives close to our house out in the country.  He does regular vet services at the pet's house.  And no, I can't just bring the pet to his house instead.  Bummer.  Cause memories came back about how I really liked that the chemicals and other stuff  (samples of poop ) was at the vet's place and I could just leave.  I didn't think of it as ocd, just my preferences as i didn't have an ocd diagnosis then.  But on the positive side, not bringing the dog to a vet means I don't have to be where other sick dogs are and possibly infect my dog( Rare occurence but it COULD happen. ) And with the rise in gas prices having the vet come HERE might be a good thing.

So, right in the middle of the movie, during a down time, it suddenly hits me that I'm going to get a pair of dogs that OCD will have a field day with and have a vet that OCD will have even more fun  with.  Not to mention that I will have to take care of these dogs, not just cuddle them.  Someone will have to walk them, bath them and all that stuff and that someone  will be me.  Do I really want to do this?  Should I give in to OCD and find  'cleaner' dogs and a 'safer' vet?  Or do I bite the bullet and kick OCD to the curb and focus on rescuing a really cute pair of golden retrievers???

Why do I do this to myself?  Can't i just keep my peaceful, finally calm life?  Am I nuts, wanting to stir up the pot?   And if it doesn't work out... but I don't return dogs just because I'm bored or tired of taking care of them. That's why it's been 5 years since our first dog, Holly, died and even tho I've missed her and wanted another dog, I knew I couldn't handle it. 

This is normal for me.  I want something and Bruce is kind of lukewarm.  Then after I've convinced him, I get cold feet.  Because I don't know EXACTLY how it will affect my life.  For real.  Not just in my imagination, where only good stuff happens.

After a few minutes of intense guilt ( I've got the whole family excited about my now STUPID idea), other thoughts get thru.  The ones that say, take it slow.  One step at a time. Just go look at the dogs.  I don't have to hug them or take them out for pizza.  See how it goes. 

And so my heart rate goes back to normal and i can return my attention to the movie once again.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Anxiety Group Causes Anxiety!

Things have been pretty good around here lately.  Over the March Break we went back down south for a few days.  Hotel living!! My idea of fun.  Because there is very little cooking or cleaning to attend to and Katrina is getting old enough that entertaining her in a hotel room is getting less stressful.

Things I noticed on the trip:

When we parked things on the tables in the hotel I didn't have to tell Bruce : oh, don't put that here, that spot has ocd" or "  Don't use that/ touch  that' etc.  How nice not only for me (yeah) but for the other 2 who don't have to cater to my weird ideas and orders.

I showered and didn't worry about touching the shower walls, which means that that erp DID really work because last year up in Moosonee, i was freaking out with every different shower at each hotel we were at.  Here at home, I still get the thots:  'you touched the wall/ curtain' which i can then choose to ignore, or do something about.  I expect these thots because i spent so much time avoiding my shower walls, but didn't expect the thots at hotels so i'm glad that's over with.

I didn't worry about touching remotes or curtains etc.  I drove Bruce's van without freaking out about where that steering wheel has been.

Today was my first day of anxiety class.  It's a weekly program where they review CBT techniques.

 So I get into my car and the first thing i notice is the breaks are squeaking.  'Great, another bill'.  But it  goes away as the car warms up.  A few minutes later I smell something odd.  Naturally, I'm now sure the car is on fire except another part of my brain is saying: 'ocd, ocd'.  So which part do I believe?  My sneaking suspicion is ocd is trying to freak me out. I keep driving and the funny smell goes away. When I get to the building I park the car, and check the engine by sniffing around the front wheel and wind shield area.  See, I COULD open the hood, but that would be 'checking' and anyway if I touch the hood I might have to wash my hands afterwards and I don't want to do that.  So sniffing around like a dog is a much better plan. :P

So OCD is now stopping me from doing an ocd check. 

I decide that if the car is actually burning, someone else will be noticing it soon enough and calling the fire department for me.  So I went in for my meeting. 

I first had to meet with the facilitator which meant that it was a half an hour before the rest of the group show up.  And guess what, NO ONE comes in with the news that there is a burning car in the parking lot.  So far so good.

