Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Killed My Foot

This doesn't have anything to do with OCD, but does, in a way.  Friday, while driving into a parking spot, i put my foot on the gas instead of the brake, noticed my mistake, put my foot on the brake AND pushed down hard, hoping to make the car stop before it hit the concrete barrier.  It didn't work and now my foot is busted.  So much that they couldn't operate because there wasn't anything to pin the stuff to.  So here i sit, on my couch with my leg in a boot, raised up.  Not a good thing for being able to wash my hands often!

I had to let bruce put the garbage out yesterday and will have to let someone do the laundry without me being able to supervise them to make sure it's all done 'correctly' AKA ocd"s way.  Sure puts ocd into it's spot!  I have a walker to get around with.  I never knew how hard a walker is on the palm of your hands.  They hurt while i'm walking as badly as my foot does.  Ocd got worse in the hospital.  I didn't like watching the cleaning lady do her stuff, or people coming in and closing the washroom door i'd specifically left open so i wouldn't have to touch the handle.

I went to my doctor;s on Fri. before the accident, and my ocd meds are slowly increasing.  Hopefully all the ocd thots i had at the hospital will mysteriously disappear over the next few weeks as my meds go up.  Haven't got hold of the mental health clinic to see about seeing a therapist. Was kinda out of touch fri. afternoon and all weekend.

I'm doing fine; mostly it doesn't hurt too much.  I'm home from the hospital.  I don't have to shovel snow, do dishes etc.  so this does have a few pluses to it.  I also finished my christmas shopping.  I just have to wrap it all up.  Trouble is, its upstairs and i can't get there.

Before you feel all sorry for me, i have never had a broken leg or arm before so this is all interesting and new.  I'm not in too much pain and haven't reached the boredom stage yet so my holidays aren t ruined.  This is all a fun experience.  Not one i plan on rehaving, so i am going to milk it for all it's worth!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

I Get Knocked Down... Can I Get Up Again?

Dec. 18 2014

Yesterday afternoon was really bad. 
First of all I was feeling contaminated about the mouse thing and about picking up my dogs’ messes.  So much so that instead of going to my fitness test for the healthy living program I took a shower instead.  By the time I got to the ymca with my daughter I was rather late for that.  I mentioned that I had ocd stuff going on, and heather asked if I wanted to go back to therapy for a booster.  I told her that first I had to talk to the nurse.  And I did.  And she made some comment about how mouse pee has some problems with it and if it were her she’d wash all the clothes in her closet- including ties.  And wipe off all the belts.   That maybe the mice had been gnawing at my clothes.  I tried to explain that NONE OF THE clothes had been just laying on the floor in the mouse poop (or pee) that they had just fallen onto a shoe rack and maybe a sleeve or tie had just brushed the floor/ mouse crud.  Nope, she was adamant that I wash everything.  Needless to say, while I was expecting the work of an ERP of touching the clothes, wearing the clothes etc.  I hadn’t expected that I would be taking everything to the washer or garbage can.  What do I do with my husband’s suit?  If I take it to the dry cleaner, I and the dry cleaner would automatically be contaminated, so what would be the point?   So I should just throw it out?

I walked my mile (27 times around the track) with my head just spinning.  Afterwards I looked even worse than before.  Good thing tho, my blood pressure does NOT go up to reflect my stress levels.  Snicker.

Fast forward.   Now I’m at my daughter’s therapist.  I didn’t have time to shower before going there and I forgot a pair of clean long pants (actually I decided not to put on my shorts because I ha d planned to bring another pair of pants which I also forgot).  So now I felt yucky outside as well as inside. 

At Eric’s office I just pulled my chair as far away as possible and basically stared at the ceiling.  I guess he noticed because he sent Katrina out and asked what was wrong.    He listened and then stated that I shouldn’t have left therapy.  I asked what the problem was- I was soooo confused and thot that knowing whether to wash the clothes would solve the problems.  He told me to tell heather what I told him and she’d know what to do, or something like that.  So I left just as confused as before and absolutely embarrassed that I fell apart in front of him.

So I spent some time thinking instead of going to toastmasters last night.  Here is what I came up with:

I have a problem with my peanut butter theory.  And my molecule theory.

Peanut butter theory goes like this:  Bruce put on his tie.  Tie touched mouse dirt so now it’s stuck to tie.  Tie touches shirt and now shirt is contaminated.  Hands that touch tie or shirt are now ‘sticky’ with contamination and when they touch a dog’s leash, now that is contaminated.  When I touch the dog’s leash I am now contaminated.  Days later this is still true, unless I wash the dog’s leash.  It’s as if peanut butter was smeared from item to item getting everything contaminated in it’s path, even if I can’t see it.   Sometimes I can say shut up to that, but other times it’s just faster  & easier to wash and get it over with.  So I think  I’ve been doing that over the past few months.  I have noticed that my hands are more rough than usual.  But couldn’t really see why.

Molecule theory:  learned this in high school and useful for scrupulosity ocd, but also works for contamination ocd.  This one goes like this:  All objects are made up of invisible molecules floating around.  The closer they are together, the denser the object.  Hence a table has very close molecules (but they are still floating around) while liquid’s molecules are farther apart.  That’s the science.  The scary part is that I then concluded that molecules of banned substances like coffee or alcohol are floating around and may be separated from the actual liquid.  In real life this means:  an alcohol bottle box may have residual alcohol molecules inside and if I pack cups in them and don’t wash the cups afterwards, I would be inadvertently taking in alcohol, albeit a small amount.  Or a dried up coffee stain on a table would still have molecules floating around that could attach themselves to my hand and if I then touched my mouth I’d be ‘drinking’ coffee even though I hadn’t intended to.

Ok,  you can stop snickering now.  These were developed as a high school / college student.  While living at home I didn’t have to worry about any of this because my parents didn’t have any of that contraband in the house.  Fast forward to university:  Living with a stranger off campus.  She smoked (and probably drank coffee) .  One day she dried my dishes while I wasn’t home.  I had to rewash them (secretly) because she probably contaminated them.  Only I didn’t have the words or the understand ing of what was going on.  I just knew life was a lot tougher as a Mormon on my own.  I was responsible for all the accidental sins I committed, never mind any real ones.

When I was 41 and left the Mormon church my fears about coffee and alcohol disappeared. They were not sins and I wasn’t going to hell for drinking them.  (Don’t worry, all you non-Mormons.  You didn’t belong to my church, so these rules don’t apply to you.  You can still go to heaven.  I was just not so lucky.  I would have to be very careful all my adult life out in public.  Something I never imagined as a teenager.
But my theories didn’t disappear.  They are now morphing over to the mouse issue, I think, I hope.  Cause I’d much rather do ERP than clean out my whole closet   with all the contamination that would entail.

So it’s time to call the mental health clinic and my doctor.  Maybe I just need to readjust my meds till I work this out. 

PS.  My adult son says i should just impliment a 'salt theory'  for the peanut butter one. lol.
PPS.  In Mormonism you cannot drink alcohol, tea or coffee or smoke cigarettes or do illegal drugs.  I didn't want to explain that above because then i'd lose my train of thought.

Thanks for listening.  Sorry for any unclearness.  I’ll do a reread when I’m not so emotionally attached.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Exam... I Didn't Finish The Whole Thing Yet.

Remember how we had mice awhile ago and i cleaned everything up.  Well, unfortunately there was a part i didn't write about, because what i did write was so horrid to relive thru.  And then i forgot about it- to write it, not in real life.

When i was moving clothes from our closet to the upstairs closet of our new bedroom (old playroom) I wasn't being too careful.  We had cleaned out the kitchen and living room from the mice, but hadn't seen any evidence in the bedroom.  I dropped some of the clothes onto the shoe rack that was at the right side of the closet.  I picked them up and put them upstairs.  No problem, right?  Wrong.

A day or so later i moved the shoe rack and found a couple - or maybe just 1- piece of evidence.  So i cleaned the shoe rack and the floor but wasn't sure what to do about the dropped laundry that i'd had put in the closet, esp. since i had added more clothes afterwards, not knowing there was a problem.

Solution for me:  don't use that side of the closet.  Just leave it all alone until the EWW feeling goes away.  Which, as i found out, it didn't.  Bruce wanted some ties for a funeral but i asked him not to take stuff from there, as they were still on my OCD list.  Thankfully he didn't.

Last Sunday was the work Chr. party for  the kids.  Bruce wanted to wear a tie, and thinking i was sort of ok with the closet i said, ok.  Bad choice on my part.  Because it was NOT ok,  I didn't want to touch him for the rest of the day, when he touched the dog leashes to take the dogs out I classified THEM as contaminated too and so now every time i take the dogs out i either have to wash my hands or feel like i'm 'sort-of'' contaminating everything else.  The door handle has been contaminated, which i find sort of ok- ERP ishly but i can't touch a library book without washing to make sure i am completely clean.  Because the leashes touched my pants, they are also sort-of contaminated.

