Monday, November 15, 2010

What's my ask?

If you actually think I licked the gas pump, ha....think again! :) Pumping gas without using layers of paper towels has been one of the most consistent exposures I have diligently stayed on top of. (And let me be is NOT because of licking the gas pump or even kissing it for that matter. :) I begin to feel a little panicky when my gas tank starts to run low, and I still get that punch to the stomach feeling when my hands first make contact with the grimy rubber and cold metal of the pump. Sometimes the intensity of my thoughts about how dirty and germ-ified the pump handle is almost gets the best of me, and I'll rub the palms of my hands strategically somewhere on my jeans where I think I'll be the least likely to come into contact with the germs again. Realizing that I am still giving into a compulsion when I do that, I try to justify it with "At least I didn't WASH my hands or use a barrier." Humph.....the rationalization!!!

It seems like this last month has been exceptionally hard....or maybe it was just last week, but the week felt so long that I'm mistaking it as an entire month. I could spew many "reasons" as to why it felt so burdensome, but I'm pretty sure the reality is that I'm going through a bought of depression. When I look at my life, I am beyond blessed. I have everything I need and more than I deserve, yet I find myself coveting the things I don't have. Why does an attitude of contentment seem so difficult right now. Does my lack of contentment have anything to do with my depression? How do I choose contentment despite my depression, and what does that look like?

My sister-in-law, Jessie, came to visit me for a couple days in the middle of last week for our long awaited and affectionately dubbed "Thelma & Louise" adventure. For her birthday in August, I bought her big sunglasses and a scarf and we planned to spend a couple days just us girls watching the classic movie, indulging in yumminess, and driving up the pacific coast highway with our hair blowing in the wind. The timing couldn't have been more perfect. Driving along the coast with no specific destination, feeling free to sing off tune while laughing at each other dancing in our seats, was amazing. I still felt anxious for the majority of the day, and it didn't "cure" my depression, but it gave me some perspective that I needed. Jessie found a quote by The Elephant Man that sums it up pretty well.....

"My life is full because I know that I am loved."

It is true. I am loved.....loved by my family, my dear friends, and most importantly my Creator, the lover of my soul....because of this, my life is full. Acknowledging that truth while not beating myself up for feeling sad, depressed or anxious is an art I'm sure will take a long time to perfect.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


I am back in Wisconsin. A ton of memories and emotions have been billowing in......some good, some not so good. I'm here because Roger's Memorial Hospital asked me to share a part of my story at their annual fundraising gala which also happens to coincide with the OCD Foundations nationally broadcasted event called "OCD Stories: An evening of reflection, humor and education about OCD." I feel honored to be a part of this.

Everyone is invited and welcome to be a part of this evening's events by watching it live at .

Monday, October 4, 2010

My happy yellow room.

Holy Moly, it's been a long time!!! I've missed you, dear blog! I was reminded today that it's been exactly two months since I've written on my blog....yikes! Trying to pick something to write about seems a little overwhelming because if my mouth was speaking all that my mind is thinking, I'd have a severe case of diarrhea of the mouth or word vomiting......both are uncontrollable hopefully they get the point across as to how quickly thoughts are tumbling from my mind. :) haha. Oh goodness.

I'm not exactly sure why I haven't been blogging.....nor have I been journaling. Sigh. It's literally one of my favorite things to do.....writing, that why I haven't been doing it is as much a mystery to me as it probably is to you. Sometimes it feels like an internal battle against what I know I love and what I know is good for me. I can't figure it out. But I am again, computer on my lap, glass of wine next to me, letting my fingers flow with the rhythm of my thoughts.

Today was a good day. I woke up to light rain and grey skies. Love, love, love! I felt cozy and happy.

A year ago right now, I was getting ready for all the craziness of being on the OCD project. Actually, I wasn't really getting ready because I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Speaking of which, I do realize that I didn't share my thoughts on the last two episodes....maybe I'll get to that one of these days....maybe not.

During a group at Roger's, we used colors to identify different emotions we felt and where we felt them throughout our bodies. Pink is my favorite color, but I discovered that yellow is my happy color. :) It makes me smile just thinking about it. So, this summer, one of my projects was to turn my room from just a room into a room that exudes happiness and embodies my free spirit. The transformation has been really fun.....painting, hunting for perfect little treasures to put around my room, bargain shopping on craigslist, rearranging, etc. It's not 100% done, but I heart it very, very much so far!! :)

Look at my bright yellow wall!! It calmly SCREAMS happy, happy, happy! :) I love it.

I found this fabulous desk on craigslist and absolutely fell in love with it! My good friend, Sarah, and I stayed up till the wee hours of the morning painting it. It's rugged, uneven, and just perfect!

That empty space in the corner is eventually going to be the home to a huge, overstuffed, cozy, white chair. So excited!

So there it happy, yellow room. :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sick on the couch.

Sigh.......I don't really know why I haven't been blogging recently. I have SO much I want to write about. Writing is so therapeutic for me too, so it's a little bewildering as to why I've almost been avoiding it. Don't know.

I've been a little under the weather today, with a gnarly head cold. Blah! The pressure between my nose and eyes makes me sneeze like crazy.....or at least makes me feel like I'm going to sneeze all the time. Ah-choo!

I still plan on blogging my thoughts on the last couple episodes of the OCD project, and I definitely want to share my thoughts on the International OCD Foundation convention my mom and I went to in DC. Oh, and I started doing yoga......have tons of things to share about that. :) And then there are all the "normal" day things that I've worked through, laughed through, cried through, and shrugged off with a "hmm."

I'm still alive, just haven't been lively on my blog lately.....or facebook, or email, or phone calls..... eeek!

Oh, and I have a super, super awesome story.....or follow my church post. Sooo fun!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Ollie sings a song with Uncle Theo

Oh my goodness. My mom and I are in our hotel room in DC after a long but fabulous first day of the International OCD conference. We just watched the final episode of The OCD Project (which I will write about when I am less tired and more focused) and then were watching silly videos on Youtube. Good times. We came across this one, which was filmed a little over a year ago when my precious little nephew, Oliver, was born. He is three days old in this video and he is a star in the making!!! Oh mom and I watched it twice and could not stop laughing!!!!! Sooooo funny!

Oh, you make my heart happy! :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Shoes and dried vomit.

I just arrived in Washington DC and my hair immediately went from straight to FRIZZY. Holy moly! I need a shower…..and definitely a shower longer than 5 minutes. :) I am in DC for the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) convention, and I am excited! I think it's going to be great. My mom flies in tomorrow, which I'm even more excited about!

