Tuesday, May 31, 2016

OCD Dieting

Dieting sucks.  I know "diet" is now a four letter word... so instead let's just say I've put on like 10 pounds and need to "make a lifestyle change."

Diet Portion vs. Epic Portion
Changing eating habits is difficult for everybody, but OCD can add an interesting component to the mix.  Calorie counting or sticking to a regimen are ripe situations for over analysis.  Basically, you have to make sure you don't tag an obsession onto your new habits.

In the past, when I've tried to diet I used that MyFitnessPal app.  You can log everything that you eat and it counts up the calories for you.  It's a brilliant concept: it helps keep you in line, it makes you more aware of what you're eating, and it's easy to use.  However, it can become an OCD nightmare.

I was so worried about under-counting and accidentally eating too much that I was always overestimating what I had eaten.  When you're given a limit of ~1200 calories a day, overestimating can leave you very underfed and angry.  This is different than anorexia, it's more an obsession with accuracy than anything else... or at least with not cheating (I'd much rather overestimate than underestimate).  

I never kept these diets going very long because I would get frustrated.  Not eating all the delicious food that you want can make you irritable enough...Maintaining a diet when you're overly concerned with a log is just shooting yourself in the foot.

So this time I'm trying it on my own without a counter or a log and just trying to eat less and make better choices.  So far I've been good for like a week (Triumph!).  Hopefully this can continue without spiraling out of control.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The City that Never Sleeps

Sometimes anxiety can tower over you.
I just got back from a truly lovely trip to New York City.  I had an amazing time with my equally amazing man.  However, the last morning of the trip was not easy.

Our alarm went off at 6 am for some reason (certainly not on purpose!).  After that, there I was in "The City that Never Sleeps," unable to get back to sleep.

I felt chest pain, unease, discomfort... and I had no idea why.

One of the weirdest parts about having anxiety is that sometimes you can feel the pain and discomfort of worry without actually having a target for your worries.  

Think about how you feel when you're waiting to hear terrible news... Maybe you're getting back a test you don't think you did well on, or your significant other said, "We need to talk."  Now imagine that feeling without an identifiable reason behind it.  How do you talk yourself out of it when you don't even know what it is? 

It's a tragedy, to be afraid and not know why you're afraid.  Unfortunately, sometimes that's just the nature of having anxiety problems.  The best thing that you can do sometimes is just remember that cliche but true saying: This too shall pass.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Magic Numbers

Which number has the power?
Numbers are fascinating.  Counting is one of the first things that we learn, then there's that whole field of mathematics, and most of us have a favorite number.

Some people with OCD have something special that is sometimes referred to as a "magic number." Sounds fancy, right?

Well, it's really a trap.  This number becomes the amount of times that they have to do something to feel safe.  

An example helps:  If the person's magic number is "3", then they might have to check the stove three times to make sure it's off, or turn the light switch on and off three times before they leave a room.

I've never had a magic number.  Some people would say that makes me lucky, but really it's a different kind of tragedy.  I don't know when to stop.  Sometimes, I have to do an action (like check my time card) over and over and over and over until the anxiety dies.

I have tried to apply the "magic number" 3 before.  3 is manageable.  3 is nice!  3 doesn't take up too much time. 

Sometimes this works, but what I've generally found is that you can't choose your magic numbers.  Apparently, they choose you.  

As someone with OCD, but not this particular quirk, this concept is fascinating to me.

If you're interested in learning more about "Magic Numbers" from an expert perspective, this article might help: http://beyondocd.org/expert-perspectives/articles/your-number-is-up-magical-numbers-and-ocd

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Count me in!

Today's triumph?  I counted.

Yes, counted.  As in one, two, three, four... and so on.  I counted survey answers on sheets of paper and reported them to my coworker.

No, I'm not still in kindergarten, but yes, this was still a feat.  

See, you may have noticed that OCD makes me doubt almost everything: The correct amount of something is no exception.

There are times that I've had to recount and recount something, and then have someone else check my number just to be sure.  The act of counting can drive me mad.  Did I skip one?  Did I double count another?  Anything could happen!

But this morning I was pretty good about it and my coworker didn't have to suffer from a time-wasting amount of checks and recounts.  That's a win for me today.

In other news, while texting my boyfriend made a very astute observation.  He said "I can authoritatively say that you tend to hear one possibly bad thing and then assume the worst possible interpretation ever imagined by anyone ever in the history of the world." 

My therapist agreed that this was anxiety in a nutshell.  The boyfriend also gets a win today.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

A Pre-Mother's Day Post

I think it's important to make a post in the spirit of Mother's Day.  My mom has always been my rock through OCD and anxiety.

Whenever I've gone through a hard time, from my first really bad OCD experience in elementary school through college and beyond, my mom has stood by my side.  She's been an advocate for me when I couldn't advocate for myself.

She has listened to me through intrusive thoughts, laughed with me over weird compulsions, and always been completely supportive while I've gone through all this OCD nonsense. 

Mom, you are the reason behind every triumph.  I will never be able to thank you enough for everything that you have done and continue to do for me.

Here's to you, ma.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Foot Dexterity

A doctor once told me I had beautiful arches.
So, one of the perks of having OCD is that I have amazing foot dexterity.  Why, you may ask?  Because I have learned to pick things up with my feet.

Extreme hand-washing isn't the only part of OCD, but it certainly plays a role, at least for me.  There have been phases in my life where I have washed my hands extensively just to feel appropriately clean. 

These times have stuck with me... so, even though I'm not in an extreme-hand-washing phase of my life, I still try to avoid getting my hands dirty whenever possible, because I HATE over hand washing.

In the bathroom, for example, when I throw a tissue and miss the trash can and something falls on the floor... I know that if I pick it up with my hands, I'll have to wash them.  Doesn't matter what it is... the bathroom floor is a scary place.   
The same goes for cooking sometimes in the kitchen when things fall on the floor and need to go in the trash.  I already over wash my hands when cooking, so if I can avoid doing something that will make me feel like my hands are dirty, I'm going to damn well do it.

That's where my feet come in.  When I'm in my house I'm usually rocking out barefoot.  So, I just pick whatever it is up with my feet and avoid the whole problem. 

Feet weren't particularly designed for picking things up, but I've found with practice you can do pretty well.  Definitely well enough for my purposes, anyway.

Now, I'm sure therapists would call this a tragedy, but seeing how good I've gotten at picking stuff up with my feet, I'm calling this a triumph.