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.


  1. Amen, Kristen! I have thought about you so much the last few days - so so so saddened by this lonely journey you have been on. My heart breaks to think of the years that you have hidden (in shame?) your secrets and compulsions and isolation. I remember you as such a vibrant, charismatic, no-nonsense type of girl- which it still looks like you are, but then to have to hide as much as you did to maintain those truths about yourself. I imagine it being exhausting and frightening. You are beautiful and magnetic, and I hope we could all be as courageous as you. Again, thank you for sharing your story...Mary (Frey)

  2. Kristen- I saw the show the other night and then happened upon your blog today. I find your blog so genuine and REAL and am so happy you are writing it. It takes a lot of guts to put this all out there my dear and you should be so proud of yourself for the smallest, tiniest of accomplishments. What a wonderful writer you are. It's like therapy in itself don't ya think? I will definitely be checking back to celebrate with you!

  3. Kristen what an amazing thing you went through. I want you to know that I think that you are a beautiful, strong, brave women and that I am praying for you! I didn't know you were going through all this and that you were on a show. I was just flipping through channels before going to work. I saw you and though..." IS that Kristen that I know" Through a mutal friend of ours I found out it was you. I was sad to see you struggle but I knew that you got better from the program. I now know how to pray for you. Again I am soooooo proud of you! I will keep watching, reading your blog, and keep praying for you!

  4. I'm not gonna lie, when I saw the "we're just waiting on Kristen" part, I blurted out -- story of our LIVES! It was so funny to me to have someone else say something like that. Oh Kristen, we love you so much. You are a fabulous woman having to go through this, and believe it or not -- one of the strongest people I know. You ARE strong, BECAUSE you are faced with challenges most people know nothing of. Pretty much, YOU FREAKIN ROCK!

  5. kristen, not sure if you remember me from HIU, but we hung out alot that last year (2002-2003) and even did a shopping trip in Laguna Beach one day. anyway. thought i'd "de-lurk" and make a few comments just to let you know i've been thinking about you often all these years wondering what you've been up to and also that i've been reading your blog since last summer. i'm thankful for your vulnerability on this blog and on the show. i just finished the first episode and it was powerful; i'm excited to see what is in store for you (and the others). i think it's a wonderful idea that you are blogging post-show and we can read your thoughts on the episode in retrospect. and i loved reading that you have seen improvements already. praise God!

  6. Kristin, it is so unselfish of you to share your story. I'm so glad to hear your thoughts through this blog, you're a really good writer! And you're an absolute beauty.