I’m pretty sure airports and flying are perfect breeding grounds for anxiety…..even for the general population. For OCDers, that anxiety quickly morphs into a chaotic mess of obsessions and compulsions. It’s like anxiety on crack. There are triggers everywhere, with everything. The airport is one of my least favorite places to frequent....unless it's just to people watch. :) Everything seems overly grimy and disgusting, and the hustle and bustle just enhances it all. Going through security nearly brings about a panic attack every single time! The only thing my brain focuses on is all the shoes!!! Shoes everywhere. People taking off their shoes and throwing them on top of their bags and jackets and purses like it’s no big deal at all. In reality, it’s……probably……no……big……deal. That’s hard to say, because I’m still trying to grasp onto that fact. With my OCD frame of reference, it seems terrible! It feels paralyzing just watching people grab their shoes and toss them onto their stuff. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do that. ……it’s something to work towards, I supposes. Ugh….even just typing that caused my stomach to drop and tense, and my heart to beat faster. I hate this feeling. My mind is spinning. I feel nauseous.

On a funnier note…..

I board the plane in LAX, walk back to my seat….as in the back of the plane, back. I pretty much have the worst seat. Back of the plane, middle seat. My favorite. Having only had three hours of sleep, I am thoroughly looking forward to a nap on the plane. As if I haven’t been triggered enough in the two hours I’ve been awake, I find my seat and as I’m about to sit down I notice that there is dried vomit coating both sided of my seat belt. Oh HELL no! The two gentlemen sitting on either side of me were obviously confused with my half sitting posture which turned into a northbound leap. Still holding my bags, I quickly maneuvered my way around the guy sitting in the aisle seat, and walked straight back to the galley where I calmly informed the stewardess that I needed to be reseated.

I was reseated. :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Video is up.

The Hollywood Hiking video is finally up! Woot-woot! :) To go back to the post in which it is embedded, click here.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The sani aisle.

I had to run to Target tonight to pick up a few things. As I was pushing my cart toward the laundry detergent section, I glided by an entire aisle of sanitizer wipes and disinfectant sprays. It was almost nostalgic....but a punch in the stomach all at the same time. It was a special moment, really. That sounds kinda silly, but it really was. I looked at all the different colors and sizes of the sanitizer wipes, which have always been my favorite.....well, the sanitizer wipes and the hand sanitizer and hand soap, and..... okay, maybe they were all my favorites. Whatever. Back to my original thought. :) I haven't bought any of those things since last October! A slight smile swept across my face as I looked at all my favorite sanitizing products, remembering how I felt so soothed each time I would use them. I felt myself desiring that feeling again. That soothing, calm, peace.....regardless of its fleeting presence. I wanted to buy just a couple products. "For old times sake," I told myself. "Just a couple won't hurt. And besides, I won't use them all the time. I'll just keep them around, like 'normal' people." When I realized the thoughts I was having, I then felt that punch to my gut that I'm all too familiar with. That flippin' parrot trying to make his home on my shoulder again. AHHHHH!!!! Literally, I felt like screaming......right there in the middle of Target. If I appeared normal before, me screaming while looking at Clorox wipes standing in an aisle in Target was bound to make me appear otherwise. :) At that point, I knew it was time for me to resist and keep putting one foot in front of the other until I got to my original destination of the laundry detergent section. It's weird how I have such an internal and emotional reaction to something so silly, so normal, so good. I didn't like it. I don't want to be affected by the sani aisle. Oh, but it represents such a dichotomy in my mind.

And all the cute little hand sanitizers they sell in the check out lane now. It's like they've come out with a million new versions since I "quit." :) Take them away, just take them away.

BUT....I choose to embrace those moments (and the grimy, unsanitized handle of my shopping cart), and be thankful for yet another exposure in which I triumph over!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Episode 7

Nothing soothes this frustrated female like a ginormous bowl of rocky road ice cream!!! :) Mmm, mmm, mmm!

I know I'm breaking my own rules of blogging about episode 7 before I've blogged my thoughts on episode 5 and 6......but oh well.

Tonight's episode was quite possibly the most frustrating episode yet! Episode six was probably the hardest, but tonight's definitely took the cake for ruffling my feathers. I literally felt my chest and arms breaking out in hives as I watched the part where I was told to spread urine all over my room. And yes, it was real urine. Warm, frothy, smelly urine, served fresh to me daily. Awesome. And even though I specifically asked not to know who the donor was, I conveniently found a picture on facebook of the generous person. Double awesome.

I know I've said this before, but what is sooo frustrating is that my desire to get better was constantly questioned by the person who was supposed to be helping me. It was never a matter of whether or not I wanted help......geez this day, I am sooo grateful and humbled for all the treatment I received. I wanted help, I needed help, but "help" caused me to feel paralyzed.....or at least the "help" that was being presented to me on the OCD Project. I didn't understand, and I wanted to. Tough love is a good thing, but torturous love......not so much. Ok, so maybe that is a little dramatic..... :) but, it felt like torture at times.

Dr. Tolin: "Kristen, Kristen! Your attitude is BS! You need to stop it!"
Me: "This is BS!"
Dr. Tolin: "If it's BS, then fire me, Kristen! You fight OCD or don't!"

That little conversation was actually quite humorous for me to watch, only because of the ironic foreshadowing to a conversation that Dr. Tolin and I would have two months later. I highly doubt it will be shown on next week's episode, but just in case it is, I won't go into detail until next week.

Cody, Arine and I were close buddies throughout the entire three weeks. We looked forward to our nightly, un-filmed conversations that we affectionately dubbed "our closet conversations." :) I miss those conversations......where we all spoke the same language without really having to say anything at all. The laughs, the tears, the deep conversations....such sweet memories. I love that they showed the part where Cody asked if I would kiss him with all the prosthetic deformities on his face. Even though I came across a little biaaatchy, I think I was actually quite supportive of Cody throughout that whole exposure. I'll call him tomorrow and ask him just to be sure. :) We even played a good game of tennis, and he would chase me with his crazy looking fake face, and I would freak out, we would laugh.....and then we were told to stop playing because sweat was making Cody's face melt off. Haha! :) Priorities, priorities!! :)

This has definitely been an interesting part of my journey.....watching the beginning of my treatment on TV. I think the basis of this show is actually quite amazing and fascinating. One of my goals was to help bring about awareness to a disorder that is so misunderstood, and through my own personal triumphs and also my frustrations, I have had amazing opportunities to do that. For that I am thankful. Other things I am so thankful for:

The Peace of Mind Foundation. I loose my words when I try to come up with an appropriate way to thank them. Liz, who is periodically seen on the OCD Project, started the Peace of Mind Foundation and generously offered to pay for aftercare for all six of us on the show. Had it not been for Liz and her foundation, I honestly don't know that my life would look any different today than it did nine months ago. Thank you, Liz!

My therapists at Roger's Memorial Hospital. Bless them! :)

My family. What a loud, boisterous bunch we can be.....but oh how life is sweet because of them.

