So friends, things have not been so awesome on the OCD front around these parts.
I was warned that this might be the case. My doctor told me that sometimes after going off medication, relapses happen. We discussed how things might get more difficult. I acknowledged that reality, and I chose it. I accepted what could happen while hoping that I would be an exception.
Spoiler alert: I am not an exception.
The last few days have been rough.
My husband took the kids and went on a mini road trip, leaving me at home for about a day and a half on my own. Long story short, due to contamination/bathroom worries relating to errant, dirty toilet paper flakes getting on clothes, the bathroom floor, etc., I changed clothes more times than I want to count or admit and threw out a pair of slippers. I also thoroughly cleaned and disinfected the floor around the toilet. I read an entire book, my OCD obsessions poking and gnawing at me basically the entire time.
I was alone. It was really difficult.
The next morning I had more contamination obsessions which led to my washing my hair (that I had not intended to wash) twice—and one of the times was after I had already showered. I was so mad at myself. [NOTE: I originally typed “having to wash my hair” but realized that I didn’t have to wash my hair. It was the OCD who told me that. That’s how OCD works.]
I also had an episode this week that I won’t detail here because I’m going to write more about it for this week’s “Sketch,” but let’s just say I feel kind of defeated. I feel like I am stumbling backwards and am having a hard time recovering from the punches.
Of course, I know what I need to do. I’ve been to therapy. I write about how to overcome OCD over and over again on this blog. But that doesn’t make it easy in the moment to confront obsessions and anxieties. In some ways, it makes it worse because I feel that much more weak—like I know what I should be doing but I can’t always overcome the feelings and do it.
…so now what?
I’ve been considering options—making an appointment with my doc (though our insurance changed and now it’s the new year… so hello, deductible), going back on fluoxetine, really buckling down (whatever that means), rereading “Stopping the Noise in Your Head“—and though I haven’t made a definite decision, I know I have to do something.
I remember driving to my doctor appointments last year. I’d be thinking of what I was going to report, looking back on the week or two weeks or month since I’d last been to see him. What successes did I have? Did I do a good job with my “homework”? And, of course, what would we decide I still needed to work on? What new assignments would I get? What would I be able to handle? Most importantly, would would I need to learn how to handle? What exposures would I do? What compulsions would I resist?
I think I need to have a one on one session (with myself) where I ask those questions and make those assignments. Accountability is so important. Accountability provides for success. Without it, all these relapses and setbacks add up and begin to swallow the potential for change and improvement. But with accountability, things start to happen. Things start to get better.
How has your week been? How do you keep yourself accountable when you are on hiatus from therapy?