Sort of contaminated means i still wear the pants but put a house robe over top of them so they don't contaminate my computer or library books, and i feel sort of icky/ unsure if i should be noticing and labeling everything i touch after touching my pants as contaminated.  Lots of head space is being used up feeling completely confused about whether this is necessary or not.

Bruce had already told me that since this metal shoe rack was against the wall and because there were no mice droppings at the front or open side, that no clothes would have gotten dirty.  The slots between the bars were small enough that nothing (EXCEPT MAYBE TIES???  or belts??}  could have fallen thru, so not to worry about them.  So technically it should be ok to touch stuff.

Since Bruce was wandering around the house both before and after the party with the tie/ same shirt that the tie was on, that everything must be fine, even tho i marked a few certain things as contaminated.  I didn't go around the house vaccuuming after every step he took.

So some things i ignore- like the door i touched after touching the dog leashes and some things I wash after touching or before touching to keep contamination at bay.  So confused in my head.

Monday was a really foggy day in my head.  Slept lots, just wasn't very productive.
Sometime between Monday night and Tuesday morning i made a decision that cleared the fog out of my brain, but didn't stop the excessive hand washing, altho in a haphazard fashion.  I decided to ask the nurse at today's exercise class if SHE would just wear those clothes in the closet or if she'd wash them all first- just in case one touched a mouse dropping back in October.

Yes, i actually haven't worn clothes hanging in my closet since that date.  Fortunately many items that usually hang in the closet must have been in the laundry so they were just put away in other drawers until i figured out what to do with this.

I will follow what the nurse says- she's a trained professional.  If she says wash, i will either wash or pitch stuff.  If she says wear, i will either do that or do erps to become comfortable with this decision.

I felt better after making this decision.  Only today, in a few hours i will be getting my answer.  Will I accept it, or look around for more advice- an ocd ritual?  I'm getting nervous.

OH, BTW, i am doing ERPs with my daughter every night.  Under the guidence of a therapist.  They are not so fun either.

OCD CAN REALLY SUCK BIG TIME   but i will get thru this....

Again, sorry if this is a bit unclear.  I really don't want to relive this again by rereading it right now.

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Leaves Were Pretty This Short Fall.

Note to self:  If i reread my posts on a regular basis, i might even learn something! I forgot that i did the laundry ERP so well and went back to the laundry + shower method.  But then these past 2 months have been crazy.

Note to readers:  Writing  posts about OCD happenings is like having to relive them again- in slow motion.  So it takes me time to do that without feeling all the YUK factor involved in stuff like finding and cleaning up after mice.  Because there was more to that story than i told.  I just wanted to wait until I wasn't upset anymore.  And that has taken awhile.

Day 3  happened when the exterminators came to the house to put A+++ poison in so I will never have this problem again here.  Lesson learned years ago at our first house when I first tried humane traps, then killing traps and they still returned/ weren't all gone.  Then out came the big guns.  No more mice!

So even though it's expensive, we got the exterminators in.  Problem was- the exterminators!  First they sat on the ledge right by my garbage cans  (EWW). Then they sounded THRILLED that we had a mouse problem.  Maybe thrilling for THEM, for me- not so much.  Then they touched stuff. (Who knows where they'd been or what they touched before they got to my house??)  I had to leave.  I took the dogs and drove to the end of the street- a long country lane, crying.  I just couldn't take it anymore.

After a short cry i went for a walk to try to feel better.  And it worked.  I tried to focus on the day and what i was seeing, not what was happening back at my house.  Mindfulness helped me get back on my feet and feel i could handle whatever happened at home.

Bruce had put a piece of tape everywhere they had touched and i only had to wipe those areas.  He also told them i had OCD, so they then understood not to just touch stuff.  That was nice of them!  I thought that was the end of the story. Not so.

A week or so later, one of the dogs pulled the mouse bait out of the closet where it had been hidden.  So then i was worried that some of the poison had been dragged onto the carpet and stuff laying on the floor in the playroom.  Playroom now out of bounds until i 'cleaned' it up.  Which i did one Saturday morning.  We threw out that poison container.  I don't like poison where kids play!  And the dog must have sniffed it out.  Fortunately it is made so that animals and kids can't get at the poison right away.  But cleaning that area was another 'BIG EVENT'.  It didn't seem to bother Bruce that the dog had dragged the poison out of there.  But i kept seeing tiny bits of poison falling out of the container, then being picked up by fingers playing with toys on the floor.  (getting a bit creeped out as i write this.)

Only mouse thing remaining:  THE CLOSET.  There was some found in the playroom closet (that used to be our bedroom).  However it was only found after i was cleaning it out.  It was under the shoe rack.  Not a problem.  Just clean the shoe rack and any shoes on it.  Some work, but afterwards, every thing is fine.  Except that i had dropped some clothes at least once, and i don't remember whether or not it was in the closet, over the shoe rack.  If it was, then some of the clothes parts could have fallen onto the floor, right?  Right onto the mouse poop pieces. But i didn't know about that while i was moving the clothes, so i just picked them up from wherever they fell and hung them upstairs in our new bedroom.  So when i discovered the 'gift' from the mice, i didn't know what to do.  I didn't want to wash ALL the clothes in the closet, as some of them are suits that have to be dry cleaned and if i skipped them, it would be pointless.  Not to mention all the extra work of doing so many loads of laundry 'in case' something touched the clothes.  So I have just ignored all the clothes in the closet and don't wear them.

One night i discussed this with my dh and Bruce said that  #1.  the clothes rack was against the walls of the closet, so no clothes would have gotten behind or beside the rack where the stuff was. # 2.  it didn't matter to him anyway.  Number 1 i could process.  Except the shoe rack was made of wire, not closed boards.  But i could see how the clothes would just bunch up on top of the wire or dangle in front, where there was no stuff ( or i'd have seen it laying there).   So logically it makes sense to wear the clothes and not worry.  Unfortunately i haven't done so yet.  Humph.

Other things happening in the past month:  Bruce's dad was very ill- death-bed kind, so we went down to see him.  While we were  down south we stopped in to see my parents.  Which was a good thing because the next Monday ( Oct. 6)  my dad passed away unexpectedly in his sleep.  So we spent the week in Burlington.  I presented the eulogy/ life sketch of my dad because i couldn't sleep Monday night and spent the night writiing one in my head, while trying to fall asleep!  So i figured, might as well use it.  Good thing I've gone to Toastmasters, as i have learned to be comfortable with standing and introducing myself and having people looking at me.

Then  the next week i found out that someone had gotten hold of my credit card numbers or something and went on a night out in Toronto.  So i had to deal with that.  Then last Sunday one of our dogs was puking all over the living room all day.  Monday she had surgery.  They found sharp pieces of plastic in her stomach that had cut the gut in many places.  That will cost us over 2 grand!  And the dog is 10 or 11 yrs old!  So she has been at the vet's all week, but is making good progress.   So what will be this week's event?  Add cloudy, rainy gray days to all this and my month has kind of sucked.

Friday, October 03, 2014

OCD Conference in Connecticut- FREE!! With Lunch Included!

I received an email today from Lauri at OCDCT.org.  She asked if i would promote their conference.  So here goes:

OCTOBER 18, 2014 

9:00 AM - 2:00 PM 







For more info go to   http://www.ocdct.org/ to register.

I won't be attending as i live at least a 10 hour drive away- In another country, to boot.  But I wish my family could go.

This would be a wonderful event to take along those family members who don't know much about ocd and are to busy to read up on it.  They would get good information and this may help them to help the person with ocd.  At least it would put OCD in the realm of medical disorder, and out of imaginary illness.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

This Week Was Exam Week

This week we found out we had mice.  We live in the woods, so  I guess that's not completely unheard of.  But we have 2 dogs- and one of them likes to catch chipmunks.  So  you'd think the mice would just stay away.  It's not like there isn't any meadow, grass or woods outside our house.  There's tons of it, in fact.   The mice can have most of it.  I just want the part where the house and garage are.  That's not too much to ask, is it?

Friday when we found the 2nd batch of mouse droppings in an ice cream bowl left on the couch (around 5 pm, naturally, so everyone has gone home for the weekend), we were told by some pest controller to check under the stove- that's where they really like to hibernate.  Yup, sure enough there was evidence there, so Sat.  was cleanup the kitchen day.

