Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Change is hard in so many ways

Change is one of the biggest things I struggle with. Some of it has to do with me just being me. Some of it has to do with me being an introvert. And a big, old chunk of it has to do with my OCD.

This week I did TWO things that required changes. They may seems like no big deal to you. That's ok. But trust me when I say they were HUGE things for me.

I downloaded Adele's new album. New music is really hard for me. Really hard. And people are all like "how is listening to new music hard??"

Main reasons:

1. I don't know all the lyrics to new music. This is huge. Number one, I really, really like to sing along with music. If I don't know the lyrics I can't sing along and that really affects my listening experience. Number two, I don't like not knowing things. Not knowing things is the bane of my existence. If I could download music into my head and know all the songs I would be way more happy and willing to listen to new things. This is a HUGE hurdle I have to overcome with every new song that comes along. It sounds so dumb -- why is it a big deal? Well you aren't me so you can't understand so just trust me on this one. It's a HUGE FUCKING DEAL. I would really be ok with not having any new music in my life ever...but that's unreasonable and dumb and would drive the people around me crazy (because they like new music as most people do), so I keep trying. But I am definitely never going to be on the cutting edge of music.

2. What if I don't like the music? Ahhhh. Just thinking about it makes my heart beat fast. Again, why such a big deal? One, if everyone else likes it and I don't, then I have to explain why I don't like it. And I'll have to do that over and over and over again to every single person who is like "OMG, don't you love the new X song?" And if I say "Uh, no, I don't" then it's like "OMG, how can you not?!?!" And then I just don't want to have that conversation again and again and again. And probably my reasons for not liking something are like "I don't like the bump bump bump beat" and people are like "WHUT?" Nevermind. You can't understand why I don't like it and I know you want to but I can't express it in a way you understand and dear god let this conversation be over. But it never is. And if I lie and say "Yeah! Love it!" a) I hate lying, especially when I feel pressured to lie because the person who I am talking to can't just accept "No, I don't like it," and b) then they might make me listen to it and I don't want to. Two, if I spent money downloading something and I don't like it...well I just wasted money. I HATE WASTING MONEY. I'm one of the cheapest people alive. Wasting money hurts. Seriously. I know you don't understand and that's ok. Again, just trust me on this.

Anyway, I actually like the new Adele album. Yay! Thank god. And that inspired me to try ANOTHER new thing. New face wash.

Now, new products I put on my body are REALLY hard for me. I have really sensitive skin and sometimes new products make me break out in a rash or do weird things to my skin. So that makes me hesitant. Another reason is because of my shark nose. I can't stand weird smells. And "weird" is a REALLY big category. Like really big. I can smell everything. And if it somehow doesn't agree with my nose, it needs to go away and die in a fire. And if my body/skin feels weird after, ugh. No. Won't use again. And then that whole waste of money thing. Use the product once or twice and then I can't use it again and it's a waste of money. Gahhhh.

Thing that go on my face and head are the hardest. Closest to my nose and my face is the most sensitive part of my body. And I'm just generally extra weird about my head and face. It's just a thing. Trust me (again).

I've used the same face wash for 4 years. Before that I used the same face wash for 5 years. When they stopped making it, I freaked out and emailed the company for discontinuing it. I got an email back with a coupon to try one of their other face washes, but I was too pissed from their betrayal. That switch actually went smoothly because I found another company who made a similar face wash I liked. But now we've found out about microbeads and how they're destroying the environment so I've been trying to find a new face wash without microbeads. Also, now I'm vegan and it turns out so many face washes have dead animals in them. Jesus christ. Like my life wasn't hard enough already. But once I know there is tallow or gelatin or some other weird dead shit in my face wash there's NO WAY I can rub it on my face. Gah. Death. Literally.

I bought two new products at Target that are vegan and microbead free. One is ok. It doesn't make my face "feel clean" though. I am using it right now, but really unsatisfied. I know, get over it. Ha, if only I could.

