I realized that I haven’t given a thorough (or even cursory) accounting of life and my obsessive-compulsive disorder lately, and since this blog is technically about my journey, I suppose it’s about time to do so.
OCD Treatment and Such
I was in group therapy once a week basically through the summer. I can’t really remember when I stopped going, but it was getting to be a lot driving in traffic each week, leaving the kids with my husband (who was supposed to be working), etc. I got back on my medication and was doing better, so I took a break. I intended to go back to individual therapy, but somehow an appointment never got made and I’m still on a therapy hiatus, though I intend to start going back once a month come December or the new year.
So how have things been going? Well, frankly in some ways, it’s been nice not to have weekly group therapy because it’s given me a breather from “always” thinking or talking about my OCD. It felt like I had it on my mind way more when I was going to weekly group, since I had to report on or talk about my progress each week. In a way, having it that present gave the OCD center stage in my life. I was thinking about it so much more than I am now, and in many ways, that was damaging because it started taking over my my life. Now, I know I have OCD but it’s not the main thing in my life that I worry and think about. Of course, I also have the medication to thank for that.
I’m trying to recognize and acknowledge when “nothing bad happens” when I don’t do a compulsion to try and retrain my brain that the OCD’s worries are non-sensical. This is helpful—OCD thrives on keeping you engaged in its cycle to prevent some terrible outcome, so when you don’t do a compulsion and that terrible outcome doesn’t happen, it can be good to make a big deal out of that in your brain.
Granted, I still have my “pet obsessions and compulsion.” I need to work on hand washing (less soap, less time) though it’s not nearly as bad as it once was. There are still various cleanliness and contamination fears I have, but I am aware of them and trying to work on them, though some days are better than others. I have made progress in a lot of areas, even since summer, and that is amazing. I’m trying to maintain those gains and not slip back into old patterns. Mostly, it’s the little OCD habits that remain, and I know that I need to work on and be aware of them every day.
Life in General
I think that I have been able to do as well as I have the last few months because I’ve been busy. When I have other things to do and worry about, the OCD tends to take a back seat. I’ve been promoting my book and working on other books over the last few months, so my brain has had important things with which to occupy itself besides the OCD.
When things come up, in particular sicknesses (my daughter and I got strep awhile back, my son threw up from eating too much sweets, etc.) or potty accidents from the kids, I have to consciously recognize the OCD and how it wants to amp up and blow everything out of proportion. I’ve tried to “lower the volume” purposefully or at least recognize and admit when the OCD is trying to take control and scale back even a little bit from what it “demands.” I’ve learned not to expect perfection but progress in my recovery and maintenance.
My husband and I are keeping “anxiety” on the mind with our plans for the Anxiety Disorders and Mormonism conference. If you read the blog, you will have heard about this. We are finalizing speakers and panelists right now, and we still need you to buy tickets! There are only about 200 tickets for sale, so get on it!
I’ve also been working on a book about the mental health of former Mormons and what we can learn from their stories and experiences. It’s going through peer editing right now, and then off to try and find a publisher.
So yes, life is busy, but that is good for OCD.