Also known as Exam- part 1.  Because that is one of my big, big triggers.  Anything black that i don't recognize, or that doesn't have wings somewhere on it gets 'mouse dropping' as first go-to idea.   So now that it's real- do i throw out all the cabinets?  I did that 5 years ago when we were moving into this house.  The owners had just left all the evidence (hidden conveniently by dish liquid and other bottles under the sink.  I got so upset that i just threw the drawers into garbage bags and out they went onto our front lawn- literally.  That was a 10 grand ocd expense, but when we had the cupboard guys put in new ones we asked for backings, so there is no moving from place to place, drawer to drawer, should there ever be mice again.  Also because there were mouse pellets in the drawers where their utensils and everything were, i  was afraid they had contaminated themselves, left the house to go to work etc. and picked up their mail on the way from the community box and the end of the street.  Thus the mailbox was also contaminated.  ( Touching that mailbox and the mail inside became my first ERP about a year later.)

And i have to say that that worked.  No mice droppings in the food cupboards.  Just under the stove and in the cheap pantry cupboards we had, whose doors wouldn't even close properly.  In fact, there were only spots on the bottom shelves of each pantry.  The mice had put some popcorn bits on one side of the pantry and some chewed up dog food on the other side.  This was a mouse storage room.  That's not too good!

Bruce cleaned those pantry cabinets and wiped off all the food and other containers (even on the shelves without mouse droppings) and i wiped out other cupboards to see if there was any evidence on those shelves.  Fortunately, none, so my cupboards got a good cleaning and like I mentioned above, the mice couldn't get into those cupboards, thanks to their backings.

Bruce meanwhile, cleaned out the stove drawer, putting the baking pans into the dishwasher if they didn't have any evidence of mice and throwing them out if there was actual stuff in it.  Meanwhile i was putting any open or cardboard foodstuff into the cupboards I had just cleaned so the pantries would not give any more food sources to roaming mice.    I then washed the floor while Bruce took out the garbage bags and then had a shower.

So this time i didn't freak out, but in an orderly fashion helped in the cleanup of the kitchen- letting Bruce handle all the really dirty stuff this time, though.  So far, i feel that the foodstuff we wiped off is clean enough to open and use.  Bruce dumped out any open containers of food- like corn starch, or the coconut bag.

The really odd thing about this happening this week is that last week we spent time cleaning out the living room, our bedroom and the playroom upstairs, so we could move stuff around.  We threw out a ratty couch, and old desk and then turned the upstairs into our bedroom and our bedroom into Katrina's playroom.  This meant that all 3 rooms were completely cleaned out, vaccuumed etc. and had most of the furniture moved around.  Then our son, Tom, who was home from university and helped out with the heavy lifting, went back to university.  This weekend was supposed to be finishing up moving the small stuff like closet stuff and decorating my new bedroom retreat.  Instead we found evidence of mice in the kitchen the day before he left.  But since there wasn't any evidence on the floor, just on the table and in the popcorn bowl left on the table, we wondered if it was some other thing.  We really didn't want it to be mice!  Bruce put paper on the kitchen table to see if there would be more black pellet thingies the next day, but there werent.  We didn't eat on that table the rest of the week!  And Saturday we threw out the table cloth too.

I didn't throw out the clothes we wore, tho.  I used the ' sanitary' setting on the washer for the first time.

Part 2 of exam:  Cleaning the living room up- making sure there isn't any stuff behind the couch (which there wasn't last week when we moved the couch from upstairs to that spot)

I spent 5 years getting comfortable again, being able to stick my hand down the side of a couch in our house without thinking that there was probably mouse droppings toching anything i pulled up.  Ditto for the floor.

8 years or so ago, i imagined that our couch and living room floor had mouse droppings on them even tho there was no evidence of anything of the sort because we had come home from a friend's place.  These people had been helping their son 'clean out' a house, to the studs and from the way they were talking, (to my ocd-freaking mind at the time) this meant that they had been cleaning up mouse droppings.  That day they were cleaning up their trailer etc. so MAYBE some of that crud had come to their house, and MAYBE they had sat on their furniture where we sat and MAYBE the livingroom was thus contaminated.  I was an internal wreak by the time we left there.  I thought we were bringing home mouse droppings by virtue of just being inside their (clean) house.  The car was now contaminated because we sat in it, the living room was contaminated because we walked thru it on the way upstairs to the shower.  Even after repeated vacuumings and cleanings the couch and under the couch was still 'contaminated' no matter that i never found anything.  The carpet around the couch got a daily vacuuming so that was clean, but now the vccuum cleaner was contaminated, as well as the cord.  (because the cord was on the contaminated carpet, and by the contaminated shoes.  Shoes are contaminated because they get worn outside and thus might have all sorts of stuff on them.

So compared to back then, i guess this week's dealings are not to bad.

It's now after midnight and i should probably reread this but living thru it once and then again while writing it down is enough for me.  I can't deal with it again.  It's after midnight


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I did a survey for a University in Australia that wanted to know about the effects of ocd on the family.

My husband opens and closes the door to the garage when i take out the garbage so i don't get the door knobs dirty (and also so the dogs don't race out).  It started so he could watch me as i brought the garbage bag down the stairs so i would be sure it hadn't accidently touched the wall or the railing etc.  Or i'd have to clean that spot too.  Now i'm pretty good at that and he's just there in case i need a reassurance.
 My husband put some clothes that he'd worn as he cleaned the bathroom sink into the 'regular' pile of dirty laundry.  I got upset as cleaning the bathroom means the clothes are now 'more dirty' and need to be put straight onto the washing machine so they don't contaminate the rest of the laundry in the pile.  He compromised by folding that laundry inside another shirt so i won't have to accidently touch the piece of laundry.  I'm working on not thinking that regular laundry piles are 'contaminated' dirty and i need a shower after touching them.  So i want actually dirty laundry to not be in the piles for now, until i get used to normal laundry not being contaminated and thus can touch me or a wall without me needing to wash that place or shower.  It's a work in progress.
  I also have problems with thinking raw food can cross contaminate so i asked my husband to wash his hands after putting the frozen breaded chicken strips in the oven and to not put the contaminated spatula(used to turn the chicken half way thru cooking)  on the counter top where I later make popcorn.  He wasn't impressed, but washed anyway.

husband also does a lot of the cooking, esp. when it involves raw meat because i tend to get really anxious so i'd rather not do it.  Other times he helps in the kitchen. While i am putting chicken in the pan, he may open the oven or put in some of the spices so i don't have to wash my hands first.  Things get done faster that way, and i don't use as much soap. :P

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Book Review: The Mindfulness Workbook For OCD: A Guide to Overcoming Obsessions & Compulsions Using Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

By Jon Hershfield & Tom Corboy

When I received this book I had 2 different thoughts.  The first was that I wanted to actually work thru the workbook, not just read it and comment on it.  The second thought was that I figured I'd have to look back at my past to see how this book could or would have helped me with my OCD journey had I had it earlier in my battle.  So I worked thru the exercises.  Some of them I found I was answering them with past thoughts, like I figured I would.  I  don't have H-OCD anymore, although I did during my university years.  I didn't know then what it was.  I had been taught that bad thoughts were sins, so I just felt guilty and tried to keep them out of my mind, or at least way in the back where I could function normally and do my school work. (The workbook talks about using guilt as a ritual in its section on Scrupulosity OCD). 

  But then I remembered that I still have a few OCD rituals I do because I haven't yet get  managed  to eradicate them.  They have too many of what I think are 'real' not 'OCD' thoughts.  Garbage cans and bags are (sometimes) dirty, right?  Laundry is 'dirty' right, especially if I put in towels I used to wipe my hands dry after doing a ritual-  they could have any left-over contamination on them.  The black marks inside books have to be something disgusting, even if they're not old dried up mouse droppings. Hence, one must wash after  touching them- and in the case of garbage or laundry change clothes in case they got contaminated too.  So I realized that for at least some of the exercises (the Contamination OCD ones) I could answer with current problems and see how the book helps me.    (See  http://myjourneythruocd.blogspot.ca/2014/06/keeping-my-mind-focused.html for how I used what I learned from this workbook to help me overcome 1 of my remaining contamination fears.) 

The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD is divided into 3 parts.  The first discusses the OCD mind and that people with OCD pay attention to thoughts that others either ignore or don't even register that they have.  The authors assert  that feelings and sensations are just that.  Feelings aren't facts and thoughts don't need to be acted upon no matter how intense they are. 
They describe my daily life for years: 
'If you live with OCD it's likely that you often wake up feeling guilty and spend your day investigating yourself and trying to find a way of appropriately sentencing yourself for the crime.  Or maybe you just feel that something is off.'( pg. 11) 

People can suffer from different thought distortions.  They include: Black & White or All or Nothing Thinking,  Catastrophizing or Jumping to Conclusions, Magnifying, Discounting the Positive, Emotional Reasoning, Tunnel Vision, Shoulding or Perfectionism, Comparing, Mind Reading, Hyper-responsibility, Magical Thinking. OCD uses these thought distortions to get you to do rituals.  It's challenging these types of thoughts that give us the courage to do the next part of Cognitive Therapy- ERP or sitting with the thought and feeling the discomfort instead of performing a ritual. 

