Sunday, July 24, 2011

Exposures racing through my brain

Since I've been on medication, I've had a slight increase in balance issues (I used to have really great ballance). Or, I'v increased in my observance of said issues. Friday, I broke my toenail, which adds to my balance issues. So when I suddenly change dirrection I'm walking in... you would know why, but the people around me wont. In reality, indecision (one of my strong points) can get me switching directions alot, so the net effect probably isn't much.

For my homework, I've been supposed to record good and bad judgements I make. That goes okay as long as I'm willing to write them down (i.e. observant and not too lazy in that area). Then yesterday I decided to also record my exposures. This was to combat my oppinion that I was completely lazy in the OCD department and help me appreciate what I was doing.

And this is what I'm finding. Just like a year or two ago, my obsessions and compulsions have short attention spans, but they make up for this by their number. Thus, instead of worrying for half an hour about how clean or dirty my hands are (oh, they are dirty ... no they aren't. I washed them and dried them on a "clean" towel), I go from worrying about spreading an illness (i.e. dirty hands) to wondering if my dress is modest (this can be "checked" by finding other people at church wearing the same kind of clothes), to worrying that I was singing with a proud attitude, to feeling guilty for being late, to not wanting to walk infront of people, to not paying enough attention (really, I just don't pay as much attention, and this is a battle I choose not to fight much right now), to it being too noisy when I unwrap my candy (which provides sufficient distraction so that I can pay half way decent attention to the sermon) to wondering if I just lied before God when I half answered a question, back to the modesty of my dress, or lack thereof, to the sparkles (sequins) on my dress (this was just a plain old thought; nothing wrong except that it wasn't my "best" job paying attention in church). So really, it's a compilation of OCD thoughts, anxiety thoughts, and random thoughts. Until my stay in the psych unit at the hospital, I didn't realize that my thoughts raced; this was normal. Now I'm still not sure, because how can one really know for sure if their thoughts are racing? We can't get into other people's heads to compare. And I have OCD and am worried about untruths, so yes, I've thought of this.

Anyway, writing down exposures informs me that, yes, I'm still doing them. They are part of my life. Part of choosing what to do in the day, part of how I evaluate what I do, part of my everyday life. Yesterday, I watched a movie when it might not have been the best thing to do. Exposure. Then I might not have watched it in the way to get the most enjoyment out of it. Exposure. And the response prevention was at least partially there. (Note my inpressice language that avoids accidental "untruths". Response prevention not carried out.) Then, I took a really bad bath. I thought I'd messed with my showers to bug the OCD, but yesterdays was a winner; in the past, the towel would be contaminated. Well, it still is, but I'm still using it. Then I contaminated the hand towel (the humor in this is that my roommate doesn't always wash her hands, so she might never be exposed to the contaminated handtowel, instead spreading her own germs, which are usually okay because I pretend not to know about them).

In conclusion, I'm still doing exposures and still working on limmiting my compulsive responses. It's a part of my life, like scratching an itch or blinking. I don't always even notice it. But here is the million dollar difference from a year ago or even several months: it hardly prevents me from doing my work normally anymore (slow down, but not completely prevent)! (well, except for food prep, but let's ignore that, especially since it isn't a big part of my job). The busy brain continues, the depression doesn't want to leave, the unexplained weariness visits off and on, but one of my main OCD issues has become less of an issue. No, I don't want to tell. It's not a germ issue and it's not a turn-the-stove-off issue. Research OCD and make whatever guess you want, or just believe me that I've told enough and go along your way.

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