Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Getting By

There are weeks where I really just feel like I am moving forward for the sole sake of moving forward.  Step by step, inch by inch.  This is one of those weeks.  I am finding that even the simplest of things are starting to feel like monumental tasks again - brushing my teeth, making my bed, washing my face, getting dressed.  Even writing here, which is usually quite enjoyable, seems somewhat like a task I must goad myself into doing.

I think a lot of it has to do with the ups and downs of progress in fighting my OCD.  As I get better there are periods where I really challenge the thoughts I have and the urge to perform compulsions.  I feel free and alive.  The shackles seem temporarily removed.  And then I get used to that level of freedom.  It is no longer exciting, and those chains that still remain seem like an even heavier burden to bear.  What suddenly seemed easier with less weight to carry, starts to seem harder again.  There are still a lot of barriers to overcome, and the excitement and energy of overcoming the previous one has faded.  The memory of my triumph is disappearing as I stare down the next challenge and feel helpless in its presence.

I have started to go backwards in hand-washing and showering, meaning that both are getting longer in general.  And this is despite the fact that I have been able to eliminate a lot of compulsions that previously went into both of these forms of washing.  I don't wash my hands in the shower anymore; I don't do "pre-washes" prior to my "real hand-wash" when I feel my hands are extra dirty.  But somehow, even with certain steps like these eliminated, the remaining compulsions expand to fill the empty space and beyond.  The initial victories that cut back on the overall time it took to complete these activities are quickly, and almost imperceptibly, replaced with something else.  One step forward, two steps back.  I'm feeling tired.  Just existing and getting through my very non-busy, non-stressful life at this point sometimes seems like it takes all my effort and motivation.

I have faith that I will get there.  That I will get to a point where I don't feel like each step forward takes all my energy, all my focus.  There are ups and downs all the time.  There will be more ups.  And there will also be more downs.  I just have to keep moving forward.  I may feel like I am trying to run up an escalator that is going down, but eventually the direction of movement will change.  I will no longer feel like I am moving backwards by default, moving back to start every time I take a break to catch my breath.  Things will even out.  I will find that I can keep up with the pace of the world moving at me.  And eventually I will feel like I am on a moving sidewalk, where, with each movement, I am propelled forward farther than I expected, gaining momentum to tackle life.


  1. Hang in there! I was feeling the same way for a week or so too. Since I have "Pure O" my compulsions sneak their way into my mind without me even knowing it. Does this happen to you? I find that if I have a few "good" days - days when my OCD thoughts are fairly non-existent I am happy. But I want to keep it that way - and the thought of purposely bringing on the thoughts is horrible! So I avoid doing exposure. I had a great session with my therapist today. She re-motivated me and reminded me that at this point in my therapy I can never have a day when I am not purposely exposing myself to my bad thoughts. That on really good, or really bad days that if I make the choice to do my exposure, I will learn that no matter what I can handle what OCD deals out. I struggle with accepting that there is no "end point" to the treatment of OCD. I will have to continue to manage this disorder by utilizing the stragegies I have learned in a disciplined way. There is no answer or quick fix. But believe me - I have tried to figure one out!
    You will get through this and it will get better!!!

  2. Hi Pure O Canuck! Thanks for your comment. I can relate to a lot of what you said here! I remember when I was younger (when I had somewhat more obsessional OCD fears) having a string of good days and fearing that the feeling would go away! Unfortunately I didn't know it was OCD back then and didn't know that by doing exposure to the ideas/thoughts I was avoiding, I could start to feel better.

    I often find that my therapy sessions are really motivating, too. I have somewhat of the opposite problem of you though - I tend to avoid doing exposures on bad days because I already feel so overwhelmed that I don't want to make that feeling any stronger! On good days I feel prepared to face what I need to face, but like you said, it's important to do exposures when you feel good or bad in order to show yourself that you can handle the discomfort no matter what!

    Glad you found me. I look forward to reading your blog! Everyone seems to bring slightly different perspectives on OCD to their writing, as well as different experiences with the disorder. It's nice to see all those different angles and recognize some things you can relate to, as well as other not-so-familiar experiences that broaden what you know!

  3. Sorry to hear you're having a rough time. Hope you're back in your "one step forward" groove soon.
    Don't berate yourself for "two steps back". Everyone has issues they face - and have to battle over and over and over. For us, it's just hard because it's all wrapped up in our thought process - and emotions.
    You'll be back on your feet soon, I'm sure of it. Here's a hug to help you through the crappy time. Good luck. You can do it!

  4. Thanks Shana!! I'm already starting to get back into the grove of things! Hopefully it will last!



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