Friday, March 27, 2015

My Success Story

A friend from a long time ago and I reconnected about a year ago. She recently asked me if I could give her a link to this blog. I hesitated at first because you know how sometimes people look at you differently when they know your obsessions and compulsions. I’m still thinking about it. In preparing to make the decision, I opened this blog and started reading posts all the way back to the beginning.

Wow, was I ever taken aback. I have made so much progress in the last five years, it’s unreal. I don’t even remember some of those obsessions. The compulsions, yes, but not the obsessions. Alligators, really? Bone cancer? The Clint losing on the Apprentice was a big one. I remember it because I drove Janya absolutely nuts about it.

And all of the dark drawings and memes. I must have had some really bad days. I am so happy with my improvement. I’m like a totally new person now. Why? What changed? Here are some possibilities:

1. Coming out as a lesbian.

This is probably the biggest "cause" of my OCD symptoms. No one understands the stress of keeping a secret so long. No, I take that back. It wasn’t the secret. I kept other secrets for years. Yes, they ate at me and contributed to stress, unhappiness and probably my OCD. But not allowing yourself on the outside to be who you are on the inside, wearing a mask for the majority of your life, that’s the worst. Your family, your friends, your co-workers, all think you are someone else. And when they finally find out, they have to make a decision about whether or not it matters. It usually does.

While coming out created a lot of pain, hurt and stress in all areas of my spiritual and physical life, the ultimate release and being loved and accepted finally for who I actually am was such a relief. I lost many people and opportunities in my life, but I was introduced to so many more wonderful people and possibilities. I officially came out in 2008, but as you can see, it has been a long journey. It’s now 2015, and I’m still not "cured", but things are usually manageable.

2. My job

I worked here from 2009-2011 and liked the position, but not having had health insurance and the financial stress it caused when I went almost bankrupt from two back-to-back surgeries in one month just about did me in. I ditched my cell phone number, moved and pretty much looked over my shoulder for a few years due to creditors. When my boss kept putting off helping me with health insurance, I moved on and went back to teaching where I got spring break, holidays and summers off. But what I had forgotten was that when I teach, I give about 150%. I’m not a spring chicken after all and I didn’t need to impress anyone to further my career. I didn’t have to spend ever weekend up at school or every single weekday evening making materials and working my ass off. But I did it anyway because that’s what I do when I teach; I give it more than my all. Yes, I had health insurance, but my health was deteriorating because I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I developed psoriasis, an unusual cataract in my eye, my cholesterol went up and I was prescribed something to help me sleep. I did this for two years.

When I saw that things were not going to change, my boss asked me to come back with the understanding that he would pay almost half of my insurance premium, so here I am. I miss the kids but not the stress. I miss the extra days off and the sunshine. But I have insurance, I sometimes get to work from home and I pretty much know what to expect when I wake up every morning and no more 7:15 meetings!

3. Unity

Unity has literally saved me. If I had been brought up in New Thought, goodness knows how many fewer people I would have hurt and disappointed. Being given the choice about what to think and being accepted for it, there is so much power in that. Who knows what kind of career I would have chosen and how successful I would have been. But you can’t look back; it does no good. I don’t have to blame anyone, or myself, or God anymore for what life has brought me. I can give thanks for every day and experience as a gift. I am a spiritual being having a human experience, not a human being having a spiritual experience. There’s a difference and it has given me great relief. I have made friends who love me for who I am, not for what they think or want me to be. I don’t have to be like them or agree with them. We are each on our own spiritual journey and we support each other in that.

4. My family

I came out of the other side of divorce full of guilt and regret and some anger. Most of that has subsided. I think my ex now has a girlfriend; I am so happy for him. My daughters both talk to me and spend time with me. They are both in serious and happy relationships. I get to see my parents and my grandmother. My partner and I have grown in our relationship. I think I still hold some resentment in the fact that we should have never been apart in the first place, but then I wouldn’t have my kids, so I would never wish that. I lost contact with the majority of my friends, but that is starting to change. Some have Facebook friended me, even though I can tell they don’t approve. They’re not being rude or making judgmental comments. The ones who probably wouldn’t be able to hold their tongues have declined my friend requests, so I’m probably better off.

4. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

I was on medication for OCD for a number of years but no longer am. CBT really helped me with the compulsions. I have a top-rated therapist for that. I don’t think there is anything I could say or do that would surprise her; she’s probably seen or heard it all. She doesn’t really have to give me choices anymore on how to work it; she’s just there in case I have any questions. She also reminds me of things I’ve forgotten. When she first met me in about 2006, I was a total wreck, scared and suicidal. I feel like one of her biggest success stories.

I hope this post gives others hope that there is definitely a light at the end of their tunnels. Starting a journal or a blog like this one could be very telling one day when one looks back at the entries. I know I was amazed and it gives me great hope for my future. There is no going back to that misery. Things will only get better from now on.



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