I bought another one. I smelled it in the store, and I thought it had a mild enough scent I could stand it. Nope, wrong. Tried it twice. Yuck. Gave it to my roomie.

I bought three different vegan face washes from the vegan co-op. A month ago. I've been too afraid to try them. They've just been sitting in the cabinet.


Adele went well. Maybe facewash will go well. I put the "unscented" one in the shower. "Unscented" is such a bullshit lie. It is not unscented. It is intentionally not scented like anything in particular, but it is NOT unscented. Not to the shark nose.

I had coffee with my OCD friend who knows how hard the face wash is for me. We talked about it. And Adele. And after she left I decided I was going to try it.

I tried it. The smell was not intolerable...I don't think anyway. When the face wash got wet it got very foamy and weird and it scared me and then I was gagging the entire time I was trying to get it off my face so the smell took a back seat to the surprising texture. My face feels fine now so that's a good sign. Maybe I'll be brave enough to try it again tonight during my nightly shower (yeah, I shower twice a day -- OCD people). We'll see.

Gagging. Yeah. That's a thing. A BIG, HUGE thing. I have an intense gag reflex. It's very sensitive. It's very annoying. Weird tastes, weird smells, weird textures activate it. Sometimes compulsive thoughts about germs or weird things activate it. I feel like I spend a quarter of my life gagging. It's way fucking annoying. And I have no control over it. People always think I'm being "so dramatic" when I gag. Right, because gagging is such a lovely feeling. And sometimes I can't stop gagging and I actually throw up. That's even more fun. Every time someone says "You're so dramatic" or "You're ridiculous" I kind of want to throw up ON them. It took Andrea a long time to get used to it and realize how horrifying it is for me. And to not just laugh when it's happening. We can laugh later, but at the moment, if someone laughs, not only am I gagging at something that is horrifying my brain but now I am horrified and mortified that someone is witnessing and laughing at this whole thing. So please don't laugh. Not until I laugh about it. Then you can laugh. Because sometimes OCD just makes me laugh. It's either that or cry. And it makes me cry enough. So when I laugh at some ridiculous way OCD impacts me, then you can laugh. But not before, ok? Because then you're an unsafe person and I don't trust you to hold the weirdness that is me and my OCD. So then there is a wall between us. Very few people get to see and hear all my OCD tics live and in the flesh. And maybe that's ok -- but just know, that's a barrier between us. I've been called dramatic my whole life. It feels like crap and makes me realize you don't "get it" and that you're not trying "to get it" and then I can't be vulnerable around you and then if I'm not vulnerable around you, you don't know the real me. So you can either know the real me, all of me, or you can know the sanitized version of me. I don't particularly care either way -- the choice is yours. I'm just trying to protect myself in a world that isn't soft and comfy for me. Self preservation is the bottom line and I'll do whatever it takes to preserve myself.

Anyway, that took a bit of a dark twist. I didn't mean for it to. I really just wanted to say YAY! I TRIED TWO NEW THINGS THIS WEEK! Go me!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Bad Germ Day

