Smiling through the OCD

My head is hurting and my hands are shaking but I’m smiling as I type this.  Today felt like a break through day for me!  A wonderfully, marvelous break through.  The first occured this morning – I was in a small room with an obviously disgruntled individual and I didn’t allow their mood to bring down mine.  I tend to be an emotional sponge.  Negativity especially likes to leech off of everyone in a room.  I didn’t allow it in and helped to block it from the children as well.  So by the end of this visit my mood wasn’t tainted and my spirit wasn’t dragged down.  Second point to cheer about – I touched something DIRTY.  I started to sweat, my heart was palapating. My hands were shaking soooo bad.  My head was screaming – SCRUB THOSE HANDS!  DROP EVERYTHING AND RUN TO THE NEAREST SINK!  NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  The staff with me knew something was wrong.  She asked me if I needed to step out and wash my hands but I said, “it’ll be okay.”  There were baby wipes in the bag (definately not a substitute for a suitable hand scrubbing), hands shaking so fiercely that I fumbled multiple times trying to take out one wipe to give my hands a quick swipe.  I firmly told myself that I would get through this.  and I did.  I survived and the world did not come to an end.  The OCD did not beat me.

Second triumph for the day – home visit with a truely delightful family.  13 children ranging from 1-13.  I brought a memory match game to play with the younger children.  we dumped the pieces on the floor and they were quickly scattered to the four corners of the room and wandered further into the dining room.  Normally at this point I’d be sweating and quickly gathering up the pieces (and counting them twice to ensure no piece was lost).  a piece went into a mouth, the box was stepped on but still we played and I smiled and it wasn’t fake.

84 eggs boiling on the stovetop.  6 eggs per child with 6 extra just in case.  styrofoam cups full of dye, water and vinegar.  little hands, unsteady hands sitting around the table.  cups abound.  still i smiled.  a little one smooshed a egg in her hand – pieces crumbling everywhere.  a cup knocked over – pink water seeping down to the floor and spreading over the table.  hands colored blue, green, pink and orange.  my head was aching but I pushed through.  I calmly and genuinely helped and went in turn complimenting the young ones on their marvelous eggs.  no criticisms came close to my tongue – no corrections to be made.  It was a wonderful experience that I was lucky to share with a group of fantastic children.

the younger ones began to cry.  it was close to lunch time – to nap time.  Crying babies send me running.  – it’s the noise, the tears, the snot.  usually it’s my cue to go.  “what can I do to help?” came out of my mouth without a second thought.  snuggling close, rocking gently, rubbing back and feet till the smiles came back on the little one’s face.  I held many of the children today – watching tv, rocking, gentle talking to them.  there were dirty faces, runny noses and maybe even a dirty diaper.  i didn’t reach for the hand sanitizer or run for the sink or the door.

I left feeling happy and fortunate that I work with such wonderful foster parents.  They do a job so hard that I could only imagine what it’d be like.  fostering is a 24-hour, 7 day a week job that is underpaid and under appreciated.  I work with severely traumatized children and it’s not easy to be a foster parent but we are blessed with some of the best ones out there.

I love my job and that is why managing my ADHD and OCD is so important.  My children need me to be on my game.  They need me to play with them and comfort them.  I need to take care of myself so I can take care of them and the foster parents.  I need to be a good role model for my birth parents.  and I need enough left over to take care of my own – my beautiful (special needs) daughter and my husband.  Today I felt like a success and I didn’t have to fake it.

I left proud – compulsions were running high but not forcing me to run away.  I went out to the vehicle, put a squirt on sanitizer on my hands and did the motions.  held off counting the game pieces.  i drove away.  I must admit.  I could only make it 14 miles before I pulled over and counted and sorted the game.  failure?  no – because that is amazing that i could put if off for that long.  maybe next time it’ll be 30 and then maybe not at all.  pulled back out onto the road – anxiety soaring high – starting frantically counting to 100.  warding off some DOOM and DREAD.  I made myself stop – slowing breathed in DEEP and FULL.  the calming deep stomach breaths and counted to 10.  10 deep breaths.  anxiety dropping.  still want to count, still shaking.  called my mom – want to go all crazy and ramble about my nerves.  instead, i asked her how her day was going and talked about her.

Right now – I’m boiling eggs – 18 total.  going to make a delightful mess with my own daughter.  no corrections, no criticism, no fears.  I can do this!  The OCD will not beat me down!  The OCD will not rule my life and take away my joy!

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