The meeting is mostly talking about how each person dealt with  their anxiety this week.  I was told I didn't have to participate, so I  didn't say anything. Except feeling anxious that I might have dropped some vinegar on my pants yesterday as I was doing the  laundry and then  (after NOT changing my pants ) telling OCD to shut up and the 'fire' episode this afternoon, I didn't have much to say.

The lesson was on doing thought records.  The leader was re- explaining the difference between a thot and a mood (feeling).  Lots seemed confused still.  That's how I felt when I first tried to do them so it's nice to know I'm not the only one!  Then we were to write out a thot record and my anxiety came back.  I've written lots, but they still confuse me .

It was mentioned that thought records help up become our own therapists because we learn to dig below the  feeling or thoughts to get to the 'hot thought' and then give ourselves evidence that it's NOT true.

  Of course, if I could figure out why  it's not true, I wouldn't be having the problem in the first place!!    So I used to ask my couseller for the answers to that section until I finally could figure some of them out on my own.  

When I went into the parking lot after the meeting, my car was still there, all safe and sound.

But my vacation from ocd work is now over.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Life's Pretty Calm

I haven't blogged in over 2 weeks now.  I've been reading lots.  I had 4 interlibrary loans that all need to be finished between Feb. and the end of March.  The second one was Full Catastrophe Living that I  heard about on someone else's blog (or maybe goodreads acct.).  It was long and slow reading.  Very interesting tho.  It was all about meditation in a mindful way.  He described different kinds of meditations, gave  lots of info re why mindful meditation works.  I wrote pages of notes. 

Devil in the Details is a memoir of a Jewish teen's battle with scrupulosity.  It was an ok read.  Lots about the strange things she did, not so much on how she overcame it.  She mentioned therapy but not in any detail.  It seemed to disappear when she went away to college. 

As for OCD, things are going rather well.  I have to decide lots whether to give in or not and i keep reminding myself of what Dr. Tompkins said in his book about recovery- to keep doing erp's to keep in practice.  I don't necessarily look for weird things to touch. I just keep on top of what i already can do so i don't go backwards too much.  It's still in my head( getting some urges) but my outward life doesn't show much ocd anymore. I sometimes give in on the little things that don't matter much but try not to on the big things that would cause a lot of trouble if I gave in.  Even the urges aren't very strong.  Still won't touch the outside garbage cans without washing up tho !  :)

Wed. night we went to the library. Bruce went to pick up my meds while Katrina and I were hunting for books for her.  When Bruce came back and we left he told us to go thru their back door.  I hadn't used that door for a year or more due to some ocd reason i can't remember.  All I recall is that the door handles were contaminated some way.  Bruce didn't know this, so he used the door and expected me to also.  He opened the door for me, so i didn't have to touch it at the time.  But he was still 'unclean'.  I don't think he washed his hands when he got home so i didn't want to touch him.  I knew I should, but was having a hard time.  I know he touched the tv remote but i purposely didn't want to know what else he was touching.  I waited til after 11 at night, just when he decided to go to bed.  Finally i got up my nerve and sat down beside him.  Cuddling on the couch was the funnest ERP I've done so far, better than hanging out with a mop, that's for sure!!   The next night i managed to finally touch the tv remote too.  Usually I'm much faster at saying no.  This was an ocd deal stuck in my head for a long time now so it was harder to get rid of.  I'm glad I did.  Now the whole library is at my disposal.

The best thing I have noticed, is that I don't have any general anxiety hanging around me all day! Yeah!

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Garbage Containers and Sledding

I went sledding with my daughter's class today.  I already had some doubts about this because in their newsletter for the week, they told the kids to bring their magic carpet sleds in a garbage bag.  I sure hoped noone read that part of the newsletter or followed it as i don't know where anyone keeps their garbage bags  (is it in a clean place) and i sure wasn't going to interview all the parents to find this out!

So I'm at the school helping the kids put on their bike helmets and stuff when those in line decided to kick the custodian's garbage container across the floor.  Not too impressed but I take it in stride.  I try to remember which kids they were so i don't touch them later on.  I'm not too successful at this, as you'll see.  Most kids just had their sleds done up with elastic bands, so I'm ok there.  Then I find out that the teacher is taking a garbage can along with her.  It's filled with sleds too.  (Calm down Karin, the sleds have probably been in that can for years. I'm sure it's not a GARBAGE can.)  I make sure not to walk too close to the can.

