“I Just Don’t Trust Myself!”

I wrote this post four and a half years ago. It is my most read post by far and continues to be. It tells a tale of how OCD can take a rational and reasonable young man and cause him to question what seem to be the simplest things in life:

OCD In The Family

IMG_2101[1]Many of us who live with a loved one who has OCD have heard this familiar refrain.  It doesn’t really matter what it is about; it could be one not trusting their own eyes that their homework is in their backpack, or whether the knob on the stove is really in the “Off” position.  OCD has a nasty way of making its victims regularly doubt themselves.

“I just don’t trust myself!”  Blake uttered in defeat one morning this week.  This had followed an excruciating morning of trying to choose a simple something – anything – to eat for breakfast.  He just couldn’t do it.  He stared deeply into the refrigerator.  His angst was palpable.  I could see the wheels churning furiously in his brain.  What can I possibly eat that will be acceptable?

Blake has lots of food rules and restrictions, yet he usually finds something to eat in a relatively…

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Monday Morning

It’s 8:32 in the morning and I send a text message to both of my boys about the Thanksgiving holiday, which is over a month away. I have to make airplane reservations and I want to check on their schedules. I expect I’ll hear from Michael; it’s three hours later where he is and he already had a class this morning. Blake I don’t expect to hear from until at least late afternoon or evening with his sleep issues. He has a 10 am class, but he’s missed attending nearly every week.

To my surprise, it’s Blake I hear back from first at 8:39 am. He confirms his schedule for me. 

Me: Whatcha doing?

Blake: Waking up.

Me: You heading out to class?

Blake: Yeah 

Me: Out of bed yet?

Blake: Showered.

Me: Wow. Just wow.

Blake: I appreciate your amazement at my basic levels of human functioning. 😛

Me: It’s a mom thing.

Blake: Are turnovers a breakfast pastry or dessert?

Me: They are whatever you like them to be. Love you.

Blake: Love you too!

It’s a brief moment in time, but it’s a victory nonetheless. Blake is awake. He got himself showered at a time that allows him to participate in the day. Whether he will leave his apartment and head to school or head back to bed is uncertain. It is just this – a moment.

I’m Still Here

Image courtesy of Bill Longshaw at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Just a quick post to let my readers know that I’m still here. Life has been a bit busy with Michael returning home from college for the summer and Blake wrapping up his class for the semester. Friends’ kids are graduating from high school and college. My practice has been busy with more adults and children with OCD than I can humanly work with (I suppose that it’s a good thing that my practice is busy, but I always feel sad when I have to say, “No.”).

I’m working on my next post. In the meantime, if you’re looking for me, you might find me helping prepare one 18-year-old to go off to school in the fall, or helping a hubby prepare for a trip, or teaching a 21-year-old how to meal plan so he doesn’t eat out every day again in the next school year. Of course, you might also find me in a public restroom, coaxing a patient to touch a door handle; or crawling around in the outdoor planter with a child at work; or I might be in a home encouraging a frightened young patient to eat a challenge food or prompting an adult to put her things away “just wrong.”

No matter what I’m doing, it won’t be boring. Have a good week!

Dear 14 Year Old Self #OCDWeek

It’s OCD Awareness Week. As I’ve pondered how to mark the week on my own blog, after reading Ellen’s touching post, I could find no better way.

Ellen's OCD Blog

Dear 14 year old self,

You’re about to start therapy. Something you’re not too sure about just yet, but trust me, it’s going to be one of the most valuable experiences you will ever go through. OCD’s being a pain in the ass right? At this point, you don’t really know what makes your OCD ‘tick’. All you know is that you despise what it has done to you, robbing you of your independence and ability to function and wishing you could eradicate it from your life in an instant.

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A Liebster Award!

liebster-award3[1]This morning I awoke to a very nice surprise.  Mrs. Stone at Pebbles On The Road had nominated me for a Liebster Award!  Now, I’ve seen these Liebster Awards on other blogs I read, and I’d wondered about them.  How cool to have this recognition and learn more about it.  Thank you very much, Mrs. Stone!!  I am humbled.  Now it is my turn to share a bit about this award and to nominate others.

Here is what I have learned about the Liebster. The Liebster Blog Award is one given to newer bloggers who have who have less than 200 followers for their blog (yep, that’s me!).  It is a way of showcasing newer blogs/bloggers to the blogging community.  Once you receive the award, you can either accept it or opt out of participating.  I’m opting in!!!  That means I get to nominate other blogs, answer some questions about me, and ask some questions of those I nominate.  Hooray!