Most importantly, I'm thankful for Jesus. His gentle grace is truly amazing!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Simple times and simple videos. (My brother's words)

The last few days have been a little rough for me. I felt myself starting to crash if I'm slipping into a funk. I don't like this feeling. It scares me. On Friday I noticed that I was performing rituals throughout my day more than I had in months. On Saturday it seemed to get worse. With every compulsion I gave into, it felt as if a thick river of guilt pumped through my veins. The fear that I'm relapsing has almost become an obsession in and of itself. Sometimes I feel this curse will never leave me. When I feel like I have a handle on one set of obsessions, up springs a completely new set of fears and "what ifs." Will my mind ever rest? Will I ever truly be free?

In all honestly, the last couple of months since I've been home, I have felt different.....and in many ways and on many days, that different feeling is a good one......a liberated one. It just feels like it doesn't come easily though. It's a constant fight to feel free......if that makes any sense at all??

I just feel a little discouraged. I've been washing my hands more often for no "real" reason at all. I've been using more soap....several pumps at a time and repeating the cycle. Last night I rubbed my feet before getting into bed, and it took everything in me to stop, because it just didn't feel right yet. I am constantly shaking my right foot.....constantly. And my avoidance of things causes me to feel as though I am paralyzed. Ahhhh......the list of compulsions I've given into the last few days could go on and on...... I feel embarrassed. Ashamed. How do I ask for help? How do I explain my struggle? It's hard to come up with the words when my only explanation is a mere description of something that seems so trivial, so natural, so common. Checking the front door lock, washing my hands, rubbing "dirt" off my feet before getting into bed, wanting things to be perfect.... But, it's more than that. My silly compulsions are an eloquent masquerade for the inner distress I feel but don't know how to explain.

Visiting Theo and Jessie in Hollywood this last weekend was perfectly timed! I just love them. And I know I am loved by them. We turned life's simple moments into precious memories, and there's nothing that makes my heart smile more. On Sunday morning, I FINALLY coerced everybody into going on "the hike" with me.....the hike that I fell in love with while living with Theo and Jessie for seven weeks. For a few minutes, I think I was the least popular of the group, but when we arrived on the top of the "mountain", everyone had a great time and was glad they did it. And.....the best part about it..... :) Theo brought his camera and documented the whole thing, making a seriously awesome video that I'm pretty sure could convince anyone that hiking is the funnest (yes, FUNNEST) thing ever!!! :)

And the cherry on top..... that fabulously handsome man making up the fourth person in our group!! :)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Episode 3 - Thoughts from the "Princess."

Where do I even start.... I'm going to just quote a few lines from the episode and go from there.

These are Dr. Tolin's words:

"I'm a little worried about Kristen. She withdraws into herself. I can't tell if she's depressed. I can't tell if she's anxious. I can't tell if she's mad. I'm just not sure. I want Kristen to be so sick and tired of OCD that she is willing to be a little uncomfortable now in order to beat this OCD. If she can't drop the princess act, I don't know if she's going to be able to get better."

That's a pretty big statement. One that I think many doctors and renowned psychologists would strongly disagree with. I think the issue was more with the type of exposures and how they were being presented to me than with this so called "princess act" Dr. Tolin was referring to. I absolutely won't deny that I had an attitude at times, but it definitely was NOT because I wasn't motivated or wanting to get better. In fact, I specifically recall, on several occasions asking Dr. Tolin and the producers for any sort of literature and/or research on this type of therapy, so that I could better understand why I had to do things that seemed not only scary to me, but also a little ridiculous. Dr. Tolin's response to me was always something to the effect of, "Kristen, stop arguing and get with the program." It was frustrating to me then and it's frustrating to me now, because my intention was not to buck the system, rather it was to understand my disorder and the therapy that could help me get a handle on it. I wanted to understand so that I could be on board with my own treatment and work as a team with the people trying to help me. But, I didn't have access to internet, newspapers, tv, un-recorded phones or any form of media or literature where I could do my own research. So, yes, I was depressed. I was VERY anxious. And yes, I was mad. Those were good observations for someone who eluded to not being able to read me.

As for being sick and tired of OCD..... paaaalease. I hate OCD with every fiber in me! For goodness sakes......I don't even know what else to say about how much I hate much I wish I didn't have to deal with horrible anxiety.....or the complete embarrassment and shame I've felt for so many years because of my compulsions. I understood that exposures were going to be uncomfortable, and I was more than willing to be uncomfortable for three weeks....four months.....eight months....oh, even a few years. But there is a HUGE difference between uncomfortable and panicking. The treatment team at Roger's Memorial Hospital's OCD program said to me over and over and over again, "We want your exposures to be challenging yet manageable." Incredible, absolutely incredible! If exposures are challenging, yet manageable, then I am able to habituate not only while I'm doing the exposure, but also in between exposures as well. (For more of an explanation on this, click here.) The exposures I was being asked to do on The OCD Project were way, way, way too high up on my exposure hierarchy than what I should have been doing that early on in my treatment. They weren't effective because I was panicking, and they were never repeated enough times to allow for between trial habituation.

I felt tremendous shame when I was asked to shake hands with homeless people. It had nothing to do with the socioeconomics of the situation. In fact, my heart broke and I felt shame because I felt like we were totally patronizing the people who live on the streets of LA. We barge into their community with cameras and proceed to hand out $5 gift certificates to a fast food restaurant as we are asked to do things that from all outward appearances could easily be misinterpreted as very condescending to those living in that area. It just felt as though we were handing out $5 gift cards as a way of appeasing our conscious as we accomplished our own motives without regard for the feelings of anyone but ourselves. It just didn't feel right to me. It was hard on so many levels.... As far as my treatment was concerned, I could have reached the same end goal by shaking the hands of people in the house.

Ok, enough for now. More later.....

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The quiet of the morning.

Wow, I've been terrible at blogging over the last couple weeks. It's definitely not because I have a shortage of words. Quite the contrary. It seems like work picked up for me overnight and now my days are extremely busy, which has been an adjustment for me in and of itself. Getting back into a work routine after several months of my focus being solely on recovery has been exciting and also overwhelming.

I have soooo many thoughts on the last two episodes. I have to grab some breakfast and get ready for my day so I don't have time to do my therapeutic writing at the moment, but I want to dive right in. Writing is such an escape for me. Sometime it's hard for me to sit down and get started, but the moment I start stringing words together, everything around me seems to quiet down. Sometimes during my days when life feels a little too chaotic, I find myself pretending to write.....composing sentences as if I were journaling or blogging. :)

Anyway, I WILL share my thoughts on these crazy episodes...... soon.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Living with an OCDer.

