Monday, March 25, 2013

Adapting in the world of OCD and depression

Several years ago, during a bad time with my depression, my family doctor told me I would probably always have low times and have to have my medications tweaked. But he said I could learn to adapt to having to do this, adapt to the way I was.
I’ve been thinking about adapting a lot lately. I’ve had to make a lot of adaptations in my daily life because of a change, namely a broken bone in my foot.
A broken foot is not a tragic circumstance. There are so many people who are suffering so much worse than me.
But any change in the life of someone with OCD and depression can cause anxiety. 
Three weeks ago, I wrote about having anxiety over my broken foot. I had worries about how I would handle the OCD and other anxiety associated with a change in my daily life.
But I would adapt, I wrote.
And I have adapted. I have made adjustments in my schedule, in how I do things, in order to accommodate the orthopedic boot I must wear and the crutches I’m supposed to use.

Here are a few of the changes I’ve had to make to adapt to having a broken foot:

I had to learn to navigate the world using crutches.


 It hurt at first. My upper arms got incredibly sore from using the crutches. But I kept telling myself that I had to keep using them to let my body get used to them. And it did.

The purse I was carrying was just too heavy for me to try to tote along with crutches.


Of course, the purse would not have been so heavy if I didn’t stuff so much into it!
 I switched to this purse, which was a little easier to carry on my shoulder.


And if it falls from my shoulder while I’m using my crutches, it’s not too heavy on my arm.

I used to drive every day. I drove myself to work and to all my work-related appointments.
I haven’t driven for three weeks. Larry has driven me everywhere I needed to go.
He’s an excellent driver and has been incredibly helpful and patient. But it’s hard to give up the “control” of getting myself from one place to another.
More than once I’ve stood up at work and gotten my things together, forgetting for a short time that I couldn’t just walk out the door to my car and drive home. I had to wait for my ride.

My contamination OCD bothered me a little. I was anxious about keeping the boot clean. But I started thinking of my boot as just another shoe. Whatever my shoe on my left foot could touch, so could the boot on my right foot. That thinking helped.
So did good old exposures. I had to walk some places, like public bathrooms, where I didn’t really want to with my boot. I forced myself to do it, and soon enough the anxiety waned.

 I have an appointment with my orthopedic doctor this afternoon to check to see if the bone is healing.
I may need surgery. Hopefully, I won’t.
But no matter what the doctor determines today, I know that I can adapt to what comes next.
Adapting has taught me some things: gratitude, patience and confidence.

*I am grateful that the adaptations I’ve had to make are temporary. My foot will heal. I will reach the point where I won’t be on crutches and I won’t need to wear an orthopedic boot.
*I’ve learned to take some things slower. I have to go up and down steps very slowly, one step at a time. It takes me longer to get from point A to point B. That’s OK. Life doesn’t fall apart if I’m not rushing from one place to the next.
*I’ve learned to have confidence in my ability to handle changes. If I have to make more adaptations, I can do it. I’ve done it before. I can do it again.

What have you learned from having to adapt to changes in life?

34 comments:

  1. That's great that you are finding positive out of something that could be considered to be negative!
    Well done :)

    I find change very difficult too, mainly because of depression, and it takes me a little time to adjust.

    Take care, hope your foot isn't giving you too much pain.x.

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    1. Thank you, Claire. It takes me time to adjust to changes, too, especially those I haven't anticipated. The pain is not too bad now.

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  2. Oh I think you are adjusting very well I am not sure I would have been able to adjust that well.
    I do hope you do not need surgery but think POSITIVE not to worry till you have too. Take care OK B

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    1. Thank you, Buttons. You're right. No need to worry until I have to!

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  3. Once again another introspective and inspiring piece. I hope you are able to avoid surgery and that your foot heals fully. As far as adapting to chenge, I try to take the approach that life is ever-changing and ever-evolving. Usually, that realization makes it a bit easier.

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    1. Thanks, Keith. Taking the larger view and seeing all of life as ever-changing--I like that. It's a good way to look at the small changes in life.

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  4. I hope that your appointment goes well today, and that you do not end up needing surgery.

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. I'm nervous about the appointment, but I want to get it over with!

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  5. Adapting is such a great life skill. Sometimes we are good at it and other times not so much. I wish that when my purse fell off my arm I could just leave it by the way side. But of course I "need" all the goodies inside!

    Good luck with surgery.

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    1. Sharon, thank you. I agree that being able to adapt is a great skill to have. I'm working on getting better at it.

      I stuff everything I could possibly need into my purse, and it gets way too heavy!

      I hope I won't need surgery. Hopefully, it will heal on its own.

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  6. Interesting question. I have discovered that I am more adaptable than I thought I would be. When I remarried at 48 years of age, I inherited three more children, and a whole family that did things differently that me. I couldn't believe how I adapted to that, but I discovered that I was more adaptable than I believed. However, I also discovered that God doesn't give you the grace for a situation until you are IN that situation. God is good and God is enough.
    Now depression is another matter. I think I resist adapting to it because I feel that IT IS NOT NATURAL! or at least I wish that it wasn't natural for me. So I think I probably make it harder on myself sometimes by rebelling against the depression, trying to squirm out of it and FIX IT!
    Thanks for asking some interesting questions.