We're at the hill and everything is going well until Katrina gets knocked on the head by another sledder, so she's done for the day.  I sled with her down the pocked up baby hill, everyone else uses to climb up, and feel every dip and bump there is.  Glad I only have to do this once!  We walk to the parking lot nearby where there are some tiny hills made by a snowplow clearing the lot.  Kd was happy to play there.  Then she found something green in the snow.  Curious, she had to go pick it up.  It looked like one of those plastic pee troughs so kids (esp. girls) can pee outside.  Thanks, KD.  I make her put it down and go to a clean bit of snow and wipe off her hands.  I tell her she does NOT have to pick up everything she sees, but I'm sure that message didn't even make a dent inside her brain before it flew out the other side.

Finally the kids get ready to go back to the bus.  A little boy from Katrina's class can't get his sled rolled up so I help him (he wasn't one of the 'garbage-can-kicking' boys, was he???) and he lets me carry his sled back to the bus.  I am also carrying Katrina's sled.  So i'm now wondering if her sled is contaminated by his but try to push that thot out of my head. There at the top of the bus stairs is the big garbage can full of sleds and we all had to get around it.  There was no way i wasn't going to be able to touch it, so i just did it as fast as possible.

When I got back to the school i just put Katrina's sled and my mitts in the trunk, my coat in the car and said 'stuff it' to the contamination thots running thru my head.

Maybe me and garbage containers will soon be on a friendly terms.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Was Enjoying My ' I Graduated From Therapy' High Last Week. Then This Week Started Happening. Nose Dive.

It’s Tuesday and my thrill of the week: watching the garbage men pick up my trash AND watching the neighbors put their trash cans away- arrived.  I  registered it in my brain with a: "lets not let KD go over there until tomorrow and they’ve had a chance to shower/ wash up". 

 Then Bruce comes home and tells me how this same neighbor’s garage door opener doesn’t work and he promised to go over there and try to fix it.  Sounds down right neighbourly except he doesn’t know much about fixing garage door openers either.

 Anyway I tell him bye and over he goes.  Not til he’s back do I remember the garbage- can- put- into- the- garage-,then- they- touched- the- garage- door problem.  So I told Bruce to wash, but my Dread is still here.  After all he had to touch at least 2 door handles- the garage door to open and close it, and the basement door, same thing.  And knowing Bruce, he probably touched the hand rail all the way up the stairs.  And I cleaned some of that stuff yesterday.  So now i have a choice...well supposedly i have a choice.  I can get upset (done, check) and plan how i'm going to clean the door handles or get Bruce to clean them, or i can feel Dread and decide that since there's probably no VISIBLE dirt on the door handles, i should then change my beliefs to 'oh, that's ocd.  It's not a real dirt problem'.  I guess Suzanne would call that catch it, check it, change it.   

The spike of EWWW has gone down, so i can think rationally- or more rationally.  I REALLY WANT to let it go, but i don't want anyone touching the door handles either.  Why can't i have my cake and eat it too? 

 I'm now trying a visualization: I'm imagining people going down the stairs getting their hands all full of railing-cooties and then adding a few more from touching the doors and then touching my car.  Oh no!!! And now I have to get in the car.  Not a pleasant visualization.  And i'll probably have to redo it a few times before it feels even some-what ok. 

It would just be so EASY to take a paper towel and some windex and FIX the problem.   Rationally I guess I could say that it's pretty cold out, so germy cooties woud just die AND the neighbors don't work at a toxic waste plant, so their garbage is probably benign and even IF the garbage man touched their garbage can after touching all the other people's on the street, those people's garbage cans were probably just as benign (unless they have mice or mold and i woudn't know about any of that since i'm not doing a neighborhood survey to find this out) so it's probably ok ....and it's not really convincing me....

That wasn't a good thot-path to go down. 

 Back to: noone around here works at a toxic waste plant because as far as i know there's none in the city so regular household garbage is probably benign.

