I think I may have OCD!

I think I may have OCD.  I’m not sure though.  I have a definite diagnosis of anxiety and depression.  But, in talking with and observing friends this past week, as well as introspection,  I saw similarities and big differences between myself and others.

I especially identify with my dear friend with 3 boys who like me is a high achieving spinning top of a lady!  You kind of have to be energetic to make it with boys (and husbands).  She is struggling.  I was trying to offer ideas of things that have helped me.

My husband and her husband are both in IT.  Our boys are similar in age.  We both have messy houses but desire cleanliness.  We both struggle to make time to sleep and eat.  We worry.  We want to perfect things but aren’t quite sure how to.  Motherhood is mayhem.

Mayhem is not good for OCD people.  What is OCD?  The following is from WebMd.com:

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), formerly considered a type of anxiety disorder, is now regarded as a unique condition. It is a potentially disabling illness that traps people in endless cycles of repetitive thoughts and behaviors. People with OCD are plagued by recurring and distressing thoughts, fears, or images (obsessions) they cannot control. The anxiety (nervousness) produced by these thoughts leads to an urgent need to perform certain rituals or routines (compulsions). The compulsive rituals are performed in an attempt to prevent the obsessive thoughts or make them go away.

Although the ritual may temporarily alleviate anxiety, the person must perform the ritual again when the obsessive thoughts return. This OCD cycle can progress to the point of taking up hours of the person’s day and significantly interfering with normal activities. People with OCD may be aware that their obsessions and compulsions are senseless or unrealistic, but they cannot stop them.

These images make me happy: rows of matching colors or clothes, wearing my clothes from front left to right or right to left in my closet so I know I’ve not worn the same dress or shirt recently, clean rooms/drawers, art, and anything I view as “perfection.”

These images stress me out and make me feel bad about myself and hopeless: not sure where to start in cleaning my house or a room, children crying/babies that I cannot help, children with special needs—problem solving the why?, fear of spouse/friends leaving me for something or someone “better.”

But, when I do start in small bits I feel better.  When I self talk myself into realizing that my thoughts do not have to be nor are my reality.  Realizing that some things are out of my control.  However, it’s sometimes overwhelming to seek help, start tasks, and start alone.

Yesterday was an awesome day at the Cook Household!  We Cooks like to be messy and clean.  With two boys (now 10 and 7 years) who are very smart, creative, and wild we have to rein in and teach cleanliness.  We like to play hard and word hard.  I started re-arranging furniture in the kid’s toy room with the help of our sweet 7 year old neighbor girl.  Who by the way is a super strong gymnast and cheerleader!  We moved a big couch and found all kinds of crap the boys had slid or lost under the couch.  Cool and gross things!  People…why does crap go under couches?  Why don’t we move them more often?

I’m not sure.  I’m not sure why I’m anxious.  I’m not sure why I may have OCD tendencies.  What I do know is that those with OCD benefit from counseling and medicine.  I’ve had that.  It has helped some in past years, but it is really helping now.  I go through seasons.  Different doctors, different counselors, and different hormonal roller coaster moments as we all do.  I have lived in 7 cities.  I lived in ONE city for 17 years.  I know rare.  My parents still live in the house I grew up in, and I’m a native Floridian.

When I left for college I struggled.  When I got married and took my first job that was hard too.  When I moved it was really scary.  But each of these stress triggers got easier over time.  I learned to exercise by myself and with others.  I saw counselors even if I didn’t want to or like them.  I just quit if it didn’t seem a good fit.  Medicines were harder.  One PA in Georgia got me on the right ones post child #1.  That was my first time taking meds in my life.  My parents didn’t think I was an anxious child.  I was.  I sucked my thumb until the 4th grade, was shy in elementary school, and became a nail biter when the thumb sucking stopped.  I chewed pencils and erasers.  I was bullied for being smart.  I was chubby.  I was an intelligent high achiever, but I was struggling inside with worthiness.  It’s a private struggle if you put on a happy face and excel in life.  People think you’re awesome!

To excel in life as an adult was harder for me because  I didn’t quite know how to “adult.”  Responsibility scared me at times, and at other times I loved it.  I had a great college experience and did a ton of stuff.  I met some super smart and unique friends during my 5 years of college (BS and MS).  OCD people are achievers man!

OCD needs a new acronym: Our Coolness Dominates.

I know many a high achiever who may or may not have OCD qualities.  My sister, my mom, my dad, and I all have an element of it I think.  We want perfection and work really hard to achieve it.  My mom is an amazing nurse and my father a talented (retired) industrial engineer.  I’m a speech language pathologist.  My sister was an elementary school teacher but is now rocking out full time motherhood.

We accept what happens as reality.  With that comes maturity, wisdom, life coping skills, and a sensitivity to others who struggle with anything.  We are lovers.  We are organizers.  We are leaders.  We are empathetic people.  We want to serve others.  We also want recognition.

I discover and self analyze because I have been in and out of therapy as an adult via psychologists and social workers both male and female.  I’ve read a lot of books about anxiety/depression.  I’ve met people who have struggled or have had a family member who has mental health challenges. We are a silent majority.

We are silently doing a lot but also fearful of a lot.  When my anxiety remains unchecked I get depressed.  When I get depressed I get paralyzed and do nothing but the necessary.  If you or someone you know shows signs of OCD, anxiety, or depression please help them find the right resources.  I am now seeking out some counseling and outlets for our youngest son who seems to have a similar trend toward what I remember being like as a child.  Our society is embracing mental health more readily.  I’m thankful.

kbquote

Dear God,

You made us each unique.

Thank you for making me.  Thank you for my family who has supported me always.  Thank you for our sons who are an amazing and unique blend of my husband and I in personality, looks, and talents.  Thank you for my friends and family.

Help me to continue to look for the blessings and the Light You offer in so many little and big ways. Help accept my own average work I may give in a day.  I really want the A, but I have learned that in adulthood there is no report card. 

I love you Lord and everyone you created.  Help me to help others.   May today be a good day of rest for all.

Amen.

Blessings to you on this Sunday.

Jenn Cook

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