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    1. Wendy, you raise some good points to consider. I hope that when I adapt to having depression and OCD, I'm not giving in to it as much as accepting that I have the disorders and may have to do things differently because of them. I always want to get better. Maybe I'll always have the disorders, but I can always hope for better. I'm like you--I probably make it harder sometimes by resisting that I have the disorders.

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  7. Oh Tina you are such an inspiration! I really hope the appointment goes well and you don't need surgery.
    As far as your question goes: My husband has found a job!!! We are so happy about it and he started today.
    But it will take some adapting because he will be gone from half past six in the morning to half past seven in the evening. So I really have to get used to being alone again and going to the shops on my own, which I dread. Especially when it has snowed.
    But I will manage, somehow, just like you do now.
    Your message gives me the hope I will.

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    1. Klaaske, I'm so happy for you and your husband! That is a long day. Will he work those hours 5 days a week? As you say, you will adapt to it. Before long it will seem like the new normal. We can do all sorts of things that we never thought we could do.

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    2. Yes it will be five days a week Tina. It's such a long day because he has to travel for two hours to get there.
      We might move there eventually, if the job becomes a permanent job. He's only got a contract for a year now.
      But that will be a major adjustment and a lot of adapting as I'm close to my family and kids now, and will sure miss them quite a bit. But we need a job too.

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    3. Klaaske, Sometimes our needs in life pull us in different directions, don't they? But I'm sure you will be able to adapt to the move if it needs to happen. I hope the job goes well for your husband!

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  8. Being flexible and adaptable to various situations is a gift. It means giving up control. This has not always been so easy for me. It's still not. I'm glad you're using your broken foot as yet another opportunity for learning and growth. You are an inspiration to all of us. I pray for speedy healing.

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    1. Thank you, Grace. You bring up a good point--"It means giving up control." You are so right! I think sometimes I resist adapting because then it seems like I'm not in control of the situation--I have to give something up. But sometimes, that's what we have to do.

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  9. some really good and useful lessons you've learned!! i adore the purple purse!!

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    1. Thank you, Debbie. Purple is my favorite color, and this is one of my favorite purses, except it doesn't hold as much stuff as I sometimes like to lug around.

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  10. I have learned from "adapting" that I am capable of alot more than I give myself credit for.
    Hope your doctor visit goes well and you lose those crutches soon!

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    1. Krystal Lynn, thank you. Sometimes we really do discover during the hard or complicated times what we can do and accomplish.

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  11. Great lessons you have learned, Tina! I think the hardest thing for me, and most traumatic, was when I was just four years old. My right kidney was not functioning well...in fact, it was bad. The doctors told my parents that if they did NOT remove it, I would surely die. If they did remove it I stood a 50% chance to survive. Believe it or not, I actually heard the doctor tell this to my parents and as a result the doctors had a very hard time putting me to sleep for the surgery that my parents had opted for in order to give me the possibility of living. It is very traumatic for a 4 year old to hear that you may die...however, thanks be to God they removed my kidney and I am alive today. I don't have OCD, as you know, but being a highly sensitive person I don't adapt to changes well...not as quickly as some, anyway, but I do eventually. Thank you so much for sharing.

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    1. Linda, how difficult that must have been to hear such serious things when you were only 4 years old! I'm so glad that things turned out well. I can empathize with you on being highly sensitive--I'm like that too. We do adapt--just may take a little longer. And that's OK.

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  12. Hope the appointment with your doc went well and that you don't need surgery, Tina.

    I had to use crutches once for a week and it was horrible! Also, after I had major knee surgery a few years ago, I could only climb stairs one leg at a time for over a month. That was hard because of having to do laundry and stuff like that. I'm sure glad that was temporary!

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    1. Thank you, Sunny. Crutches aren't fun, are they? Our washer and dryer are in the basement, so I have steps to climb there, too. I just try to take it slow.

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  13. You inspire me, Tina. You really do. If something like this ever happens to me, I will remember this post and come back to it. You are doing an amazing job of adapting.

    "But any change in the life of someone with OCD and depression can cause anxiety." -Amen and Amen!

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    1. Thank you, Elizabeth, for your kind words. I hope you stay well and uninjured! But if you do need to adapt, I know you will be able to do it, too.

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  14. I second Elizabeth! You are adapting with grace and strength. I usually am pulled kicking and screaming into adapting! But then - isn't it funny how we adapt when the changes come with so much less drama than we how imagined it?

    What I mean is the prospect of adapting often seems insurmountable in my head, but when I actually do it, I surprise myself with how little fuss I get it done. Another example of how OCD/anxiety/negative thinking are so far off the mark.

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    1. Thank you. I appreciate your kind words! You make a good point--the anxiety beforehand is usually so much worse than the anxiety when we actually do what we've been dreading. Believe me, I did some metaphorical kicking and screaming, too, on the way to adapting!

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  15. This is such an inspirational post - YOU are inspirational. I hope that you're able to see the progress you've made, and how courageous it is to take it all on in the way you have. So glad for you :0)

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    1. Thank you, Amanda, for your kind comment. I appreciate your support!

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  16. Look at what a terrific living example you are! So many people refuse to consider change of any sort - then, when trouble arrives - they panic and cause much more challenge than they would have had.

    We KNOW change is one of the constants in the world. (people complain, but - there it is - a Universal Truth.)

    YOU can do anything - you've just shown us all how - You are a hero.
    love & love,
    -g-

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    1. Thank you! I appreciate your words of support. Change is a constant, but we tend to forget that sometimes, don't we? And then, as you say, things are more challenging.

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