Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Waiting for an OCD rescue

The other night I was folding some laundry leftover from the weekend.
More laundry was in the washer and dryer. Larry had started washing cat blankets and beds, and I followed him with a load of clothes.
As I folded the laundry, I thought that the last of the kitty laundry was dry. It was time to empty the dryer and fill it with a new load, the clothes.
So I started to ask Larry to empty the dryer for me.
After all, that way I could avoid having to clean the dryer filter “good enough.” I wouldn’t have to worry about stray pieces of lint floating around and causing a fire. I wouldn’t have to worry about finding the dryer sheet hidden in the laundry, just waiting to ride upstairs in the laundry basket, ready for the cats to pounce on and eat and get sick from.
Yes, those are some of the things I worry about when it comes to laundry. And there are even more things I worry about when doing laundry.
But the other night, as I was folding laundry, it hit me.
I needed to take the kitty laundry out of the dryer myself.

I needed to stop waiting to be rescued.
I needed to stop depending on Larry to do the tasks that I didn’t want to do because of OCD. I needed to stop avoiding what I was afraid of.

I went downstairs and took care of the laundry myself.
I’m still avoiding certain tasks and situations because of OCD. And I’ve been expecting Larry to do some of those tasks and take care of some of those situations.
For example, I leave several cat care duties to Larry because of my OCD.
I don’t like to change the water in their bowls because if I have to wash the bowls first, then I’ll worry about getting all of the soap residue off before I fill it up with cold water for drinking. And I will have to check over and over to make sure it’s cold water and not hot water that I leave in the bowl.
I avoid washing the cat food bowls for similar reasons: I might not rinse them well enough and soap residue might make the cats sick.
I don’t clean the litter boxes because it’s just too messy and sometimes hard to look at.
Yes, OCD is a strange disorder.
I’m depending on Larry to carry a chunk of my OCD load for me. That’s not fair to him. And it’s not fair to me in that I won’t get better in those areas if I don’t try to push through the anxiety related to them.
I’m going to have to study my routines to find other things that I’m relying on Larry to take care of because of OCD. And I’m going to have to start helping with those tasks.
And stop expecting an OCD rescue.

Have you ever leaned too much on someone else to carry the load because of OCD, depression or some other issue?

32 comments:

  1. It's probably a hard balance. I know you don't want to lean on him too much but at the same time it's also great to have a spouse that can help shoulder things on bad days.

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    1. Good point, Keith. It's good to be able to lean on each other when we need to.

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  2. Oooh, this post hit a chord.

    I hate anything to do with the kitchen sink, and anything to do with our kitchen now (it's old and gross). I feel sick thinking about it and let Michael take care of all the kitchen duties.

    I wasn't sure it was OCD until I read your post - and my anxiety went sky high at the thought of taking over kitchen cleaning duties!

    Good for you, not only realizing it but determining to change the rescue pattern.

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    1. Thank you. I can understand your anxiety because I feel it too. I need to change my pattern, but I doubt if I will be able to do it all at once.

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  3. Just popping in to say that I think you're doing an incredible job and working so hard. Your efforts are "paying off" and I know you will accomplish what you put your mind to, with OCD.

    I'm so glad to read this.

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  4. Great point, Tina! Yes, I've done the same thing at times. Most particularly, I depend too much on Henry when phone calls need to be made. I have phone phobia. Last week I started volunteering at the office of our local theatre, knowing that I will have to answer the phone as part of my job. I've noticed since we moved to this small town that people use the phone more than e-mail, so I'm going to have to get beyond it!

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    1. Thank you, Nadine. I can understand phone phobia because I've got some of that, too. But that's an area where I sometimes can take the load off Larry by making some phone calls that he doesn't like to make. Good for you for volunteering for a job where you know you'll have to deal with the phone. You're pushing through your anxiety!

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  5. Powerful post, Tina! I feel your power here even more than usually, which is saying tons because I think you are always strong! Having Larry do it was a good skill for a while but no it's time for the next step.

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    1. Thank you, Jodi. I never thought about it being a skill to have Larry do some things for me. That's an interesting and helpful way to look at it. You're right--now it's time for me to take the next step.

