Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Going Home.

Written Monday, February 15, 2010

There is so much I’ve wanted to write over the last several days, but the residents’ computers/internet are down again. :( I will only have sporadic and limited use of the internet from now until I leave. Speaking of which…..

I AM GOING HOME!!! My discharge date is Thursday, February 25th!!! Holy Moly!! 10 more days!!! Unbelievable. Amazing. Exciting. Scary. Already? Forever!

I am feeling much, much better. I have been continually amazed at the team of people….the team of professionals treating me here. When I came here, I thought it would only be for 3-4 weeks. I figured I could get my OCD under control in no time if I was working on it all day every day for a month. I quickly figured out how intricately my OCD was interwoven into every waking moment of my life. The way I processed and viewed life was through a set of jacked lenses that I had settled on as my “normal.” For weeks upon weeks, the treatment team didn’t give me a discharge date. They just made it clear that it was imperative that I get through at least 70% of my hierarchy, and preferably 80%. Each week my BT would tell me what percentage I was at, and each week I tried to be excited, but struggled with the slow progress. As of last Monday, a week ago today, I was 63% through my hierarchy!!! I didn’t get my updated percentage today, but will definitely ask tomorrow…..my guess is that I’m around 68%ish. Ahhhh…..I don’t know how I got this far!?!? It’s like a 12 year old looking at a picture of herself when she was 6 and not fully grasping how she went from a little girl to a blossoming pre-teen. Similarly, I look at who I was four months ago and who I am now, and can’t quite wrap my head around how it all happened. It seemed like every day I was having a meltdown as I faced fear after fear after fear. Seven days a week, I’ve attacked my OCD by doing Exposure and Response Prevention. Some days I thought I wouldn’t make it through the day. With each exposure that I cross off my hierarchy, it’s one more thing that will allow me to live as a free spirit….uninhibited by fears of germs and dirt and perfection.

I’ve fought so hard for my free spirit, and in so many simple, small ways I’ve seen it come to life…..seen ME come to life. Most recently, I’ve experienced my free spirit while running on the softly rolling road next to what looks like fields of glitter as the sun radiates and sparkles off the fresh layers of snow. It’s breathtaking, and I feel free. Being able to take a quick 10 minute shower after my run without the stress of giving into compulsions makes me feel free. The freedom to sit on furniture that has had shoes on it makes my spirit soar. To make full hand contact with a public door handle and not sanitize or isolate my hands is so freeing. Being the first to extend my hand in a gesture of salutation feels freeing rather than the shame and embarrassment of fumbling through my purse just long enough to avoid shaking hands. There literally are hundreds of things that I can do now that I could not, would not do 4 months ago. Every day I conquer another exposure, my spirit leaps with joy at one more mark of freedom.

My journey is definitely not over. I will probably be fighting for my free spirit the rest of my life…..and there’s something beautiful about that.


  1. "Unbelievable. Amazing. Exciting. Scary. Already? Forever!"

    I love your words.

  2. "Most recently, I’ve experienced my free spirit while running on the softly rolling road next to what looks like fields of glitter as the sun radiates and sparkles off the fresh layers of snow. It’s breathtaking, and I feel free."

    These words send chills through my body: not just down my spine, but around my head and down to my toes and through every limb and digit in between. Oh, I envy you your freedom! But I know that you deserve it -- you fought so hard, and you so honestly deserve it.


    I am proud of you. Three months ago, I didn't know you. Two months ago, I thought that I would never be your friend. Now, I feel like I can claim responsibility for helping with maybe just a moment of your hundreds upon hundreds of hours of ritual-free success; I feel honored to have witnessed you pushing and shouting and screaming like a woman in labor as you sat on filthy couches and held contaminated phone receivers; and I feel like I can share your newly-bright smile. I feel proud: proud to know you.

    I am so happy that you can enjoy blissful runs through the winter wonderland. That simple joy will help to pull you through the challenges that lie ahead.

  3. Kristen... it sounds like you are doing so good. Congrats on everything you are accomplishing. I can't wait to hear the whole story in person. See you some time in March!!!!