Monday, August 16, 2010

The Beauty of OCD Friends

I posted a while ago I posted about the plusses of being part of an OCD support group. In honor of my group's upcoming summer picnic, I thought I'd talk about the benefits of making friends of your support group members.

  • You look forward to seeing each other. For people with particularly debilitating OCD, or during times of intense struggle, seeing friends at my support group reminds me that OCD isn't all there is to my life. When I can look forward to hearing about what's going on in someone else's life, it takes the focus off of my own.
  • You don't always have to talk about OCD. At the group, of course, the tendency is to talk about our afflictions. But sometimes that can get old, and sometimes we just want to talk about movies, our families, or our jobs. When you're genuinely friends with the people at your support group, it's easier to relate to each other on these more personal levels.
  • You can go "way back." A number of the people with whom I attend the support group have known each other from other support groups, therapy sessions, and the like. This history creates a feeling of "I knew you when," whether the "when" was a hard time in someone's life, a good time in someone's life, or a benchmark for progress. The longer you attend support groups, the further back you'll go with the people there.
  • You can relate. I recently made a friend outside of my OCD group with whom I can share my OCD struggles. She doesn't have OCD, but she can relate. In that way I know she understands me and how my mind works.

Here's to a fun-filled picnic this weekend!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Advice on Letting Go

Driving home today I realized how many times at work I heard myself say "It doesn't matter because next week I won't be here." Uncertainty about whether a project will be completed on time, discomfort over having unanswered questions, and frustration over a co-worker treating me poorly will all be moot points.

Three weeks ago it would not have been easy for me to say this--no matter what the reason! The only thing that changed in the meantime was getting the new job. When I finally got it, all the frustration and the pain became insignificant.

I thought about this and realized that in so many of my OCD worries I could use some help letting go. At my worst I'd lie awake, so late it's neither night nor morning, and repeat the phrase "I will not be tethered to this." In my delirium I even visualized myself chained to a large block of cement, willing the chain to break so that I could be freed from the worry that wracked my brain.

In my situation at work, I have a reason to let go of the worries--my new job. That's why it was so easy to do. Like a huge pair of scissors (or in the case of the worry that caused me to lose sleep, an industrial-sized pair of tin snips) focus on the new job severed my connection to the worry and frustration of the old one. Whatever happened in the past didn't matter. Whatever happens after I leave won't matter. The new job is so salient in my mind, and it affects everything about my current job, that it makes for a sharp, powerful weapon.

My challenge for you is this: Can you identify your scissors? What can you focus on so it's easier to let go?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

New Job!

My recent posts were about job anxiety. I think that will subside now that I have a new job! But as I make the transition I'll be sure to post as to whether it spikes my OCD. I don't think it will...I'm so relieved to have found a better environment!