Thursday, December 22, 2011

Turning the light switch off

It's been longer than usual since my last post. The last week has been a mixture of things. The highlight I guess has been that my HOCD has practically vanished (let's knock on wood here). I have been able to interact with friends, employees at stores, watch movies with gorgeous actresses, and quite simply just walk down the street without discovering things or seeing other people that I believe make me gay. It's a pretty crazy feeling when you've finished watching a movie and realize that you have not had one single thought related to HOCD. Or, after walking to a destination on campus you realize that you did not look at a single person walking by you on the street and question if they were gay, if they thought you were gay, if you are attracted to them, if you could see yourself being with them and bla bla bla. Definitely making progress.

But, let's not get too excited (that's what I keep telling myself). Because, we all know that OCD likes to knock on the front door when everything seems to be just dandy. It has done exactly that in a couple different ways this week. When driving home from school for Christmas Break I realized that both forms of my OCD had been incredibly under control for about two days, which is a big deal. I wasn't obsessing over anything (well I was, but it was the positive aspects of my relationship) and like I said, the HOCD seemed to be something that I had trouble with decades ago. Then like clockwork, BAM, my first anxiety provoking thought in literally weeks. I was listening to Dr. Joy Brown on the radio and a caller asked for advice about her father who she believed to be a narcissist. For some reason I was not fully aware of what being a narcissist entailed. So, sure enough I googled it (damn you google) and started reading through descriptions and wikipedia pages. Like a freight train, it hit, "Am I a narcissist"? I immediately found several similarities between myself and the characteristics listed on the internet. Of course this led to immediate rumination and over thinking on my drive home. This was of course accompanied by the tightness in my chest and butterflies in my stomach. Luckily, it is something that created anxiety and really bothered me but didn't "stick" I guess you could say. It definitely didn't develop into some new obsession, but chose to slide its way into my ROCD instead. For the last two days anytime I talk to my boyfriend, my little OCD shadow just says to me "you're selfish, you don't care about what he has to say, you just want to talk about yourself. If you really cared about him you would want to listen to everything he had to say and wouldn't be so concerned about yourself. When he talks a lot you just get annoyed, which obviously means the relationship can't last long term". The most frustrating thing about it is that it is literally like a light switch. For a week straight I was feeling great about the relationship and like I said was obsessing about it but in a positive manner (still not a good thing, I know). I was incredibly excited for our vacation and missing him terribly. Then, we have one conversation, through text messages, that causes the switch to turn on. There was absolutely nothing about this conversation that should have caused any concern. I simply wasn't in the mood to talk and was watching a show online. He, however, was very talkative and texting left and right like we always do. The conversation completely turned me away and immediately made me start feeling like I didn't care. It's like all of the sudden I see that as some tall tell sign that the relationship isn't meant to be. Like normal people are ALWAYS in the mood to talk to their significant other. Right OCD, right. Anyways, it has basically turned into two straight days of grouchiness with him and me feeling like I am "faking it" again. This of course leads to rumination about past relationships and picking apart every tiny aspect of this relationship that will cause it to fail. It's like someone turns on the OCD light switch and the OCD causes you to have to put on sunglasses that blur your vision from all reality. Like no matter what you tell yourself or what you do you cannot see things clearly. When you are stuck in those moments you can't assess anything for what it really is. I see my boyfriend almost as a figment of my imagination. Like I don't actually think about him, I only think about the negative storyline I have built in my head. If I manage to cut through all the fog and illusions I begin to feel better because thoughts of him as a person and not an idea make me feel great. This probably doesn't make any sense at all,  but it's just how things have been for the past couple days.  Eventually, something will cause the light switch to turn off again, and I will come to the realization that my bad days were ridiculous and I will question why I could ever think that way. But for now I'm stuck and hoping something flips the switch for me.