Watching the OCD project was extremely heart wrenching. The thought of six individuals not being able to control their life or live one “normal” day. What is normal to them? Or who is normal? For the past year, I have lived with a “normal” roommate. Kristen has a great job, fabulous family, friends and a fun social life. And as many of you know she is a little over dramatic, or is that just passion? Passion to be normal? What ever the case, I look at her for her…a friend who is normal and passionate about life. Little did I know that she has been fighting for her free spirit and struggling to live what she sees as a normal life everyday.

Don’t think that you have to cater to people with OCD, it will only enable them. I am sure she gasps when I lay on the floor where dirty shoes have been, put my shoes on the couch, on my bed…or worst of all in my PURSE. Isn't that why we all have huge purses, in case our feet hurt and we need to change our shoes? :) Kristen told me that she had OCD when she moved in, but I shrugged it off and thought, "Don't we all?" I didn't know what she meant by that. Sure she loved to wash her hands and feet and hold onto moist paper towels, but I did not cater to her then so why should I now. The only difference is now I know what her triggers are and what her rituals look like and I support her so she can get better and let go of her internal struggle.

I do have to say, sometimes it is easy to make a joke out of her rituals. The night Kristen came home from The OCD Project to spend the night and film her “coming home” episode (Stay tuned, it is an intense one), she had only 30 seconds to wash her hands. Theo, Jessie and I all stood in the bathroom with the iPhone and counted down the seconds yelling at her to go faster and yelling “only one pump of soap”. It was great to see her count down with us and laugh about the fact that she washes her hands for way to long and easily uses 5 pumps of soap at a time.

Opening up about her OCD has changed Kristen as a person. I am finally seeing that “Free Spirit” in her which she and her family have always known her to be.

Living with an OCDer,


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My roommate, my friend....

This is Michelle.

She is my roommate, and nothing short of a complete blessing to me. I value her friendship, her support, her input, and most of all her contagious love for life. She always finds the best in people, always kind, and always loyal. I am so thankful for her!

I know she has a very unique view on me and my OCD......I mean she lives with me!!! :) She has decided to do a post towards the beginning of every month, giving some insight into what life is like "Living with an OCDer."

Monday, June 7, 2010

Episode 2

I apologize that I didn’t get my thoughts on episode 2 up on Friday. To be honest, I completely forgot on Friday, and I wasn’t home very much over the weekend. Anyway….. Here are some of my thoughts….

Episode two…..well, it was interesting to say the least….even for me to watch. I was actually pretty frustrated. The most frustrating thing about the whole episode was when Dr. Tolin was trying to figure out what my triggers are. This was my first time in treatment. I had never fully verbalized my obsessions or compulsions to anyone, for fear that I would actually be labeled crazy. And here I was, sitting in front of a psychologist who wanted me to identify….specifically…..what triggered me – what I obsessed over. Seriously?? It didn’t sit well with me then, and it seems especially unfair and unrealistic to me now. Of course I wanted to specifically hone in on what exactly triggered me, but it wasn’t realistic to figure that out in ONE “therapy” session that was under an hour long. I felt very pressured to figure it out, and somehow the conclusion we came to was male genitalia?? Ahhh…..sooo frustrating, because I knew there was more to my obsessions than that. I knew that wasn’t the basis of my fears. Although I do think it is extremely disgusting for people (men or women) to use the restroom without washing their hands……AND SMELLY!!! (My favorite line of the whole episode!! :) haha!)

After arriving at Roger’s, and spending COUNTLESS hours with my amazing behavior therapist there, I was able to specifically and accurately identify my triggers. All my obsessions revolve around three things…. hands, shoes, and urine. That realization…..or discovery…..sat well with me. It was spot on. I got stuck in my cycle of compulsions because I was obsessing about dirty hands and what they were touching, all the germs shoes spread, and urine was the ultimate “germ” that I was afraid of. It really has nothing to do with male genitalia. Just for the record. :)

To be fair, it was a TV show, so we weren’t afforded the luxury of extensive therapy sessions because that would not have appealed to TV audiences. I totally understand. It’s just a fine line because on one hand there were six people with fragile and vulnerable issues that needed to be discussed and worked through in order to come to a complete understanding of why we behaved in the ways that we did. However, on the other hand, this show needed to captivate and keep the interest of the general public, so the pace was definitely sped up and things happened a little more dramatically than they would in a treatment center that was not filmed 24-7. It makes complete sense. And that’s why I have my blog….. :)

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I just finished watching episode 2 with my roommate and another friend. I have a lot of thoughts......

I think I am going to head to bed, pray, clear my head, and jump into my "recap" tomorrow sometime.

Obsessively, compulsively.....
Yours truly.

And P.S. I am soooo extremely thankful for my roommate! She has been an INCREDIBLE support to me, learning about OCD in a non-chalant way, never treating me different than anything but "normal", and always giving me a good, firm "reality check" pep talk when I need it the most.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

More thoughts about episode 1.....

Not sure how many people have seen the trailer for The OCD Project, but it is pretty say the least. I was somewhat frustrated when I saw it, because I thought....."That is crazy!! If I watched that trailer seven months ago, there is NO WAY I would have even considered the idea of getting any sort of treatment for my OCD!!"

So, coming from someone who has had quite a variety of treatment, I ASSURE you that what you saw on the trailer and teasers for what's to come in the remaining episodes is NOT how OCD is generally treated. Let me clarify.....the general idea of Exposure Response Prevention is accurate, but the intensity that the show portrays is very rarely used. The intensity bordered on "flooding" in my opinion, which from everything I've read on flooding, does not have a very high success rate. In other words, people who are treated by methods of flooding are very likely to quit treatment before any positive changes have taken place. I have heard numbers as high as 90% failure rate when flooding is used. PLEASE NOTE: I have done NO professional research of my own. I have just read articles, talked to people, and have gone through seven months of therapy.

Exposure Response Prevention (ERP), used correctly, is VERY effective for treating OCD. It is not a therapy that can be rushed as there are many components to it, repetition being one of the most crucial. I will talk about this more as the show progresses, and I have also written a lot about it in previous posts if you want to go back and read those.

To anyone who is struggling with OCD...... There is help. Help that is "challenging, yet manageable" as Roger's Memorial Hospital puts it. Manageable is the key.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Episode 1

Well.... made it through episode one. Whew.....

Watching it brought back so many memories. But before I get into all those details, I do have to say that I LOL when Liz said, "We're just waiting on Kristen" and I was in the bathroom washing my feet. Classic. Seriously, such a typical scenario.....huh, Love family and roommate, Michelle? :)

I found myself nodding my head through the whole episode, still in awe that I am not the only one who has these crazy thoughts and nonsensical compulsions. As I listened to my housemates talk about their feelings surrounding their obsessions and compulsions, it still feels surreal to though they are vocalizing some of the very thoughts that go through my head. That was probably the most amazing thing for me throughout treatment, was discovering an ironic sort of way....I am normal.....that I had a mutual understanding with my peers without having to even say anything. We could finish each other's sentences when we were talking about our struggle with OCD. Things like, other people having physical pain in various parts of their body because of the repetition of compulsions......I had no idea. I thought I was alone in my craziness of repeating things despite how my skin dried out and cracked, or my ankles and knees hurt.

