It's Saturday 4pm and my husband isn’t off until 6 or even later plus he has to drive home. Oh joys! On a rainy day like today, my two energized kids can’t go outside and have already watched two movies. They were both Disney classics with good morals, right? My patience disappeared hours ago and my baby won’t take a decent solid nap for very long, thanks to his big sisters. My hope of burning energy running up and down the stairs wasn’t worth my loud voice anymore. Oh wait, someone just asked me for a snack and the other child drug her princess gown blanket along my dirty kitchen that hasn’t been cleaned for weeks. To top it all off, I’m still in my PJ’s and don’t remember when I combed my hair last!
I tried hard with my OCD today, I really did. I promise. The dirty laundry basket keeps growing, but my anxiety is too high to even consider starting a load of anything. My oldest is so whinny because she wants to go outside to ride her bike. My 3-year-old keeps bothering both her siblings to grab my attention. Dinner, what’s that? To keep my OCD at bay, I’m ready to turn on a third movie until my husband comes to save me!
No, no, I can do it! I can be brave! They are my children. I am their mother and each of them need me. Laundry, dinner, my dirty kitchen floor can wait (good thing for Corn Dogs and French Fries, right?) Let’s dig into some new books I have hidden away until my adult help comes home. Let’s hope I don’t fall asleep reading since I’m so sleep deprived! It’s days like today when my OCD forces my role of motherhood to a degree that I didn’t know existed. What battles are really worth fighting with my children? How far can I stretch myself to let the OCD rituals go before I lose it?
OCD includes having unordinary rituals, compulsions or thoughts that others must comply to on a daily basis otherwise the individual may go into panic mode. Each person’s OCD diagnose is different but all factor in on that extreme lifestyle need. It could be a fear of going to public places and encountering strangers. Others include driving on the freeway, germs that are everywhere, dating other people or easy things to most people. You’re probably thinking ‘oh that’s silly, why would someone be afraid of germs or going to a restaurant?’ Well, it is not. I’ve spent months living with my OCD only to have it get worse in the past year.
I’ll describe OCD like a roller coaster- There are good days, then there are other days when I get dressed only to accomplish very little. Lucky for me, I was pregnant with our 3rd child this past year too, so between my OCD and levels of hormones, it wasn’t an easy pregnancy. Plus, I still had my two older kids (one of which has ADHD) and trying to find a new home before I had our baby. It got to the point that my husband had to apply for FMLA at work to enable him to come home anytime when my panic levels were about to blow! I knew he couldn’t come home every time I panicked, but my OCD brain continued to tell me that I need to keep strict control of my family. Hah!
My husband tried to help me change but he only got frustrated only to concede into my OCD rituals. He saw things better than I did, but knew he couldn’t do much but find something outside our family that could help me. No, he didn’t like my ways, but because he loves me, he did them out of love. I was so overwhelmed between my two active children and myself that many of days, I lost it so much! I knew he needed to be at work and definitely couldn’t lose his job over something so silly as me! He was literally the only one who could calm me down and talk some sense into me. Am I happy with how things went? NO! I regret each and every single of those days and months. Finally, I consented into getting some professional help. I realized we had done what we could on our own and even my own two children were beginning to turn against me. Yes, their own mother.
Was I happy about this? I was horrified! Upset! Furious at my husband because I felt that he was forcing me to change the daily rituals that I was comfortable with! During this treatment however, I learned skills on how to deal with my OCD on a daily basis even with all my pregnancy hormones. OCD is something that develops overtime, and sadly I admit that I saw that growing in my own life. Did I realize what it was during that time? No. it was just an ordinary part of life but in that it also affected those close to me. Things that were normal to me were silly to my husband and children. But yet, they learned to do them ‘my way’ because they didn’t want to me blow up. Did that mean that I never blew up? Oh no! Countless days I gave in and sat crying wishing that life wasn’t so hard. I felt like I was all alone and that no one liked the way I was doing things.
So, as I felt like falling apart on that crazy Saturday afternoon with 3 needy children, I had to make a choice. It needed to be quick, and for my children. Not me. MY children needed their mother with her head on straight. I NEED my head on straight. I strongly feel that I handled this Saturday a lot differently because I was trying to be in control with myself first. I can only be a good mother when I don’t let this dumb OCD control my life. It is NOT easy. But one day, I hope I can be 100% in control of it.