Carmie is taking a steroid. Steroids make you really thirsty. Drinking a lot makes you have to pee a lot. Carmie peed on the floor and I stepped in it and got the bottom of my jammies wet. Then I had to clean up the carpet (at 4 am) and then I had to wash my feet and my legs (from kneeling to clean the carpet) and then I needed new jammies. And then I needed to start the washer to wash my jammies and the towel I used to dry the pee spot and the rag I used to clean the pee spot and the rag I used to clean my legs and feet. And then I fell asleep again for a while. And then I feed the dogs and give them meds and wash my hands because ew, even vegetarian dog food is so gross. And then I took shower #1. And then we go to Bizarre Bazaar. There are so many people there. And so many handmade and recycled things. And dead animal things like leather and a skunk pellet. And dear Gzus I lasted 30 minutes now I have to go. And then we go to Mrs. Miller's and I was my hands. And then Mrs. Miller's dog had something gross on his muzzle and it was stuck so I had to have Andrea help me clean it off his face. And then I had to wash my hands to get them really clean. And then I saw a little poop in the dining room and I picked it up with a Kleenex and flushed it down the toilet and then went to wash my hands and there was no soap. Then I remembered I bought Mrs. Miller new soap and it was in my car. So first I washed my hands in the kitchen and then I went and got the soap and brought it in and then decided I should put the soap in the extra bathroom and why not wash my hands again so that the soap is primed and ready for the next person? And then we worked in the garage and there was a lot of dust and then I washed my hands about 7 times because I kept touching things and making them dirty. And then the dish towel was stinky so I had to use paper towels to dry my hands. And then I ran out of paper towels so I had to get more from the garage. And then my hands were dusty again and I had to wash them again. And then we came home and my dogs wanted to lay on us and have us run and scratch them. And then I washed my hands about 3 times to make sure they were really clean. And then I have to feed and med the dogs again. And then wash my hands again. And then we went to Andrea's house. And then I touched the sponge in the kitchen and it smelled and then my hands smelled like stinky sponge. And then I dried my hands on the towel and the towel smelled sour. So then I washed my hands again and dried them with a different towel. And then Kiki sat on my lap and she smelled like litter. And then I gave her some scratches and pets. And then I washed my hands. And then I scooped the litter box. And then I saw Andrea bought new litter and it wasn't the low dust kind and that's why Kiki smelled like litter. And then OMG what are those black specks in the litter? Probably flea eggs and now the cats have worms and I'm going to die. And oh wait, that's some special charcoal specks that are supposed to make the litter more absorbent. Not flea eggs. Thank god. I wash my hands again. OMG there is litter dust in my nostrils. I smell it all the way home. I walk in to my room and see the pee spot is still a little damp and then I think I probably better just keep my shoes on until I get in bed. And I better get another pair of jammies because my second pair probably got pee on the hem too. And OMG the fucking litter smell is so intense in my nostrils. Andrea, I have to take another shower. I am contaminated. I'm in the shower. She's brushing her teeth. I tell her I don't like the litter she bought. She said it was on super sale that's why she bought it. I feel bad that she has to buy more expensive litter because I'm a fucking spazz. She says it's ok. I can still smell the litter in my nose. I tip my head back and let water go up my nose so I can rub it around in my nostrils to get the smell out. Some slides down my throat and makes me gag. I tell Andrea I'll pay the difference in price of the higher price litter because I can't use that litter every again. I remember how last year I went in a lake and got water up my nose and I thought I was going to get brain eating amoebas, but hey! I'm still alive so I didn't! I remind Andrea about the lake and the amoebas and she said she kept an eye on me for symptoms during the window period because she promised she would. I forgot that the window had closed. Thank god I didn't die. Oh my god, they tell people to purify tap water when they do nasal rinses and I just rinsed my nose and accidentally got some too far back and maybe there's brain eating amoeba in my water. Probably not. But I better tell Andrea just in case. She's on alert again. I walk by the pee spot to get in bed. I start to feel a rising panic in my chest. Uh oh. Time to take half a Xanax before I spiral out of control into a full blown panic attack. You think all of the stuff that came before was an out of control spiral? Ha. That's just a typical bad germ day. The Xanax has kicked in. I'm ok now. OCD is pretty fucking gnarly, yo. I fucking love Andrea. She's the best. This shit is bananas.

Andrea read it and said "I always forget this is going on all the time. No wonder you're so exhausted by the end of the day." Yep. And this is only my obsessions and compulsions around germs, which is roughly about 1/3 of the things I'm worried about in a day. If I wrote EVERYTHING I obsessed about today and every compulsion I performed...you'd still be reading.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


Hair. It's a thing. It's often a big thing. Politics of hair for many communities. Personal feelings for many people.

I've had my own long, winding, personal politics of hair.

My dad has been almost bald on top since he was in high school. I've never known my dad to have a full head of hair. Here's a picture of us from when I was probably 2. See that head? Not much hair.

