In this Moment – I Changed (Planting the Seeds of Change)

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I just read a blog I had written in 2013, and I was struck at how much I have changed since then. It’s funny how we can forget how much we have changed over time because it tends to happen quite slowly, and it’s cool to blog and document progress because it produces moments like these. Here is the blog, and at the end I will give an update on how I am doing now:

“I’ve noticed that while on my way to work, regardless of what time it is, I will become anxious about getting to there on time. I have been late to work SO MANY times because of OCD and skin-picking, because I would become trapped within a skin picking session up till the last minute, and then I would have to hurriedly apply make-up to look ‘normal’ again for work. Throughout this entire play-out I would be building and generating anxiety until I was tightly wound up; and this would be the starting point of my day.

This has happened so many times over the years that I find, even when I am not late I  will automatically go into this anxiety before work as a habit because it’s what I’m so used to. It’s become all that I know. I feel as though, if I do not go through these motions I will not be able to get to work at all, because in the past, it has been the anxiety of getting to work that has broken me out of the skin-picking possession and got me moving towards actually getting out the door. So now there exists the belief that without the anxiety, I cannot move myself, and I won’t get to work.

 

Continuing with this common sequence: after I would get myself out the door and off to work, I would be in a really unpleasant state. I would get to work, and would probably have an air about me, or a presence about me that others may react to. Whether I did or not, I can never be sure, but what is certain, is the fact that because I felt so anxious already, and because I would also feel insecure due to the fact that my picture presentation was covered in flaws, and because I created and manifested the anger at myself, the fear, the self-loathing caused by picking, I would reflect it back to myself off of my coworkers.

 

For example: one day as I arrived to work, and as I was walking by a couple co-workers I said “good morning”. One of them looked at me and replied, but the other one just looked at me and turned away and began talking again. As I continued walking to put my coat away I remember this having given me a really bad feeling, I felt like they disliked me, did not want me there, and painfully endured my presence.

 

So, the interesting thing about this is that these thoughts or emotions can only be experienced by me if I created them already- somewhere in my life I accepted and allowed myself to feel these ways about myself, ways which are now activated within and through certain situations. So, within self-honesty I can see, realize and understand that I in fact painfully endure my own presence at times, especially within and as OCD. I dislike myself when I participate in the self-abusive habits that I participate in. I in fact don’t want to be me when I feel the way I do after I have had a pick session, for example.

 

I thought about this that day, and I tried something new to see if they were in fact feeling this way about me, or if I was simply creating it all in my mind. I walked back over there and asked how they were doing, and the other one ignored me again. So I pushed through the fear, self-consciousness and anger, looked straight at her and asked if something was wrong. This seemed to surprise her or catch her off guard, she sort of snapped out of it and apologized. She actually reached out and touched my arm, and participated in a very warm and welcoming interaction.

 

As it turned out, she was dealing with an extremely stressful situation within one of her work-cases, and she was trying to figure it out with the other co-worker. She was just completely wrapped up in it, and had probably worked herself up into a state where she was so self-involved in her own situation that she was not concerned or aware of the impression she was giving off to others- which is the exact same way that I become. So when I pushed it a little by asking her if anything was wrong, I learned it had nothing to do with me at all. I had just been taking everything personally, and consequently feeding my own cycles of self-loathing, insecurity and lack of self-acceptance.
Within the state of mind I enter into within and through the disorder of OCD, I become even more prone to these self-experiences, by taking so many things throughout my day personally because I set myself up to already feel this way: so a glance, a comment, my own internal conversations, etc…  using all of this to accept and allow myself to feel terrible; creating and manifesting an absolutely dreadful internal experience, and then getting home to abuse myself within OCD as a release and escape from it, only to start the whole cycle over again- waking up the next morning and not wanting to face the day ahead. Reluctant to get out of bed, and feeling fatigued on my drive to work because of this absolute reluctance and the anxiety that I create for myself—I mean, is this living? Or is this simply enduring the day? Within and through OCD, I create a life which that I can’t endure and which I would rather escape, but I see now that with a little awareness, I can stop a LOT of the experiences by pushing through the situations I create for myself, simply by using common sense and pushing through a small wall of emotion.”