After we all arrived and checked in that first day, we ended up all sitting around the table outside by the pool talking for quite a while. I was pretty quiet at first, just listening to everyone else talking. (Probably the only time I was quiet on the whole show....eeek!) I was mostly interested in finding out what types of OCD everyone else had.....I just wanted to get right to the point. As they began talking about their OCD, I was shocked......emotional almost. It was the first time I had ever heard anyone verbalize, almost verbatim, the thoughts I had been wrestling with for years. There was an instant connection. We all spoke the same language.

Watching who I was seven months ago is.....weird. Holy Moly....I was a flippin' machine when it came to washing my hands.....and drying my hands.....oh my! I seriously can't believe how intensely I washed and dried my hands. I am really proud to say that I have not even gone through half a gallon of hand soap since I returned home!! That is a drastic improvement from the one gallon of hand soap I would go through in 10 days! No joke. I still fight the urge to re-wash every time I do wash my hands, but every time I resist, it gets a tad bit easier the next time. I hardly use lotion any more either, because my hands are not dry and peeling. What's interesting about that, is that I've always had fairly soft hands despite how much I washed them, but that was because it was so important for me to hide all indications of having a problem that I would go through lotion just as quickly as I went through soap.

My mind is racing right now with all sorts of things that I want to write about, but so as to not overwhelm, I will write more of my thoughts throughout the week. However, I do want to finish with a pretty funny story that was not completely shown on last night's episode.

So.....I was the first person to arrive at the house, and as you saw, I was not exactly excited about the bathroom situation. Well, after I checked in, I used the restroom, then went to wash my hands at the bathroom sink for the first time (which I guess was timed at 4min, 47 sec). Ok, so this ginormous bathroom we all had the luxury of sharing was 80's fabulous, and I could not figure out how to turn the sink on; therefore, immediately assuming that we did not have access to water in the sinks (to prevent me from washing). I instantaneously began freaking out, but had prepared for an "emergency" like this and went to my suitcase to use a plethora of cleaning products I had brought along with me. That not being enough......I eventually thought I had cheated the system when I discovered there was water in the bath tub to wash my hands = soothe my soul! I soon found out that nope, no water had been turned off......I was just a little, um....retarded shall we say. But, the one redeeming fact is that I was NOT the only one who couldn't figure out how to turn the faucet on.....I was just the most dramatic about it.....sulking and pouting in my room for a good hour thinking they were all out to get me. Oh, Kristen.......... :)

The freedom and strength that comes from sharing struggles and discovering that your not alone in your struggle is honestly the most amazing thing that I am still learning through this whole process. Life is truly meant to be lived in community....not just superficial community, but in community that embraces vulnerability, brokenness, restoration and acceptance. Even now, I still struggle with being vulnerable in a face-to-face's awkward and completely humbling at times, but watching the six of us on the show was a refreshing reminder of how completely liberating....and strengthening....and necessary it is to live life together as a community.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The OCD Project

The beginning of my treatment journey began last summer when I received an email from my brother, Theo. I don't know that my reception of this particular email would have been welcomed had it come from anyone else. All Theo wrote to me was, "I think you should apply." Below his single sentence to me was an ad he had found looking for people struggling with OCD to receive free, intensive, professional therapy for three weeks while being filmed for a new documentary-style reality show. Long story short.... I applied, and a couple months later, I nervously walked into the house I would be living in for the next three weeks.

Seven months later, I nervously announce that "The OCD Project" will be airing this Thursday night, May 27th, at 10pm PST on VH1.

After applying and waiting to hear whether or not I would be selected to receive this help, I went back and forth as to whether or not this was the right avenue for me to get help for my OCD. My OCD was a struggle that I had kept secret, and to go public.....really public, with it, was not a decision to take lightly. I remember my mom telling me on the phone one day, "Kristen, you have to have a greater purpose for doing a show like this than to just get help for yourself. If your main objective is to just help yourself, I think the public exposure will be a little too difficult to handle, and we should look into alternatives to getting you help. If your purpose is to not only get help for yourself, but to create awareness as to what OCD is so that others can get help as well, then I think this is a great opportunity."

Although there are no words to express how eternally thankful I am for all the extremely professional help I received as a result of being on The OCD Project, I am still very nervous about the show airing. I've tried my best to be open and vulnerable via my blog throughout my entire treatment process since the show, but there is a different vulnerability that comes with sharing your life and your struggles on national television. I don't regret my decision to allow my journey to be filmed, but I know there are going to be plenty of moments that are extremely difficult for me to watch....even moments that I will probably regret. Nothing about my treatment journey has been easy, but it has been amazing. I am a different person today than I was seven months ago. I still struggle daily. OCD and depression continue to be a battle I fight, but I've been given powerful tools, and because of that, my spirit is learning to live freely...vulnerably.

The OCD Project is an 8 episode series that will air every Thursday night. There is no prize and there are no eliminations. It really is just a show that documents the journey of our treatment stay. It will also be available to watch on the internet at I will be blogging throughout the entire series, and will have a post up by Friday evening every week giving more detail into my life, my struggle with/victory over OCD, and possibly trying to redeem myself for any horribly embarrassing thing that I did or said. eeeek! :)

You may think I'm crazy at times, but I'm not, I just have OCD. :) the show if you want, read my blog, and learn the difference between the two......crazy and OCD, that is. :) I hope that my story will help other people struggling with their inner demons, whatever they may be, find the strength to get help and to be an advocate for their own free spirit.

And seriously, if you or someone you know plans on watching "The OCD Project" please read my blog as well. Think of it as a twofer (otherwise known as a two-for-one.) :)

Friday, May 7, 2010

a deep pulling

I've heard this song a million times, but driving home tonight, I heard it again on the radio.....and the words hit a deep....very deep, vulnerable, and sensitive part of my soul. I think our hearts and souls are intertwined..... we make reference to our hearts so easily, but soul..... oh, the soul..... it takes the things that we cherish and feel in our hearts to a level that words can't describe. I believe that when our heart-strings are pulled, they are being pulled by our soul..... being stretched and taken to a level that we can't go to without laying it all out and surrendering.

i will remember you
by sarah mclachlan

I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories

Remember the good times that we had?
I let them slip away from us when things got bad
How clearly I first saw you smilin' in the sun
Wanna feel your warmth upon me, I wanna be the one

I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories

I'm so tired but I can't sleep
Standin' on the edge of something much too deep
It's funny how we feel so much but we cannot say a word
We are screaming inside, but we can't be heard

But I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories

I'm so afraid to love you, but more afraid to loose
Clinging to a past that doesn't let me choose
Once there was a darkness, deep and endless night
You gave me everything you had, oh you gave me light

And I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories

And I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories
Weep not for the memories

I lay it all out. I surrender.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

6 months, 4 days.....

