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

#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

 

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.

Day twenty-five #NaPoWriMo

Your mind will tell you

when the voices take over

avoid what you love

your misery brings quiet

but the silence will not last

 

It only gets worse

so do not appease, ATTACK!

stand back up and fight

before you lose what you love

and you become but a shell

 

You must not forget

OCD dose not own you

you can find freedom

from the shackles that bind you

you must keep moving forward

 

© Caitlin Gramley

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This poem is in response to NaPoWriMo Day Twenty-five.

Prompt: “Today, we challenge you to write a poem that takes the form of a warning label . . . for yourself! ”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hidden Torment

Skeletal-tree-Web

Skeletal-tree-Web by Fay Collins

One thought, not necessarily significant, is placed upon her mind. Anyone else would shake their head at the silly thing and move on, but she is unable to. Seeded, it starts to grow, slowly at first, a single grey tendril. It brings with it a second thought, then a third. Each one produces another, inducing fear and worry. Soon, its gnarled fingers have taken over, invading every peaceful moment. Questions and doubts, her only companions.

the naked tree sways

roots take hold beneath the ground –

no one sees how far

 

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This Haibun is in response to two prompts.

Tuesday Poetics – Fay Collins: Sarah challenged us to write a poem inspired by Fay Collins Artwork.

Carpe Diem #1413 Loneliness (Haibun in the classical way): “Loneliness … what does it mean for you. Do you choose loneliness sometimes, to find new inspiration and new energy? Loneliness … a strong emotion with a strong task today, because I love to challenge you to create a classical haibun. In other words, the haiku (or tanka) have to be written in the classical way. (More about this classical way of haiku-ing you can find  in Carpe Diem Lecture 1) Your haibun may have a maximum of 300 words.”

Also written for NaPoWriMo.

I Just Need a Moment…or Two

 

I let the water fall over me
not hot enough to burn but turned up enough to hurt a little
to overpower the pain of the voices
the thoughts that pelt my mind
like pea sized hail in constant down pour
puncturing tiny holes in my sanity

 

I let out a whispered scream
don’t want to wake my husband and toddler
napping down the hall
my two boys are playing some game downstairs
but they might as well be right outside the door
their whiny voices

“Get your leg off me!”
“Ow!”

carry up the stairs penetrating my moment of solitude

I scrub at my scalp
wishing I could peel it off and massage my brain
maybe then it would relax
and give me peace, if only for a little while

I crank up the heat a bit more
Stopping at ‘pink skin hot’
I need a few more minutes

 

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This is my entry for day Ten of NaPoWriMo. It’s a day late but it took me a while to get what I wanted to say to come out right.

Prompt:  “write a poem of simultaneity – in which multiple things are happening at once”.

Daily Torment

Out of reach

I lift my arms

To no avail

Lofty, unattainable

I gawk at my mind’s mirror

I cry out

Call out

Stop.

Can’t.

Not good enough

Here I am.

A spec.

A blip.

Take a step

SLAM

Pick the brick from my skin

Walls meant to

PROTECT

KEEP OUT

                                                         Kept in

                                                                              Diminished

                                                                                    Inadequate

 

                                       Beaten down

Get up

Stumble

Get up

Fall

Get up

“Stay Down!

Small.

Insignificant.

Imposter.”

 

I lift my weary head

 

I.

 

STAND.

 

AGAIN.

 

 

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For this poem I use prompts from Day Six and Day Nine for NaPoWriMo.

Six challenged us to play with line breaks and Nine challenged us to write about when something big and something small come together.

This poem is about the daily fight with mental illness(BIG) and self(small).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s too hot in here

photo by Dan Carlson

photo by Dan Carlson

My racing thoughts burn through my mind

The heat is too much to bear

So I succumb, obey, repeat – Silence… but for a moment

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Written for Three Line Tales, Week Twenty-five