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  6. Excellent post which got me thinking. I usually think about "enabling" from the enabler's position, as that is who I was for my son. How much should I accommodate? Should I say "no" when he asks me to do something that he is obviously terrified to do?
    So it works both ways, finding the balance that can allow you to go ahead and fight your OCD.

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    1. Thanks, Janet. Looking at it from the enabler's perspective, I can see that it must be hard to know when to help directly and when to say "no." As you say, both sides have to work on finding a balance. Not easy!

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  7. What a great post! I'm impressed that you can see a more positive end result of beginning to face previously avoided things - and not remaining fully dependent on another to shoulder certain tasks. It takes courage to do this! You are facing these things with a personal commitment, and on your own terms... very empowering, very healing too!! Thank you for sharing :-D

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    1. Thank you for your kind comment. I appreciate it. I hope I can follow through with giving up the avoidance.

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  8. I think it's okay to give yourself an out on one chore that you really hate to do. So if that be litterboxes - then I'd say let that go to Larry and that can be your one thing. What you don't want to do is have a bunch of things that you dodge, you know. :-)

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    1. Lisa, you're right. You've given good advice. One would be OK, but all the things that I avoid and hand over to Larry--it's too many.

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  9. Oh yes, I rely on my hubby to take up all kinds of things for me that I can't do!! I know I should be more proactive about taking on stuff, but it's so hard. That's awesome that you recognized that for yourself. If you are going to fight it, just take it one step at a time and don't be too hard on yourself!! Lifelong habits/compulsions don't change overnight.

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    1. Sunny, good points. These habits that I have are pretty ingrained. It will take a lot of steps to change. It's not easy for me to be proactive, either.

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  10. I rely on my husband to do all kinds of things too! He's good at picking up the slack and doesn't seem to mind. Regarding laundry, however, there's still a load in the dryer from Monday!!!!! We've both been too busy to get it out! Don't be too hard on yourself. You are doing your best and that's all any of us can do. Have a wonderful day and I appreciate you!

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    1. Katherine, thank you for your kind words. Your husband sounds great! Leaving laundry in the dryer--that's not uncommon in our household!

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  11. It amazes me how OCD can be very unique to a person, and yet we share alot of commonalities in our thinking. My husband and I are help mates to each other and I have no problem asking him to do something around the house but I do find it especially important that when I ask him for help, that it is not simply helping me out of an OCD bind. It is very tempting to do that (and I still do this occasionally) but I found that using him to do a job so I have less anxiety has led me to do less and less around the house, almost like it handicaps me. Your posts are always interesting.

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    1. Thank you, Krystal Lynn. You hit the nail on the head--I, too, feel like it handicaps me in a way when I don't do more around the house because of OCD. I let the OCD rule what I do instead of my values.

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  12. Very cool blog. Interesting posts. ;)
    Nice atmosphere guests with you here on the blog. ;]
    Yours. Have a nice day. !

    Follow me on facebook fanpage
    I'm very concerned about this, please. :)
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/In-another-light/413836138693856

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  13. Wise words as always! This definitely gave me something to think about.

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    1. Thanks, Jen. It's a puzzle to work out, that's for sure.

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  14. Hi tina! I think you are doing your best and since reading your blog you have overcome many challenges related to ocd. 
    Lately, I have had to tackle things on my own with no rescue, even during in a bad depressive episode. I have found that it has, at times, actually given me a brief reprieve from my symptoms. 

    Madison:-) 

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    1. Thank you, Madison. I am glad that you've had even brief reprieves from your symptoms. I wonder if, since you have had to tackle some things on your own, being busy and concentrating on your tasks helped with that.

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  15. The first step to change is realizing you need to. I bet your hubby will be glad to help you in these areas.

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    1. Grace, a good point. You're right--I can't change if I don't realize I need to. And, yes, I think Larry will be glad for the help!

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  16. Wonderful!! Good for you that you are well enuf to see that you have been leaving things for someone else to do. I guess that happens because we are dealing with so MANY issues that some just have to be taken care of by someone else or we'd be overwhelmed. Progressing means we see when we are slacking, recognize we have the skills now and energy to tackle more and then do it. Congradulations.

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    1. Karin, thank you for your kind words. I am working on the issues, but a step at a time.

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