Before I go on too far, I have the responsibility to post the Liebster Award Unofficial Rules.

The Unofficial Rules For The Liebster Award

1.  Thank the person who nominated you and post a link to their blog.  Once again, Mrs. Stone, thank you so very much for this award.  Check out Mrs. Stone’s blog, Pebbles on the Road, a witty, humorous look at the bumps and boulders on the road of life.

2.  Display the award on your blog!  Done!

3.  Answer 11 questions about yourself, provided by the blogger who nominated you.  See below.

4.  Provide 11 random facts about yourself.  Again, see below.

5.  Nominate 11 blogs with less than 200 followers that you feel deserve the award. Okay, going to do my best here.  There are so many wonderful blogs.

6.  Create a new list of questions for your nominees.  Let’s see if I can get creative.

7.  Post these rules on your blog.  Done!

8.  Tag your nominees and let them know with a link to your post.

 

My Answers to Mrs. Stone’s Questions

1.  Why did you decide to start blogging?  Well, originally I found myself writing about our experiences whenever I struggled with something regarding Blake’s OCD.  It was therapeutic, and a way to put down into words what was going on in my head.  I occasionally shared my writings with a few close people and they seemed touched by them.  I wondered if my words could be helpful to others, or if others were going through something similar.   I also wondered what it would be like to track our journey over time. Hence, the blog was born.

2. How did you come up with the name for your blog?  Honestly, that was no easy task.  I went round and round for months before I settled on something that worked for me.  OCD In The Family finally percolated up to the top because that’s what our family is dealing with – living with OCD in our midst (Hmmm…maybe I could have named it, “OCD In Our Midst”).

3.  What inspires you to write a blog post?  Sometimes I write because I am overwhelmed with emotions and I need somewhere to put them.  Other times, an issue or comment makes me feel like I need to say something.  Occasionally, my hubby or Michael says, “You should write about that.”

4.  Do you use an off-line editor for composing your blog posts, and if so, which one and why?  Okay, going to sound dumb here:  What’s an off-line editor?  So the answer is, no, I don’t use one.

5.  If you could cure any disease what would it be?  Can’t I cure them all?  Right now I’d like to cure all auto-immune diseases because my mom is really suffering from one and no one can seem to figure out what to do.  Her suffering is just unfair.

6.  What is your favorite thing to do when you have free time?  I can’t decide if I like to eat or to cook more!

7.  Using 10 words or less, how would you describe yourself?  Sensitive, inquisitive, caring, (too) serious, emotional, funny, driven, conscientious. Don’t I sound like a barrel full of fun?

8.  If your life were made into a movie, who would play you in the film and why?  Julianna Margulies.  Why?  Because she rocks the curly or straight look and I like to pretend that I look like her.  And she’s a pretty amazing actress!

9.  How would your life change if you were to win the lottery?  So, I don’t play the lottery because I rarely win anything.  I once tried to play the nickel slot machines in Las Vegas and I was so angry when I lost my roll of nickels!!!

10.  Miracle Whip or real mayonnaise?  Miracle whip – light.

11.  Paper or plastic?  I carry my own bags around with me.

11 Random Facts About Me

1.  I cry when I hear people sing live.

2.  I love old china teacups!  My grandmother got me into it.  Now I can’t stop collecting!

3.  I have two turtles as pets and one day I imagine having a whole bunch of turtles and tortoises in my yard.

4.  One of the most spiritual moments of my life was when I came face-to-face with a green sea turtle while snorkeling.  It was like time stopped.

5.  I’m a sucker for murder mystery novels.

6.  One day I want to travel by ship down the east cost of South America and get all the way to Antarctica on an ice breaker!

7.  My favorite comfort food is macaroni and ketchup!  Sounds silly, right?  Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it. My mom used to make it for me when I was a kid.  I don’t know where it came from, but now it’s my go-to when I’m needing a little nurturing.

