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On Being OCD...

I am OCD/OC. Many clinicians, advocates and consumers would insist that the correct way to state this is that I have been diagnosed with OCD or something similar. Okay, I have been diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder but I live it and breathe it day in and day out. It is part of who I am so if I want to say I am OCD then that is my business and everyone else can pay attention to their own affairs. As I often say, "you go to your church and I'll go to mine."

My OCD can manifest itself in many different ways. Sometimes I am washing my hands so much that I think that my skin will just dissolve and other times I am so inflexible in something that is going on that I make everyone else around me crazy. My symptoms ebb and flow. Medication helps but it is not a magic answer, just like it is not an answer for most medical conditions. I used to take Ascendin for OCD and it was the best medication that I had taken for this condition but the side effects caused me a great deal of trouble so I had to quit taking it. That was a bummer.

My OCD quite possibly is accompanied by Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder as well. I do meet sufficient criteria for the diagnosis but on other criteria I am so far the opposite of them I have left many a clinician baffled so they just have diagnosed me with OCD and let me work through my symptoms as best I can. You know that really pretty much sums up how to deal with OCD and OCPD. There are treatments and therapies but what it comes down to is trying to be as functional as possible day in and day out. Some days I am more successful at this than other days.

Today I learned that I have another obsessive behavior that I had not even been aware of. I am a hair "puller" at times. I don't mean trichotillamania I mean holding onto handsful of hair and pulling it. I have found that I do this when I sit in one particular chair in my home. I learned that I do this when I commented on how my hair looked while talking to Miss Teffers. I noticed it while I was, ahem, washing my hands. Steffie said that it was like that because I pulled my hair. I walked out of the restroom and looked at her like she was crazy. I asked her what she meant about me pulling my hair. She then told my that when I sit in my chair I pulled my hair. I rolled my eyes decided that she was imagining things and went to sit in my chair to continue whatever other conversation we had been having. In the middle of the conversation Steph said, "You are doing it now."

I realized at that point that I had a handful of hair in my hand, that I was was indeed pulling it and that yes, I do that quite often while sitting in that chair and ONLY while sitting in that chair. I don't know what it is about. I don't really care except that I mess up my few attempts to actually brush my hair and have decided that as long as I don't start pulling out handsful of hair that I am just not going to sweat it. I have way too many peccadilloes and eccentricities to worry about the fact that I pull my hair when sitting in my chair in the living room. I don't spend that much time in that chair anyway. At least I am not frying the skin off of my hands with hot water when I do that so there you go.

I do hate when I find myself being rigid and inflexible. If I can at least catch myself doing it I can modify my behavior but when I don't realize it until after the fact it just looks like I have been being a bitch. I mean I CAN be quite the bitch but that is not always the issue. Sometimes I just get caught up in the web of rigidity. I do not like that. I do not like being around rigid people with broomsticks up their "woo hoos" so I don't like being this one with the broomstick "where the sun don't shine" if you know what I mean. At the time I am doing this my behavior seems not only logical but downright ESSENTIAL so modifying it can be a real opportunity for personal growth. How is THAT for reframing?

OCD is often a joke among the masses. I joke about it too but I am laughing at myself and that seems to be okay to me. I don't like being the butt of a joke though especially when it is mean-spirited, thoughtlessness is bad enough. It is a bitch to be caught up in obsessive and compulsive behaviors. It is what it is though and I just get through it one day at a time.

Anyway, if you see me obsessively doing math that makes no sense and has nothing to do with anything, pulling my hair, washing my hands or engaging in weird repetitive activities just realize that it will stop once I catch myself and redirect my energies. I am who I am just like other people with OCD are just their own special little somebodies. We do the best we can with what we have to get through any given situation. Isn't that the bottom line for us all?

Ciao Babes!

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