About Caitlin Gramley

I write flash fiction and poetry. I also blog about mental health and OCD. #OCDvocate for the #IOCDF

I Have OCD and I’m not Afraid of Germs

I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

When most people hear the term OCD, a picture of hand washing or a well-organized room comes to mind. I don’t like telling people I have OCD because they automatically assume I’m afraid of germs and am a “clean freak”.

If you were to walk into my house without giving me a week’s notice I’m pretty sure you would be disgusted. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t let it get unsanitary but it’s definitely not company worthy. There are dirty pans on the stove and dishes in the sink always. I have “clean areas” but through out my house I have piles that gather in corners, and on end tables. I have hardwood floors and a cat and three kids so there is always crumbs or cat hair. I have piles of unfolded laundry and a computer desk with piles of opened mail and kids projects. And don’t even get me started on the status of my bathroom. I am not an organized person and I hate cleaning. Cleaning actually triggers anxiety and I have to work extra hard to motivate myself to do it.

My Obsessions and compulsions are currently mostly in my head.

So let’s brake it down a little for you.

Obsessive

Obsessions are unwanted thoughts or fears that you can’t get out of your head and cause anxiety. These thoughts or fears can be about anything.

My obsessions consist of fear of harming someone I love (harm OCD), and fear that my doubts have caused me to lose faith in God (scrupulosity).

Compulsive

Compulsions are something you feel compelled to do that alleviates the stress and anxiety caused by the obsession.

The most widely known compulsions are outward and noticeable. For example: straightening things to make them symmetrical, turning off a light switch many times, touching things, washing hands or sanitizing.

Inward compulsions are less noticeable because they take place in the mind. Sometimes a person may not even recognize these as compulsions because they can become second nature.

Currently my compulsions are mostly inward, although I have had many outward compulsions through out my 16 years of having OCD. Thankfully, through recent therapy (ERP therapy), I have been able to gain control in many areas of my life.

My biggest inward compulsion, which I am currently working on with my therapist, is avoidance. Avoidance is actually very common among OCD sufferers. I reduce my anxiety by not doing the things that cause my anxiety. This has hindered my growth as a wife, a mother, and as a christian.

Disorder

“A disorder is a problem or illness which affects someone’s mind or body”

OCD is not a quirk or character trait. It is not an adjective, it’s a mental illness.  It interferes with your daily life. It can make you lose time, make you miserable, and causes stress, anxiety, and depression.

You can’t be a little OCD. There is no such thing.

 

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*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or a mental health professional. I write about OCD and mental illness based on personal experience and research online. If you think you may have OCD based on anything you’ve read, please seek professional help. You don’t have to go through it alone. You can overcome it and gain control of your life.

I am an #OCDvocate. I write articles and poetry about OCD to spread awareness. My goal is to help you understand that OCD is different for everyone and can manifest in many different ways. ” In the United States, about 1 in 40 adults and 1 in 100 children have OCD. And according to the World Health Organization, OCD is one of the top 20 causes of illness-related disability, worldwide, for individuals between 15 and 44 years of age.”

I have chosen to speak out and to be heard as part of my healing process.

 

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A glimpse of light

 

 

cobble me a picture

with moments of this broken reality

create a masterpiece

with the remnants of my sanity

let us put these rare lucid moments in a frame

display them like a memory

showing how things could be

if I move forward, readily

 

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If I could frame what my mind could be, the freedom I could have. If I could see on a daily basis what I’m working toward, I can keep moving, keep pushing, to be free.

#OCDvocate

Cobble poem for dVerse.

 

Healthy Doubt Versus Unhealthy Doubt

This is what I am struggling with now. As I am trying to tackle my scrupulosity through therapy, I am often caught in the obsession of “Is this OCD? or do I really think this?”

My therapist is starting me small and wants me to say “this is OCD” whenever I have a doubt concerning my faith and just sit with that realization. But I am having a hard time with even this simple task because I’m afraid a thought won’t be OCD and I am labeling it wrong. After all, as Christians we are supposed to be inquisitive and curious to deepen our knowledge. I am afraid I won’t be able to recognize an OCD doubt and a real doubt when it comes to say, reading a book or hearing a sermon that doesn’t sit right. Because right now, nothing sits right. Everything feels wrong, sounds wrong. It’s a very lonely feeling that I struggle to share. Because someone who doesn’t understand could take my questions or doubts wrong and reassure me in unhelpful ways.

I have just restarted my therapy after a bit of a break (me avoiding treatment because of the anxiety) and I already feel hopeless. Scrupulosity is so different from my harm OCD. So many uncertainties that my OCD takes and runs with. I am already exhausted.

 

This is a great little article and I intend to look into this book.

ocdtalk

crossing NYC street

This post first appeared on my blog in August 2013….

I’ve previously written about how I used to scrutinize my son Dan, trying to decipher which of his behaviors were OCD related. I finally realized my intense involvement in his life was doing us both more harm than good, and I was able to let go and just trust my son.

