I called out to my hubby, “I’m coming. Just let me turn the lights off.” And off, and off and off.
O.C.D. had me in its ugly grip. I could either laugh or cry. After another visit with a shrink who seemed keen on my sexual habits, I decided to not take myself so seriously and to try and find some levity within.
I began with a little exercise that I like to call, ‘I Kid You Not.’ The scenario goes something like this;
I know that my 6 year old son is watching my antics. He sees me with a vacuum handle in one hand and a dust rag in the other. I start at one corner of the room and, cleaning as I go, I work my way to the opposite corner where the outside door is. Of course, I have cleaned myself right out of that door and now I hesitate. Should I contaminate the perfect vacuum tracks with my stocking- feet prints, or shall I stay forever outside? My son watches from his perch on the counter’s stool where he is munching on anti-crumb snacks. His young mind seems to grasp that my behavior is odd.
I decided that his understanding of normalcy outweighs my anxiety. With exaggerated movement, I cross the room, stating, “All finished, love.” I plop down on the sofa and turn on the TV. Of course, a commercial about an ‘awesome cleanser’ is playing and I feel drawn to that like a tick on a dog. “I Kid You Not,” I remind myself and turn to the news.
Patting myself on the back, I leave the television and head for the laundry room. The clothes are dry and it is time to sort, fold and put them away. I battle the urge to have each item folded as if in a high class department store and I do a half-ass job instead. I consciously allow the hangers to face in different directions. A first! My anxiety level is 9 out of 10, but when I emerge with the basket I find that the cat has purged a hairball on the kitchen linoleum. “AH!” I scream silently to myself as I fight an urge to disinfect the entire floor.
“Mom, can we ride bikes?” JJ asks. Setting the laundry basket on a chair, I go out with my guy. My level is dropping; I realize…Maybe only a 4 at the moment. Another pat on my back, yet I see the lawn that needs mowing. Now an 8, I push forward realizing that my world, the world, is full of dirt, cracks and germs. I say aloud,”You will not bully me, flawed world.”
Now I know that this struggle will be difficult, that I need to keep seeing a therapist. Day to day though, my young son propels me forward. On any given day, the lights are indeed off… And I kid you not.
We cannot change what we are not aware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change.” – Sheryl Sandberg