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Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Trip to the Mechanic and a Baptism

     Well, the trip to the mechanic is least for another week or so.  Yes, I have to go back again because they couldn't get everything done the first time.  I went there simply to have all new tires put on my vehicle and an alignment.  When I went up to pay for the services, they told me they could not do the alignment until I had some other work done.  Usually my husband does all of the mechanical work to my car, but he can not do an alignment (because obviously that involves equipment only available at a tire shop).  The trip itself wasn't too bad.  The only real problem was the "decontamination" of my car afterward.  As I mentioned in my previous post, the seatbelt was my main concern.  I put on a car seat cover and a steering wheel cover and drove it over there.  I was trying to get clever with the seatbelt and how I might know if they had worn it or not.  So I twisted the top of the seatbelt three times and put the "seatbelt clicker" (because I'm lacking what the correct term for that is) into a little notch at the top of where the seat belt connects.  If they weren't paying attention, I don't even think they would notice it.  But I would notice it...and if it looked different then I would know they might have worn the seatbelt.  I also set my trip odometer to zero before I walked in the shop, so I would be able to get a better gauge for if they drove it.  Nothing looked different with the seatbelt and the odometer was only up about 3/10 of a mile (which would easily account for being pulled in and out of the garage and into a parking stall afterward).  Regardless of this, I still cleaned my car thoroughly as I just wanted to make sure it was okay to get back in afterward, and that I would feel comfortable sitting in my seat again.  It took me about 2 hours to clean the car out, which involved wiping the drivers seat and the back seat (where my daughters sits), wiping off the keys and all off the gadgets in the car (turn signals, gear shifter, door handles, etc), and wiping off my seatbelt (yes,  even though they hadn't worn it), then I took a shower and changed into fresh clothes.  I debated whether or not to wear the seatbelt right away, but then decided to just put it on so I didn't carry the anticipation out....and I have rode comfortably in it since. I have to go back in another week or two to finish it off.  So I am less nervous this time, and I am hoping I can do a less thorough clean this time, but I am still concerned about that darn seatbelt.
     On another front, I have been trying really hard to not avoid most stuff.  I'll be honest, there are still things I avoid.  Such as my daughter has an orchestra concert at school this coming week, and I have already made up an excuse for her to get out of that (because I don't want to be in an auditorium full of people).
     My husbands brother and his wife had their son baptized this morning.  I have known about this for a few weeks now.  I had every intention of going since we received the invitation, but I knew that I was going to need to sit in the back of the church.  I figure it is better to go places even if you have to sit in the back, rather than avoid going at all.  I have felt like I have been doing so much better in general with my OCD, so I figured as long as I sat in the back, I would have minimal problems there.  My  husbands reaction to my OCD is always a huge trigger for me and causes a lot of problems. This is nothing new and I have documented this in many places on this blog.  I waited until about an hour before we left, and I told him that I would be sitting in the back of the church and to let me know if that would be a problem for him...well, it was.  I am getting increasingly frustrated with his reaction to my OCD.  It just seems like whatever I do, it is never enough.  I should think he would be happy that I was going, but instead it was a problem because I didn't want so sit in the reserved seats up front.  I get how that would be frustrating from the other side, I really do.  But his yelling at me and acting like I am such an imposition and embarassment to him, is really starting to wear me thin.  I don't know how much more of it I can take.  I was so close to saying to forget the whole thing, and he could go himself then...but I didn't want to do that to his family.  It's not their fault that he acts that way.  I called my mother in law right before we left and explained the situation to her.  I used my upcoming surgery as the reason for this, and that I didn't want to sit in a crowd at church where I might be exposed to something, so I would be sitting in the back.  She did not seem upset at all about this.  There was a luncheon after the baptism at a restaurant, where there was about 20 of us family members that ate lunch in a private room together.  I considered eating off the silverware (as this would have been an exposure for me too) for the first time in a long time, but then after I saw the set up (it was a formal set up, so everything was just laid out beside the plates, not wrapped in a napkin like you might get some places) I couldn't do it.  I usually don't eat with my hands either, because of the warts on my hands.  They are getting better now and aren't too visible, so I decided to go ahead and order a sandwich and just eat it with my hands (so I didn't have to worry about the silveware).  It's frustrating to me, because before we left he was also talking about how frustrated he was that he would have to explain why I wasn't eating at the restaurant), and so I took it upon myself to FORCE myself to do this, even though I didn't want to, because I am still not comfortable AT ALL eating with my hands.  It just felt like he sat there and scrutinized my every move at the restaurant, like he was just watching me out of the corner of his eye to see what weird or unacceptable things in his eyes I would be doing.  Even looking back at the event now (a few hours later), I still don't feel he has any appreciation for the things I force myself to do to appear semi "normal" at an event.
     He said some very disturbing words to me before both the baptism and the mechanic trip.  Both were pertaining to the idea that "why can't I just be okay with things".  He is not encouraging to me at all.  In fact, he is the very opposite and discouraging to me.  He makes me feel that no matter what I am doing with my OCD or how far I have come, he just still can't accept where I am.  And instead of being thankful and celebrating how far I have come, he yells at me and acts embarassed because I still have problems doing a lot of things.  Before the baptism today, in a very irritated tone, he said to me "Why can't you just be okay with this today" (meaning why can't I just sit in the front of the church like everyone else and why can't I just eat the food and use the silverware and be normal).  As if I can just shut it off like a switch for a day.
    The truth is I'm really starting to accept that he will never understand this disorder, nor even try is the worst part.  It is so difficult for me to understand how after knowing fully about my disorder for several years now, that he thinks I can just "shut it off" for a day.  And how he thinks that yelling at me is going to motivate me to want to do things.  It is discouraging is what it is.  He doesn't even understand most of what I deal with, and that is his choice, not mine.  Because he doesn't want to talk about it.  But his attitude has always worn on me.  It brings me down and it makes me feel negatively about him.  I really don't have much "trust" in him anymore, from an emotional standpoint.  And because I don't "trust" him or find him to be a safe person to share my emotions with, I think this is part of the reason why I feel he is so contaminated to me.  I find myself avoiding a lot of things where he will be, simply because I don't want to see him roll his eyes at me, sigh, yell, or act like I'm embarassing him.  It's easier to avoid and not have to deal with his reaction.  The interesting thing is that I can go out and do a lot of things when he is not there, that I would have trouble doing when he was there.  Again, it's just him constantly watching me and feeling a sense of shame.  No matter what I do, it's just never enough for him.  The problem is that he wants me to be "normal" and not have OCD get in the way of his life.  And there is no in between for him.  I just feel so depressed and defeated thinking about this whole thing.  That is a dangerous place to be, as depression leads you to places where it is really  hard to fight off the OCD.  And I WILL NOT get back to the place I was before.
   One of the hardest things for me to figure out, is how I get over feeling like he is contaminated.  How do I push myself in these areas.  When I don't "trust" him enough to feel emotionally safe with him, it is really difficult to even think about wanting to have a physical relationship with him.  And when he finds fault in everything that I do with the OCD and is basically ashamed of me, then what am I really working for here?
   At the end of the day, I have to keep fighting against this OCD for myself...and for my daughter.  When I was at my most severe with this, I managed to get myself out of it (even despite his discouragement and attitude toward me).  I did this with the help of God.  I'm not sure that my husband understands how his attitude toward me plunged me further down.  Today, I know that I am getting somewhere in this fight.  I look back to when I had severe OCD and most of my days (from an OCD stanpoint) were rated at about a 2.  Now most of my days (from an OCD standpoint) are about an 8.  That is HUGE progress.  And I will keep working on it.    