8.  When I was little I kept a dollhouse in my bedroom in hopes that a family of little people would move in.  I’m still waiting…

9.  Blake is made of Junior Mints.  I craved ’em when I was pregnant with him.

10.  Michael is made of tacos and bean burritos!

11.  I’d love to sing in a choir, but I’ve never had the guts to audition.

My Turn To Nominate

1.  International OCD Foundation BlogI have no idea why this blog has less than 200 followers.  It should have a million followers!  This blog highlights the latest that is up with the International OCD Foundation, an organization that truly is there for people with OCD, their friends and family, and clinicians and researchers, alike!

2.  Ellen’s OCD BlogEllen is fifteen.  Fifteen!  She is a gifted writer who shares her own experiences of having OCD while being an activist who brings awareness to the cause.  I appreciate her ability to share openly an honestly, as well as her determination not to give up in the face of this disorder.

3.  My Twice Baked PotatoKelly is an elementary school teacher and a mom to a twice-exceptional young man.  I appreciate her honesty and her steadfast commitment to her own son and to the needs of families with gifted and special needs children.

4.  Dreams to be Anxiety Free:  Emily provides a true service by sharing what it is really like to live with OCD.  She has an amazing grasp on OCD and what it takes to get better.  I am constantly touched by her wisdom.

Wow, I just realized how difficult it is to nominate 11 blogs.  I read lots of other wonderful blogs, but in looking at them, they have more than 200 followers.  So, I leave you with this small, but mighty, list.

Questions For My Nominees

1.  What prompted you to start blogging?

2.  Do you have a favorite post you’ve written (and, if so, link us to it)?

3.  If there was one thing that you could change in your past, what would it be?

4.  What is the one “takeaway” you’d like readers to get from reading your blog?

5.  Share a funny moment.

6.  Who, or what, inspires you?

7.  If a movie were made about your blog, who would star in it?

8.  Dark or milk chocolate?

9.  If you spent a week in outer space, what would you take with you?

10.  What’s your favorite non-blogging hobby?

11.  A long lost aunt leaves you a large sum of money.  What do you do with it?

Cheers all!  And thank you again, Mrs. Stone!!

Another Perspective

Image courtesy of Photokanok at Freedigitalphotos.net
Image courtesy of Photokanok at Freedigitalphotos.net

We have been traveling for nearly two weeks.  Our whole family.  Far, far from home.  We are with a tour group.  Most of these people we have never met before.  They do not know our stories, and we do not know theirs.  We are all getting to know each other as we travel from place to place and cling to one another as something familiar, something from home, in this land that is foreign to us all.

One thing almost nobody on this trip knows is that Blake has OCD.  They do not know that one way it shows itself  is in scrupulosity and that he repeats prayers over and over because that last one didn’t feel “quite right” or that he frequently worries that his actions may offend God.  Since they don’t know, their reaction to him has been interesting to me, even refreshing for my own perspective.

Let me say that is has escaped no one on this trip that Blake is a religious young man.  However, since our group is more than forty people, it doesn’t stand out to everyone that he repeats or overdoes. Most only recognize him as religious.  So, instead of the angst we experience at home with his practice, I simply keep hearing words of praise.

“Blake is such a dedicated young man at such a young age,” one woman tells me.

“Blake, you impress me with your commitment to your religion,” another tells him.

“He is so smart and he knows so much about religion,” another traveler who has been enjoying conversation with Blake remarks.  “Do you think he’ll become a religious scholar?”

There are times when I might have wanted to correct these people’s perceptions.  I might have wanted to adjust their viewpoint by letting them know that, yes, it is lovely that he is so dedicated, but that they didn’t know the downside – the fear and anxiety that came along with it.  I have opted against that on this journey.  First, Blake (and the rest of our family) deserves whatever privacy he can get.  It is his personal life and I’d rather the fact that he has OCD only be shared if he wants to share it.  Second, it has actually been a perspective changing experience to listen to people glow with compliments about my almost 15-year-old son and to just sit with them, soak them in.

It is this second thing that has created some very positive and appreciative feelings in me.  Often, I sit in angst about Blake’s OCD.  Instead, over this vacation I’ve been able to see my son through another lens.  I’ve been able to see what others see when they look at him and interact with him.  I’ve been able to appreciate myself what a special young man he is.

Yes, of course he has his challenges and those are his to deal with, but, for this time, I am enjoying hearing others praise him.  I am enjoying seeing him take in that praise.  I am grateful he is having the opportunity to be appreciated by others without having “OCD” hanging over his head.  More importantly, I am reminded that there are wonderful, non-OCD parts of his religious observance, and he deserves to enjoy those.