Friday, May 13, 2011

Neurotics Build Castles in The Sky, Psychotics Live in Them, OCD'ers Clean Them, and Psychologists Collect the Rent.


Today I thought I would write about something a little different, although I am sure I will somehow tie it into my fertility journey at the end. Today was therapy day for me and today's focus was my obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) includes the presence of obsessions and/or compulsions that cause major distress or disruption to daily living. However, the way in which symptoms of OCD are experienced varies widely from person to person. Today my therapist, who I have great respect for, was trying to understand how bad my "OCD" really is. She got out a book and started going through the different types based on the nature of symptoms experienced. I will now break them down for you.
  1. Contamination obsessions with washing/cleaning compulsions: Yup, sure do. I hate germs of any type. I freak out if I need to use a public restroom, I cringe when people cough or sneeze, and I now have developed an uncanny fear of doorknobs. My husband has also started referring to me as the "mop whore" as I currently own over a dozen of them with my most recent purchase being the Rubbermaid Reveal Spray Mop (LOVE IT!) He actually makes fun of me as I have all of these mops (and use them all) yet we have a housekeeper!
  2. Harm obsessions with checking compulsions: Yup again. I have a fear of something happening to the important things in my life...my husband, my house, my dogs. Every day when my husband leaves, I have to say "I love you, drive careful, I'll talk to you in a little while" in that order as I have this fear that if I don't, something will happen. Will something really happen? Probably not. But what if I didn't say it and something did happen? 
  3.  Obsessions without visible compulsions or so-called “pure obsessions”: I do not have these (thank God.) These are unwanted obsessions surrounding sexual, religious or aggressive themes.
  4. Symmetry obsessions with ordering, arranging and counting compulsions: Yes, yes, and yes. Have you seen my house? It is completely color matched where I can take a throw pillow, for example, and bring it into any other room and it will match...perfectly. I also enjoy arranging things from shortest to tallest and everything must be in at least 2's and never an odd number. Not only do I do this with my house, I do this with food too. I can't tell you the last time, if ever, I was able to eat a bag of M&Ms without needing to dump them out and arrange them as required.
  5. Hoarding: Absolutely not! If I hoarded, how could I keep everything in order and arranged?
I know how some of these behaviors came about, as they started when I was a little girl. The earliest memory I have of these types of behaviors is when I would lick my hand every time I touched something...I think I was 8 or so. The pure thought that I did this completely disgusts me as I am the complete opposite now. I actually think I thought that licking my hand would clean it...not sure though. The more negative events that took place in my life, the more these behaviors emerged. In my first post about OCD (here) I talked about how my OCD has become worse since starting this fertility journey. It seems that this is how I cope with things; I first obsess over something which triggers anxiety. This anxiety induces a compulsive reaction/behavior and from this, I get relief.

My therapist said that these behaviors are my way of avoiding feelings that I do not want to face. Even though I will never admit it to her, she is absolutely correct. I can't help but think what will happen if I stop these behaviors?!?!

On a funny note, as I was writing this post, my husband walked in to inform me that we officially have no more room for mops as they are bulging out of my cleaning closet! Don't worry, I will find room.

**UPDATE: I would also like to mention that my post "I'm Not Fat, I'm Big Boned" got honorable mention today on Stirrup Queens which can be seen here.**

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