Monday, June 6, 2016

After Phone Rituals

I hate talking on the phone. I hate it when other people talk on the phone. I avoid it like the plague unless it's Dvs or Pg because then if I need to call them back a bunch of times I can. I mean, it annoys them, but it's doable. And the reason that I hate the phone so much is my after phone ritual. It used to be shorter, but as OCD has a tendency to do, it has grown until it's the overwhelming ritual. Obviously I have to wash my hands until I've done that right, but after I or somebody else gets off the phone. I rush to the computer where this is always typed into an address bar:

LIVE I'm waking up alive wake up alive I'm just waking up alive you're waking up alive you're just waking up alive

And then as I stare at these words, I either say out loud or mouth to myself, sometimes with my fingers in my ears so as to block out anything on the tv or Rr or Jr talking:

I will live, I'm gonna live, I shall live. The second time I fall asleep I will live, I'm gonna live, I shall live. The third time I fall asleep I will live, I'm gonna live, I shall live. I will live, live, live, live, I live. 

When I fall asleep I will live. When I fall asleep I'm gonna live. When I fall asleep I shall live. When I fall asleep I'm going to live. When I fall asleep I live.
     These exact phrases are then repeated by adding second, third, etc. Such as "when I fall asleep the second time I will live". Replace second with third            and repeat, then again with fourth, fifth, all the way up to eighth.

If I fall asleep I will live. If I fall asleep I'm gonna live. If I fall asleep I shall live. If I fall asleep I'm going to live. If I fall asleep I live.

I will wake up alive, I'm gonna wake up alive, I shall wake up alive, I'm going to wake up alive, I wake up alive. 
     These phrases are also repeated by adding second, third, etc. Up to eighth.

I'm waking up alive, I'm just waking up alive.

Sometimes I have to add people in saying their names first and then each phrase. Other times I add "no matter what" in front of them. Other times I change the "I" to "you" and say them all again. I'll take the when or if out and say each phrase again that way. There are a lot of combinations of ways I say the same phrases, so as to cover all the OCD bases.

I also add times when I'm feeling especially anxious or caught in an OCD loop such as:

I will live at 1 o'clock, I'm gonna live at 1 o'clock, I shall live at 1 o'clock, I'm going to live at 1 o'clock, I live at 1 o'clock.

Depending on the day, I might do a few times. On bad OCD days, I'll do every hour. I also change the "I" to "you" and say all the phrases that way. 

Can you imagine doing all this after each and every phone call? It can be exhausting. The worst part is when I hear/see/think a "bad" word in the middle of any of them. That's when I have the strong urge to wash my hands and call the person back. Obviously, this causes intense anxiety when there is no way to speak with that person again such as customer service or if the person has gone to work or bed or whatever other reasons there might be. 

It makes things even worse when it's somebody else talking on the phone such as Rr or Jr. Then I want them to call whoever they were talking to back until I can get the ritual right. 

Involving people in my rituals is bad, it has caused many arguments. Avoidance is bad. Performing the rituals is bad. Hopefully with further counseling and therapy, I'll be able to confront this and stop asking other people to call people back. I'll be able to stop calling people back myself and speak on the phone like a "normal" person.

Also, these are the same rituals I perform after talking to people in person and especially touching anybody. And honestly, I do it after seeing people drive by too, even strangers. 

My mind is always tired. 


What Pam Says

I've named my OCD Pam. When trying to think of something appropriate, this fit the best. No offense to anybody named Pam. 

Fucking Pam! See? Fits.

Anyway, Friday marked session three with my new counselor. It's a little strange doing things over video, but hey at this point I'd take anything. I'm so happy to have found somebody in my area that understands OCD and ERP. And I'm stoked that she takes my insurance. It would suck so bad if she was right there, but I had no money to pay her. She - I'll refer to her as Lhk from this point - seems to know her stuff. She says a lot of things that make sense. I find myself nodding in agreement a lot. The tough part is applying what she's saying. Scary shit. 

A few things she has said:

On being lazy - I'm super lazy. She recommended when I have a thought of doing something such as taking a walk or doing a chore, etc. to get up and do it right then. When I wait, the laziness sets in and I make excuses. She wants me to start taking walks. I took one today right after we got done with our session. Dvs came over early and she went with me. We went I'd say a block and a little down towards CVS and I stopped when I was feeling anxious. Then I went a littler further and stopped again. I wanted to turn around, but Dvs asked if I wanted to take a few more steps so we did. Then we turned around and came back.

On taking car rides - I told her I had taken a few short rides with Richard this past week and that I start feeling anxious the further away I get. That's usually when I ask the person driving to turn around. She recommends at that point to actually stop and park the car. I guess the idea is to feel the anxiety and allow it to come down on its own.

On feeling the anxiety - I'm supposed to experience it instead of wishing or willing it away. Generally speaking when I feel panic set in it comes with a sense of derealization, difficulty breathing, clamming hands, and an overwhelming feeling of doom and the need to run, get out of where I am, or return home. As that happens, I immediately start to distract myself. I start talking to whoever I'm with about anything and everything. Or I try to chat with somebody online, or flip through the channels. I do whatever it takes to change my attention to something else. Lhk wants me to stop doing that. I'm supposed to feel the anxiety. Allow myself to sit with it and retrain my brain. I imagine this will be very difficult. My brain has been hardwired for twenty years to avoid anxiety. She said I can try giving my anxiety a rating and narrating what the sensations are. Oh boy, that sounds fun. 

