Wednesday, December 26, 2012

OCD and Christmas Day

I hope everyone is well and at peace, and if you celebrate Christmas, I hope you had a wonderful day.
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were both busy and fun for Larry and me. We visited with his mother and my mother, attended the candlelight service at church on Christmas Eve and enjoyed time together. It was a wonderful holiday.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder didn’t ruin the holiday, but I found it sneaking in a few times to remind me that it’s still there, Christmas or not.
I felt it Christmas morning, when Larry and I opened our gifts to each other.
We keep our wrapped gifts on the dining room table until Christmas morning because our cat Sam likes to chew on boxes, wrapping paper and ribbons. She can’t climb up on the table anymore, so it’s the safest place we can keep them.
Christmas morning we took the wrapped presents to the big tree and sat in front of it to open our gifts. We had Celtic Christmas music playing, and it was a peaceful and fun time as we discovered what we had picked out for each other.
We were prepared. We had a trash bag to put the used wrapping paper in, and a box to put the ribbons in.
But I still found myself anxious about leaving a piece of paper, a bit of tape or a sliver of ribbon on the carpet for the cats to eat.
So I grabbed the paper and tape from Larry’s hands as soon as he tore it from a package and stuffed it down in the trash bag. Then I scanned the carpet for any pieces I might have missed.
It was not a big deal, compared to some other compulsions I have and have had in the past, but it was enough to take my mind momentarily off the festivities.
The real anxiety-producing obsession came later, when we visited my mother and had dinner with her.
She lives in an assisted living home, and has a large bedroom and bath, plus a lovely living room and dining room that she shares with the other ladies that live there.
My brother and his wife were also visiting, so we had to get an extra chair out in mother’s room where we talked with each other after dinner. Mother had a folder chair stored behind her bathroom door, so I got that out to sit in.
When it came time for Larry and I to leave, I refolded the chair and put it back behind the door.
That’s when the self-questioning started.
What if I didn’t set it firmly enough against the wall? What if I didn’t balance it well enough? If it fell, it might cause my mother to fall.
I turned the chair both ways and leaned it against the wall. I couldn’t tell which way made the chair more balanced, so I asked Larry to look at it.
My mother heard me and said, “There’s a certain a way you put it so it won’t fall.”
I asked, “Which way?”
My mother just said, “There’s one way to put it so it won’t fall.”
I was really anxious then. She apparently didn’t know how it should be set up, just that it had to be a certain way.
Larry looked at it and moved it around a little. We did our best to set it right.
He told me later that he thought he understood what my mother meant and put the heaviest part of the chair against the wall.
But as we said our goodbyes and left, it stayed on my mind. What if the chair fell? What if my mother fell?
Outside, my brother was taking a smoke break. I knew he was going back in, so I asked him to check the chair again for us to make sure it wouldn’t fall. He agreed to.
Looking back on it now, I should have just let it go. The chair was fine the way Larry and I had it. But I wanted the extra “checking” that my brother would give it.
Small things in the grand scheme of OCD, but they were enough to give me pause during the day.

Did OCD or anxiety sneak into your holiday activities?

28 comments:

  1. All in all your Christmas seemed great! When you said "looking back on it, I should have let that go.". (having your brother check), I do not have OCD but I would think that asking him to check is better than you going back yourself to do so. Baby steps.
    Me? Depression with anxiety on the side.

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    1. Middle Child, I'm sorry that you have depression and anxiety too. They cause their own troubles, I know. Thanks for reminding me of the importance of baby steps.

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  2. Oh wow, Tina, reading your post, I felt like you were in my head! That's one of the reasons I dread visiting my grandma at the nursing home - I'm so afraid I'm going to do something wrong and then someone will get hurt because of it.

    As far as my Christmas went, all I can say is it is so obvious so many people had prayed for me this week, because I had a truly glorious day yesterday. Yes, OCD still snuck in here and there, but not nearly enough to mess with our day. I'm so grateful.

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    1. Sunny, I'm so glad that you had a glorious day. Those are days that one remembers always.

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  3. The biggest anxiety attack I had was whether or not people would like my gifts. I think that they will hate it. The amount of anxiety related to gift giving is high.