I have been doing quite a bit of reading over break, and will fill everyone in on my next post. For those of you with Pure O who haven't read "Imp of the Mind", I strongly suggest it. It's the only book I have read that is directly written towards the pure form. I have also started to read a lot about mindfulness and Buddhism actually. I am finding it to be incredibly interesting and am working on putting a lot of the mindfulness techniques into practice. If you haven't read up on this theory of thought I would suggest it as well. Goodnight all.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Girl Problems

It's funny how there are weeks that go by with no spikes, and very little amounts of OCD when you find yourself feeling completely normal. Then, bam, it hits and the doubting rolls back in. Tonight I started searching the internet for reassurance that what I have is actually OCD and was comparing myself to those with physical compulsions (I have Pure O) thinking that "maybe I don't even have OCD, is what I have even related, it is so much different". After browsing through posts on stuck in a doorway I am feeling much better. It's just frustrating. The most frustrating thing about it is that this 5 days of the month I have very little to no control over my OCD. Yes, for all you ladies reading I am talking about hormones. I could write a weeks worth of posts on what my hormones do to my OCD, and probably will eventually, but let's just say it is like clockwork. I was at therapy on Thursday, where I had my first session of ERP. I was on top of the world and telling my therapist how great I had been doing, how few spikes I had been having, and how much progress I had been making with exposing myself to fears. I put my hierarchy together on note cards and she walked me through almost all of them with imaginal scripts. I barely had any anxiety. It was great. Almost like the OCD has never been there. Then, I went home that night and was watching Law and Order and an episode about a transgender came on. There it went. I immediately started ruminating and questioning whether or not that was a possibility for me. Maybe since I was such a tomboy when I was little it really just meant I wanted to be a man, which would explain why I think I am a lesbian, because I really should be a man anyways. I was so bummed. I had been having so many good days and then all of the sudden a TV show spiked me (granted, not nearly as bad as it would have 6 weeks I know there is still a ton of improvement). I then went to bed that night and for some reason was thinking about my therapist and decided to look her up online. I came across a site that listed all of her specialties and they included things like gay, lesbian, transgender, and bisexual individuals. Well, as you can imagine...spike central. I started thinking what if she is a lesbian and I have been saying all of these things to her and offending her. I ran through all the conversations we had in my head trying to figure out if she had said anything that hinted to the fact that she might be gay. So dumb.

Needless to say, I was tad bit frustrated. But, I immediately put the puzzle pieces together when I noticed a few other tall tale signs. It was about to be my favorite five days of the month (insert sarcasm here). It is honestly like clockwork. My hormones fluctuate and the OCD creeps back in. I have been trying to push myself through it, since it is a good time to work on ERP because my OCD is at a higher level than it has been for the past few weeks. Tonight I watched an episode on Oprah called "Pray the Gay Away". I kept telling myself that I accept the possibility that any of the things I saw on the show could happen to me, and if they did, I would handle them when necessary.  The hard part for me though, is that my anxiety is so much lower now that I am on meds. I find that I have very little anxiety and more simply just lots and lots of rumination. The times when my OCD latches onto some "new thought" is really the only time I experience the anxiety I used to. This of course just adds to the OCD because I try to figure out why I don't have the anxiety. Anyways, enough rambling. I am going to start posting lots of things about my ERP, what kind of exposures I am doing, and what is and isn't helping. I am very excited to start moving in this direction and also very excited for these five days to be over so I can really get on top of things again. Goodnight All. I hope this post finds you well :)

P.S. I love how my OCD tells me throughout the entirety of this post that I am just over exaggerating, making things up, and trying to elude everyone. So pleasant. Do any of you find that when you blog about things you have that voice in the back of your head making you doubt even what you're writing?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Daily Reminder in Ink