That is the end of the older blog, and it has been a few years since then…

So how am I doing now?

 

Well, in the mornings, I have a routine that does not include OCD or skin picking. If I slip, it is very minimal, I can get out of it and move on to the next point quite easily or fluidly. I am more aware.

 

When I look at how I arrive at work now I can see that it puts me in a good mood (sometimes a little distracting as I enjoy my co-workers so much that I have to pull myself away and focus on working). I do say hello to everyone, even at times going around to people that sit further away to make a connection and ‘check-in’. I really like this and the dynamic it creates between us.

 

I laugh a lot with my co-workers and generally have a pretty good time, even spending time together outside of work (and have gone on two vacations with co-workers). I would say the relationships I have at work are worthwhile, deeper that I have been used to, but have a light, easy-going feel to them. I am so glad I walked this point, and it is cool to see one of the first moments of correction where it started years ago.

 

So what am I reflecting to myself now within my experience around others? I would say a lot more self-acceptance and self-appreciation. It is to the point where I am now pushing more self-expression, to express me and get to know myself as who I am when I am not constantly judging me and looking at my flaws.

 

This is how the process works, one moment at a time, which accumulates into many moments and then just becomes a way of living. This is how we can create a life worth living for ourselves. Not just with getting along well at work, but within realizing that we are the creators of our own lives, starting with the small, and working to the great. My one condition is that the life I create will be one where I value, respect and honour all Life in my living application, and live according to principle, such as giving as I would like to receive, and doing what’s best for everyone, not just me.

 

The Buddy-System, Does it Work (part two)

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Continuing from my last blog, where I tried the ‘buddy system’ to prevent myself from falling into what I call an ‘OCD possession’. Read the blog HERE for context.

For me, on this occasion, the buddy-system worked: Instead of falling into the OCD action of picking my skin before going to meet a group of people, I reached out to my friend who is a life coach, and together we found the source of why I felt the compulsion in that moment. Once I was able to find the source (read the first blog to see what it was), and I did some forgiveness on having created the source for myself, I was able to walk out of my house without having to go through the ‘usual routine’. This is quite a drastic contrast compared to what I am used to in these situations, and I want to talk a bit about that.

The ‘usual routine’ would be to work myself up into a state where I feel the only solution, relief, or way out is to fall into the compulsion aspect of OCD. This would be the actual ‘acting out’ of the disorder. The way my OCD expresses itself in these situations is skin-picking. So instead of going through the very normal process of getting dressed, making sure I look presentable, and then walking out the front door, I would instead be unconsciously having repetitive thoughts, and feeling unable to think clearly, focus or re-direct myself. This causes an internal environment that is chaotic, tense and uncomfortable, filled with fear, anxiety and stress. This internal environment is one which I have simply never developed the skills to cope with.

In my life, OCD has developed ‘naturally’ since childhood as a coping mechanism, due to genetics, past experiences, and actions performed in unawareness on my part.

What happens is I will go up to the mirror and obsessively examine my skin. This takes my mind off of the intensity of the internal environment. In this mental state, any small imperfection seems to me to be a huge flaw that I think everyone will look at, and is the mistakenly perceived source of my unbearable internal discomfort.

Within this, I feel that instead of seeing me, everyone would see only flaws and blemishes. So, in a seemingly uncontrollable mental-state, I would go about removing all the perceived marks and spots.

The consequence of all this, which is the play-out that I experience on a daily basis, is that due to all the time it takes to go into OCD (which, once in the possession, can be a very long time and  beyond my control to stop), plus the time it takes to carefully apply makeup to try to be presentable, leaves no time to actually get ready and do all the normal things one would do to prepare to leave the house.

