Traveling (part 2)

I cut it short a few days ago in my post about why OCD makes traveling difficult.  There is more that I wanted to write about.  Luckily, this isn’t as hard to write about as the content of my previous post was.  So here we go.

Getting Stuck

I have been emailing back and forth with my awesome new UK pen-pal (e-pal?), Caity over at Pandammonium, about OCD and we have a lot in common!  She mentioned how she has a hard time with changing states:

I am reluctant to change state, as I think of it.  For example, I’m in bed now with the cat (she demanded I sit so she could snuggle, so I thought it would be a good time to write this!), but I should really be getting up.  That involves a change of state from being in bed to not being in bed.  Then I should go in the shower.  That involves another change of state.  Once I am in the shower, getting out involves another change if state, and so on.  This is why I’m so often late.

Weekend Visitation

I can relate to this change of state thing.  I sometimes struggle with it as well.  I seem to want to linger in a state rather than change.  I had a similar problem growing up that I think was because of OCD.  My parents have been divorced since I was 5 years old.  I lived with my mom and stayed with my dad every weekend.  Most kids do ok with that kind of schedule, no big deal.  I’m sure it’s hard at first, but normal kids get used to it.  My brother was fine with it, but I had a very hard time going back and forth every few days.

Shortly after I was diagnosed with OCD (at 12 years old), I started seeing a therapist (who was totally worthless for OCD, but that’s another post).  After seeing her for a bit, we decided that the constant back and forth was too much for me to handle.  So I opted to change my schedule to seeing my dad every other weekend instead of every weekend because the stress was just too much for me.  I hate that I had to do that to him, but it was more than I could handle as a kid.

Visiting from College

Now I live 300 miles from my family and I still struggle with this now when I visit them.  One day I’m at home.  The next I’m at my mom’s house.  A couple of days later I’m at my dad’s house.  Then a couple of days after that, I’m home again.  By the time I finally arrive home, I’m in a terrible mood.  It’s so frustrating.  I so badly want to be home, but when I get there, everything feels wrong.  Everything feels off.  I adjusted to staying with parents and it takes awhile to adjust to being home again.  I’m not the nicest person when I first get home, but my boyfriend is forgiving.  I usually lay on the couch watching TV in a funk for a few hours and refuse to do anything more than that.  Then I go to bed.  Once I wake up, I’m usually back to normal, but that first evening back always sucks.


Anyway, I can’t decide if this is OCD or just a weird quirk, but my money is on OCD because all of my weirdness seems to stem from OCD.  Or maybe it’s more just general anxiety.  I don’t know.  I’m nuts.  Just one more thing to store in my crazy box.

Do any of you experience this?  To what degree?


11 thoughts on “Traveling (part 2)

  1. Wow! I think this could be OCD–that change of state thing is a problem for me too. Like right now I need to take a shower so I can get on the train and go to my therapy appointment, but I am avoiding and delaying, and it has something to do with feeling anxious at the thought of the change. I also have a hard time on vacation–the first day the hotel feels “weird” and if I’m really obsessing, I’ll starting wondering if I will always feel “off” and then I’m obsessing about obsessing. . .

    1. Yes! I am frequently late to things just because I take forever to make myself get in the shower or get in the car. It’s so frustrating! And I HATE obsessing about obsessing! That’s when I start to feel extra crazy.

  2. My husband struggles with this as well, even though we’ve never pinned it down like this. Switching activities can be very difficult for him. Change of any kind is tough. It used to really unsettle him when he’d come home and find that I’d rearranged the bedroom or living room. I didn’t understand it because I love change. It took us a while to figure out that this had to do with OCD.

    You’re not weird. You’re perfectly normal, as touched by OCD.

    1. When I came home on Saturday, I found my home different than I left it. My sweet boyfriend had cleaned some things and tried to organize some clutter. I really do appreciate what he did, but at first it just pissed me off. Too many things were different than I left them. I probably would have handled it better had he told me, but I think he wanted to surprise me. One of these days he’s going to learn that I don’t handle surprises well!

  3. Most things I do are garnished by OCD. I am late for everything because I’m the last of the great procrastinators, add that to ritualizing everything and that equals LATE.

    1. Oh there are many more great procrastinators yet to come. Many people my age pride themselves in being professional procrastinators. I procrastinate and I HATE it, but I can’t seem to stop. OCD is such a pain!

  4. Wow, there are other people like me!

    I have been trying all day to get ready and do some work, but it’s like there’s a brick wall stopping me, forcing me to go down the path of procrastination. Again.

    Thanks for writing this post, Elly.

    1. See, isn’t it fun confessing your craziness on the internet? You find that there are lots of other people who have the same crazy problems and it makes you feel less crazy.

  5. How funny…I was struggling with this yesterday so much that I even wrote about it – all before seeing your post on almost the exact same thing! Starting and returning from trips can be tough for me, too, especially when it involves being around my family. I sometimes feel like my family and the “real world” operate in two separate universes, and functioning in one is not always adaptive to functioning in the other. It can take me a while to feel “normal” again in either.

    Somewhere I read about people with OCD having difficulty transitioning from one activity to the next when I first started researching OCD, and I instantly recognized that tendency in myself when I read about it. I know that I still have problems with the “change of state” issue. Getting up, showering, leaving the house, going to bed at night can be hard for me. Sometimes it is because I am actually engaging in rituals, and sometimes it’s just because moving on seems to come with a lot of discomfort. Maybe it’s because I feel like whatever I am doing before moving on feels “incomplete” or maybe it’s because I am avoiding something I find unpleasant and difficult, like showering. Either way, I can definitely relate!

    1. Yes, the thought of all the ritualizing that any given task may entail is also enough for me to put off doing something. Like when I have an essay for school, I put it off for soooo long for a couple of reasons: 1) I can’t stop the obsessive thoughts about failure long enough to get anything coherent written and 2) I know that once I start writing, my need for perfection will kick in and I’ll start berating myself for how awful the paper is (or seems to be anyway).

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