Monday, April 21, 2014

OCD victory: My hands in dirt


 
 

My joy goes beyond my pleasure in watching things grow and the solace it brings my soul to dig in the dirt and interact with nature.

My gardening is also a sign of a victory over OCD.

 One of the ways my OCD has manifested itself is through contamination fears. Basically, I feared germs because of the possibility of spreading them to others and making them ill.

One of the ways I dealt with my obsessions over germs was to wash my hands compulsively. I’ve written about how red and raw my hands and wrists became because I washed them over and over in hot water and soap.

Another way I dealt with my fears over germs was to avoid situations and activities where I was sure to get my hands dirty. Like putting my hands in dirt, on purpose.
 
  Over the years, I have experienced many victories over contamination fears. When I first started treatment for OCD and depression, I was able to start having houseplants. And I’ve had flower gardens sporadically through the years.

 But this is my first full gardening experience.

It feels good to know that OCD is not stopping me from doing something that I enjoy.

The journey to overcome my contamination obsessions and compulsions has not been short or easy. I’ve taken medication that has side effects and costs money that I would love spend elsewhere. I’ve taken therapy. I’ve read books and put new ways of thinking and reacting into practice.

 I’m not saying that I am no longer affected by my OCD. Each day brings its challenges, some big, some small. But I can more easily deal with the challenges, more easily turn back to what I was doing before the OCD interfered.

 If you have OCD, I encourage you to get treatment, to do the things—and it will probably be a variety of things—that will enable you to overcome the stifling effects of OCD.

 And for all of us who struggle with issues—maybe issues that no one knows about—let’s hold hope and do the work that we need to do to remember the joy that can be a part of any life.

 It’s been worth every penny and every struggle to stand in front of my garden and look at those lovely little plants beginning their own journey.

 What are you now enjoying in life that once seemed out of reach?

19 comments:

  1. Great post, Tina! Seeing your garden grow is such a beautiful reward.. I think everyone has some kind of issue they struggle with..me I worry too much.. Enjoy your day and have a happy week ahead!

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  2. Oh Tina I am so happy for you you. Hug B

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  3. gosh this is interesting Tina, helps me appreciate that I have been fortunate more so because I don't think I am someone who could persevere like you have/do, it must take such fortitude to have arrived where you have arrived, bravo! what a wonderful shot of that little sprout.

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  4. bless you! i know you are joyful! :)

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  5. I'm very happy for you and I admire you for stating it and seeing it. I can directly feel the good steps in other's life, but it seems harder when it's about me.
    Happy Easter! Love you!

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  6. Boy, it is hard to avoid dirt and germs. That is a great achievement for you. To dig and and garden. Bravo!

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  7. I applaud you for recognizing, accepting and doing something about your OCD. For many they continue to think they are right and refuse to admit they have a disorder and so do nothing about it.

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  8. I'm so glad you're able to enjoy gardening! I finally bought some seeds, so I just need to get out and plant them.

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  9. Your post makes me so happy...a conquered fear that resulted in so much joy!!

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  10. EVERYTHING, simply EVERYTHING!! I was not able to walk for six months, it is the best experience to help you enjoy everything!! I am really, really happy for you Tina, who knew all it would take was getting your hands dirty. A small thing for many but HUGE for you and I could not be happier!!

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  11. Your story is so inspirational and I know you are helping others out there who are struggling with this. Way to go, Tina!!

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  12. I am so glad to know that you can do things you love, despite the challenges. My cousin's son had the OCD handwashing tic (I don't know if that's the right word -- he also had Tourette's and I know that was right for that one). He seems to be more or less out of it at times, though others pop up. But one keeps on keeping on. And good for you to do it.

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  13. This is a beautiful story of hope. Overcoming any mental illness takes such perseverance and dedication.

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  14. You and your story are such an inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing with us. I know the garden is going to become one of your many joys ~ and certainly an adventure!

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  15. That is SPECTACULAR! Way to go, Tina!!

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  16. Congradulations!!!! Gardening is so fun ( from a non-ocd perspective) because you get to watch it grow and bloom or grow and then get to eat what you've grown. I started gardening years ago because we needed the food cash wish but have grown to like doing it... until ocd hit. I have a whole list of trees and flowers and fruit shrubs I want to plant 'someday' when I get enuf money- but I think my biggest fear is 'doing it wrong'. Planting shrubs / perennials in the wrong place. I would love to be able to have a landscape person come and help me put stuff in the 'right' spot. lol!

    Keep us posted on how the garden grows! I love reading gardening articles and looking at pics of peoples' gardens.

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