To be continued in the next blog…

 

How to Get to Work Without Ruining Your Day

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I left off in my last blog by re-scripting my morning routine, effectively editing out any OCD behavior. I saw how it in fact not only completely sabotages my mornings, but also sabotages my relationship to myself. It does this by severely undermining my self-trust, as I have shown myself that with OCD, I can’t depend on myself because I can’t depend on whether or not my own actions will be congruent with my intentions.

Also, the fact that I accept and allow myself to fall into compulsions in the morning causes me stress and anxiety, due to the fear of being late for work, which fuels and perpetuates the disorder throughout the day. This ‘starting the day out on a bad foot’ creates a nearly impossible foundation for me to walk throughout my day with the vigilance and discipline I require to manage OCD, which I require to do throughout the day and into the evening.

With this re-scripting, I have seen my anxiety levels decrease in normal and uneventful situations. This is why I am continuing on here, where I have done my morning routine, and I am now heading out the door and catching the bus to the metro. In future blogs I will do them same for stressful events and circumstances that arise, but first I have to start with a platform of stability:

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to steal little moments of time from myself, when I see that I’m not ‘late’ yet, and using these stolen moments to go into OCD knowing that I don’t yet have control over it and that I will almost inevitably take too much time, which accumulates into me ending up leaving my house only minutes before the bus arrives, causing me to have to run and worry that I won’t catch it.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think that I have nothing to do with spare time in the morning, because it’s not enough time to do anything constructive, wherein I become stressed by the idea of spare time, because in the morning, that means time alone with me, and time alone with me is difficult when I’m not preoccupied and distracted because in those moments I feel the intense urges of OCD coming forward and beginning to react in my body.

When and as I see that I have little spare moments of time, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to self-direction by reminding myself that I do have better uses for that time, and that it is in fact precious time. I direct myself to walk through my morning tasks until they are done, unaffected by the possibility that I may end up with extra time, and if that time does, I direct myself to find a better use for it, such as spending more time saying goodbye to my partner or walking more slowly to the bus to be able to enjoy the day, for example.

I commit myself to push myself to stop wasting precious time on OCD, and to instead invest into myself, using that time to add value to myself and my life, instead of taking value away.

I commit myself to continue to breathe through the suppressions coming to the fore, instead of pushing them back down and distracting myself, so that I may walk through my tasks uninterrupted by OCD, even if it feels bad/uncomfortable, I know it will subside/go away eventually.

I commit myself to say longer goodbye’s to my partner, and to walk slowly to the bus when I have extra time.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to feel triumphant when I catch the bus when I’m late, as if I had won a race or beat the odds, instead of seeing, realizing and understanding that I had already lost the moment I left the house, because I had missed moments I could have spent with myself, preparing myself to effectively handle myself throughout the day.

When and as I am running for the bus when I am late, I stop within myself, and I breathe. I bring myself back to self-honesty by reminding myself that it is not in fact me that is moving myself and feeling triumphant, but rather the stress energy that I had accumulated during the morning as I create a situation where I am late. If I in fact have to run, I run as self-movement, with and as breath, with no extra ‘motivating factors’ coming from my mind, feeding the OCD cycles.

I commit myself to continue to remind myself to remain stable within myself, no longer utilizing the self-created stress-inducing scenarios to feed and perpetuate OCD within and as me.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to become uneasy around the passengers on the bus.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think, believe and perceive that all the passengers on the bus are looking at me and judging me in some way, causing me to become self-conscious which makes my skin crawl, causing me to feel dirty.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think/believe/perceive that the passengers on the bus are looking at me the way I look at myself, when I look at myself through OCD/dermatillomania, close up and looking for imperfections, narrowing in on every flaw and going into judgment/repulsion due to my mind creating the ideas that my skin is dirty even when it is not.

