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......