    My depression was in full swing though. I totally wanted to be alone on Christmas Day.

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    1. Jen, I get anxious about people liking my gifts too, but my husband really worries about it.

      I can totally understand the desire to be alone, but I have to fight it sometimes and be with people because I know it's good for me.

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  4. So glad the OCD didn't ruin the Christmas holiday! That just means that you are more in control of yourself than OCD is!!! Very Wonderful! I like to think that depression has less control of me than I do over myself as well! And a wonderful note of this year has been that I have not been hospitalized for depression all year long (minus the first couple days of Jan- and I don't think that will repeat itself this 2013 either!!!)

    Glad you both got to visit with you mothers!
    Happy New year!

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    1. Deanna, Thank you. And I'm so glad 2012 was a good year for your depression, and I hope 2013 is even better.

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  5. Glad that it wasn't too overwhelming! I know that this morning I had to take down all the Christmas decorations, put everything back in it's right place, and vacuum the rug first thing. It feels good to have my house back ;-)

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. I'm leaving my decorations up a little longer, but I'm dreading the time it will take to dismantle them. I'll look forward to the house being "normal" looking too!

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  6. Sounds like you had a nice holiday. Now that particular episode with the chair sound similar to the kind I usually have. For some reason in the last month, I have beem having more ocd tendencies than usual, if that makes sense. Lately it's been with hand sanitizer and antibacterial soap and my need for me to have access to it. Even during Christmas shopping I was looking all over for it at the department store, noticed it on a clerks desk and reached over and used it, alot of it. :)

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    1. Madison, I have times that the OCD gets worse for seemingly no reason. I used to have a lot of OCD tendencies when I washed my hands.

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    1. Thank you, I did, Keith, and I hope you did too!

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  8. It is small but OCD can make it huge. it is good to step back and not let the OCD have the ONLY perspective! Great job, once again!

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    1. Thanks, Jodi. I like how you put that: not to let OCD have the only perspective.

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  9. Glad your OCD didn't ruin your holiday, Tina, even though it made an appearance. Sounds like a lovely day for you and Larry overall.

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    1. Janet, Thank you. It was a lovely day, and OCD was just a small part.

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  10. Well, I can certainly understand your concern for your mother. It sounds like you had a really good holiday despite the short internal setbacks. I'm glad to hear it.

    I had a nice holiday too. Hubby and kids and cats and chaos but I'm learning to let go of my need for perfection and order. Everyone is much happier.

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    1. Thanks, Grace, it was a nice holiday. I'm glad you had a nice day, too. Letting go of perfection is not easy, I know, so good for you!

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  11. This sounds really tough, but am glad that it didn't ruin your holiday. I hope the rest of this year is wonderful to you, and that the year ahead brings great beauty and inspiration to your life :0)

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    1. Amanda, thank you for your good wishes. I hope the new year is a blessing to you!

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  12. I'm glad the OCD didn't ruin your Christmas. Oh, and I love Celtic Christmas music! I have a few different CDs by different artists.

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    1. Thanks, Elizabeth. This music is instrumental and so beautiful and calming.

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  13. We listen to Celtic Christmas music, too! Sounds like you had a mostly lovely Christmas. :-)

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    1. Jean, we enjoyed the music. Yes, we did have a lovely Christmas, so OCD didn't run the show. :-)

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  14. Yep..OCD crept into .Christmas. My daughter got sick and I went into the cupboard to get her medicine and when I opened it the box fell right down from the shelf into her garbage can. Just what I needed. I actually considered going to the store to buy new stuff but asked my husband to take the box out of the trash and dump the pills out on the island counter. I did not like touching them but had to take one for the team. I felt like my hands were dirty but did not wash them. Then on our trip home..we drove..it seemed like every time I had to use a public bathroom, someone else was in there and that made me have to wash my hands faster and I never felt clean. Yuck.

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    1. Krystal Lynn, even though OCD crept into your Christmas, it sounds like you did great! I love how you say you "took one for the team." That was so unselfish of you, and it's great you didn't wash your hands afterwards.

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