 They demonstrate how thought records are done- the same as I do, except that they don't rate the mood at the beginning of the exercise and your mood at the end, to see whether your anxiety has decreased. See here: http://myjourneythruocd.blogspot.ca/2011/06/i-cant-comment-on-anyones-blog-except.html or  http://myjourneythruocd.blogspot.ca/2011/10/my-homework-this-week-is-to-go-to-value.html  for a thought record sample.

The authors talk about how meditating on your breath helps you strengthen your ability to come back to the present moment rather than being lost in an obsessive thought. 
Chapter 3 discusses what people can and can't control and how it's behavior that changes the intensity of the obsessive thoughts.  While people with OCD try and try (usu. unsuccessfully) to control their thoughts so everything will go well without having to do rituals, Hershfield & Corboy say that it's behavior that can be controlled.  Thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations come and go. While we can control our emotions some of the time,  we only have 100% control of our behaviors.  When the behavior is changed through Exposure-Response Prevention therapy, ( i.e. you don't do the  ritual, but just sit with the dread and emotions until they dissipate), " then your mind has to admit that compulsions are a choice.  If that's true, it must mean that the obsessions are not as automatically important as previously assumed. If that's true, then they may not be worth any response..." (p45)  Instead of sitting with your obsessive thoughts, sit with that one for a while! 

Then comes the work of listing compulsions that you do or situations you avoid so you don't have to do a ritual, then begin exposing yourself to these one at a time without doing the corresponding ritual.  For thought -OCD's or harm OCD, the authors teach a method of imagining that you have acted upon the horrible thought .   Then you practice sitting with the emotions and feelings. Over and over until your mind gets bored with the thought and "  OCD ...finally falls from exhaustion.  You may be sore and mentally bloodied but are the one remains standing in the end.  This is because of the reality behind mindfulness: thoughts cannot kill you"  (p.53)

A quote I found very interesting probably because my daughter usually does this to deal with her OCD is found on page 60 as follows:  " When you avoid something, you aren't returning a message of safety; you are returning a message of narrowly escaped danger."
Part Two of the book goes into detail about many different types of OCD -even some that are not mentioned very often,  or that are usually slipped in under another heading.  Their list is as follows: Contamination, Responsibility/Checking,  'Just Right', Harm, Sexual Orientation, Pedophile, Relationship, Scrupulosity and Hyperawareness OCD.  Each chapter includes examples, how to use mindfulness and acceptance and thought records to focus on the thoughts and then use Exposure & Response Prevention (ERP) to overcome them.
The last part of this workbook is about how you deal with the OCD diagnosis- advantages and disadvantages of sharing your diagnosis, explaining OCD to others, how to deal with OCD flare -ups and stressors (including hormones)  after you have 'finished' your therapy program.
They give on-line and book resources to follow up with.  However while giving the American and the British OCD Foundation websites, they omit Canada's which is: http://canadianocdnetwork.com/.  And while they give discussion boards for OCD, they have neglected the blogging world where people with OCD share their journey and struggles living with and overcoming OCD. Just search blogger & OCD.  My blog is http://myjourneythruocd.blogspot.ca/2014/06/keeping-my-mind-focused.html   Reading others' blogs about OCD was very helpful to me as I didn't feel alone anymore.  Personally I found the forum sites I visited 5 years ago very negative and whining, while the bloggers were upbeat  and often funny- unless it was a bad day.  Hopefully the forums have become more positive and focused on healing too. 

A final quote:  '
Mindfulness is about seeing that [OCD] pain land on your satellite and accepting it with open arms. Let it wash over you. Let it be rain that slips across you and down a gutter, instead of snow that builds and builds until you are crushed and buried. Let your fear of resisting compulsions be replaced by a curiosity with what's on the other side.' (pg.77)
An excellent workbook that deals directly with OCD.
Disclosure note:  I received this copy free from Harbinger Press to do a book review on it.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Keeping My Mind Focused

I've been reading and working thru a workbook called The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD- book review in progress, coming soon.  They really want you to practice focusing on the present/ the task, not on your intense, possibly out-of-control  feelings.  One of the things the authors say is that: intensity of feelings does NOT equal truthfulness  of the thought.  I've been thinking on that and the papers-not-floating-into-the-vase experiment I commented on a few days ago.  I really want to be able to do laundry without showering or being hyper aware that I'm not touching  the laundry bag, washer or clothes except with my hands.

 I've been already not concerned about laundry just strewn on the floor, under the bed etc. because those would be my non-contaminating daughter's or just clothes abandoned due to laziness.  The problem comes with the clothes I put into the laundry bags.  Sometimes I put towels that I've used to wash hands after doing something I think is contaminating (ie. laundry).  So just in case some of  the 'contamination' didn't wash off in the water/ soap part, it might have been wiped off in the drying part.  So that towel 'might' be contaminated.  So far, until last Tues. nothing seemed to blast thru my mind that 'might-be' doesn't equal 'toxic waste'.  I also throw damp washcloths etc. in that may have been used to clean up a spill.  Actually I often try to put those on the metal parts of the bags (they're 3 cloth bags attached to a metal frame) so they can dry.  As I am chucking them onto the bags, I might miss and thus there could be damp laundry stewing in the bags for up to a week.  This also equals 'contaminated' in my mind, even tho I've seen no mold coming from that practise yet.   This leads me to today's experiment:

Still wearing pj's, I grabbed the laundry from my daughter's room and shoved  it in the machine . Repeat for the laundry pile in our room (sometimes the bags get full and I also tell my husband not to put his pants in the bags because it fills them up too fast.).  That was easy.  Made sure the laundry touched my clothes.

 Now for the potentially contaminated stuff in the laundry sack.  I undid the bag without touching the metal ( that's for next time's ERP)  and made sure my pj's touched the bag.  I stuffed it in the washer and then put laundry already on the dryer and washer into  it.  I wiped off  the machines -just -in case-  my usual routine-  and went upstars to wash up.  So far so good.  Didn't feel contaminated at all.  Just a twinge of dread.  But off course I hadn't done anything yet.  I still could just throw my pj's in the laundry, have a shower and be just fine.  But I didn't.  I washed my hands to the elbows and then the dread started.  "But you want to use a towel and throw it in the laundry- just-in-case, right" says OCD.  " DO NOT use the towel on the rack."  I caved in and listened.  I let my hands air dry. 

But then I started pushing back.  I was thirsty and picked up a cup with a bit of water left in it.  At this point I could just put it on the counter with the dirty dishes, but I didn't.  I went to the fridge, opened it and got some more water.  The hard part about this is that even after the dread leaves, I remember what I've touched and so, I  often have to stomp out more OCD thots later on.  Sometimes I just cave in, if I'm not feeling energetic enough to do battle again.  I let the fridge door touch  my pj's and came to work on this blog.  I just touched my shirt all over  to make sure I couldn't tell myself later that my pants barely touched any dirty laundry-that  I held it in my arms against my shirt and thus the computer didn't get contaminated..   

While writing this down (which takes time because my curser jumps all over the keyboard so I keep having to redo what I've written), the dread has left.  The next 'dread' spike will come when I throw my pj's on the perfectly clean bed.  Which brings me to another point made in 'The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD'  and that is this:  Perfection is  an impossible state to continue in. Once you've 'reached' perfection, the only place from there is down.  So a just-clean shirt can only get dirtier! Perfection is a false goal...  an OCD goal, that can never be attained, only OCD fails to say that part.

So I'm now supposed to go throw my pj's on the bed and pick them up tonight and wear them and sleep where I threw them.   I'm soooo tempted to let that go till the next ERP but that will just stretch out the agony.  Remember, Karin,  intensity of feelings does not equal truthfulness of feelings.. Repeat. 

Not only did I put my pj's on the bed, but I laid in it first & I touched my library book (oh no!) and my breathing mask.  Had a shower and didn't wash the faucet handle before I came out - 1st recontamination.  Had a drink and came on the computer -2nd recontamination, 3rd recontamination.  

One thing I noticed is the more I paid attention and focused on what I was doing (ie drying off) the louder that is and the quieter OCD and dread were.  Which maked it easier to continue what I was doing and ignore ocd. 

Also,  what I thought I'd never be able do- not worry when I'm doing laundry (once upon a time, long ago, before contamination OCD hit, laundry was my favorite chore.)   I am hopeful that one day I can do again!  Up until now, I thought that my new laundry routine was just a 'scar' from having ocd, it doesn't take up much extra time but it'll always be different than it was.   Now, maybe not.