Six months and four days ago I entered into treatment to get help for my OCD. Some days the tunnel seemed so long, that I wondered if there was light at the end at all. Other days, the light seemed to be shining bright, giving me hope that I was progressing. With each transition through this journey.....from "residential" in L.A., to residential in Wisconsin, then back to L.A. for intensive outpatient.....I've had a whirlwind of emotions and fears.

Today is my last day at the intensive outpatient OCD program at UCLA medical center and again, I have a mix of emotions.....a beautiful mix of emotions. Ya, I'm nervous about transitioning back into "full-time normal" life, but I'm so excited as well. I feel different than I did 6 months ago. By no means am I skipping through my days living in the ecstasy of being free as a butterfly, but my overall approach to life is more relaxed. My automatic response to stress and anxiety is not compulsions anymore. I still feel anxiety, and I still have compulsions, but to such a lesser degree that it feels as though I'm a new person.

My time at UCLA was predominately spent fine-tuning the skills I had learned at Roger's. I also crossed the line from "normal" into some things that aren't quite so "normal" while at UCLA, in regards to exposures that is. :) Research has found that most patients who go through treatment for their OCD, tend to slip back a little after treatment. So turning up the heat and doing some slightly extreme exposures is necessary to allow for patients to settle into the "normal" range. That's a brief explanation, but I will address this whole topic again very soon.

My car is packed, and in just a few minutes I will be leaving L.A. and driving back down to Dana Point and unpacking and settling in at home for hopefully a long time. :) The challenge is going to be not feeling too comfortable in my home. Exposures will have to continue to be a daily part of my life. Facing fears and doing things that cause me anxiety every day is a necessity. Sounds sadistic, I know......oh believe me, I know......but it's what is going to keep me from relapsing.

My journey is not over. Just those words well up excitement within. In some ways, it seems like life may just be beginning.


Grace is what comes to mind right now. God's grace is crazy amazing, crazy humbling, and passionately gentle. I'm so thankful.

Here I go.....

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Voice of Reason vs. Devil in my Head

It's a pretty day today. The weather is nice. IOP started with me picking up my therapist and then going to the gas station to pump gas without using paper towels as a barrier.

Several years ago I was watching the evening news when they did a little blurb on how gas pump handles are dirtier than public toilets....and that marked the beginning of a new fear, another precaution that had to be taken, one more step in my already step-filled life. If a gas station did not have paper towels available, and I did not happen to have sani wipes in my car, I would drive to another gas station, frustrated at the inconvenience the first station had caused me by not being prompt enough to refill their paper towels. Obviously, the problem is mine, not theirs. The little devil in my head whines and says, "But it's so much easier to blame other people." And the voice of reason bluntly says, "This is not about other people, so pull up your boot straps and face your fears." That voice of reason is getting louder and louder and becoming more and more firm with the little devil in my head (affectionately known as OCD), because I know for a fact that about six months ago, I would not have responded so well to, "Pull up your boot straps and face your fears." In fact, I don't know that reason had a voice at all when it came to how I dealt with my anxiety.

So with my therapist next to me for support, I lifted the gas pump and maintained double hand contact as I put in $23 of gas. The cold feel of the metal. The sticky texture of the rubber. The built-up grime in all the nooks and crannies of the handle. Gross. I don't really like this. It would be nice if I could wash my hands, but I can't, so oh well. I placed the gas pump back where it belonged, got back into my car and touched everything in sight.....including the precious picture of my niece on my dashboard. :( I really, intensely didn't like touching the gas pump without a protective barrier, but I didn't feel like I was going crazy, that I might become paralyzed from the germs.

What's happening? Could it be that I'm really, actually habituating to the idea of being dirty and covered in germs all the time? I've been lifting toilet seats up and down for the last two weeks. Is my brain really generalizing all that I've learned? Where is the anxiety I have always felt? Where is the creepy crawler sensation? Why is my heart not beating rapidly, and my left ear not turning red and burning with heat?

This is weird.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hollywood Highway of Hikers (alliteration at its best) :)

I was introduced to a fabulous hiking trail last week. A couple friends and I hiked it together and without a doubt, I was feeling the effects of it the next couple of days. But I love the hike. It's ten minutes away from Theo and Jessie's house, and it's like a luscious forest in the middle of this chaotic have to use your imagination, which I do; therefore, I truly believe I am in a mountainous forest for the 45 minutes that I am hiking. :)

Yesterday I ventured out to do this hike on my own. I needed an outlet. I needed fresh air.....even though I clean black grime out of my nose each night from the "fresh" air here in the city, I still enjoy getting outside.

Black grime in my nose. Awesome.

I love my new hiking spot.....and apparently, so does everyone else in Hollywood. During "peak" hours, its seriously like a highway of hikers. But, rush hour hiking in the Hollywood hills is much more entertaining than being in a car stuck in traffic. One of these days I'm going to eat dirt when I take a face plant on the trail from attempting to hike while staring backwards at whatever interesting person just passed me on the trail. Seriously, some of the things people wear to hike! I have to have a second look. Did they really look at themselves in the mirror and say, "yep, I'm ready to go hiking."

Oh my.

My favorite has been the lady who was hiking with her dog strapped to her chest in a fancy baby carrying contraption. Are you serious? You are carrying your dog like a baby while hiking? Really?

....only in Hollywood. :) Oh, the entertainment!

Besides the pure joy of people staring and the opportunity to allow my imagination to create vivid stories about the awesome mountain I am climbing, I love that exercise has become a more regular part of my life. I usually default to running, but I'm trying to go outside my comfort zone a bit. I'm trying not to be so rigid. I don't like being a rigid person. I don't like being confined to what is familiar and safe. I want to live with my eyes and mind and arms wide open....ready to embrace life.

Next step..... yoga in the park. Oh boy.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Living fearlessly.

I want to do big things with my life. Rather....I want God to do big things with my life. I don't really know what exactly that looks like. I've been discouraged lately, feeling like I'm not doing anything of importance.....therefore, I'm not important.

It's not really about the big things, is it? It's about the small things. The small, intentional things. Sometimes it's hard being ok with the small things.

IOP is still going well. It's hard. I touched the inside door handle of a public restroom last week. I didn't think I could do it. The fear. The piercing fear. My eyes poured forth a stream of tears as I made contact with something that I believed would paralyze me. My head ached from screaming thoughts of not being able to move freely because of all the germs. My therapist talked me through movements, helping me prove to myself that germs and dirt do not paralyze fear paralyzes me.

