Sunday, March 1, 2009

Checking: A Good Week

Checking is my most common ritual. I can do it physically or mentally, but the mental checking (or rumination) is most debilitating for me. Whatever the case, my major, stops-me-in-my-tracks OCD begins and ends with checking.

That's why I have to keep it, er, in check. If I see myself doing more checking of things, like asking my husband "I didn't sound mean when I said that, did I?" or running back into the bedroom before I leave in the morning to be sure the heating pad is turned off, I force myself to stop for two reasons:

  1. It could be indicative of depeer issues. The last time I let allowed myself to check and re-check, it turned out a crisis was looming. My grandfather had just died and I was in for a two month-long regression.
  2. It could make my OCD worse. As I said in a previous post, "The more I check, the more doubt takes over and I fall victim to checking things repeatedly, or worse: fearing things that cannot be checked-away. Soon the snowball effect of anxiety and depression consumes me." For me, checking is my "gateway ritual;" it leads to worse things.

And forcing myself to stop is just what I've been doing! It was a pretty uneventful OCD week, but every morning that I was the last to leave the house the disease tested me. "Did I unplug my curling iron?" "Is the computer off?" "What if it just looks like it's off?" But I obeyed the tenets of Exposure & Response Prevention and I faced the fear!

With a shrug I locked the door behind me and left for work.


  1. Good for you. You are continuing with your success and not letting the compulsions stop you from continuing with your progress.

    Belinda (The Addict)

  2. Do you ever try and apply memory tricks to help you with this? Sometimes I double-check to make sure the heat is off but if I remember to tell myself "the heat is off" and repeat it a few times in the minutes that follow, it helps.

  3. Good for you! Facing your fear is a brave thing to do!

  4. Hiya blogger,

    You know what your doing is the only way to a “successful” recovery.

    You are an educated “OCDer” and your blog is a good resource. I hope people out there that need help can get through some of the “trash” on the web, and recognize a quality blog.

    A therapist that specializes in OCD and uses ERP is a great start, anything else may get someone worse.

    Take care blogger, I enjoy reading your story and wish you the strength to keep doing so well.


  5. Good for you! Sounds like you're doing really well. I do what WesleyG suggested, I unplug something and then look at it and say, "I have unplugged the hair dryer," or whatever it is. It helps. If I don't, it can all turn into a huge time-consuming mess...and a snowball-turned-avalanche effect.

  6. Thank you all for the props!

    @ Wesley and StstMama: Yes, I do do that sometimes--when I remember! In the therapy world that's called mindfulness. When I'm in a hurry or in a good mood, it's hard to remember to do it.