Monday, June 09, 2014

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Rituals

My daughter also has OCD.  Today at therapy Eric, her therapist did an interesting object lesson.  He had a bunch of cut papers in front of him. He told my daughter that they represented germs.  Some germs are healthy ( ie stomach bacteria)  and some germs cause things like the flu.  So he had us put happy faces on some papers (for harmless germs) and sad faces on others (for dangerous germs).  So we did.  Then he told us to try and drop them into a vase.   We did.  Only a few floated in.  Even at the end when I  picked a handful off the floor and dropped them all at the same time only a couple made it into the jar.  6 in fact out of 66 papers.  Two of them had happy faces on them,   That meant only 4 out of 66 germs were actually going to hurt a person..  So OCD, which says all germs are dangerous and all germs are on that apple, is not telling the truth.  Most germs fall by the wayside.

Hmmmm goes Karin.  That's a new way of looking at things.  My picture was that germs were like peanut butter (or jam, for any peanut allergists out there). Once I  touched something contaminated they all stuck to me  and then would proceed  to dirty up every thing I touched afterwards- unless I washed NOW, or I could wash the whole house later.

But this picture of a vase with germs trying to touch it and only a few getting in ( or picture a hand held out for all the germs to fall onto and only a few do) is a whole different way of looking at contamination OCD.
Can this work for my  laundry?  For the garbage cans?  for the black marks in the seams of library books?
It sort of did.  I was reading this evening and sure enough up pops a black spot in the middle of the seam of a page.  I ignored it.  After all, if 4/66 = 2/33  that is way less than 50% chance o f that piece of dirt  having enough germs on it to make the rest of my house dirty.  I didn't touch it ( I don't think), mind you.  I guess that would be the next step.   I have stopped reading books because of that.

Same for laundry?  If a piece of dirty laundry touches my clothes, does that make them dirty?  I say (or OCD says)  YES.  But it the above scene is true, then the amount of contaminating harmful germs isn't enough to worry about.   I could just wash my hands- which would have the most contact with the clothes and detergent bottles etc.  That's what I  used to do, in that long- ago world of PRE - contamination OCD.
What do you think?  This could save a lot of showering or clothes changing.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Happy Birthday- An Art Birthday Party

I'm still having problems getting pictures to post to my blog.  But I wanted to get this up now because it might be a while before I sort out the picture problem, as I'm not very computer savvy.  DS is coming home in August, so it might take til then, unless I suddenly find the right website to solve my problem.

Katrina had her 8th birthday party the day after her dance recital.  As I said before,  was supposed to be a simple party, but then I got excited after looking on the internet at other people's parties.  We made most of the decorations and the cake and goodies ourselves (usu. we buy the cake - I'd hate to make something and it either not turn out, or someone gets sick (I'm guessing OCD sneaks in there).
Bruce said he'd make the cake- a layered, multicoloured one.  I bought cookies and icing and nerd candies and made art palette cookies.  We made rice krispie squares and put icing on to look like paint brushes.  I bought pitchers and cups in 3 colours- pink blue and green at the dollar store and filled them with cranberry juice (pink), grape juice (blue) and apple juice (green).

I bought tissue paper and string and made green, pink purple and blue tassels hanging from the ceiling.  In the living room I cut orange, yellow and red tissue paper and folded them over the string into   triangles.  We made paint tubes from construction paper and had streamers coming out the opening of the tubes, to puddle on the floor below.  I took calendars of paintings by Monet, Van Gogh and Krieghoff , (which I already had ) tore them  and put them up in place of our pictures. I covered tables with coloured table cloths, put markers in containers in a row along one of the tables ready for the activity. I put a sign on a chair saying  Welcome to *** (address)  Art Gallery.  Open Sunday from   ***(time of party).  Special Guest Artists featured: *** and wrote down the names of the party guests.

We bought clear garbage bags as clothes- savers for the painting activities.

Activity 1:  Painting a Birdhouse.  Bird houses came from the dollar store, as did the paint palettes. We put the basic colours in the palette and by using white or black the kids could create their own shades.  Before the party DH spray painted all the houses so they would be white.
Activity 2: Shaving Cream Painting.  Idea from:  http://www.kidspot.com.au/kids-activities-and-games/art-activities+43/shaving-cream-painting+12123.htm.  This was a little messy but the kids enjoyed it.  Dried pictures went into their goody bags.  I showed them how it could be hung up in a frame.  We used food colour as the paint and rulers to wipe the shaving cream off the paper you put onto the painted shaving cream.  Cardboard isn't as flimsy, and wont rip the paperbut we used sketch book paper, a little stronger than regular computer paper.  We put the shaving cream onto a large piece of finger painting paper instead of in a pan.
Activity 3:  Marker Wheel Art:  Idea from: http://elementaryartfun.blogspot.ca/search/label/Coffee%20Filter%20Circles Making the circles was fun.  But there wasn't time at the end to use them to create pictures.  Art put into their goody bags when dried.
Game:  Draw a mustache on the Mona Lisa.  My husband got a picture of the Mona Lisa off the internet, and blew it up on  a colour photo copier at work.  Blind folded kids drew a mustache on the picture. 
Dress Up & Picture.  This was supposed to be a relay  race outside but it is black fly season and the bugs were bad, so we just took pictures of the kids dressed up as an artist:  smock (from dollar store),  artist hat (dollar store),  purple or red boa (dollar store) and a black mustache (made from construction paper) and holding a paint brush (from dollar store).  Originally the kids were to dress in the outfit and pick up a paint brush, run to a paint can (ice cream container covered by construction paper), drop it in, undress sit down as next person did it.  We were also running late so didn't do the relay.
Activity 4:  Origami.  Katrina is into origami and wanted to do some at her party so we found this  you tube channel:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcCS86eikJs.  Its fairly simple but I pre-folded many of the sheets so the kids could get an easy start- a straight fold is important.  We didn't get to putting the star together, so I gave out the website for the kids to do it at home.  They all were looking forward to the next activity so I didn't want to cancel this one to finish the origami.
Activity 5:   Picasso Pops.  Bruce and Katrina had tried this out before and she brought the results to school. So all the kids knew this was coming. Here are the instructions:  http://www.bhg.com/recipe/candy/picasso-pops/#comments
Mints turn out rather strong, so buy hard fruit flavoured candy.  Crush them ahead of time.

Cake and presents:  The parents were already starting to arrive.  The party  should have been 3 hours long, not 2 and a half hours.  The kids were thrilled with their suckers.

Goody Bags:  I bought brightly coloured gift bags and put in a cup- with-straw-attached of the same colour (both from the dollar store).  Because we didn't get to painting on the canvases I put them into the bag too (again from the dollar store).  Their birdhouse and finished art completed the bag.

I had a blast!  We had tried out most of the activities with Katrina beforehand, so she said she was bored.  She made a pretty birdhouse- so she wasn't all bored.

We still have most of the decorations up as they look too pretty to take down!

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Garbage cans revisited.

I did it again.  Acted without thinking of the consequences.  Big Ocd no no. 

Situation:   Dogs saw the neighbor dog outside so we went over there to play for a few minutes.  Not a problem usually.  But today was garbage day so the neighbor was putting her garbage can and recycle bins back where they belonged.  I do believe she patted Zoe.  Because Zoe sticks herself in front of any and everybody to get patted.  She was also right by their recycle bin.  I dropped the leash and it fell about 2 inches from the bin.  I thot I had to clean it but when I got closer noticed it wasn't touching anything but the driveway.  Whew!

But did the dog touch the bin?   Did the lady touch the dog?  Must I wipe down the dog?  I don't want to (I'm lazy)  but I don't want the whole house contaminated with garbage germs.  I don't hardly let the dogs touch our clean recycle bin in the house!  Bruce puts a bag into it and then washes his hands and I take the bag of recycle stuff out and throw it into the outside bin on garbage day.
Funny thing tho- the dread isn't very loud.  It's mostly " you've never liked this before, why now?'
So I rate this a 60/100 even tho it should be 110/100.  This confuses me but the calm I feel is fine with me.

I called Bruce and asked him what he would do if it were just him and the dog living alone- would he wipe off the dog?  He says no.  He says the outside of the garbage cans aren't dirty except maybe dusty.  I have noticed the garbage men don't usu.. throw the whole container in the truck (that's gros) so the situation is better than it could be.  BTW, the dogs are outside enjoying the sunshine so I have time to think this thru.  I really want to just forget it and go on my way but I don't want to feel upset later on when I see the dog in the house or being patted by someone who then touches the fridge etc.  Because sometimes I get a delayed OCD reaction.  I think everything is ok, but then go wash the fridge etc. and finally the dog after the damage has been escalating.  So I don't want to overreact to these calm feelings, which could just be my lazy -don't-clean feeling that then gets superceded later by dread.

So I'm going to imagine Kat touching the dog an then touching her computer etc. See how that feels.
Not too bad. 

Picturing myself touching the dog- more intense dread feelings. I'll sit with this one for awhile.  While I'm imagining this I keep having ' no one else cares. Why should you care' thots running thru my head.  Over the 'eww gross, I'm kissing the dog's head right where she was probably touched'' thots also going on.-  I guess those are the ' reasons against or balancing reasons' on the proverbial thot record method of examination I've been taught.