My parents were in town visiting for the weekend, and we were talking There are many things that I want to be doing....those "big things".....but time passes and my dreams seem to get clouded by fear....paralyzing fear. My dad said to me, "You never used to be this way. You never used to be scared of anything."

"I know, Dad....I know. That's why I'm getting help. Somehow I've become scared of everything."

It was a tender, reflective moment for me. It's true....I never used to be scared of anything. The world was my playground.

The IOP program at UCLA is so different than residential at Roger's because my day is less structured, giving me the opportunity to practice living life outside of the confines of my OCD rules. Sometimes I hate it and just want to go back to doing life the way that I used to because I hate fighting against my body. But, I keep fighting.....accepting that some days are just going to be harder than others.

.....may I fearlessly approach the small things in life, so that I can fearlessly welcome the big things.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A picture story.

My intensive out patient (iop) program is going really well.
I like my therapist.
She has an English accent.

I don't have a lot of words today. I probably touched over 60 public door handles today. Maybe that's why my brain is a little fried. I still don't like touching door handles, but I'm proud of myself. I was pretty normal today, opening doors. :) And all the while, I kept hearing Mr. BTs voice (that's my BT, Nick, from Roger's) saying over and over again....."You don't have to like it."

Monday through Friday I live with Theo and Jessie in their 400 sq ft studio apartment in Hollywood. It's cozy. :) I love them. They challenge my OCD and encourage me to keep fighting for my free spirit.

Below is a series of pictures that will tell the story of yesterday evening. One of my most spontaneous adventures in quite a while.
A.) Don't know why Jessie looks like she is throwing up on me?
B.) Silly photo shoot in the had a super cute little mirror-seat-cubby-thing. :)

Only in Hollywood....

Always thought it would be cool to get a nose actual ring....not a stud. Not sure now though.... expression is scary....maybe cause this whole situation is scary.

Don't be fooled....this is just a nervous laugh.

The scary piercer man was sooo reassuring....he told me not to be nose falling off is the worst that can happen he said with a straight face. Thanks.

Freaking out already and he's just getting ready to clean my nose. Lovely.

I'm perfectly calm. :)

I was startled when he stuck a q-tip drenched in rubbing alcohol up my nose. Hello there.

The anticipation. Mr. scary piercer man told me I had to sit on my hands. Jessie was an EXCELLENT cheerleader and documenter.

Breathe in, breathe out.....breathe in....STAB!!!

Look can see the big, long needle sticking through my nose. Awesome. I'm calm as a as a cucumber.

Sopping up the blood. Fabulous.

A.) Love it, love it, love it.
B.) Half smile.

A.) Still being a big baby. Jessie demanded a thumbs up.
B.) Best picture ever!!

And....the best part of the evening.....while waiting to cross the street at a stop light, I managed to convince an ambulance to drive Jessie and I home (4 blocks) because we were tired of walking and it was 11:45pm. They asked if we had been out partying. Our response.....

We've been out since 7pm.
People watching was non-stop entertainment.
One drink each at a cute little pub.
I got my nose pierced.
We are crrrrrrraaaaazzzzzzyyyyyy!!!

They laughed.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Church. The very word makes me nauseous at the moment. It's the scariest and loneliest place I can think of. Interesting, since the very core of what it is supposed to be is accepting and safe.

What is the point of that stupid meet-and-greet time? Seriously. Five to seven minutes of awkwardly shaking hands and faking a "Hi, nice to meet you." BS. To be quite honest I hate shaking your clammy hand and it's really not that nice to meet you because, let's be honest, we'll never talk again because we don't really know each other and people at church don't care to meet other people.....everyone already has their little friend group.

I'm seriously considering going to an AA meeting every Sunday morning, where time is actually set aside for you to introduce yourself. "Hi, my name is Kristen, and I'm messed up." And in response, everyone welcomes me. Not only that, but people take time to drink their coffee TOGETHER and talk about REAL life $**t.

Seriously, it's no wonder that "non-church-goers" don't want to become "church-goers." Can't say that I'd recommend it. I've been going to the same church (off and on through all my moves) since Jan 2001 and haven't met a single friend there.....not ONE. Pretty awesome. But I still keep going.....because I love Jesus. I love learning about Him. I love the freedom to sing my love for Him. I love His love. I love His truth....His acceptance....His grace. And for that hour and a half, there is no where else I would rather be. I dread the end because I want to stay in that moment forever....with Him. But then "church" ends and the reality of the over comes me as quickly as the lights are switched on. Ugh.

It would be great to meet new friends who share my faith. Ever since graduating from a tiny, Christian college 6 years ago, I'd venture to say that I've made more friends that don't share my faith than those who do. Interesting. And I love those friends. I feel accepted. But it's hard, because my soul longs to talk about spiritual matters.....spiritual matters in the every day sense. Life is spiritual. There are a million different "religions" in this world, and don't all of them embody some sort of faith factor and spiritual dimension? I would think so. Aren't we all, in many areas of our life, drawn to certain types of people or places? Because of that, I'm drawn....or at least, also meet friends who value, challenge, and hang onto the same faith as I have chosen. And so I try. I introduce myself to people at church. Awkward. I've tried small groups. Awkward. I've gone on missions trips. Awkward. I've gone to church events. Awkward and usually miserable.

Listening to a sermon podcast and going to an AA meeting sounds like a much less awkward approach to this thing called church.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A tribute.

I can't believe it's been two weeks since I've properly blogged. I can either feel guilty and beat myself up or I can just be. I'm going to just be. So I didn't blog for two weeks....oh well. That's all I need to say about that.

I started the Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) at UCLA medical center this week. Monday was rough....we kinda threw it out the window and officially started yesterday. Yesterday and today went really well. It's different than residential, but I'm really impressed so far.

During the week, I'm staying with Theo and Jessie since they only live 10 miles away from UCLA. A couple hours ago Theo and I were just hanging out in the apt when a rather large OCD issue came up and I was struggling. Theo began to engage me in conversation about my fear, my spinning thoughts, and my feelings and emotions. Towards the beginning of the conversation, Theo asked me to recall a specific example of an exposure I had worked through at Roger's....any example as long as I could remember it specifically. I thought of one. He then said, "Now, what did your Behavioral Therapist tell you as you faced that fear?" For about 45 minutes, Theo challenged me to use the tools I was taught while at Roger's.