  1. Exposure and Response Prevention Motivators By Dr. Jonathan Grayson
    Exposure and response prevention (ERP) is hard work and it can be terrifying. We always say that both ritualizing and treatment are difficult and that the only difference is that treatment leads to an end of rituals and avoiding treatment leads to endless rituals.
    Nevertheless, ERP is painful and what can you do when you feel your fear rising and the idea of a OCD free life doesn’t seem as important as your anxiety in the moment. I think at these times it is useful to remember why you want to get away from OCD. Below are two sets of questions with suggested sub-questions. I would urge you to write about these in the most painful way you can remember, so that when OCD threatens to overwhelm your treatment, you will have more to fight back with.
    The first set of questions concerns what have you lost to OCD? Within this set think about 1) Because of OCD, I’ve Missed; 2) Humiliating Experiences; 3) Financial/Employment Losses; 4) Guilt; 5) Lost/Wasted Time; 6) Because of OCD, I’ve Been Late To; 7) Damaged or Lost Relationships; 8)Other OCD Losses:
    The second set of questions concerns how have you hurt your loved ones with your OCD? 1) Forcing Them to Ritualize; 2) Making Them Late or Missing Events; 3) Hurt Them with My Other OCD Demands; 4) Hurt Them with My OCD Anger; 5) Hurt Them with My OCD Rigidity; 6) Ignoring Them Because of OCD Thoughts; 7) Ignoring Them by Withdrawing; 8) Other.
    So rather than avoiding an exposure think about your reasons to fight OCD and remember that if you get better, not only will your life improve, so will the lives of your loved ones.