And the verdict is:  touch the dog and see what happens.  Then touch 1 thing and see what happens.  Then touch -  ooh I'm getting resistance now, just thinking about going that far.  Up to this point I could still wash everything if needed but touching more than 1 thing means I've made the decision.  I think dread will happen at that point.

OK here's the results:  I went out and patted the dog all over so I couldn't tell myself that I 'might have missed where she was touched by 'garbage can hands'.  Then I closed the door, touching the handle- so far ok.  Then I touched the broom handle, still ok.  Then I touched the art canvas that one of the birthday party kids might use.  Not so ok- what if I contaminate someone else?  That's not nice.  Put the contaminated canvas on top of other things- Katrina's origami book, some ribbon etc.  That would be hard to want to wash all that off.  Not too bad. Touched the fridge door but didn't touch the water spigot.  guess I'm a bit unsure still.  Went to the bathroom and brushed and hairsprayed my hair.  Not sure if I want to touch the hairspray can again.  Brushed my teeth and washed my hands.  Went back out and touched the broom to re-contaminate myself and am now at the computer.  I think it's fine. 

I am supposed to go to my exercise class now so i'll have to bring the dogs in and leave without washing up.  Anxiety is going up as I think about it but it's not too bad.   I think I can push thru that.  Wish me luck!

Evening Update:

I did all that, came home from exercising and was only a bit hesitant about touching everything I contaminated.  The problem with noting the items is that it makes it harder to touch them because they are now noticeable.  While I got back in my car after exercising with no problems, (it wasn't on the LIST)  I did have a twinge of 'ick' before touching the fridge. 

Oh, and just after 5 pm I fell asleep til 7:30.  So I guess it all tired me out!  We don't have a tv to vegg in front of and Katrina wanted to use my computer.  I was too tired to read once I finished reading to her, so my default event is sleeping.  I'll have to take a melatonin pill tonight to get to sleep at a decent hour or i'll probably be up til 3 am.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Pre Art- Party Fun

I believe in trying things out before i have to get a group of kids doing it.  Lesson learned from many years of supply teaching where I'd get this science experiment I was supposed to do with the class and it doesn't work out the way it is supposed to.  And I have to explain what was supposed to happen as well as why it didn't happen.

So these past few days have been trying out the art/ crafts i have found on the internet. 


I tried it once with lots of glue and once with a thin glue film.  It was fun swirling the drops of food colour around.  Then it had to dry.   The thin one came off thin and wrinkly.  Not something I want to hang on my window. :(   I looked at the one that had more glue and  it worked out quite well.  It took at least 3 days to dry- maybe more, so it's not really good for a party.  It would be quite messy to take home a margarine lid full of coloured glue!.It would be my luck that every car with   one of the party kids will have to stop hard and fast so the glue will spill all over the kid and Katrina would hear about it the next day!  So while I now  have one hanging in my window, we'll do something else.

  So next we got some small sun catchers from the dollar store and my daughter painted one of them.  I had to paint over what she did because she didn't fill in the holes very well, just painted it with lots of streaks, bubbles etc.  They are rather small- 3 inches long and tall.  It worked well tho, so it's on the list of possibilities.

Katrina and bruce did this activity:  http://www.bhg.com/recipe/candy/picasso-pops/

I thought that wax paper would be better than aluminum foil so they did it that way.  The 6 min. suggested made the candy all melted and frothy. They didn't want to peel off the wax paper very well either.  Kat. did like eating them.  She said: ' this is so good.  I am definately doing this at my party!'  Kat. got bored and bruce did the next try- using the aluminum foil.  He only did a 4 minute melt.  They came out pretty.  Now they are cooling.  The fruity hard candy melted into each other more, leaving a more finger-painted look rather than a variety of colours next to each other like on the website page.  After cooling the red/ white mint candy bits came off very easily.  They didn't get runny so they looked more like the candy on the website.  Aluminum foil it is!  ONly takes a few minutes per kid, tho.  On the plus side, no handwashing needed after this artsy activity!

Speaking of finger painting, i tried it with shaving cream.  Put some shaving cream on a paper.  Add food colouring.  Swirl around with fingers.  Wipe of shaving cream off and you have your work of art!  It was fun.  However, wiping off the shaving cream using a ruler ripped the regular paper.  It worked ok on the bristol board tho.  So when I saw some finger painting paper at our local Creative Learning Toy Store, I figured for 6 or 7 bucks it would work better and there'd be plenty of paper left over for Katrina to use during the summer.   Katrina was nervous because she was afraid the dog would lick her hands and get sick from the shaving cream.  I think we used too much cream & too many colour drops.  Not sure whether to do this one.  Kat didn't seem to enjoy it.  I think she'd like it better with edible whip cream.  Can you imagine all the kids licking their papers clean to see the art work under the cream?!  That would be worth a picture!

I found this neat ' self portrait' art class here:

I bought a  12 x16"  canvas already wrapped around wood ($2. at dollar store) to make sure Kat could get her hands and feet painted on.  When i tried it with a regular  8 1/2 by 11'' paper, i got my hands traced but then had to draw on small feet.  It did turn out kind of cool tho!  

Katrina is on an origami kick so we found a simple ninja disk that turns into a star here:

 that is easy enough and repetitive enough that everyone can make it.  And it looks cool!  And you can throw it, if you want!  So this one is in for sure. Oh, and it will take at least 20-30 min. to make.

And finally- marker art! found here:  http://elementaryartfun.blogspot.ca/search/label/Coffee%20Filter%20Circles

We tried these last night and they turned out really well.  It also works if you colour 1 side with the markers, not using dots, then wet it so the print goes thru to the other side and then colour that side using dots.  I found that if you don't use dots on the wet filter all you get is a dried up marker which you then have to lay aside until it re-inks itself.  For whatever reason, dotting your wet filter does not do this.

The dollar store also had cute little bird houses for painting.  I would think this is a straight-forward paint job but you never know, so i bought 1 as a sample for katrina to do at home first. They are the most exp

OCD alert:
   When i was buying the stuff from the dollar store, the lady who was at the checkout was using a broom  to clean their checkout area.  Then she gave the dustpan which she pulled out of nowhere  to the other person in the booth while she was doing MY order!!! Ocd wasn't thrilled but Karin said: it's OK.  It's not a dirty floor or broom or dustpan.  A few years ago i would have had an internal fit and likely went and washed all the stuff when i got home, or threw out the container/ boxes stuff came in if i could.    Unfortunately MY broom and dustpan at home are 'dirty'.  But that could change...

Sent out 11 invitations.  If everyone comes it'll be a house full!

Thursday, May 01, 2014

It's Birthday Party Time Again!

Our daughter Katrina is turning 8 in 2 weeks.  Our first plan was to NOT have a party and take the money and pay down our credit card - think cruise costs a lot-  Kat's party last year went wayyyy over budget!  It was a Pok√©mon party and I went all out with copying pokemon characters off the internet to put over our regular pictures, bot lots of stuff to do activities with and generally had a great deal of fun.  The plan was to put the pic's, the painted pokeball mobile etc. into her room as decorations since her butterfly room was getting babyish.  It took a while but we actually did do that, so I don't feel so badly about the high cost of that party.

Katrina, naturally, has other plans.  She wants a party!   So we decided on an art party.  I figured a few crafts, differently coloured cupcakes and some crafty stuff in loot bags.  We have LOTS of art supplies upstairs from past parties,  that if they got used up and out of my house would be wonderful!  Katrina also has lots of clay for creating things with and legos and other toys for kids to play with when we run out of ideas.

Then I looked up art party on the internet- hoping I'd get an idea or two.  I was shocked at how many people's kids love art parties and all the different foods, crafts, decorations etc.  My eyes started having that 'oooh, this could be FUN' gleam in them.  Bruce told me my budget hoping I'd stay within it.  Snicker :P   Actually, I do plan to not get too overboard.  We're making the cake this year; that will save 30 dollars right there and Katrina likes to bake with her dad!   We need to cull down all the different art activities and snack foods and come up with a couple of art--type activities for those active kids to run around.  I thought of a relay race where they dress up as an artist, run to a paper, draw a flower or something and come back, undress and next one runs.  But that's only 1 game.  Any ideas??   Bruce suggested an obstacle course but I haven't figured out how to make it art-related.  Again- any ideas??

So far I've made a sun catcher out of glue & food colour, finger painted using shaving cream & food colour and done some origami for the ninja star  and bangers (both found on youtube).  So my problem now is to cut out the activities that are more expensive or not working out, as I try them one at a time.

Tonight we are working on the cards.  I scoffed a pile of different coloured paint sample cards, had Bruce cut them in half lengthwise, knotted them together with a link-looking ribbon and put the info on the cards.  Cost:  $1.13 for the ribbon.  Katrina decided she wanted bird post to deliver these cards so she decided to make each one an origami bird to go with it.  So add to that $1. for origami paper, which I bought both for the party and for Katrina's use.  Keeps her entertained too...except that it's bed time now.

