June 7, 2011

The story of an unbalanced girl-child Part 3

Missed Part 1 and Part 2?  Go back and read them.  Otherwise this will make no sense at all.

Chapter 4
I was in 9th grade when I was finally so weighed down and so burdened by my previous choices that I couldn't take it any longer.  I had had enough.  I was ready to face any consequences that would result and I unloaded every last burden on my parents.  It was the best decision I ever made.  It was so freeing just to tell someone.  Then I could work on forgive myself.

It wasn't too long after that time that my dad took me to a dermatologist so he could have a look at my hands/wrists.  They were so damaged (so cracked and bloody from all the hand washing) and were extremely painful.  The Dr. asked me a few questions then turned to my dad and said, "I think she needs real help. I think she may need to see a Psychiatrist." 

I was horrified…I think my dad may have been too.

On the way home, he turned to me and said, "Melanie, you can take care of this." (Apparently I was already showing signs of improvement and my parents believed I had enough in me to beat it).

As they say…the rest is history.

 I think I was just so tired and soooooo ready to be done with that period of my life that I fought with all my might to get over it.

Chapter 5
At first I was given allowance to do my routine ONCE a night......ONCE. That was it!

My sister, who I shared a bed with, was given strict instructions not to let me out of my bed after “the ONCE”.  I learned that the world would not cave in on me if I didn't do the routine and eventually I gave it up all together.

I got rid of the bowl next to my bed one step at a time.  First I left it on the floor instead of on the night stand…once I learned that that would NOT make me throw up to do so, it moved under the bed.  When I was ready…it went back to it’s home in the kitchen.

 I will never forget the first night I slept without it.

I came upstairs, the sun was shinning in through the kitchen window, my mom was at the sink actually freeing the bowl of it's years worth of dust.  She turned around, smiled at me, and simply said…

 "You did it."

I smiled too. 

I was such a HUGE feeling of accomplishment.  I can still remember it now…almost 16 years later.

The only complaint my parents had after that was that THEY now had to make sure the house was secured for the night.  They were completely out of practice.  My dad said he was going to miss that much, at least.

Interesting story, huh?

Chapter 6
So…many years later I count myself mostly cured.

I still occasionally catch myself looking for the nearest garbage can in public (movie theaters, the grocery store, the temple, he he it's true), find myself “over washing” when I’ve touched something “nasty”, or switching out a perfectly good kitchen towel for no reason.

I’m still pretty cautious with raw meats (I have very strict handling and cleaning up procedures), but like to think I take “normal” precautions (despite what my hubby says sometimes).  I get better with the birth of each child.  I just don't have the time or energy anymore to go all OCD on my kitchen after cooking meat.  That is a very good thing.  

My husband is very good to humor me by sticking to protocol...and only rolls his eyes occasionally when I inform him that "this area" or "that area" are "contaminated" and he must proceed with caution until I have had a chance to detoxify it.

When I am stressed or heavily sleep deprived (like when I have a new baby or find out my child has nut allergies) I find that the compulsiveness flares it's ugly head and it is harder to fight off.  But...I do my best to fight it nonetheless.

Chapter 7
As with all life experiences, I've learned so much from this one.  

#1 Our minds are an extremely powerful part of us.  You can do or overcome ANYTHING you put your mind to.  And it turns out all-the-better when you ask your Heavenly Father for his help.

#2  Sometimes regrets or guilt from either past or present choices can cause us to feel so much shame and anguish.  It can torment our spirits to the point of illness.  Seeking forgiveness (from the Lord, from a hurt party, or from ourselves) can be the key to freeing the mind and allowing room for healing.

#3 Fear is the absence of faith.  It can eat you alive unless you learn to TRUST. 

Learn to trust in the Lord, learn to trust in yourself, and, for those of us who are germ-a-phobic maniacs, learn to trust in Clorox and/or Lysol disinfectant products (oh...and wear disposable gloves while handling meat if you have to).  :)

So do YOU have any quirky compulsive behaviors you'd be willing to share? 