So...I've never been a tattoo person. At all. I am very conservative as far as clothing style goes and am dressed in either all athletic gear or gap/ J Crew...aka not really tattoo style :). I have had a few piercings here and there when I was a teenager (belly button, nose, cartilage) but now I am just a plain Jane with one piercing in each ear. The reason I have never had the urge to get a tattoo is because I haven't felt like I have had the appropriate cause, or something that provided enough meaning for me. But what could provide more meaning than OCD?...right? :) I officially decided tonight that I want to get a tattoo that signifies my 6 year battle with OCD and can provide me with a daily reminder of what I have been through and how proud I am of myself. I had several ideas and of course immediately started obsessing over and researching tattoo designs. After three hours of googling I have decided to go with "let it be." in small cursive letters on the inside of my left wrist. This way if I need to cover it up I will simply put on a watch or a bracelet :). I was searching and searching for the perfect design or perfect phrase and the second I saw let it be on the screen I actually got anxiety because it was so perfect. You couldn't ask for a better reminder in regards to OCD and everything it entails. The thoughts, the doubting, the rumination, the obsessions, the rituals......Just let it be. That's the only way any of us are ever going to get past the OCD. We have to learn to let the thoughts be there. So, that's my random rant for the night. Have to admit I am pretty excited, and also glad my parents don't know about my blog ;) Goodnight all.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Rainy Sunday

Well, it's been awhile since my last post. All kinds of ideas keep popping in my head as far as things to write about, but I just haven't had the motivation to sit down and do it. However, it's a gross rainy Sunday here in the midwest, so, there's no better time to spill my beans!

I am going to start with a little update on how my OCD has been the past week or so. For starters, I am now taking the appropriate dose of Prozac for my OCD (40 mg) so I am hoping to see even more benefits in the next few weeks. The only thing I am really struggling with is fatigue. ugh. I will literally sleep for 8 or 9 hours, wake up for a bit, and feel like I need to take a nap or two throughout the day--and still can't stay up past 10! yikes. But, I told the Dr. it is a side effect I can deal with and we can explore it more later. As for my actual OCD-- I have officially gone 4 or 5 days in a row without a single anxiety inducing HOCD thought. Crazy huh!? I will finish watching a movie, or be home after being out for the day at some sort of event or after being around people and realize, "Oh my Gosh, I haven't had a single thought all day". These are events that used to cause me great torment and I have been a prisoner of 8-10 hours of rumination a day in regards to my OCD for the last 2 years, and just a little less the 4 years before that. So, needless to say... BIG DEAL. I was even able to discuss a lesbian couple with my roommate like a normal human being a few days ago. My therapist is incredibly happy with my progress and I have started journaling so we can get to work on my ERP hierarchy. Woot woot.

Now of course, this doesn't mean all of the OCD has slowed down. My ROCD has been quite a pain the past few weeks. I go through periods  of time convinced I will never have strong enough feelings in my current relationship and wondering if I will ever feel fulfilled enough in the relationship (looking for the feeling of love). Some days if I am not super intent on talking to the BF, I start wondering if it's because my feelings are strong enough--because shouldn't I want to talk to him ALL THE TIME? Dumb. But, my therapist and I are starting to delve into the ROCD more and I think it will help a lot. I am writing down my triggers and the thoughts associated with them in order to keep track of things. I am also trying to work on the "it is what it is" line. Easier said than done :/

My boyfriend and I are going on vacation (long distance relationship) for 10 days in December. Needless to say, I'm a bit nervous. We have not seen each other since my "ultimate breakdown" in which I was convinced I had to come out of the closet and break up with him (a week before I sought help). I have told him I am pretty nervous and hoping things go well. I am really going to talk to my therapist the next two weeks about ways I can battle the OCD while I'm with him. If any of you have any useful tips it would be greatly appreciated. I am going to try to use it as a form of exposure I guess. So it could definitely be helpful if I can keep my head on straight *fingers crossed*. All in all I am excited, but definitely skeptical. I'll keep you guys updated :) Any again---suggestions would be great!

P.S. I plan on telling him for the first time about my HOCD--he only knows about the ROCD. You can assume its added a little anxiety to the thoughts of our vacation. :0