Dusting off the Cobwebs

So it’s been more than a year, obviously. I never intended for life to get in the way, but I guess that’s how it goes. A lot has changed in the past year. I don’t know whether I’m at a point where I can say I’m doing better or worse. It’s been kind of all over the place.

For one, I haven’t been to therapy since October. This is another thing that I never intended to quit. It kind of just happened. I had to cancel an appointment for one reason or another and just never rescheduled. I keep telling myself I need to go back—and I do—but there never seems to be enough time or money to go.

Why is this really basic care so inaccessible to so many of us? It continues to frustrate me that mental health is not taken as seriously as physical health. Therapy is seen as a luxury, but for many of us, it is a necessity. But I’ll step off my soap box. The fact of the matter is that I haven’t been motivated to go for all kinds of reasons.

I have, however, been working on exposure response prevention (ERP) stuff on my own as much as possible. With some things, I’ve improved; with others, not so much. For instance, I probably use way more hand sanitizer than I used to, and I’m probably back to washing my hands more, too. I have not yet hit the point of really intensely dried out, cracking skin, though, so that’s something.

Public bathrooms are slowly becoming less of an obstacle. No matter how much I work at it, though, I think this is one thing that is going to take years to get past. I had a bit of a set-back recently, actually. I worked as a barista at a coffee shop for a month(ish) at the beginning of summer. It was a small, family-owned place, so no hired maintenance. We shared all of those duties, rotating jobs from week to week. My second week or so, I landed to coveted chore of cleaning and sanitizing the bathrooms. We’ll just say it was bad. Really bad.

I have been fighting OCD since I was a little kid; this struggle is nothing new to me. But that night, when I had to clean the bathrooms, I felt truly disabled for the first time in my life. It was pretty crushing.

But other things are going well. I don’t check things as much anymore. I can’t remember the last time I had to drive back home after driving a few blocks to see if I’d closed the garage door or not. That one is a huge relief.  That crap made me late for work and class and everything on sooo many occasions.

So yeah, all over the place. Some good, some bad. All I know is that I need to get back to writing. It makes such a difference. And I need you guys. The community I experienced here and in other blogs was like nothing else I’ve experienced. So keep me accountable. Please.

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8 thoughts on “Dusting off the Cobwebs

  1. I have always had a hard time getting therapy too, because I don’t health insurance, and I can’t afford to pay for therapy. However, I now have a therapist who is treating me for free. She’s not an OCD therapist, but she wants to learn all about it, and we meet for one hour every week. As a result she has helped me more than anybody else. There are some therapists out there who have a good heart. They are just very difficult to find.

    Last month I went to the OCD Conference in Chicago, and I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Dr. Jenny Yip, Dr. Roberto Olivardia, and author Jeff Bell. We filmed the interviews for the documentary on my life with OCD. You can listen to the audio as a podcast at this link. http://www.ravenswoodmedia.com/?q=node/24

    Writing also helps me a lot, and I am writing my memoirs. I’ve written 60 pages so far, and I have also started a blog about my OCD. http://kenthemovie.com/

    Good luck with your OCD. Everyday, I have to remind myself to face my anxiety, and it is not easy.

    Ken

    1. My therapist is really awesome. Even when I wasn’t covered by health insurance, sessions never cost me more than $40, which is SUPER cheap for therapy! When some of the healthcare stuff changed, I was able to get back on my parents’ health insurance. I still have a $20 copay per session. It’s hard to justify even that most of the time.

      That’s awesome that you’re being treated for free! I hope you guys both learn a lot from each other.

  2. Hi ellie im new to your blog, I agree with you after having OCD for 12 years im aware of the lack of help there is out there… one dr told me id have to read two ocd books before id even be considered for therpy… suffice to say I told him i knew more about it than those books could ever teach me… I had experience … I just walked out of that office. More organisations say they want a 20 minute phone call before you even get any where near a therapist and this is after being diagnosed with OCD… so I know what you mean. Ive paid 60 pounds in english money for a session of therapy.
    By the way I used to have ocd where my hands bled and my skin cracked I had it for the first five years now I tend to suffer with pure O mainly… OCD for me has morphed into this Pure O . So it can change … i dont know if this is better form or not but times can improve … I tend to appraoch each day one step at a time. All the best to you.

    1. Yes, my OCD has changed and morphed over the course of my life thus far. When I was little, it used to be shifted more towards hoarding, counting, and weird ticks (e.g. stopping and spinning one time when crossing from one type of floor to another… wood to tile, say). The contamination and checking OCD didn’t come in until I got into my teenage years, and they have stuck with me into adulthood. For awhile as a teenager, I had some trouble with obsessive thoughts that were really disturbing. I’ve gotten a handle on those for the most part. Those probably freaked me out the most.

      It’s weird how it can change so much over time but still be the same thing. It makes it that much harder to fight when it can pop up from different angles and different triggers. Sometimes I miss the days when it was more pure O, more just in my head. Physical compulsions are hard. But I probably only think that because that’s what I’m dealing more heavily with now. I don’t think there’s a “better” OCD, unfortunately, but it can get better. Definitely one step at a time.

      Best to you, too. I hope you stop back in to see this!

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