I really did learn so much during my time at Roger's. It's seriously the most amazing program! It's as though my BT, on day one, held out a silver platter presenting my free spirit....and said, "Here, these are for you. Over the next several months I'm going to teach you how to take these back." My BT spent countless hours helping me push through minutes and hours of what seemed like torture. Even though I yelled, cried, cussed, and argued with him, he did not give up on me and would not let me give up on me. I truly am so grateful for his dedication to helping people with anxiety disorders and am blessed to have had him on my team. Behavioral Therapist....the man who for four months told me countless times, "Don't feed the parrot on your shoulder....don't feed it!" :)
Nick Ferrell - THE BT.

I told him to do something funny. This is my BT being funny. LOL.

My two biggest cheerleaders. Heather, my social worker therapist (helped me with my emotions and feelings) and Nick, my behavioral therapist (helped me with my behaviors). You guys are the BEST!!!

Monday, March 1, 2010


Monday morning. First week back at home. Feeling overwhelmed......

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Oh I love thee!! I'm here....basking in the warmth!! :) Just landed a few minutes ago, all my bags made it, and I'm excitedly waiting for Theo and Jessie. :) LA traffic...there's nothing like it! iPhone....I love having my iPhone again! Oh...I'm just so happy to be "home." I feel free.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Making a splash before I leave.

Holy Moly! The humor!! The irony! The insanity!

My emotions have been ALL over the place the last few days!! My anxiety has physically felt unbearable at times. The stress of change, packing, planning, expectations....had my body all tied up in knots and my mind spinning faster than a tornado.

Tonight after dinner, I grabbed my phone and headed for the restroom. Planning to read and respond to my texts while "resting" I often do. After laying down my toilet paper barriers on the seat (yes....I still do that) and squirming out of my jeans while reading a text, I sat down and for some reason decided I wanted to set my phone down on the toilet tank so that I could fully relax during my pee. I set it down on the extra roll of TP sitting on the toilet tank, and as I turned my torso back around, I caught a glimpse of my pink phone slipping off the TP roll and falling. What seemed like a slow motion action move, I tried to remain seated, but flung my hands behind me to grab my phone, half hoping that my booty was completely sealing the toilet seat. Um...not so much!! PLOP!!! And I'm talking the biggest plop and splash I've ever seen! The splash was as big as if I had chucked my phone as hard as possible into the toilet bowl. REALLY? SERIOUSLY?? DID MY PHONE REALLY JUST FALL INTO THE TOILET?? And was there just a tidal wave that not only showered my booty, but also drenched my back and soaked my thighs. I am not even kidding! I don't know how it is even POSSIBLE for a tiny little phone to make such a huge splash!

I had NOT peed or done anything besides just sitting prior to all this chaos!! I promise! All the toilet paper is what I used to dry myself...seriously! Look at how soaked the TP is on the seat...literally, a tidal wave! Good bye, precious pink phone. :(

Of course...I let out some sort of audible noise....I honestly can't remember if it was just a loud screech or some explicative....likely both. I JUMPED up, turned around in mid-air to land facing the toilet and staring at the bright blue glow of my phone resting at the bottom of the toilet bowl. Lovely!!! Just lovely!!! Pants still down and literally toilet water dripping ALL the way down my leg, I reached in and grabbed my phone immediately yelling and screaming who knows what. With ONE hand, I awkwardly wiped up as much toilet water from my legs and back as possible. I managed to pull my pants up, but couldn't zip up my zipper or buckle my belt. As I flew out of the restroom, I almost ran into the gathering of staff and fellow residents as I was still trying to pull my shirt down to cover all necessary areas with my one hand, while staring at my OTHER hand in disbelief. I couldn't decided whether to laugh or cry. As I spewed my thoughts of utter disgust, staff was laughing so hard and interrupted with, "Well, you wanted fireworks when you left, Kristen!" :) Um...fireworks!! ...not a tsunami!!

I did wash my hands....probably more than necessary. Later, half laughing, I offered my phone to four of my peers sitting in the living room, three of which are here because of contamination issues. Needless to say, if looks could kill, I wouldn't be writing right now. :) Wow!

A lot of emotions have transpired since the incident which I will spare for another time; however, all humor aside, this whole thing speaks volumes to how far I've come. :) On January 3rd (the day of Theo and Jessie's wedding), Karyss and I were touching up our makeup just before the ceremony when my eyelash brush fell into the toilet. I had a mini-freak out just seeing it. My mini-freak out was cranked up quite a few notches when Karyss reached right into the toilet and grabbed it out and threw it in the trash. As I jumped up and down and expressed my anxiety by squawking and carrying on, Karyss just rolled her eyes, washed her hands ONCE and carried on with her make up!!! She probably hasn't thought about that since. Less than two months later, I DID THE SAME THING....not quite as calmly and nonchalantly as she did.....but nonetheless, I put my hand in toilet water!!

There are so many more details.....thoughts.....feelings....emotions.....blah, blah, blah.....running through my head right now, but I think this story is sufficiently long enough, so I'll end it here. Call me for coffee, and I'll fill you in on all the dirty details I left out. Bada bing! Haha! :)

God really does have a sense of humor! I would have never, in all my planning, asked for what happened tonight, but in soo many's the perfect ending, the perfect exposure, the perfect memory for my time in residential treatment. My hand STILL feels extremely dirty, but....I'll sit with it. :)

9:30AM tomorrow....I walk out the doors of Roger's Memorial Hospital in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. My struggle with OCD is far from over, but I feel more free than I've felt in years. Thank you, Roger's, for helping me....teaching to fight for my free spirit. I am forever grateful!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Reality Check.

We still don't have internet access on the resident computers, so I write on a laptop another resident has so kindly allowed me to use and just transfer my posts when I do have the opportunity to use the internet at the other treatment house. On my walk down to the other house just now.....all I could think about was how much I want to run full-speed into a wall!!! Ahhh.....this day!!!

Before posting what I had written earlier today, I decided to read some posts of other blogs I follow. The first blog I read was my dear friend, Sarah's.... And whaddaya know....her most recent post was entitled: The Gratitude Experiment. She has given up her negative attitude for Lent. :) Her post was exactly what I needed to read this evening. I have soooo much to be grateful for! Being grateful doesn't take away anyone's pain, fear or suffering, but it sure does give a better, deeper, healthier, and ultimately more satisfying perspective on life and all its curve balls.

Another dear friend of mine, Florence, left a comment on an earlier post of mine that also encouraged me tremendously. She shared with me a verse from Isaiah.

Isaiah 42:16 "I will lead blind Israel down a new path, guiding them along an unfamiliar way. I will brighten the darkness before them and smooth out the road ahead of them. Yes, I will indeed do these things; I will not forsake them."

God is so good and so completely faithful. I have experienced Him in deeper, more intimate ways than I imagined possible these last four months.

My time is up on the internet, so I have to head back up to my house now. Hopefully I won't run full speed into any walls tonight, but if I do, I pray that God, with His grace and sense of humor, at least pads it for me. :)