To distract myself:  Last Monday was my last therapy appointment with Suzanne.  I now have all the tools and meds necessary to function  or at least to 'look like' i'm fuctioning.  So I was flying high and whenever ocd reared its ugly head i could beat it down just by telling myself " i'm a GRADUATE, now, na, na, na na na."  Kind of like how Harry Potter couldn't be touched by the  depression Dementors on the way out of the woods because he was feeling so good inside (not saying anymore in case you haven't read the books yet).  

It's been a week tho, and my euphoria has settled down to a feeling of loss.  Sometimes I couldn't wait for a week to pass to see Suzanne, now i have a whole LIFETIME left without therapy.  Maybe that fear is what ocd is riding on and coming back into my head by.  Cause yest. I didn't do the garbage all that well, meaning i had to clean lots more than i was planning to after taking it out to the street and putting it in a can.  I guess a grade of 70 isnt' what I want.  I want 90 - 100% ALL THE TIME.  And that is not happening.  Well, there's always next week to get a better score.  Since garbage day never goes permanently away.

Well, i don't feel sooo bad about the garbage can cooties on the door. 

 I don't have a ' someone's gonna get sick from this'  problem, but a 'ew, now my house will be dirty from people touching the garage door and then other stuff in the house ' problem.  Breathe,... visualize, ...breathe,  I understand that the brain doesn't know the difference between a visualized action and a real one, so i can flood my mind with the situation BEFORE anyone actually creates it for real.  This way I can somewhat deal with it without yelling at my family.

ok:  IF there was something yucky on the garbage man's hand and he got it on their garbage can, and they got it on their garage door and then Bruce got it on his hand, by the time Bruce got home, it would be soooo diluted (or whatever the word is for solids) that there isn't any dirt left.  And I bet this train of thot works even better for imaginary cootie ocd dirt.  :) AND it will get all cleaned off next Monday anyway, unless i forget.

Well, now i'm exhausted and need to take a break from ocd thots and go read little house in the big woods to my daughter before she falls asleep.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I Did It!! Finally. Thot I might have to start volunteering to do the neighbours' laundry for practise!

fri. 13th Jan.
I decided to do the laundry after 7 tonight, so if I screwed up, I would be able to have a shower and count it for an evening shower, not a 2nd shower for the day.  I reread my thought record- the alternative thots and kept a mantra going: 'its not toxic dirt….' I also decided that if I still needed to screw something up before my last therapy session on Monday so I’d be able to talk it out, that would be ok too.  I picked up the pile of laundry from katrina’s room.  So far ok.  That’s not usually a problem.  Got the laundry from our room.   Got the towels from the bathroom that needed washing.   Loaded up machine.  Then remembered the ‘toxic’ laundry hanging on the drying rack from the ymca weeks ago when I touched the shower curtain that had black spots on it.  I decided that was nonsense, grabbed the towels and swim suit and threw them into the laundry too.  Detergent went nicely in the machine.  I still have about 10 loads to go before this bottle runs out and I can get a  clean bottle to go along with my now ‘clean’ dirty laundry.  Then I may have less problems if I accidently touch something after touching the detergent.  I know I could just wipe off the bottle but that may not make it anti-dirty.  Maybe next time.  This time I just wanted to get everything done.  Wiped the floor, stuck the paper towels into the garbage bag and washed my hands.    All done.  All happy. 
I felt funny- like dirty after washing my hands.  I didn’t want to touch my library books or my nice warm fuzzy robe I wear to stay warm and cozy in .  We started getting KD ready for bed. Out of nowhere she ran over and grabbed my shirt and when  I questioned that she hugged me.  So much for ocd.  I had to get over it fast.  I did feel awkward for a few seconds while Bruce tugged her away from me.  I went to hug her and let her know it was ok.  We got in her bed together and I read to her for a little while.

Jan. 17.   Yesterday was my last day of therapy!!!! My counsellor thinks i'm ready, and so do I...sort of.  I'm excited and happy- it's been a long hard journey- but also nervous because this doesn't mean that ocd has disappeared, only that i am now capeable of dealing with it as it happens and with cbt and act tools, before it gets too far. 

