28
Nov
12

So here is my crazy…

I remember sitting on my freshly made bed gazing at my room. I had just cleaned, straightened, organized so well it sparkled. I just sat on my bed feeling good, at peace and enjoying the perfect cleanliness of my space.

I was 8.

That was the first memory I have of feeling calm and peaceful because there was a perfect order and cleanliness and that made me happy. I think it was the first time I had my own room, most of childhood I shared a room with my sisters.

Growing up I remember doing my chores and then some. My siblings did not have the same desire, need and craving for perfect order so at times I did their work. It kept the peace and allowed us to move to the fun stuff. All our chores had to be done before playing outside, TV or friends. I did not want to wait on my sibling’s slow paced way of cleaning up….

Today I still will sit in a freshly cleaned space and breathe deeply and enjoy the sense of calm that rushes over me. When I organize or clean out something I just stare at it and enjoy the beauty of order. Once I year I hire a team to come in and deep clean every surface of our home. After they leave no one is allowed inside. I spend some time going from room to room to marvel at how clean, sparkly and organized things look. Then I just sit for a spell. I have my few minutes of enjoying that everything is in its place and perfect. My kids have it down…they know when we pull up to the house on the cleaning day they can’t come in. Last year Taylor reminded them and said “Remember, we have to wait out here mom just wants to sit in the clean.”

Just recently I learned that my nieces have used me in their cleaning descriptions. It’s all done in love, I have no issue with it, in fact I think it’s great and I feel a bit famous. (I am sure that a whole other level of sickness with my OCD issues). Anyway, when they have to clean their rooms or help out with the house they have 3 levels of clean.

  • Clean my room: toys & clothes off floor.
  • Companies coming over: things off floor and put away, bed made
  • Aunt B Clean: All of the above plus, organized, clean surfaces, purge, dusted, sparkly, vacuumed, and disinfected.

When things are not that way I feel cluttered, anxious and it is stressful for me. I know I sound crazy to some, others will say obsessed or perfectionist. I understand, I struggle with being, trying to be, and trying not to be a perfectionist. I struggle with controlling compulsions to clean regardless of anything else going on, I obsess over what is unclean, unorganized until I can make it right. I have cleaned other spaces than my house. I think it is limited to just family’s homes but if I am there for a stay I will clean. Not because I think the people are incapable or dirty I just see something or place that needs attention and I help it out a little

I am a work in progress and I am not as bad as I was once. I use to vacuum my floors before I left to go anywhere even if it was to drop kids at preschool. I use to mop my floors more than once a day, at minimum 2-3 times a week. Now I have gone a couple weeks without mopping. I do this so I can learn to be OK with it. I am trying to force myself to not clean so much. I had a big step a few weeks ago and had a dear friend over and I had not mopped. I did feel some twinges about it and I was not 100% care free but she stayed several hours we had good conversation and a great time… but in fighting off the anxiety of dirty floors I picked my cuticles and by the time she left I had a few sore and bloody spots. I also do my best to avoid my kid’s rooms. When I go in there I try not to look at anything. If I stay in there too long or look at things it takes a lot of effort to not drag it all out and start sorting, purging and cleaning. And I am sure I have made my kids less than when they see me come in their clean room and tell them what’s not right. I don’t mean to make them feel inadequate and I am sad that I have. I am still working on control over judgments of their idea of clean.

Picking at my nails has been a point of conversation since I met J. I don’t recall any other person saying so much about my habit. It is a compulsion for me. The worse my hands look the more stress and anxiety I carry. When I don’t pick my fingers (because they are sore, I am trying not to because I got a manicure) I twirl my hair. Twirling my hair is more calming for me. But it is another compulsion. To be honest I have twirled my hair so much at one time my wrist is sore and I cannot use it and require ibuprofen.

In chatting with a friend a while ago I laughingly said I have the obsessive part of OCD. I obsessive over cleanliness, especially clean floors. I have managed and carried on with a productive and great life despite my strict order of things. It hasn’t always been peachy…getting married and living with someone else and compromising, and learning to be OK with how they clean and organize doesn’t go without some hiccups. But I am still married to the same man who understands me and is gracious to deal with my OCD behaviors. And we have 4 great kids who are happy, intelligent and creative.

In the last few weeks my eyes have been open to seeing the compulsion part of OCD I suffer from. I have seen things under a new light and am seeing just how “crazy” I am. Some may say I need to see a therapist; I am not there yet with all this. I know my triggers and I manage well so far. I exercise to relieve stress, I can tell J I can’t handle something and he will take care of it for me. He will help a lot at getting things done as I prefer to limit any anxiety.

However, I am a parent and our kids are a part of us and that means they will get some of our icky things. I never thought it would be great to have an OCD child. I don’t wish it on anyone. If I am honest I feel trapped by it at times. But I have wished my kids loved clean like I did at 8, but they don’t. In the last couple months some compulsive behaviors have surfaced with one of the kids and it is a bit heartbreaking. The compulsions this child has could be a devastating emotionally due to how people may/will react if the compulsion behavior increases. I want to make it stop but I watch my child try to resist the urge and it’s painful to witness. Maybe more so for me because I know how hard it is to resist a compulsion and try to find something else to calm you and relax you. It’s only temporary for a short time and then the compulsion takes over and you may or may not even notice.

Since this discovery I have done more research on OCD, found a few helpful resources and have ordered both of us fidget toys. I think we need more; some different types too as I am more in tune with when, how and why I am picking or twirling and there are times when a different tool is needed. It’s been interesting what I have learned about myself as I have been focused on helping my child and getting the right tools. And I have to learn to manage being OK with my child’s compulsion. The anxiety and worry I have for my child has increased my skin picking and hair twirling. This is an unplanned road we will travel together hoping to make each other less anxious and obsessed. I hope to show my children a type of healing and not my current patterns of stuffing, covering up and making excuses for my OCD but talking about it and create ways to loosen its hold on my behavior.

As I am typing this the child who suffers from compulsive behaviors is decorating the loft ceiling with snowflakes. They are snowflakes all of them have cut out but the way the snowflakes are hung, how full it needs to be, placement and so on of each snowflake borders on a thin line of obsessive/perfectionist or artistic/decorator thinking. I know mentioning that it looks amazing and congratulating the great work will be appreciated but it will still be obsessed over.

 

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