My mom has alopecia. Her hair on her head has taken many forms throughout my life and she's managed/dealt/coped with it in many ways. When I was little she often wore wigs. No pictures of her to show -- her pictures are hers to share. My dad has always worn his bald head without fanfare; typical for males. Women and their hair are a much more tender subject.

It seemed very normal to me -- and as a child with two parents with little hair on their heads I just thought it was a natural state of being. My mom tells a story of how once when I was little I asked her when my hair would all fall out. After recovering from the shock of the question she assured me that my hair wasn't going to fall out (probably -- since we don't really know what causes alopecia) and not to worry.

I was also the first born in our family. And I think, as is fairly typical in American families, I was the pretty little baby doll. Now my parents are not inherently gendered in sort of stereotypical ways and are both super open to all forms of expression, but they both come from pretty traditionally gender roled families and they were born in a time where questioning gender roles was just beginning. So like a lot of young parents I was their first experiment in parenting, as well I was the first granddaughter on my dad's side and the 4th granddaughter on my mom's side (no boys!). High femme presentation just seemed to be a pretty natural conclusion. This was aided in the fact that I'm naturally a high femme kind of girl. I loved every sequined, glittery piece of clothing I could put on, loved dolls, loved sitting still and having my hair done, loved posing, etc. So there was definitely no pushback from me. See example A.

Now when my sisters came along, not only did my parents have more experience under their belt, they also had two and then three kids and well, easy maintenance was more important than dressing up three dolls. Plus, neither of my sisters were super feminine as kids. They both were more up the middle, equally likely to like "boy things" as "girl things" so neither of them would play along with feminine gender stereotypes.

When both of my sisters were little they had very short hair. Mybe, partially their idea? But mostly my parents. Just so much easier to deal with short hair.

Due in part to our different experiences with hairstyles, while I have had tons of different hairstyles (some ill advised) both of my sisters have basically had long hair (no shorter than shoulder length) for all of their teenage and adult years. Now, I can't say that all of this is a true statement of fact. I'm talking about 4 other people's lives in this post, and really I can only speak for mine. They might tell a different story of their relationships to hair. But this is how I've thought about and experienced it.

Unlike the rest of my family, however, I'm the queen dynamic hair. I try new things, dye my hair new colors, buy zillions of new hair accoutrements, and passionately engage in political discussions about hair.

Which now brings me back to my personal history of hair.

I hate hair.

I hate my personal body hair.

I hate the way my personal hair feels on all of the parts of my body.

I hate the way I can feel beads of sweat cling to my hair on all of the parts of my body.

I hate the dirty feeling I associate with hair, especially as I have sweaty clingy hair sensations on all parts of my body.


This is where my OCD and my history with hair intersect. 

I am not a very hairy person. In fact, I'm really, really lightly haired. Like a Chinese Crested dog really. My body hair is extremely light both in volume and in color. But I can feel it. One of the things I've discovered about being an Extra Sensitive Person who has OCD and zillions of little things cause anxiety is that my nerves and body feelers are way more sensitive than anyone else's for the most part. Everything is overwhelming to me from a tactile, body experience sort of way.

I've gotten used to the feeling on my hair for the most part, but when I was a teenager going through puberty? Oh. My. God. Kill me. The hair was so uncomfortable. I know this sounds completely bonkers to most people -- who can feel their individual hairs on their body? Believe me or don't, but my sensory receptors are so hella elevated that I can. Throughout high school I shaved every inch of my body. Not just my legs like all the rest of the girls. Not just my armpits. All. Of. My. Body. Hair. I gave myself Brazilians before that was all the rage. I shaved my arms from shoulders to fingers. I obsessively got rid of my body hair. It was the worst feeling ever. And this was just around the time that my OCD was ramping up for a full showing and my struggles with OCD were huge, but yet I had no words or experiences to describe it, so I just thought I was a total weirdo. I fantasized about shaving off my eyebrows -- my boyfriend in high school told me he'd dump me if I did that. I dreamed about getting cancer so I'd lose all my hair. Serious, serious obsession. And really, you can't tell people you prayed for cancer so your hair would fall out because what the ever-loving fuck? And especially knowing that my mom had struggled with her hair loss throughout her life, I felt like a total fucking asshole for wishing I had no hair, when she would love to have my hair. Struggles.

