Confession: I used too much hand sanitizer on Monday. The social worker was bringing kids med bags back to the nurse, and there was a girl in there who couldn’t stop throwing up and it was so bad that she had peed herself because she was throwing up so much, and was really sick. The nurse said to just leave the bags at the desk and get out fast because she was trying to lysol the air while some people cleaned up, but didn’t want us to get sick. I was okay at first, but then the social worker just kept talking about it and talking about it almost nonstop for the next hour, and she also was still going in and out and interacting with the nurse and I started feeling a little stressed out, and I had sugar in my bag, but someone was on the phone with the door closed in the room my bag was in, so I really had no way to cope besides hand sanitizer, and over the course of about an hour I used it around 7 times. Per dipiro and my lecture notes, that is still a completely normal, non-disordered reaction, because there was a real or perceived stressor and my response lasted less than 2-3 weeks at around an hour before I was back to baseline (and just an aside, but I LOVE the hand sanitizer they had there…). Okay fine, five hours if you count possible residual symptoms like hesitating before putting my shoes in the bag with my towel, but it is hard to say whether that was anxiety-driven, or just my brain engaging enough to recognize that hey, this is a new white towel and your tennis shoes you’ve been wearing since high school…speaking of high school and shoes…I remember jumping over areas the carpet was wet a few times during the winter senior year, and I’ve been wondering if everyone does that, or if that was an excessive possible germ response back then due to believing the carpet was probs wet due to being cleaned after someone threw up. Anyway, because of my OCD history, it makes me nervous when things like that happen, which probably intensifies the reaction, because in addition to the initial stressor, I add on stress about the OCD coming back. So far, I definitely do not have a problem, but just like in September when I saw vomit in a bathroom and peaked at like a 1, more of that fear was probably coming from fear that the OCD was back rather than just because of the germs…Oh wow. Crazy to think about how a year ago I was usually closer to a 2 with minimal stressors at my apartment, and then I was able to see vomit and peak around a 1. Thank God. It definitely is only by his grace that I have overcome that fear.
I guess that tells me that it is time to work on not worrying about the OCD coming back, because if I only have two minor events over the course of 7 months and neither lasts even an entire day, then chances are I am pretty free, and can completely close the book on that chapter of my life; no more bookmark holding open the page in case it comes back. My intuition tells me that the social worker was also a bit freaked out about the situation considering that she started talking about it as soon as the door closed behind her and continued to bring it up beyond when it was relevant…constantly talking about it for an hour seems to me to be a sign that she, too, was a bit concerned, and she also used hand sanitizer multiple times. IDK I think it is good that I am aware of possible triggers and am vigilant to ensure OCD does not re-enter my life, but at the same time, I do not think it is the best response either to worry that OCD may be coming back every time that I have a normal fear response to a situation that reasonably should elicit such a response…all things in moderation…I am less than one year post-remission though, and from what I’ve read/heard, it sounds like relapse is most likely to occur within the first year, so maybe I give myself permission to continue to vigilantly watch for signs of relapse for the rest of the year, and at the one year mark stop and assume that I will know if things are getting bad before I am drowning in it.
Although, I suppose looking at that, another conclusion I should draw is that, when possible, sugar should be on my person so that I am not separated from it, because I am pretty sure I could have avoided the anxiety nearly completely if I’d had sugar as soon as I had a reasonable inkling that I might have a problem.
I am so used to spelling things wrong that I automatically correct myself….so I was taking notes a couple days ago and I corrected social anxiety to socail anixeyt…and this is why I will never be a good note-taker…
I love myself and am so thankful for my progress…I learned in the reading I should have done last week that I am more blessed than I ever knew to be completely free from social anxiety now…apparently, most pt can expect to always have more than minimal sx. As in, while they will get relief from nonpharm or pharm treatment, they will never experience remission in the truest sense of the term—they will always be symptomatic, but they will be more functional than they started…yet despite being nearly silent for a while, I am done done…I know pride comes before a fall, but I am really proud of my progress. I went from a girl who communicated through painstakingly written words to a girl who will talk your ear off if given the opportunity, and that is really incredible.
Further, I finally got to the last anx disorder I was supposed to read about, OCD, and discovered that it, too, is one that people are somewhat unlikely to truly experience remission (only 20% of patients experience remission though many of the rest are significantly relieved with partial resolution)…Wow…it makes me feel pretty excited that I could conquer two of the anxiety disorders that are least likely to go away…I serve a great God…I know on my own I can do nothing. While I was working really hard on my own to get there, it is completely in God’s hands both to give me the endurance to keep trying when I was so anxious and for me to ever see results from that effort.
Also, a few years ago someone suggested that I may have PTSD. At the time I was like NO WAY…I felt like that hugely exaggerated things (umm, and I was still living mainly in silence and the OCD hadn’t totally taken over my life yet, but it was lurking in the background)…for a while a bit over a year later I was willing to say yes, that might be a possibility…and now after reading about it I am back to not so much…dipiro does use DSM IV so it is a little outdated, but while looking solely at the symptoms the change of churches did cause a PTSD-like reaction, the very first requirement, trauma, is conspicuously absent…pretty sure no death or injury was going to occur to me or anyone else based on switching churches…just sayin’…
One thing that bother me though, is that while I really do not care one way or the other with diagnoses, it does bother me that the “official” diagnoses that I have came from someone who knew me about 10 minutes by the time he entered those diagnoses for me…besides the fact that at the time he was seeing me I doubt any of those diagnoses truly described me anymore, how the heck can you possibly accurately assess anyone in 10 minutes…I pretty much disregard the officiality of those dx seeing as how they seem less official to me considering the circumstances than the list of dx in my counseling files that may or may not have been discussed with me, and less official than the diagnoses that were talked about off-handedly in counseling…just sayin’…
Also, I decided for sure this morning that I have some kind of allergy…to what, I am not so sure, but considering that I left my apartment with just my eyes feeling itchy, walked to school, and arrived with my arms and legs red and itchy, but now, an hour after getting inside and wiping my skin with wet paper towel, I feel fine again…sounds like allergies to me…which also means that I was right last year I wasn’t getting a cold every Monday that magically went away by Sunday only to return again on Monday…(Hey, I am not stupid…it is just that Monday is also when I was usually doing exposure so it took a while to believe that wasn’t the cause of it…)