What I wasn’t aware of at the time is that sometimes those who deal with obsessive-compulsive disorder aren’t sure themselves if their thoughts and behaviors are related to their disorder. Because those with OCD often have good insight in regard to their illness, I just assumed they knew when what they were thinking or how they were acting was OCD based. However, from reading blogs and connecting with people, I realize this isn’t always the case.

So how do we know if certain feelings and/or actions are related to…

View original post 275 more words

A Mother’s Guilt – An Erased #Haibun

 

rage-ppd

PeopleImages / Getty

 

I close my eyes. The guilt presses against my skull. Blood pounds the base drum in my ears. I try to breathe, but a noise pulls the trigger and rage convulses out of the monster‘s mouth. Their confusion shines through giant brown mirrors that reflect the ugly creature before them.

 

tears spill

moments slip away

defeated

 

hands

press against

my eyes

(breathe)

until the monster

is no longer a giant

and the mirrors reflect

how I want to be

 

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Erased haibun is a form I learned for #NaPoWriMo.

Submitted for this week’s open link night over at dVerse.

 

 

 

#OCDPoem #1

 

here

it comes,

an ambush

of obsessions,

untold questions push

my limits to the brink.

no truth left to hold me up.

where does my help come from,

when nothing seems real?

can’t step forward.

can’t step back.

I stand,

stuck.

 

© Caitlin Gramley

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I want to show what OCD and scrupulosity is like for me. I’ve tried so hard with drafts of informative posts, but nothing seems to quite hit the mark. So, for now, I am going to show glimpses of what it’s like for me through poetry. #OCDpoems.

 

This is in response to dVerse

 

Autumn – Troiku

bare branches

a jungle gym for birds

wings all aflutter

 

bare branches                                                                   a painting against the blue sky
a painting against the blue sky                                          color drips to the ground
leaves under my feet                                                         gathering in piles

© Yozakura, the Wandering Spirit

leaves under my feet

a satisfying crunch

autumn symphony

 

© Caitiln Gramley

 

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This attempt at a troiku is in response to Carpe Diem Weekend Meditation #31 Troiku … “bare branches”

A troiku starts with a base haiku, then you create three new haiku where each line of the base haiku is the first line in each of the new haiku.

I quite enjoyed learning this new form. 🙂

To learn more about troiku click HERE.

Fractured Mind

 

Forehead lined with worry

ninety scenarios

from a single thought

stick to her like

insects on fly paper

 

If only she could

unhinge from this frame of mind

 

Hours – turn to days – turn to weeks

simple truths slip though desperate fingers

Reality now muddled

 

© Caitlin Gramley

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A quadrille for dVerse.

Earthing (#haiku)

 

feet on dew-kissed grass

recharging lost energy

a breath of fresh air

 

© Caitlin Gramley

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A Haiku for #Haikai Challenge #30 (4/21/18)

Off prompt today for NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo

Not Your Average Princess #flashfiction

 

“Gooooood morning, and welcome to Fairy Tale Today. Our featured guest is the beautiful Princess Farah. Thanks for joining us, Princess.”

“Thank you, B.B. Wolfe. I’m glad to be here.”

“Now, we citizens of Ever After, are dying to know. What’s new?”

“Well, I was surprised to be asked to appear on your show, as I have only recently told The Royal Family. I’m going to be a traveling singer.”

“Um, I was talking about the wedding.”

“Wedding?”

“We heard about your run in with the prince. It’s the talk of the kingdom. Can you give us details of the encounter?”

“Ok……. I was out looking for a gift for my parent’s anniversary when a cart cut in front of me. The prince caught me before I could fall….

 

Audience:  “AWWWWWWW”

 

…… I said thank you and continued shopping.”

“Didn’t you fall in love?”

“LOVE?! I just met the guy.”

“When a prince and princess meet, it’s always love at first sight.”

“I don’t believe in love at first sight.”

 

Crickets: “Chirp. Chirp. Chirp.”

 

“Here in Ever After everyone does.”

“I know princesses are supposed to do what they’re told, learn the affairs of state and how to run a household, and take up needlepoint… but I love to sing. People stop at the sound of my voice. I am good at it and I want to share my gift with the world. If I was married I couldn’t do that. There is more out there than just the kingdom of Ever After. I want to…

“OK folks, that’s all we have time for today. Join us next time where we hear from a darling couple who were united by true love’s kiss. Have a good day and may you live Happily Ever After.”

 

© Caitlin Gramley

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This little story was in response to last week’s prompt over at Microcosms – Mini universes in 300 words or fewer

The prompt theme was anniversary and you click the spinner and write a story with the three elements that appear. Mine were Composer/Musician|TV Studio| Fairy Tale.

The New contest prompt is up right now (Click HERE) Contest ends at 11:59pm EST/EDT (New York time) Friday, April 27th. (Contest runs for 24 Hours every Friday.) Feel free to check it out and participate!