I often wouldn't let people touch me (which I still do to this day for many other reasons) because if they touched my arms they could tell I had shaved arms and then it would be a DEAL and I'd have to talk about WHY I had shaved arms. Luckily I was also on the swim team for a while so that was a convenient excuse. I also was able to pull off the "someone dared me to" every once in a while. And luckily Indiana is freezing half the year so I could wear long sleeves during the cold months.

It eventually got to the point that I couldn't stand talking about my lack of arm hair so I just let it grow back rather than suffering through more unbearable conversations. But the rest of my body remained clean shaven. I shaved every single day without fail. No hair growing on me! I eventually got used to the feeling of hair on my arms and it was tolerable, even if it wasn't desirable.

Fast forward a decade and I'm all hella gay, radical feminist and surrounded by people who don't believe women should have to shave. And not only shouldn't HAVE to, but also that shaving was a form of being brainwashed by the patriarchy. Gah. Why am I always surrounded by people who question my hair choices?!?!

Now, I must interject -- although I had a problem with MY hair, I didn't have any problem with anyone else's hair. I could care less what other people do with their hair, body or otherwise. Even if I were sleeping with them, I didn't give one crap about their hair. Their hair is theirs and my hair is mine. And I just would rather not have mine.

Over the past few years as I've been working on me and my identity and my OCD I've come to a bit more of a place of peace with my hair. I still sometimes fantasize about waking up like a hairless chinchilla, but I've grown accustomed to my body hair for the most part. I am no longer a daily religious shaver. I no longer go full Brazilian. Last November I participated in my own version of No Shave November and didn't shave my legs for 6 weeks. Then I got grossed out one day and shaved them clean again. But for the most part, I don't think too much about my hair. I probably think about my body hair more than most people times about 10, but for me, that's hardly at all! I'm sure hair will be a life long struggle, but at least I'm at a place in my life where I'm more equipped to deal with my hair and my OCD than ever before.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

"I have an announcement everyone, I have an announcement"

Stop the presses, big announcement. JK. I mean, it's big for me, but I don't expect y'all to care. But I've gone from vegetarian to vegan. After 9 years (minus a brief point when my life fell apart and it was a struggle to just feed myself) of being a vegetarian, I can no longer deny the animal cruelty linked to milk, eggs, etc. I've know about the horrible things that happen in the production of dairy and eggs but I've willfilly ignored it and minimized it for long enough.

Why the change?

Momma cows. Oh my god, momma cows. I am so sorry. I was perusing Facebook a week ago and came across this story about a rescued dairy cow who gave birth to her calf in secret and hid the calf for days because she was worried the farmer would take away her baby, like so many of her other babies had been taken away.

And then at the end of the article I read about a momma cow who had twins and had the ultimate Solomon moment and took one of her twins to the farmer and hid the other one so she could at least keep one of her babies.

The tears. The heartache. My god. If there is any clearer indication of animals being sentient beings who are smart and emotional and so much more like humans than we give them credit for...I don't know what could be.

