Life since last Thursday has been mostly better.
My husband has been at home, and we’ve been trying to get back into the swing of things, with life, kids at school, and church callings. It’s been a busy week.
In regards to being accountable with my OCD, I once again started to record how many times I wash my hands each day. I’m not necessarily trying to restrict it down to a specific number; I mostly just want to keep a record. The simple act of having to record it helps to check it in check.
The Small Things
I’m trying to be more aware of my obsessions and the compulsions they demand—while maybe I don’t fight back against the OCD as hard as I could, I have been trying to fight back in small ways that still show some defiance (but also don’t result in huge anxiety attacks).
When I’m having “a hard time with the OCD,” I will sometimes talk about it with my husband. He has learned to not provide reassurance, but it still helps me to verbalize some of my concerns sometimes. Occasionally, he will talk the situation out with me, i.e., “So if you don’t do (compulsions), what will happen?” (I answer) “And then?” (I answer) “And because of that…” (I answer, gradually realizing how unlikely it sounds), etc. Sometimes this kind of exercise is really helpful to get the perspective that sure, maybe something dreadful will happen if I don’t engage in a compulsion, but probably my OCD thought process is ridiculously flawed and illogical.
Taking small “risks” can be really helpful when the OCD is making a comeback. Obviously, taking large risks is even more helpful, but starting small is sometimes the only way we can start when the anxiety is intense. Then we need to recognize when nothing catastrophic happens as a result, remember that, and begin taking larger and larger risks.
Energy and Time Suck
I’ve found in life that, quite often, things take up as much time and energy as you let them. In church, many callings will do this. Some relationships or hobbies will expand to fill the time you choose to give them. The same is true with OCD, only OCD will sometimes demand to be given ALL of your time. If we allow that and surrender ourselves to the obsessions, we quickly find ourselves overwhelmed with the OCD. I’ve been there. I was there last week. But when we make a stand and choose to ignore it (which is sometimes the hardest of all because it’s still there, nagging at us), filling our time with other things, it gradually backs down.
It’s often a constant, uphill battle, to keep the OCD “backing down,” as it were. We have to be on the offensive almost all the time. Frankly, it’s exhausting. Sometimes we mess it up. I mess it up a lot. So let’s not be too hard on ourselves. The OCD has that job covered pretty well already.