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.


  1. Karin, I love your posts. You have such a wonderful sense of humor! I really enjoy it.

    Good for you for going to Toastmasters! I think that took a lot of courage. And congrats for not washing after going to the mailbox. You're doing great!

  2. I wish none of us had OCD, but considering we do, thank goodness I can read blogs where people think like me. It made me laugh so thank you for that too. The whole Christmas exchange thing..being gently used..would have thrown me for a loop. Kudo's for not washing your hands and for Toastmasters.

  3. Wow, that's great that you actually went to Toastmasters and even to the Christmas party! I think it is so annoying when OCD decides to add to the fun.

    Oh, and I'm not up on the new tv shows, either, but you can always talk about the weather (as stereotypical as that is:D), at least for a sentence or two. :)

  4. Oh Karin, I'm so proud of you for going to Toastmasters!!! It IS hard to talk to strangers. I accompanied my husband to his work Christmas party on Friday night. Thankfully, everyone was really nice, but it was definitely hard to start the conversations. I tend to ramble when I'm nervous so I'm sure I came off totally neurotic!!

    I'm so, so, so sorry about the mice obsessions. I can completely and totally relate. It is really, really hard. I'm proud of you for fighting through it. Hugs.