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!