-picture of card: I wanted to add in a pic of the card   but I can't seem to get any pictures to get uploaded.  I push the picture button, push the upload button, open the picture I want, it uploads.  I select it to load into the blog and nothing happens- except a circle keeps going round and round on the window.  To close it, after 10 minutes of doing nothing I have to exit the internet.  I just don't get computers some days. 

Ocd news:  yest. I went to my exercise class but instead of wearing my gym shoes, I picked them up and carried them.  Doesn't sound like much, I know, but I still remember when I just HAD to wash my hands if I touched my shoes.  I didn't believe in laces anymore cause that meant touching my shoes.  I still like slip-ons just for laziness sake, and have for years but now I can - again- stick my figure into my heel to put my shoes on, or horrors!  pick shoes up by the heel, carry them outside, put them ON the seat of the car and without washing, drive the car to the gym, put them on and do my exercising.  A small thing, but oh so significant to me!  I remember when I couldn't stand having anyone's shoes accidently go on top of mine (think a pile of shoes just haphazardly thrown in a pile) at a party in case they had crud on their bottoms which would then magically get on my shoes and contaminate them.

My daughter is slowly progressing on her ocd path.  At therapy this week she finally made the connection that OCD (or Muck- as she calls it)  is what is telling her that fruit or veggies make her dirty.  So hopefully things will start moving along in her path to freedom from ocd.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Vacations Are Just Too Short!

        I had a wonderful time cruising!  I really liked the part where I didn't have to cook- just picked up a plate and put food on it!  It was WARM, WARM, WARM.  No coats needed.  It didn't rain either (Yeah!).   I could turn around and do it again next week! 

Six of us drove to Miami together- Bruce, Katrina & I and my 2 brothers and 1 sister-in-law.  We met my other sister and her family on the Carnival Glory.   The first day was just getting aboard (lots of checkpoints to make sure everything was in order), then finding our room and getting settled in.  Monday was another day at sea, on our way to the Cayman Islands.   The rest of this post is going to be an advertisement for cruising!!  It was way too much fun.  There was waterslide on board, a pool, lots of decks and lots of walking from place to place. 
I was hoping that all the walking from one end of the ship to the other, from deck to deck would offset all the scrumptious cakes I had to sample each day. (Unfortunately, as I found out at home, this did not come to pass.  I gained back a few pounds that took me ages to lose.)  But those cheesecakes.  Ohhhh, food heaven.

  To continue on before I drool into my computer,  we went to a turtle farm and sanctuary and to Hell at our first stop- Grand Cayman.   These turtles are being grown, studied and let out to sea.   We got to hold them and Katrina got to go into a tank and play with them.  A Little OCD afterwards as they had a handwashing sink so we didn't get any reptile diseases but they wanted us to put on that disinfectant gel after we washed.  I hate the thot of dead bacteria stuck to my hands, maybe getting in my eyes, on my stuff etc.  So I had to look for a bathroom to wash off the gel before enjoying the rest of my time.   We had signed up to go feed the stingrays too, but the waves were too high so that part of the trip was cancelled.  I tried to put up some pictures, but they won't download into the blog.  The first one did after numerous tries but I can't figure out what I did right :P.

< picture should be here :(

The next stop was Cozumel.  We rented a car and went to Punta Sur, a national animal reserve / park.  We swam in the ocean, went on a lagoon boat ride and saw crocodiles up close. 

The next place we visited was Belize, another English speaking country.  Our driver to the Belize zoo said it takes about 2 hours to drive thru Belize.  The zoo was amazing-  the animals were in cages, but there was a lot of natural vegetation in the cages with them.  We spent about an hour there, until Katrina got hot and tired.  There was a professional photographer there taking pic's for a magazine or something, so the zoo personnel were with him and feeding the animals so he could get great shots.  Naturally we got shots at the same time!  We saw a black jaguar, spotted jaguar,  a tapir, some birds, an ocolot and some really smelly peciaries?? ( pig animals),  a bird that eats snakes ( not actually eating said snakes tho!)  This zoo started out as an animal preserve/ rescue area and that's what it does, mainly.   The animals that can't be released back into the wild stay there and are used to educate the children/ people of Belize.

<More pic's here... nope, wouldn't download.

When we got back from  the zoo a lady asked us if we wanted braids in our hair.  So Katrina & I now look like this with corn rows:


The final stop was to the island of Roatan. We didn't do much there- some shopping and went for a walk down a nature trail to the beach.  We saw  a tiny hummingbird in it's nest.  

In the evenings they had professional photo backgrounds set up and you could have pictures  taken at as many different backgrounds as you want.  They were different every night!  Then Saturday we spent a long time deciding which pictures we wanted to keep.  The ship also had photographers taking pictures at dinnertime.  We got one of our whole group with our Canadian paraphernalia!

> insert more pic's here..

Then finally, way, way too soon, it was Sat. night, suitcases got packed and we were ready for disembarkation Sunday morning. Then we drove and drove and drove and got to Waterloo On. Monday afternoon.  We stayed there overnight before doing the final 4hour journey home.

Ocd moments were few and far between:  only 2 or 3.  We were in a McDonalds on our way home and discovered they had no soap in the bathrooms.  Actually they had no soap in the building- except MAYBE at their special handwashing sink in the kitchen.  That we weren't allowed to use..   Years ago I would have felt I was contaminating every thing I touched in the car, after only washing with water.  Now, tho,  while I didn't like it, after a few minutes the 'yuk' feeling went away and it didn't bother me anymore.  The other incident was when one of the housekeeping staff almost backed into me with their stuff and to apologize, he patted me on my back. (Rule: don't touch me if you're cleaning, or have cleaned or have cleaning chemicals near you). I didn't say anything to the poor guy. Wouldn't have known how to explain myself.   I kept the shirt on til I changed for dinner not to long later, then just put it in the laundry pile.

So OCD was with me, a bit, but nothing to worry about.  Compare that to the trip I took to Moosonee a few years ago!   What an improvement!

Now it's to saving up for the next cruise.  Cause I have caught the cruise bug, bad!  And looking at pictures and writing about it just brings back the symptoms.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Sailing, Sailing, in the Ocean Turquoise Blue, When days are Hot, When Days Are Cold (especially then!) in a Caribbean Pool

This year is Bruce and My 25th Wedding Anniversary, so we've done some things that were rather expensive but cool.  I found out that Les Miserables was coming to Toronto in Dec. so instead of a big celebration last March, we got tickets for the show.

We also decided to join some of my family members on a cruise in the Caribbean.  After many months of waiting, it is finally here.  We leave this week for Florida (a very long car ride) with my brother and his wife and my other brother.  We are taking Katrina, so will be doing some animal-oriented things because she is an animal lover.

Because Katrina has been diagnosed with ocd, her counsellor wanted me to go to therapy to make sure I didn't get any relapses, or have a problem with her doing ERP.  So I am seeing a student therapist- ok by me, as I am not in any big crisis, so I can be a guinea pig.  In Ontario, or at least at this Centre, you don't pick your therapist, you get assigned one- hopefully it clicks.  I guess if you want to hunt for  a psychologist not at a clinic you get to pay out of your own pocket?? 

She asked me if I had any concerns about going away- any OCD issues.  I thot for a moment and said 'no'.  I remember going to Moosonee 3 or so years ago and hitting OCD after OCD issue.  I made it thru, but it was WORK for me, and filled with anxiety.  This time, I don't feel much anxiety at all- just lots of excitement. 

I listened to some cruise travel advice which said to rewipe down your cabin, since they do so many in the short time between arriving and leaving again.  I bot a small container of wipes- not javex bleach wipes but just wipes for the car in case they are needed.  So IF the cabin looks dirty, I have an option.  But hopefully I wont succumb.  I'll be with my sister & her family (who are flying down), with my 2 brothers, my brother's wife and of course Bruce & Katrina.  I hope I will be so busy that disinfecting my cabin will be at the bottom of my list of things to do.  Just in case, tho are the soapy wipes (notice they aren 't bleach, so a) they CAN'T disinfect, hence why bother and b) they are able to be used to wipe sticky fingers in a car should that be needed.

This new therapist also suggested 5 books for me to read about OCD and family.  Only 1 was actually at my library.  I asked for Interlibrary loans, hoping they'd all come at separate times over the past few months.  Nope, 1 had 2 I had to read rather quickly, but I made lots of notes.  I got Up And Down the Worry Hill'- a book for kids, on Saturday so we can read this one at our leisure -even on the cruise if we want.  But first i'll see if her therapist is going to read this with her, or if he wants us to wait to read it until he explains things to her.

