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.