    Hoping this will be helpful. Carol

    1. Thanks Carol, I read Grayson's book a few years ago and I didn't care for his style of ERP (especially the contamination stuff). It just seemed like throwing you into the ocean when you don't know how to swim...and I think that works for some people, but for me I prefer a slower approach. Nevertheless of his approach, I do agree with his motivators listed above. I still have his book and that is a great idea, I think I will get it out and answer these exact questions for some continued motivation. Maybe I will even use that as my next blog post. Even if I do these things, a hard piece of the puzzle I am finding to deal with is still my husband's attitude. I'll be honest that I think people do a lot better with OCD treatment in a supportive healthy environment. My husband is unable to be that for me, and so it makes it really tough. But his attitude is one of my biggest motivators, I can't continue to let him bring me down.

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  3. I like that idea. Do read and answer the questions. We lose SOOOOO much to OCD and it simply isn't worth it. Time we will never get back, money over replaced purchases, tension in relationships, the list goes on and on. You have suffered long enough. sorry I don't know why this wants to keep posting as my son in law. Carol

  4. You know, you really amaze me. You never give up and you are so courageous. I imagine that some day, when your daughter is all grown up, she will be so proud of you.

    When I read Grayson's book, I just ignored the part about stopping all compulsions at once. Once I left that out of the equation, I thought there was a lot of really good material there (which is why I still recommend it to everyone). I did ERP step by step as well. I suspect that is how most people do it, especially if they are not in a residential treatment setting. Progress is progress, doesn't matter how you get there. And I think it's so impressive how you have made progress on your own. Great job!

    1. You are so thoughtful and kind with your comment. No joke here, but I really feel my daughter has a strong sense of compassion toward others, in just watching what I deal with every day. So, I hope that she can take that someday and use it to help someone else. I recently had surgery and made some leaps and bounds progress there too, am just working on finishing up that post in the next day or so, so check back for that. I hope I really am making progress. I feel like it. Sometimes I wonder if its just that I'm so used to it now that I've found ways to work around things. The bottom line is that is definitely not affecting my life as much as it was in the past (nor my daughter's life). And I feel happier. And thank you so much for encouraging me, as I know you've had your own fight too! Thanks for being such a great advocate for this disorder!

  5. What I meant to say was that your daughter would be so proud of you when she is old enough to understand it all and everything you have worked so hard on!

  6. I'm happy for you as well, good progress.