Wednesday, 21 August 2013 0 comments

Bad day - Grace shall be as your day

Ok I've had a bad day.

I was having the compulsion to go on the internet today. That was the first time in quite a while.

This is up there with the most difficuly of compulsions for me.

It really knocked me. I couldn't believe it just came back out of nowhere.

I have felt the intensity of OCD thoughts increasing in the past week or so but for some reason still wasn't expecting this. I had forgotten what it had felt like.

The power and control a compulsion can have over you is big. I am also starting to feel the urge to count the number of letters in words, this is another big one of mine.

I did not give in though. I distracted myself with other stuff. It was hard. Even now writing this I can feel the compulsion coming back because this blog is making me think of it.

It is time to just weather the storm. Time to huddle down and just hold on tight.

Here is the opportunity to really put in to practice such techniques as mindfulness, acknowledging the thought and then distracting myself from it with something more important and then even just throwing on some funk music, this is my musical medicine.

My wife and I call my OCD 'Pete'. Giving it a name helps give the distance needed so I can understand that it's not me as such, but it is something else.

We talk of Pete when I'm having a bad day. We have even been known to tell Pete "he's an a**hole".

For some really strange reason swearing at Pete makes me feel a bit better, but then I start thinking I shouldn't do that. Nice time for the scrupulosity to kick in.

Such is life.

I have a lesson to teach this week at church, a sunday school lesson about the pioneers. I have been reading about the hymn that was written and sung at this time - Come, Come, ye Saints.

The words have been having a big impact on me this week. I honestly think that the sentiment of the song is deeply helpful to understanding trials and difficulties. Here's the words -

Come, come, ye saints, no toil nor labor fear;
But with joy wend your way.
Though hard to you this journey may appear,
Grace shall be as your day.
Tis better far for us to strive
Our useless cares from us to drive;
Do this, and joy your hearts will swell -
All is well! All is well!

Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?
'Tis not so; all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward
If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take.
Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we'll have this tale to tell-
All is well! All is well!

We'll find the place which God for us prepared,
Far away, in the West,
Where none shall come to hurt or make afraid;
There the saints, will be blessed.
We'll make the air, with music ring,
Shout praises to our God and King;
Above the rest these words we'll tell -
All is well! All is well!

And should we die before our journey's through,
Happy day! All is well!
We then are free from toil and sorrow, too;
With the just we shall dwell!
But if our lives are spared again
To see the Saints their rest obtain,
Oh, how we'll make this chorus swell-
All is well! All is well!

Thursday, 15 August 2013 2 comments

Coming out of the OCD closet

Of late the real obsessive thought has been ‘there is no way the spirit is going to be with you, especially when you teach lessons or speak at church.’

That’s quite a specific religious obsessive thought, so some may not be able to relate to that.

Once the panic sets in, as I teach a class every week plus I had to speak in sacrament meeting last Sunday, The compulsion is to start looking for things I have done wrong. Some things are easy to find because we all do things that we could argue with ourselves was right or wrong.

After I teach a lesson or give a talk I then seek reassurance from those who were there to see if they enjoyed my class or if it was ok. Did they feel the spirit? I almost feel like it has to be the best class on the subject they have ever heard and I then can over compensate with preparation. I become quite the perfectionist, in my head at least.

The one I came up with in the last few days was that I taught in a Sunday school class that we don’t need to worry too much about the word of wisdom, as long as we take care of the definite proscribed guidance, we are not required to become too zealous with other aspects. We do what we feel is right. We all know when we are abusing something like food or caffeine or sugar etc.

I started to think ‘maybe I shouldn’t have told people not to be too worried about it. Maybe that has just given someone licence to break the word of wisdom and is therefore I was teaching something wrong, AND that is one of the reasons the spirit won’t be present when I teach!!!’

I seem to know that this is completely illogical. Even if I was slightly negligent in enforcing the principles of the word of wisdom, it’s not a sin by any means, just simply incorrect. However, I also actually feel I was right in what I said, but the anxiety certainly arises as I identify this as a possible reason for a loss of the spirit.

Accepting this as an OCD train of thought is tough when you are faced with a class or are placed into a situation where you are supposed to be spiritual. I hope I am managing to not show it too much. I had a few moments of restraining myself mentally on Sunday.

This leads to the thing my wife has been telling me to do for a while now. She has been telling me to be more open about having OCD. She feels I should be ‘OUT AND PROUD’. She’s not nagging me about it, but she is definitely of the opinion I should be more vocal about such things.

I’m not so sure.

I don’t hide the fact I have OCD and I also don’t go around telling everyone. If it was something that fitted the conversation and I felt OK about I’d maybe share that I suffered with it, but I wouldn’t like to give them all the details. I would never refer them to this blog as this is too much information to put my face and name to.

I am fearful of the stigma or stereotype that may come with the name of this condition. Maybe I should show a little more trust in my friends and family??

It’s a tough one because no one really gets it unless they suffer from it. It takes a kind person to take this information and do only the best of things with it. My wife doesn’t even know all the ins and outs of my mind on a daily basis because it’s just too much, but the little that she does know she is great with.

So I have already ruled out a full coming out of the OCD closet, but maybe I should share it with a couple of close friends at least.

I have briefly mentioned it to a couple of people who are close friends when I was first diagnosed, more out of shock and disbelief that this is what I was actually suffering from, but they have been very quiet on the issue, for which I am grateful.

There is a part of me that wishes I never told them though as I get a little bit paranoid about what judgement may be going on behind the scenes. It’s like I have just told them what my kryptonite is and that leaves me feeling a bit vulnerable.

In society and therefore in the church as well I think there is still a stigma about mental health issues. I would love to be part of breaking down those stigmas but I’m not sure I’m brave enough.

So what do you think? Should I open the OCD closet a little bit and maybe expose my weakness?