Tuesday, July 5, 2016

My Weekend with OCD

OCD checking over and overOCD: a lifetime condition with seasonal intensity requiring daily maintenance.

It's the daily maintenance part that I've failed with most recently.  I haven't been exercising consistently, our schedule has been way too busy, I haven't gotten enough sleep, I've been stressed...and I made the mistake of scratching that OCD itch.  I gave in, checked, prayed one more time, etc., etc., etc., and the result was a holiday weekend with anxiety woven throughout.

My husband loves to spend time with our kids, and he took our oldest son out in the afternoon to do a fun activity.  The plan was for him to come back to pick up our middle son after he woke up from his nap, and then he would be back in time to order pizza for a family dinner.  The afternoon wore on, and they never returned to pick up our 2nd son.  6:00 came and went with still no sign of them.  I called multiple times, no answer.  I texted, no response.  My mind immediately jumped to the worst possible conclusion (a habit of mine) - I was afraid that they had been in an accident and were dead, I was going to have to raise the two other kids by myself, I would have to figure out how to provide for them, and how would I live without them?!?!?!?!  FINALLY I received a message that they were on their way home.  Turns out that they were in a place where he had zero cell reception, so his phone did not work.  The lump in my throat from the fear I had lost both of them stayed long after I knew they were safe.

My husband and I are teaching the 3-year-old Sunday school class at church for the summer.  It was during the big group worship time last week that some doubt started seeping in to my mind.  I dealt with these thoughts earlier in the week, and I was okay until we got to church Sunday morning.  Then I struggled with the fact that I was teaching these kids something that I was struggling with myself.  But, I chose to believe in Jesus, and of course I want that for these little ones as well.  So I worked through it, but it will probably return this Sunday when we teach again.

Before the church service, a kid who was probably 11 or 12 got up in the row behind where we were sitting and made his way toward the aisle.  On his way, he leaned against the back of where I was sitting and my hair got caught and pulled as a result.  I made an annoyed face, which my husband saw and called me out on.  He made a comment about it being a heart issue (which it was), and I immediately cycled downward into the pit of OCD.  I felt that I needed to ask God for forgiveness.  I felt so guilty, in fact, that I couldn't concentrate well on what my husband said after that.  Then, later that afternoon, I made an unkind comment about someone, he called me out again, and I felt guilty again.  I can't remember if compulsive praying was part of these instances or not, but I'm pretty sure it was during the morning incident.  I've struggled with it enough this weekend that it probably was.

Speaking of compulsive prayer, this is something that I struggled with yesterday morning and evening.  I've been doing ERP for compulsive praying for awhile now.  I changed my behavior in a way that was still based on truth and started praying only three times a day.  But I didn't follow this discipline yesterday.  The intrusive thoughts came - what if I didn't actually do my morning prayer?  What if I needed to ask forgiveness for something and didn't?  So I prayed again.  And again, and again, and again.  Whenever I give in, I feel the anxiety rise, which I think is why I eventually stop.  But why can't I just not start in the first place?!

Nagging OCD
OCD has tried to regain it's hold on my brain.  I scratched the OCD itch by giving in to compulsions, which spread the OCD instead of getting rid of it.  The itching just got worse.  The illness feeds itself and my internal anxiety and frequency of intrusive thoughts increased: Is God angry with me for not praying? Did I ask God for forgiveness in case I rolled my eyes after looking at that church sign about Jesus?  Does my husband really have both kids, or do I just not know where one is?  Is the stove off?  Did I lock the door?  Are the windows closed in my kids' rooms as they're sleeping?  Do I smell something funny in the basement?

I'm reminding myself that I need to starve the OCD wolf by not giving in - the best way to fight this illness!

Did your OCD/anxiety/depression spike during this holiday weekend?  Why do you think it did or did not?