Do tell!


Sheri said...

Awesome work on getting things under control!
The more i think about it the more I realize that I have some serious "rules" when it comes to the kitchen too! I am totally going to buy disposable gloves.....genius (I always worry about raw meat under my nails)lol
I can't deal with raw meat without the lysol wipes in hand and everything gets a serious cleaning after Including the side and drain. My real rule comes in play with the sinks. We have a double sink and the right hand sink is ONLY for washing bottles and now that we are done with that the kids plastic cups. No other dish or food product is allowed to come in contact with that side of the sink. You can imagine how crazy I feel when guests come for dinner and someone puts their dishes in the right hand side on the sink!
You can let Rob know that he isn't the only one that has to follow "rules" in the kitchen.
I am sure I have other compulsions around the house............don't worry you aren't the only one ;)

Melanie said...

he he he...Sheri that is SO funny. I, for sure, will tell Rob. :)

crth said...

Seriously, some of this stuff I don't even remember -- some I do. I do remember the breakdown when Gabe had diarrhea! Oh wow -- do you remember me telling you he could eat the stuff and he would be ok so you might want to settle down a little?! I have always been so pleased with the way you figure out what is wrong and go to work on it. You go girl!

Candle Ends said...

And to think I missed all of that. I never noticed a thing. Sigh. Oh well. You gotta know though Mel, that you are an incredibly strong person. You have overcome things that some people just don't. Good job.

Julie said...

I think that it must run the family. I check doors and get pretty germ-a-phobic when my life gets out of control. I think that it never got out of control because I recognized it as a it was and wouldn't let myself get out of control but you are not alone. Loves!

Kristen and Alex said...

You're amazing, Melanie! I'm glad we are friends! You are so strong and I agree that you can change and do anything you put your mind to. The mind is an interesting tool and we can use it to our destruction or to our self preservation. Thank you for sharing your story. I found a lot of strength in it.

Jana and Brett said...

Wow! you are amazing. :0)
I guess my quirky behavior is my cleaning/project mode. Any project large or small HAS to be done THAT day...that's why most of my projects are small so I don't neglect everything else. :0) When I'm cleaning, it is thorough and quick. Brett calls me 'Jana Claws', because I really hate to be interrupted for fear that I won't be able to finish it later....haha. There is a reason I married Brett! He rounds me out, and reminds me those things don't really matter in the long-run.

Anonymous said...

Melanie, way to not give in and keep on kicking OCDs butt. My quirky behaviour is public door handles...it freaks me right out to touch them (you never know what's on them). That being said, since having kids, I'm trying my hardest to tamp down that side of me because I don't want them picking up my fears and taking them on as their own. It's hard though! But with Christ, all things are possible!
The Epic Adventures of a Modern Mom

Kara said...

Good job overcoming that series of events! I did some of thses things as a child(light flicking, straightening,) but not as repetitive or inclusive as you did. Reading about your experiences brought some memories to the surface…very interesting.

Maybe I"m not understanding, but wanting to/cleaning a space that has had raw meat on it is not a bad thing. And to think about it until it happens is also not a bad thing. It's safety! Am I missing something??

Melanie said...

ha ha Kara...nope, you are not missing something. Of course it is important to clean up after raw meat. The difference is that now I clean up where the raw meat has actually been (places it has actually touched) instead of scrubbing the ENTIRE kitchen from top to bottom (including the floors) out of fear that germs may have jumped across the room somehow. Does that make sense?

Thanks for the comments everyone. They make me smile.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad that I happen to come across this, even a year later. I suffer from the same fear, not always dealing with it in the same way, but I've never been able to face it and get over it. I sometimes wish that I could have seen it earlier or had the strength to say enough is enough. Your story is really an inspiration. Hopefully, one day, I can say that for the most part my OCD is gone. Thanks so much for sharing!

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