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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

My Goals for 2016 (and what I accomplished OCD-wise in 2015)


     I really think this was a good year for me.  Not a lot of organization to this post, but I just wanted to summarize what I was able to kick in regard to OCD, and my goals for next year.  2 years ago, I honestly considered myself at almost extreme OCD, to the point where it was very difficult to function in daily life.  I avoided everything and felt as if the world was contaminated.  I was very depressed, which I feel contributed greatly to my downward spiral with OCD.  It has taken me a couple of years to get to where I am at now, backtracking through severe OCD, and to what I would consider now to be moderate.  This means that OCD is still very much affecting my life though.  I'm not out of the woods here by any means, but I have improved greatly.  And today I want to celebrate that.  Thus, the picture alongside.  It's never too late to change your life.  No matter how bad your OCD is, I promise it is not too late to change things and get better.         
     Some of the things I was able to do this year:
--washed contaminated clothes again and wore them (even very higly contaminated situations)
--doing better with my dog in general
--a lot better with eating in general, eating things even after I feel something  unsanitary has happened (people touching the donuts at the bakery, workers with cuts on their hands that I know are making my food, sandwich shop workers touching their clothes/hats with gloved hands while making my sandwich).  It's not completely gone, I still notice things.  They don't bother me as much anymore, and I am really happy with where I am at with this.  I have eaten a lot of different foods over the past few months that I've avoided for a long time.  I've even put on 10 pounds, which I needed.
--basically obliterated my work/magical thinking/charting issues 99%
--was able to stop turning off toilets in the house while I did laundry
-was able to purposely flush main bathroom toilet while laundry was going even with urine, and stool in it
--saw my niece for the first time in 20 months (big one here)
--attended my high school reunion this summer
--attended several family events over the past year
--washed clothes even though there was likely dog poop on them
--started using chemicals again to clean with
--had surgery despite major contamination issues
--had a colonoscopy (same issues as surgery)
--started taking 2 new medications
--took antibiotics for the first time in 10 years
--got my car contaminated by a mechanic
--allowed my daughter to go to a friends house
--allowed my husband to contaminate one of my outfits
--only washing my couch off 1-2 times/week, instead of every day
--starting wearing makeup and hairspray again
--started getting my hair cut and highlighted again
--was able to get in dirty situations, such as clearing out a storage room in my basement
--little problems anymore after cleaning up after my dog's vomit

There are many more examples, but these are just a few.  Sometimes I'm not sure how much progress I'm really making, but I am doing better.  I know it!  And here are some of the things I want to keep onor start working on in 2016:

--not washing my carseat off after sitting in public places
--stop washing the couch entirely
--really try to stop keeping "safe zones" in my house
--reduce handwashing further
--get back to church every week
--purposely doing my laundry when my husband is home
--allow all of my "outdoor clothes" to become contaminated
My laundry issues are kind of complicated.  Honestly, a lot of my issues still revolve around using too much detergent probably in the washing machine.  Then it takes several rinse cycles to get them clean.  And because I keep my laundry separated into all sorts of loads, this makes for way too much time still spent doing laundry.  Although I have come a long way from double or even triple washing every load (ugh, hard to believe but true).  Laundry should be a simple the washer, and out.  And for me, that is not the case.  I really need to work on this stuff, one item at a time.
--join a club this summer, so my daughter and I can go swimming (I really hope to be able to do this, this coming summer.  I was not able to do this in 2015 yet)
--allow my daughter to spend even more time at her friends houses

    I still have issues in all my main categories:  Laundry, clothing contamination, dog, husband, handwashing, safe zones, and eating.  I am going to work really hard in 2016, one item at a time, although some things are bound to get better in other areas as I work on each thing.  I am choosing to knock out my laundry issues next.  I plan on putting together a plan in the next week and finish these laundry problems out hopefully in a couple of months total.  Stay tuned!

     Also, there are some other non-OCD issues I would like to work on.  I feel like I've made some steps to help myself become more physically healthy this year.  I am hoping to continue trying to eat better, getting more exercise, getting out in the sunshine as much as possible, I would like to work toward spending more time with extended family and friends, getting back to church. and spending more time cooking and making meals (instead of eating out so much).  I want to spend more time in prayer, reading the Bible, and practicing positivity.  I have felt so down the last couple of years, part of this is because of the OCD, but part of this is because of the relationship I have with my husband.  I have to start accepting the fact that his attitude may never change toward me.   He continues to be distant and emotionally unavailable, and the truth is that I just don't see that changing soon.  I want to be happier even with those circumstances.  If the end result is still a poorly communicative relationship, then I want to just accept that basically, and still learn to be  a happy person.  Does that make sense?

     No matter how bad your OCD is, it can get better.  I never thought I would be able to do the majority of things above, and now I do most of them with no or little problems.  As I've said though, I still have a long ways to go.  But, progress is progress.  I am happy to celebrate any progress, getting out of this disorder.  Please, please know that you can also fight against this disorder, no matter how bad your OCD is.  It seems like it will never get better, and it seems like a losing battle.  But the great news is that ERP can really help us, and it does.  It will truly start changing your life!

Happy New Year, and it is my hope that all of us with OCD will break free of this disease.  One step, one exposure at a time.