As usual, I will continue to keep this a personal choice. I haven't turned into a food evangelist. I believe food is a deeply personal choice and I'm not going to shame anyone for their choices. MYOB is still my personal mantra. Maybe with close friends and family I'll crack a joke every once in a while :)  but otherwise, you do you. If you want to know more about veganism, I'm happy to chat of course, but no worries -- I won't be patrolling you.I just can't have animal suffering on my conscience anymore. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

Although I mostly deal with anxiety on a daily basis, on occasion I get bogged down with depression. But it's often not a deep-I-can't-get-out-of-bed depression, but much more of a melancholy-what's-the-point kind of depression. I've been there for about a week or so. 
I'm not entirely sure what caused it...maybe because I had to lecture about abortion...which although it's one of my most important lectures and one that I get a lot of positive feedback from students about...it's just a draining not-so-fun topic that I have to cover. I worry about students freaking out and going all "BABY KILLERS!" in the middle of class, worry that I'm being too preachy-too liberal and not presenting the information in as neutral a way I can as possible...and it drains me. My teaching style is very much one of letting students figure out their own feelings, morals and values about topics and not shoving things down their throat. So while I am wildly pro-choice, I try as best as possible to not be the shouty scary feminist that turns off students from the message. I believe in attracting bees with sugar. But it takes a lot of effort. 
Actually it might have more to do with all the political hubbub in Indiana. Day after day after day of people debating whether or not it's ok to shun you is mentally and emotionally exhausting. So exhausting that that's all I'm going to say about that for now. I'll write more about it later. 

The weather here has also been weird. Raining, cloudy, cold, tornado warning the other day. After weeks of sunshine and warmth this feels like a step back. And that usually hurts my moods. I don't want to take off my sandals and put my sweaters back on! 

My therapist has been out sick for a couple weeks. Not having my weekly therapy sessions is a drag. Not that anything major has been coming up for me that I NEED to process with her, but there's something calming and reassuring about checking in with her each week. It gives me a stability that I worry I can't maintain on my own sometimes. 

The hard part about the melancholy is making sure it doesn't spiral out of control into larger fatalistic moods. Those are much harder to rebound and recover from. I'm getting better at reaching out to my support system when I start to feel that happening. I used to keep it all bottled up inside. Or would suffer needlessly because I couldn't stand to burden anyone. So when I realized that I was spiraling to the "OMG WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE FROM ENVIRONMENTAL DESTRUCTION AND I CAN'T MADE GOOD CHOICES ANYMORE" I knew I had to reach out to one of my most favorite melancholic confidantes because she'd know exactly what I was feeling and would be able to help me find perspective. It's lucky that my friends and I rarely fall of the edge of sanity at the same time. There's always one of us to support the other(s) when shit starts to get too real. 

And then I talked to my lovely, neverendingly patient partner. Who listens and doesn't judge. Who seeks to understand and doesn't strike out. Who reflects and responds rather than scolds and blames. Lord she's the best. 

And now here I am blogging two days in a row. Maybe the fog is lifting. I hope so.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Music Moves Me...To Laugh or Sing or Cry

Like any good kid growing up in the 90's I dabbled in all of the popular "alternative" bands. We might call them emo now, but in the day, they were all "alternative." It was in my teens that I first noticed how much I used music to evoke emotions and work through things that were weighing on my mind. My family didn't really do emotions and feelings and talking, but we did do music. Both of my parents are big music fans. They also both like pretty different music so we were exposed to wide ranges of musical tastes.

Remember how I have OCD? Yeah, that fucks with your musical inclinations. At least it does with mine. I don't like change. Change brings uncertainty and uncertainty can be uncomfortable and that's just scary. So it's really hard for me to venture into new music. I'm usually about 6 months behind everyone else in listening to new music. I've had to be exposed to it a zillion times in various public places before I can even think to adopt it into my musical library. This has drove many partners and friends nutty.

Another side effect of not liking change is that I am VERY comfortable with a certain level of monotony. I can listen to the same playlist every single day for months. Which is usually do. If I liked that music enough to download it and put it in a playlist, then I'm probably going to like it for life and probably ok with listening to it every single day. Again, this tends to make other people batty.

Another thing about me that combines my upbringing and my OCD is that music often will work on feelings that I'm having deep deep down that I am not yet able to consciously access. And often times that means one particular song will get stuck in my head. And I'll fall asleep hearing it in my head, and I'll wake up hearing it in my head, and I'll listen to it 793 times on repeat for days on end. Even I can recognize that this is very strange. Most people cannot listen to the same single song for a week straight. But they don't have compulsive behaviors that soothe them. So I try and refrain from playing the same song eleventy million times in a row when other people are around. But when I'm alone? Bam. Back to repeat.