Erp today involved me putting some stuff in the kitchen garbage can and because the bag hasn’t been pushed all the way down, the paper garbage is settling near the top.  A Kleenex rolled off the garbage over the can edge (that I’d cleaned just yesterday cause it was garbage night) and onto my sock/ maybe pantleg.  What to do?  Change pants?  I  didn’t want to.  I wiped my leg/ sock off with a handful of water but that didn’t seem to do it.  So I sat with my leg sticking off the couch.  After a while I decided that nothing was wrong with the pants/ sock (show me the dirt).  and I am now sitting with my legs crossed on the couch. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Book Review: 'It'll Be Okay' How I Kept OCD From Ruining My Life by Shannon Shy

Shannon Shy, a Marine officer had ocd. Not the ‘cute’ kind where people say: “ oh, I’m sooo OCD”, but the real, devastating kind that turns your life and everyone in it upside down. Shannon gives a detailed description of all his ocd symptoms and how they affected his life. He uses the words ‘tortured’, ‘exhausting’, ‘haunting thoughts’ and anguish. All strong words that underscore the intensiveness and seriousness of ocd.

Most of Shy’s symptoms had to do with checking. Was the door really locked? Was that log over there by the side of the road really a dying person? Did I hit a bump in the road or run over someone? Was that thing in the pond over there really a person in distress? Lets go check. Not once, not twice but over and over. If he didn’t check, then the thoughts would come: it will be YOUR fault if the person drowns, the house catches on fire, the man beside the road dies.

Shy’s ocd had him feeling responsible for everyone who was swimming in the water. Did they come out safely? Where did the 2 ladies at the beach go? Are they drowning in the water?

And then there were the environmental triggers: a drop of gas that dripped on the ground while putting the nozzle back would have to be reported to the attendant. A discarded anti-freeze or other chemical container was cause for concern. Spilling gas on the grass while filling up the lawn mower meant Shy was contaminating the neighbourhood and that precise spot of grass must be dug up and discarded. A half-full bag of fertilizer lift on the military grounds made him anxious for weeks. Stepping in a puddle of fluid in a parking lot meant either cleaning his shoes or throwing them out.

Safety was also an issue. Shy would check the soccer field before his child played on it to make sure no rocks or other items were on it that could hurt a child. Were children in the park or doctor's office safe and being treated kindly by their parents? Were the airplane’s wings cracked? Did he leave the hotel room or house in a safe, sanitary, undamaged condition before departing? After doing his own checks he’d report his findings to the coach, attendant or officer in charge, often getting confused looks in return.

His mind could no longer tell the difference between an important or non- important issue. Log book entries while ‘on duty’were pages long because he had to report everything.

Finally after spending one early morning chasing down what ‘might’ have been a gunshot and reporting it to the police, Shannon became totally frustrated with himself and wished to die.He finally made a call to the Navy Psychiatrist. The psychiatrist diagnosed him with ocd and explained how ocd works. While doing a ritual relieves the anxiety for a moment, the thoughts return again, stronger and more frequent. Ocd feeds on itself.

After being given some medication, Shy was sent to a psychologist. There he was told he had to learn to accept the ocd thought and not resist it AND stop doing the compulsion. First tho, he had to figure out which of his thoughts were ocd because to him they ALL seemed legitimate. Ocd thoughts, he learned are those that second guessed what he saw or heard. Ocd came with an adverse physical reaction (heart racing, hot flashes).

Shannon Shy developed a set of ground rules for himself. And with some positive self talk he began practising what he learned. Ground rule 1 was that he didn’t have to be perfect. He could just manage ocd to the best of his ability. Rule 2 is that ocd is separate from Who He Was. Thus he attributed ocd thoughts to the illness (rule 3), not to himself. He was battling ocd. He practiced allowing an ocd thought to remain in his head realizing that he did not need to AGREE with the thought to allow it to move across his mind. Thoughts don’t hurt anyone. (rule 4) And finally rule 5 reminded him to resist the compulsion. With practise, he learned to stop the ocd at the thought with no accompanying compulsive urges any longer! After 2 years he was doing so well that he was basically symptom free and with a doctor’s permission slowly eliminated his medications.

In his second last chapter Shy mentioned some life strategies that have helped him. The first was a positive attitude. The second was to rely on friends, family and faith for support. Third, he believed in living life and enjoying it as much as possible. Finally he saw himself as a valuable part of the universe.

