Sunday, August 21, 2011

Logical Brain vs. OCD Brain

It's so easy to backslide. And to make excuses. And to be in free fall before I even know what the hell hit me. I am becoming more adept at putting the brakes on. And it never ceases to amaze me how something that has me at a 95/100 on the ocd fear scale can lose the power to frighten me if I simply encounter something else that puts me into fear mode. That realization is helping me get some perspective on the degree to which ocd has control over my thoughts and feelings.

Blood and anything which looks skin-like are the two things I struggle the most with. Well, those and public areas which are wet. If I am in public and suddenly part of me gets wet, the fear that grips me is crippling. My most recent blood freakout exposures were a used item I ordered and a bag from the grocery store. There was a drop of what could only be (at least in my mind) blood on the ordered item, all rusty and droplet-shaped and there as if to challenge me. And second, what appeared to be a light smearing of blood on the grocery bag. I'm absolutely ashamed of how many groceries I threw away. I can fight a lot of things, but blood isn't one of them. The ordered item also found its way to the trash. This disorder, between cleaning supplies, ruined clothing from cleaning solutions and excessive washing, and things that just don't pass inspection and end up garbage, is a sickening financial burden.

I miss my life. I think of how I used to be, all of the things I used to do. Now, simply getting some sleep is a challenge. I often stay up all night because dealing with the bedtime routine where I simply wash my face and hands and brush my teeth is something which can turn into an hour-long mentally torturous mess if I do the least little thing wrong. And while I know that ERP is the absolute surest way to freedom, it is so counter-intuitive. Instinct is a damn strong thing. We are hard-wired for self-preservation and avoidance of danger. The stupid ocd is sending false messages to the danger centers of my brain, which in turn alert every other part of me, so the whole sensation becomes extremely real. And very powerful. Fighting my whole body as it screams DANGER feels like holding my breath when I need to breathe and expecting that I will receive all the oxygen I need by doing so; there are very real physiological urges there, and my brain doesn't seem to be able to easily make sense of why it should ignore these particular signals. My brain does not know they are false. Well, my logical brain knows they are false, but the part of my brain that is in charge of the fight-or-flight response doesn't know.

Nothing like realizing people have had two babies in the time you've spent mostly inside your house doing nothing at all because you're too afraid you might get contaminated if you do anything else. I think part of me is still waiting for this to go away, just the same way it seemed to sort of happen all at once. I don't believe that will happen, but it sure would be nice.

For now, I fight on.