Most of the songs that get stuck in my head tend to evoke some sort of negative emotion. I rarely have a problem with being happy. But I often have trouble processing harder feelings. So I listen to a lot of emo music when I'm struggling. It's one of the easiest ways Andrea or close friends can cue in on my mood. If you hear Jane's Addiction "Jane Says" playing...watch out. Dark, gloomy and wounded mood. Marilyn Manson? Angry, angry, annoyed, pissed. Certain Goo Goo Dolls songs...wistful, clingy, wanting love and reassurance.

Sometimes when I've been down for many many days and I'm struggling to overcome I'll listen to insanely happy music. And usually fake big goofy smiles. I read an article one time about how if you fake smile it activates endorphin releasers in your muscles and eventually you'll feel actually happier instead of just fake happy. So if you ever hear me listening to Judy Garland "Come on Get Happy" and looking like I'm having some sort of spastic happy stroke? No worries. Just trying to dust out the gloom in my head and doing it one of the most accessible ways I know how.

Monday, March 30, 2015



That's one of my favorite phrases. It's also sort of my Hail Mary desperation statement. When all my logical (or illogical) reasons for why I'm scared, anxious, worried, what-have-you have run out, I usually end with "BUT YOU DON'T KNOW!!!"

Andrea has created the perfect retort: "No I don't know, but neither do you." Boom. She always roasts me with that one. 

Anyone with anxiety will tell you that most of the anxiety comes from what we don't know. What could happen. What if. And that's hard. But it's even harder if you have OCD. Because not only do not know what could happen within the reasonable, rational world, but you can also dream up eleventy million implausible, maybe impossible, totally ridiculous things to also worry about.

I think it's important to note that we/I do not sit around thinking of ridiculous scenarios that COULD happen just to annoy people around us. Those things just pop into our heads that seem just as likely as any of the "real" sort of things you could/should worry about. Is it likely that the stranger walking behind me at a restaurant will all of a sudden grab my head and snap my neck and kill me? Highly unlikely...but you never know! And the more I worry about it the more likely it seems that it could happen. That's the main difference between people with OCD and everyone else. Other people might have that thought but then say "Oh, that's silly" and laugh it off and continue with their day. People with OCD might know that it's silly, but it's no laughing matter. And the more we try to NOT think about it, the more we think about it, and then the more it becomes real life. Believe me, if I could stop these ridiculous thoughts from a) entering my head and b) leaving quickly if they do come in, I would be a much happier person! But the problem with having OCD is that your brain conveniently disposes of logic and reason for you. Even if you can say "I know this is silly and unlikely to happen" the small part of your brain where OCD lives whispers "But what if it does?" and then you spend time quieting the OCD and in the process obsessing over why it might be right. It's exhausting.

The best thing about having a completely non-anxious, calm, steady partner is that she can act as a nice port in the harbor of crazy town that is my brain. When I come up with a particularly ridiculous "what if" she can respond that it would have never occurred to her that that could happen, but yes, maybe it could but it's super unlikely. There's something immensely calming about her responses. She doesn't act like I'm ridiculous, so then I don't feel shame and embarrassment -- which often heighten worries for me -- but she considers it like it's a serious potential and then says it's unlikely to happen. And I'm much more likely to believe her because I know her brain is more rational than mine. And the fact that it has or never would occur to her often makes me think "Hmm, that probably means it's really unlikely to happen or she would have thought about it." Not always...sometimes I say "WELL IT'S A GOOD THING I WORRY ABOUT EVERYTHING OR WE MIGHT DIE 12 TIMES TODAY!" And in her steady, reassuring way she says "You're right. It's a good thing we have you to keep us safe. And a good thing we have me to make sure we don't become agoraphobics and keep us moving forward." Ah, yin and yang.