On putting effort into exposures - I'm supposed to start putting active energy into these. She mentioned using a rewards system, however the only incentives that currently work are food. Unfortunately that only makes my physical health worse. She then said I could say well if I want to watch tv or read a book, etc. I have to do my exposures and then I can. I compared it to grounding myself. I think it will work, if I can force myself to stay accountable. She also thought keeping a log might be a good idea. Such as "OCD wants me to do this because of this, but I say no or I want to do this". 

I have a lot of work to do. I actually want to do some videos too, to document my experiences in therapy.


Saturday, May 14, 2016


Well, the road to my recovery has begun. Or at least it seems that way. I have an appointment on Monday for the home health care program from the mental health center to come over and enroll me. I spoke with the director on the phone the other day. I hate talking on the phone. I'm ok with people I know such as my sister or Mom - referred to as Dvs and Pg respectively - and I can call them back numerous times if OCD demands, but when it's somebody else it causes an extreme amount of anxiety. I knew she was calling though, we had emailed to set up the time. 

I tried to explain to her what I need. Ideally somebody that has experience with OCD and ERP though I know from last check nobody at that offices does. I also said that I want somebody to come and take walks with me, eventually leading to car rides. Obviously the more frequently the better. Somebody that understands that some days it might be hard for me to walk a block, and to gently push me to try to walk farther, but also know when to back off. She said that it might be hard to get somebody from that program out as frequently as I'd like, but there are other places such as Goodwill, EPI, etc. that offer services as well. I had never considered those places as options for a person like me. Without trying to sound bitchy or condescending, I assumed those services were for people with intellectual challenges or diminished mental capacity. She said she could check with those services and maybe all work together to get the help I need. 

I felt awful, horrible after I talked to her. I would have thought I'd be excited at the possibility of getting a semblance of a life back. But the thought of using a support person who usually helps somebody brush their teeth or take a shower was so depressing. I felt ashamed and embarrassed that I would be using these same services. 

I cried. I used to cry so very rarely. But this brought me to tears. That and animal cruelty or rescue videos. Those get me every time. I imagined a "support" person coming over and "helping" the fat, crazy lady walk down the block. Rolling their eyes and getting frustrated when she has to re-trace her steps, having trouble understanding why she's near a full blown panic attack when she's within eye sight of her front porch. 

I had planned on calling the counselor the next day to see if she had received my paperwork. I figured a phone call a day is enough. She ended up calling me that day, letting me know for some strange reason she got my paperwork super late, but that she was checking with insurance to see if I'd be eligible for "tele-services".

Dvs came over yesterday to hang out. She had planned on visiting our brother Dg, but missed the time frame twice so came here. She left again for the after lunch visit and then came back for a few hours. I'm glad she was able to visit him. I hope that seeing his family and other people that care for him keeps him in a better place. I explained to Dvs about how I felt after talking to the home health care lady. She actually used to be a care giver and she said that hopefully anybody that would have a job such as that would be more understanding that I'm giving them credit for. I've never cared much about what people think of me, but this bothered me and still does. I mean, that's conversation fodder for the win. "Hey so and so guess what I had to do at work today..." and so on. We both think that it would probably be best if I get to work with the same set of support people each week, so that I can attempt to build a relationship and understanding without having to explain the situation to a new person every time. That's my hope anyway, but at this point, I'd take anything.

As Dvs was heading out, we took a very short drive. Right down the street to the next main road. Right again then back home. It only took a few minutes and then she left. When I was gone, the counselor had called. She called me back a bit later and said that my insurance does cover video conferencing and we set it up to talk next week. I'm pretty worried about starting therapy. I'm worried that she'll realize that my case is far too severe and extreme for her to help me with. Plus, I'll actually have to start facing my fears. I feel that I need to warn her.

So that's where I'm at. 





And everything in between.


Sunday, January 3, 2016


Today is my little sister and brother's birthday. They are twins, turning 26 today. My sister is my best friend even though there is a ten year age gap between us. She's one of the only people in the world I know I could say anything to without facing judgement. I wish I was closer to my brother. I should try harder. He's had a rough life and many things have led to us being estranged, but when we were much younger he was my baby boy. I miss that. They are both married, my brother has a step-daughter. My sister and her husband are newly "trying". I hope to have a niece or nephew very soon. I think a baby in my life would be a good thing. Though I'm worried about how my sister and I will stay close during the whole process. I hope we do.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Outside in Shorts

In order to complete an OCD ritual, I put on my shoes with no socks and walked to the corner in shorts and a t-shirt in order to look at some random guy while thinking the right thought. Sounds insane, right? It is.

We have an insurance adjuster coming to inspect so we're all cleaning today. I picked the kitchen. I hate doing dishes, but I also hate cleaning the bathroom. For some reason, Richard seems to think he's exempt from the bathroom.

Wrote a post today. Entered some sweepstakes. I finished binge watching the show The Wire last night so now I have the extra fun task of picking a new show and hopefully liking it.

I spend entirely too much time watching tv. But what else does a homebound person with crippling OCD do?


Friday, January 1, 2016

No Promises

I make no promises as to how often I'll write here. I need a place to vent, whine, bitch, complain, laugh, share. Maybe it'll help me get through this mess of a life I've created for myself.