When and as I see that I am sitting on the bus and I begin to feel my skin crawl, and I start feeling generally dirty due to the presence of others, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to self-honesty by using common sense to determine that I am completely the same as I was when I left my house, when I at the gym, and when I’m with my partner, and these are all moments/situations where I feel normal. I bring myself back to normalcy through breathing through the thoughts/sensations that I am unclean and remind myself that it is not real, but a self-created sensation in my mind, therefor I can change it and choose to feel differently.

I commit myself to stop myself from feeling dirty and unclean by constantly and continuously stopping, breathing, using common sense to remind myself that the feelings are not real, and releasing/letting go of the thoughts.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to observe the other passengers and to judge them, because this creates a fear of judgment in myself, as I wouldn’t want someone else to look at me and judge me the way I know I am looking at and judging others.

When and as I see that I am judging others on the bus, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to self-honesty by reminding myself that the only judgment is self-judgment, which means I see something of myself in those that I am judging, and so long as I judge, I will be judged, because I am judging me instead of changing me. I bring forth self-acceptance by letting the judgments go, and embracing the presence of those that I see around me, placing myself in their shoes, and seeing within self-honesty, that which I am judging in myself.

To be continued….

OCD/Dermatillomania: How to Prevent the Tension Build Up

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I will be identifying what it is throughout the day that I react to in stress/anxiety/fear/irritation/agitation/anger. These reactions hit me in jolts and seem to remain within me instead of being processed out and diffused over time. For me, as an OCD/derma sufferer, it remains inside and builds up, causing me to feel tense, anxious and wound up most all of the time. What I will do is walk through my day, look at the triggers, and release them with self-forgiveness, self-commitments, and self-corrective application.

 

Morning:

 

I wake up, several thoughts get me out of bed:

 

“I need to go to work”

 

“I can’t be late for work”

 

“What do I need to do to be as fast as possible so I can get to work on time”

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to wake up thinking “I need to go to work”.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to connect emotional stress, anxiousness, and a ‘rushed’ energy to the thoughts that I wake up with in the morning of “I need to get to work”, “I can’t be late for work”, and “what do I need to do to be as fast as possible to get to work on time”.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think, believe or perceive that if I don’t rush, or go as fast as possible, that I will be late for work.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing stress, anxiety, and rushed-ness to exist within and as me.

 

When and as I see that I am going into stress, anxiety, and rushed-ness in relation to the fear of being late for work, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to comfort within myself by reminding myself that I set my alarm to give me an adequate amount of time to prepare, and that I make it to work on time every single morning, unless there is an unforeseen circumstance which prevents me, in which case I will call in and explain, which is as much as I can do.

 

I commit myself to push myself to walk through my morning routine within/as self-direction, comfort and ease, as I move from one task to the next with common sense,  instead of stress, anxiety and rushed-ness within the paranoia of being late/developing a bad reputation/being fired.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to terrorize myself with thoughts that if I am late for work, my boss and managers will be angry, my colleagues will judge me, and I will develop a bad and undependable reputation, and I will lose my job and fall into debt, and not get a good reference from which to get another good job.

 

When and as I see that I am imagining pretend consequences of scenarios where I am late for work, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to common sense by reminding myself that I am rarely late because I manage myself and my time in such a way to prepare myself to get to work on time, that this job is not the only way to support myself in this world, that I can live in such a way to avoid large debt, that I already have enough references for work and even if I didn’t, I could still get a job and make new references, and with the skills I am developing, namely discipline, perseverance and consistency, I know I ca be successful at most jobs I can get.

 

I commit myself to let go of my past self-definitions created by memories of a not too distant past where I  didn’t have the essential life skills I am now developing, I wasn’t able to hold down a job mostly due to my OCD, I was accumulating debt, and I was not in control of most elements in my life. Within this, to also see that even from there, I was able to correct my life over time, step by step, to get myself into/back into an empowered position.

 

I commit myself to talk myself down from terrorizing myself with pretend doomsday scenarios that are blown out of proportion, and to instead have a self-honest look at the actual reality of the my life situation.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think of myself as a bad and undependable person.

