There is a new show on A&E that I just finished watching, called "OBSESSED." It was really interesting to watch people with O.C.D. (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) going through it, since I have O.C.D. It was comforting in a way, since I have never had anyone TRULY understand what goes on in my head, because they can't. And frankly I haven't had many people TRY to understand. They think it is being ridiculous and dramatic and once they tire of it, they just choose to no longer be around me. My obsessions about what people think about me, or what they MIGHT be doing have cost me friendships. And as the guy said in the closing of the show - People with O.C.D. are lonely - so lonely, because we live in the prison of our minds and no one comes to visit because it is too MESSY and they cannot deal with it.
They are doing exposure therapy with the patients on "Obsessed", and that is not something I agree with. Do I have coping mechanisms, ABSOLUTELY! But even if one thing ceases to be a compulsive thought or action, it is replaced with another. So the germ-a-phob guy on the show who had no trash cans in his house, no towels in his bathroom was made to do this so his "therapist" could put a dirty tampon in his garbage can, and use his towels. Then he was made to hold the towels. And after 3 months of therapy she told him "You cannot control your thoughts, you cannot control you anxiety, but you can control how you react to it." ABSOLUTELY - I control how I react to mine all the time, I push pause, I stuff it till later - but it is GOING TO COME OUT SOMEHOW. It may not be in a visible way that anyone else can see, I'll just do it in secret. I did it for years, when something I did got to weird for people to deal with, or I was told it was annoying or to stop doing something, I just switched the compulsion. I did something in the presence of other people so they wouldn't see, to bide my time. Then when I was all alone and could be FREE - I did the compulsion I needed to do one, two, three or eight hours ago.
The lady on the show had lost her father in an accident, and she had held onto the clothes he died in. She hid them, only brought them out in private. I have so many things - SILLY THINGS - that I have held onto for years. They mean something to me, it might have been a kleenex used at a funeral or a various other things I am not even willing to share openly on this blog - and do I think OH MY GOODNESS why am I keeping this? YES!!!!!!!!! But I cannot throw it away - I might NEED IT.
My psychiatrist told me when I began to see him he did not believe in behavior modification therapy, that is what they are doing on this show. And now that I know more about my disease I understand why. I have been in therapy for FOUR YEARS learning coping mechanisms - these people did 12 weeks and they are suddenly CURED of their O.C.D.? All this type of therapy does is take away the physical manifesting of a person's anxiety. They may not check a lock 100 x's, they may not wash their hands 40 x's a day, but does that mean the thoughts are not there? I don't think so. Can people be "made" to do things, absolutely - but that doesn't take away the MENTAL torture they have in their minds. And I can tell you all day long that I am fine, great, wonderful - it doesn't mean that I am. I can tell you I am not anxious, and if I train myself to hide all the physical manifestations of anxiety - you won't know that I am anxious - there will be no facial expressions, not checking, no washing rituals - but it is still there - inside my head with no where to go. And just like a container that gets TOO full of water - eventually it will start spilling out - over the sides and EVERYWHERE. And honestly when those are put up feelings and anxiety and emotion - I have no idea how they will then manifest - NO CLUE.
I have a dear husband, who loves me enough to walk this journey with me, and I am incredibly lucky to have him. I had lunch dates, movies and shopping with friends. Parties to go to, had people over for cookouts and holidays. I don't have that anymore. And it is so sad to me that people could not deal with this craziness that is my life, but I understand it. I see how annoying my need to constantly be told that you are not mad at me would be frustrating. That my constant worry that I did something wrong would be annoying. That my need to do things a certain way would be tiring. That my obsession with you as my friend, would be suffocating. But it doesn't make it any easier that I spend most days alone, and no longer have those fun things to look forward to. I am just so thankful that Keith loves me and he is my best friend, and I am his - and that we love to do the same things and even the things we don't have in common we tolerate just to be with one another.
Final thought for the evening - just to try and get you to understand what an obsessive thought feels like. Imagine a song that DRIVES YOU UP A WALL - I mean you HATE THIS SONG. It makes you want to throw up with you hear the first note on the radio and you quickly change the station. Imagine that someone hijacks your car stereo and suddenly the only song that being played is that DETESTABLE SONG, and there is NO OFF button to push, no volume to turn down. Every time you get in your car you hear it at the loudest volume possible with no way of turning it down or even off, no way to even remove that radio from your car or disable it - it just IS that way and there is NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING you can do about it - your car is now THAT HORRID SONG! That is an obsessive thought.
I see more posts coming...stay tuned...