In the last chapter he has a bit of advice for family and friends of someone suffering with ocd. He tells them to educate themselves about ocd, tell the sufferer he is not crazy and there is help available. Most of all, he says, don’t be a crutch. Support and encourage your friend or relative but don’t make the decisions for them. They must battle the ocd thoughts themselves to win the fight.

What I like best about Shy’s book is his detailed descriptions of his ocd thoughts and compulsions. He also does a lot of positive self talk to get himself thru resisting a compulsion. ‘It’ll be ok’ is not just a hopeful title, it is his mantra whenever he battles an ocd thought. Funnily enough, it’s my mantra too while I am doing an ERP or waiting for the flood of feelings to leave.

Some of his ‘rules’ I had also already figured out for myself: ( think of ocd as a separate entity) or read elsewhere ( label irrational thoughts as ocd and don’t resist them but do NOT do the compulsion). Also, he doesn't go into much detail about his journey out of ocd.

This is a great book for a person who is just beginning their journey to healing from ocd. Learning the ground rules and life-attitudes and practising them will help them win the battle against this cruel disorder.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Soon I'll Have the Cleanest Laundry Around...and I'll Have to Do Someone Else's Laundry.

I'm avoiding is my next laundry erp.  Because it hasn’t been working out well for me, I’m now scared to do it and want to avoid it.  I also need to reread my thought sheet. If I REALLY did believe that my laundry was not toxic, than touching a piece of it with my toe shouldn’t have sent me into a tailspin.  So I guess my ‘imperfectness’ is actually showing me which part of my recovery I need to work on better.  But I do believe I still should wash my hands after putting laundry in the machine.  If that is true, then why can I touch the laundry w/o having to wash???  Why wash at all after?  Because I have touched the detergent bottles?  After I get new ones will they then be ok to touch too?  So many questions.  So much procrastination.  
Reread my thought record.  I think it’s ok if I let the used clothes touch my shirt as I’m carrying them downstairs.  I’m visualizing me doing it and am not getting too many dread thots.  Not gonna hug my ‘used’ washcloths, tho! 

Well, that erp didn’t work out too well.    So then I’m in the shower crying. I have to be careful in the tub so I don’t contaminate the curtain or the walls, my soap is disappearing fast and I botched up my ERP for the day.  After a long time and lots of wall/shower curtain spot wiping,I finally get out of the bathroom and get dressed.  My face is all blotchy red, my eyes are sore and blurry and my mind is exhausted.  Now I’m supposed to go on with my day like everything is fine.  But it’s not.  And then I look outside and realize that all my snow shovelling of 2 days ago has disappeared under the newest dumping.  I am sick of the snow and it hasn’t even been here a month yet!  
After a while I felt better. Then this other thought pops into my head, from my wiser Self.  It goes: 'isn’t it better that you make all your mistakes now, while you still have an opportunity to discuss them with your counsellor Monday if you can’t solve them on your own?'  I hate it when she’s right.

 Especially 'cause I want to be ‘right’.  And finished my ERPs.  Cause as far as I have planned this is the last one.  Couldn’t the last one be easy?  But that is not the way it works.  When I did the easiest one, it was also very hard.  But not traumatic.  I wish that my erp’s were all like the  mailbox one years ago! One try, success and freedom.  I still don’t feel like grading this erp.  I just think I flunked again.  And I don’t want to hear how since I actually got the laundry done, it was ok.  It was no worse than doing laundry and showering afterwards.  I just want to go to sleep and try again tomorrow. At lunch. After I’ve slept half the day away.   And if it doesn’t work I want to just be able to go back to bed.  

So, Abigail, i guess i too, am not really that accepting of a less than perfect grade. :)  But i want to be. Because that is the only way i'll survive this. So here goes:

10/10 for bringing the laundry down to the machine, not worrying if it touched my clothes.
5/5      for putting the detergent in without any mishaps.
2/5       for wiping down dryer and washer because while i was concentrating on the wiping my other
            hand might have touched my clothes.  Don't know for sure, didn't know what to do.  Guess i  
            botched it up again.  i undressed and did some other cleaning chores and then     
0/10     had my second shower in maybe an hour.

17/30  total.  A pass. Barely.  In my not-so-tolerant mind it registered failure.  Again. Humpf.  Another try tomorrow.  I can't fail at this EVERY time, can i????