 

I commit myself to continue to work towards being and becoming more disciplined, consistent and organized at home, because I then bring these habits into everything that I do, and with these skills I will, over time, become someone I can depend on and therefor will be dependable for others.

 

I commit myself to continue learning how to incorporate living actions of self-acceptance and self-care into my daily life and routine.

 

I commit myself to stop feeding and following the self-depreciating and self-judgmental thoughts that ‘I am not good enough’, or ‘I can’t be depended on’, because I know this is self-sabotage, and that I am walking a process of self-acceptance and self-worth, teaching myself how to be dependable for me, through self-application and pushing myself towards becoming consistent and self-directed.

 

When and as I catch myself thinking negatively about myself as ‘who I am as a person/employee’ in judgmental and self-depreciating ways, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to self-worth by reminding myself that this way of thinking is disempowering and is an avoidance mechanism within which I can find the justification and excuse to not change, not push myself, not challenge my current way of being, and to continue with OCD.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to sabotage my self-trust, within and through picking my skin instead of directing myself to complete that tasks I set out for myself, tasks which I put in place to support myself to be organized and on time, such as preparing food/clothes the night before, taking a shower, and reading/writing myself out, and then going to bed on time.

 

When and as I see that I am picking my skin instead of accomplishing constructive, self-supportive tasks, I stop, and I breathe, I bring myself back to self-love and self-support by pushing myself to breathe through the experience instead of continuing on picking, within the understanding that relief or ‘end point’/completion experience will not come through picking, but will be made real through actually applying the discipline to move through daily tasks/obligations/responsibilities, thus developing the self-trust required to be able to depend on myself that I will not create anxious, stressful scenarios for myself to live out and remain in the anxiety disorder mind.

 

I commit myself to continue to push myself to replace OCD/picking with constructive tasks that serve to support me to release myself from the disorder.

 

I commit myself to NOT judge myself when I fall, but to constantly and continuously pick myself up and try again, each and every time until it is manifest.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear that if I have more time in the morning, I will pick my skin.

 

When and as I see I have spare time in the morning, creating the desire to act out OCD impulses, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to self-support and self-stability through self-movement and self-direction, within the understanding of the choice that stands in front of me: to pick, or not to pick. I choose not to pick, and to walk through and bear the accumulated consequences of this choice until I have processed it all and it is done.

 

I commit myself to bear the burden I have created for myself until it is processed, figured out, understood, seen, re-directed and re-scripted.

 

I commit myself to walk through the self-created consequences of having lived with and depended on OCD for so many years, because I see, realize and understand that there is no other way.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think/believe that if I don’t feel rushed, I will not move effectively and will pick my skin.

 

When and as I see that I am creating the feeling of ‘rushed’ as a way to avoid facing and walking through what I’m really feeling, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to presence, awareness and self-movement with breath, by reminding myself that I choose not to live a life of avoidance, and that I have it in me to face that which lies beneath the surface, no matter how unpleasant it is, because I have already proven it to myself that I can do it, it’s just a matter of continuing to do it over and over, until it is done.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to feel physically anxious and stressed if I am not rushing and moving fast within the belief that I will not get to work on time, instead of seeing, realizing and understanding that the anxious, stressful rushed energy is not valid, and it’s not what’s moving me. I am moving me, and the emotional experiences of anxiety, stress, and rushed-ness are only in my mind, and are all a part of the disorder.

 

When and as I see that I am feeling anxious and stressed when I should be feeling calm and relaxed, I stop, and I breathe. I allow myself to feel the stress and anxiety without attaching any values to it, but to accept it and understand it, to breathe through it, to speak at least one self-forgiveness statement, and to push myself to move myself regardless.

 

I commit myself to learn how to effectively walk through the OCD mind reactions, by trial and error, writing myself out, and practical application of what I script for myself through self-introspection and understanding.