Just as a sideline- I'm a Harry Potter fan and while on Pottermore this afternoon, I read something about how green and purple are wizard colours.  Funnily enough, green is my son's favourite colour & purple is my daughter's.  I guess that means my kids are the magic in my life.  So true.   I loved home schooling my son, I learned lots and became clese to him; my daughter will be going thru her own OCD journey with my help (not therapy, just as a parent, thank goodness).  She's an artistic girl and has the moods and perfectionism to go with it. 

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Dermatitis- is it contageous?

This past Nov.  my chin and nose areas started to look red and had lots of red dots.  The doctor wasn't sure  what I had, so he gave me some  steroid cream which didn't do too much.  I saw my sleep disorder doctor who thot it was rosacea and gave me some gel which really stung.  I endured for hours and by the next day was begging for an appointment with my regular doctor.  Then he guessed impetigo and gave me anti-bacterial cream and pills to add to the corticosteroid one.  The cream  didn't hurt and it seemed to go away a bit.

The problem is that impetigo is contagious.  I don't want to contaminate the whole universe by giving it to every random person I meet, right?

 Well, aren't we all in luck!  I know how to deal with contamination issues.  After all I have OCD!

 Contamination is right up my ally.  I just have to wash my hands every time I touch my face.  OK.  I know how to do that AND I am conscientious enuf to actually follow thru.  After all, this is a REAL contamination situation, not imaginary germs.  I can handle this.

So now along with my facial problems, I also have really dry hands from washing them so often.  I  try hard not to touch my face by my nose and mouth.  Amazing how often my face itches!  Ever try scratching your mouth area without touching it?   If you stick your tongue under your lip and stretch it, with any luck the itch goes away.  Good thing I don't have a job where I'm dealing with people because I sure make some weird faces.  My dogs haven't complained- yet.  I wonder what all the people on the cruise ship are going to think about these weird facial contortions, tho?

Actually, I don't want to have this problem when I go on vacation next week.  So tonight I started looking on the internet for alternative skin conditions.  I found one that fits what's been going on with me- perioral dermatitis.  Rash around the mouth.   Not contagious, gets exacerbated by topical steroid creams but does respond to erythromycin which is what I have been taking, on and off, 3 times now.  They're not sure what causes this but do say being out in the cold is one.  This year I've been taking the dogs outside for a walk/play nearly every day for over a half hour at a time! 

Normally I'm not really a outdoor-in-40-below kind of girl.  I' m more a 'sit-by-the-window-reading-a- book-feeling-sorry-for-all-those-who-have-to-go-out person.  But I will do for my dogs what I won't do for me.  I will be mentioning this to my doctor when I go again Friday morning.  I will also be stopping that steroid cream!

Is this the universe's idea of a funny joke?

Saturday, February 01, 2014


I was visiting Tina's site tonight and she  had a picture of a Trixie Beldon book.  That got me thinking about how much I used to love the church rummage sales.  Even our mall had non-profit organizations setting up their craft/ rummage tables once or twice a year.  I loved to hunt thru the book piles for that next great read- another Nancy Drew, Donna Parker books, The Sound Of Music (who knew that that was even a book!) I loved Sound of Music.  I reread that so many times, I don't need the book anymore to remember scenes!

 Second hand book stores were also great places to hang out- until OCD hit.  I couldn't even go to the library without worrying I was contaminating their book and I didn't want to bring them home in case they contaminated my house.  Even starting a book didn't guarantee I'd be able to finish it.  If I couldn't bear to touch the book anymore, it went back - after being cleaned, but that cleaning didn't didn't satisfy me.  I never told the librarians that I contaminated their books.  After awhile I just stopped going. 

The librarians knew I had a small baby, so probably didn't think much of the fact that I wasn't rummaging around in one department or another.

I worked very hard to get back the ability to use the library.  I remember sitting in the library already feeling contaminated but continued reading until the contamination feeling went away.  It took about a half an hour.  I am soooo happy I can use the library again. 

Unfortunately I can't say the same thing about used book stores. Brown marks and other old smells attached to the books now remind me, not of generations past enjoying the book, but of mold and mildew.  Since I don't know where the books came from, who is to say they didn't come from an old mouse-filled attic or a hoarder's house, again full of mold or  mice.

But I love the memories I have of browsing thru books, looking for either a great read or a book I've already read that I want to add to my personal library of books.

I hope that one day I will feel ok about going into a used book store again.  Even at Value Village, our local used items store, I can buy clothes- had to work hard to get that back but not adult books.  I have decided that I CAN buy children's books that aren't too old.  Popular books that have been written in the last 10 or so years.  Books I can tell were donated as the child got too old for them, not as a result of a cleaning raid on someone's house.

I won't even take back the box of 'my' books sitting in my parent's attic- in case they were touched by mice.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Book Review: Freeing Your Child From Obsessive Compulsive Disorder by T. Chansky c. 2000

A very comprehensive read that takes you from learning about and diagnosing your child's OCD to  the different medications to ERP therapy and why they work and how fast to expect improvements.

Part 2 is called 'The Parent's Role'.  Chansky has parents sometimes being a co-therapist (for young children) to letting the child/teen be in charge of the OCD homework.

The parents section is really interesting and helpful when working with a therapist to help your child manage OCD.  It's also a good read if you are the one with OCD because there are lots of examples and anecdotes and reminders that are great to remember as adults too.

Section 3 goes into detail about the specific types of OCD:  Contamination fears, checking, counting, redoing obsessions, doubting your own senses , having to be 'just right'- ordering, counting, hoarding, symmetry; and intrusive thoughts and imagined impulses like: scrupulosity, sexual thoughts or thoughts of harming others.

Finally there's advice on how to deal with frustrated siblings, the school and society at large.

I've read many books now on OCD and expected this to be basically a review of what I knew.  I was pleasantly surprised with all the information, stories and help Dr. Chansky gives to parents and those struggling with OCD in their lives or families.

Some quotes from the book:

p8:  OCD is an intrusion, a brain hiccup.  It is different from your child's voluntary thoughts  but he doesn't know that.  All thoughts are created equal, so we all think, unless we are told otherwise.  While thoughts of the mind are welcome messages, OCD brain hiccups are junk mail, but because they happen in English, we think we need to listen to them, understand them.  The more we try to figure out wheat they are saying and why, the more we are being pulled into their trap.

 p.92:  It is very difficult to cope with a chronic  condition (OCD).  So how do we  live with this perpetual uncertainty?  We don't spend all of our time noticing it.  Let's say your child is afraid of dogs.  We work on his dog phobia and he is no longer afraid.  Is that because all the dogs in the world 'went away' and never came back?  No, the dogs are there, but your child learned to ignore them and live his life.  This is the change that happens in OD: The thoughts may reappear from time to time, but if you don't respond to them in the way OCD tells you to, they don't constrict your life.  Your child will not have to go through exactly the same things again because she will have won back territory for OCD. l Recognizing its signs and armed with strategies to fight back, she can't be tricked in the same way again.

p107:  Behavior therapy teaches your child that OCD is a false alarm, a bully in your brain bossing your around, and the way to get rid of OCD is by 'show and tell'.  Show it that your are in charge by doing what you want, not what it wants, then tell OCD to back off and leave you alone. Behavior therapy provides planned opportunities for your child to see that he can control his actions.

p.108:  There are 6 basic  components in behavior therapy to take control of OCD:
             1.  Re-label the problem as a bad guy bossing you around.
             2.  Do the opposite of the OCD warnings (show).
             3.  Boss back the OCD (tell.)
             4.  Refocus on what you want to b doing instead of having symptoms.
             5.  Define the motivation for treatment:  What I hate about OCD.
             6.  Determine the parents' role in treatment.

p.111:  ...when your child says to the OCD, 'You are junk mail, you're not real, so stop bossing me
             around!"..[it]  will help him feel empowered and mad, rather than scared and trapped.

p, 139:  Let the child set the pace of treatment.  If a child feels you are in charge of her recovery she
             may rebel or feel overwhelmed.

p.139:   a bad day doesn't negate the progress made, just like a bad move on the sports floor doesn't
             mean you're penalized for the rest of your life.

p.152:  Let their triumph's be THEIR triumph!  Say ' I'm proud of your had work' not 'Finally!, I
             couldn't have taken it another day!

p. 226:  OCD creates a crisis.  It's time consuming. It's added to a normal life.  [Parents] need to  
              conserve energy- take a 'just say no' policy to extra time commitments.

p. 226:  No shoulding like:  I should have a cleaner house, I should do PTA....  Parents should have
             hobbies and activities to be happy in.

p. 249:  'What I learned is that sometimes the way to fix the problem [a contaminated item] is to
              make it too big to fix'. -Tara

p. 264:  the 'incomplete' circuits continue to fire even after the job is done. The feeling of satisfaction
             that normally follows a competed action ( like the feeling you get when you finish that jigsaw
             puzzle) never comes.