So my well planned, well thought out trip to DC for the International OCD Foundation's Annual Conference didn't start off quite as expected.
Let me just start by saying that I can't wait to attend the conference. I'm a nerd, and I find learning about OCD fascinating. From the time I first heard about this annual event, I was intrigued, but I never imagined I'd be going. I tend not to do things like this - things that I secretly would like to do, but am either not brave enough to go for or that I tell myself are too impractical so I shouldn't bother - maybe someday when the time is right. But that is exactly the sort of mindset that I want to work on challenging where appropriate, and I think working on that goes hand in hand with learning to fight my OCD. It’s part of creating a life that is rewarding and exciting that makes fighting OCD worthwhile.
Starting this blog is one such example of something that I secretly wanted to do, but normally wouldn’t try. And I’m glad I did. Writing here is wonderful opportunity to express some of the thoughts about OCD that are bustling about my mind, thoughts that I can’t just share with friends since I am not very open about my experience with the disorder with them. But even more than that, I love the encouraging community of support and the chance to read about others’ experiences with OCD. It’s always amazing to me when I read someone’s blog and it seems to echo so closely with my own thoughts and experiences. It’s eye-opening and empowering to know that there are other who think in the same strange ways :).
That said. I’m here in DC for the conference, but it wasn’t easy getting here. To make a long story somewhat shorter, I brilliantly confused the departure time of my flight with it’s arrival time at my first connection. Basically, I didn’t realize I had missed my flight until it had already taken off. I was still sitting in my room happily putting the finishing touches on my packing when, suddenly, I realized my tragic mistake.
I don’t know what got into me but I just started sobbing. Sobbing! After all that has happened in the past year, I sob about this being messed up? Nothing in my whole OCD downward spiral has made me sob like this. I don’t get it, but I guess that’s feelings for you. If I have learned anything in treatment, most of the time you can’t control your feelings, and for some reason mine chose this moment to stage a nice little breakdown. So after having to juggle a series of terrible choices, choices that were equally bad and equally good for different reasons (the worse kind of choice to have - either way I was going to wonder if I was wrong and if that remorse would affect my experience here at the conference), I finally did make a choice only to find out that the flight I had chosen had been canceled during my period of debate. But, in the end, after about 3 hours of frantic calling and searching and more frustrating mishaps, I did get a flight. I hopped in the car as soon as I had it booked, quickly grabbing the remaining things I still needed, and got to the airport with time to spare before my lovely overnight journey.
At first I was so upset that my “perfect” and well-organized plans had been turned on their head. I had envisioned everything occurring in a certain way and now that was completely destroyed. But by the time I finally got a flight and realized that yes, I would be able to make it to the conference and wouldn’t have to miss any of it, and that no, I would not have to pay an arm and a leg to get there in time, I was grateful just to have had everything work out! I think it’s an appropriate start to the weekend because it just goes to show that I can live with changes in plans. Though I had to leave for my flight without feeling “ready” and without having finished all my last-minute preparations, it didn’t seem so bad after everything else.
I think once again the universe is just trying to tell me that even if it’s something that I’m really excited for, something that I am really set on going a certain way, it’s not always gonna happen. But whereas in the past I might have dwelled on whether or not this mishap had “ruined” my whole trip until I could compulsively convince that "I was just as happy and excited as before," I can now sit back and think, “hmmm…this seems like the way a trip to an OCD conference should begin.” It wouldn’t be right for me to make everything about going to this conference compulsively “perfect.” That just goes against the fundamental idea of the whole thing. Fate and my screwy brain wanted to make sure that I couldn’t perfect such a thing that shouldn’t be perfected in the first place, and well, they succeeded. A very appropriate beginning, indeed.