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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Looping Motions/Laundry Ritual

    So I'm going to talk about looping motions today or "brain-lock", to kind of set the stage for the next few posts.  Looping motions is pretty much when your brain just can't get past a certain action and you just keep doing it repeatedly, over and over and OVER and OVER and OVER again.  For example, I will find myself getting caught in these when performing 4 different tasks usually:  laundry, dishes, tooth brushing and showering.  It's like my brain sees what I'm doing and logically knows it, but my OCD mind just can't accept it.  Once you get caught in these actions it is really hard to start.  Also I start to dread doing these tasks, because I know they are going to be difficult.  
    For example, the laundry is really difficult for me.  A non-OCD mind would just be able to put detergent in the machine, load the laundry in the machine, push start and go, and probably not even give it a second thought until they go back when the cycle has ended...but with an OCD mind....not so easy...I load the laundry and put in the detergent, and push start.  Then about 10 minutes later I go back and look into the basin (we have a front loader currently) to make sure that soap is actually being worked through the clothing.  I will continue to stand there watching the clothes/soap tumble around, or sometimes I'll keep going back even though I just left.  I might look, then walk down the hall, then go back and look again.  Tell myself  "C'mon you see the soap, it's fine", so I leave and walk away again and then get down to the end of the hall and question myself again and go back, and the cycle can keep repeating itself.  Sometimes I will find myself just standing there watching stuff tumble around for 30 minutes.  As I'm writing this post, I currently have a load of laundry in the washer and did just this.  It's like my mind just doesn't believe itself.  Logically, I KNOW that there is soap in there, but the second I leave that washing machine, I start questioning myself.  I have even washed certain loads a few times when things are really bad.  I always KNOW there is soap in there, but my mind can't "believe it".  I second guess myself.  I don't want to make a mistake.  Today I watched it tumble around for about 20 minutes before coming downstairs to write this post.  Then even as I'm sitting here,  I question myself....."Is there really soap in there?"  I know it doesn't make any sense, but when your brain gets stuck in that pattern, its really hard to break.  Because some days are better and some are worse with OCD, what I would do would depend on what kind of day I was having.  If it had a been a really exhausting day, I probably would go back and repeat the whole laundry cycle again.  Today is a little better for me, so even though it makes me uncomfortable I will push myself, let the cycle finish out, and will make myself go take it out when finished to dry.  I will not let myself go back and "give in to the OCD".  I These looping motions can be very hard....they get very time consuming and you start to get really frustrated with yourself after awhile.  They also in turn perpetuate the cycle, feed the cycle and worsen the OCD.  When you don't give into OCD it helps you reverse the cycle.  But when you keep giving into it, it just makes it worse.  It's hard though.  And something I'm really going to start working on.  Since I'm not taking meds or seeing a psychologist right now, I'm really going to start buckling down on this and try to at least get out of these looping motions as a starting point.  In my next few posts, I will go into detail about how these cause me issues with some other routine daily tasks.  

***On a side note, I have done a couple of things lately that have been an improvement for me.  When we went to church last night, we sat in the back row as usual.  There were rows and rows of empty seats ahead of us, and a young couple came and sat down in our row 2 seats down from us.  My mind went into an immediate panic and I couldn't even focus on the church service for about 10 minutes.  Honestly if my husband hadn't been there with us, I probably would have taken my daughter and moved to a spot I deemed safe.  But we stayed there through the whole service.  The girl was even sniffing several times (couldn't tell if she was congested or crying), it made me really uncomfortable though.  I put my daughter on my lap and scooted a seat closer to my husband.  It made me really uncomfortable though, but we stayed.  That is the important part.  I made myself stay in the situation, and it was okay.  I think that was an improvement for me.
Secondly, my daughter and I made cupcakes the other day.  I found an ant (gross, really gross for how clean I keep my kitchen) on my kitchen counter right next to the bowl that the cupcake batter was in.  Now if I had been having a really bad OCD day I probably would have just dumped the whole bowl of batter in the trash and been done with it....I have done things like that before, thrown away entire meals and things because I thought something happened to them.  And I came real close to throwing the batter away that day.  But I didn't.  I finished making the batter, we baked the cupcakes and even ate them.  And it was fine.  And I was really happy I went through with it.  Again most non-OCD minds wouldn't even give these a second thought, but for me they were very stress inducing and I faced them each time.  

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