This Isn’t A New Thing For Me
OCD did not start for me after the accident. It has always had a tendency towards being this way. The TBI has just made it worse than it was before
I Actually Don’t Even Want To Say “Worse”
It is not really the right word to use in the situation. I believe this because nothing that I obsess about is harmful or unhealthy.
Started With Strict Routine
Throughout my rehab routine as been my friend. Not knowing how I’m going to feel each day. I had a lot of time on my hands to think about all the things I could be doing or should be doing that I wasn’t able to. It took time, but I tried to get myself into a routine, and I succeeded. The only problem is I would end up stressing myself out over if I would get everything done. Leading me to push more than I probably should. Leading to me needing to have “crash” days to recover.
The Good Parts Of Routine
At times throughout this process that I have felt super anxious or depressed, having a routine to focus on helped me be productive, despite having good and bad days. Which made me feel a lot better about things in general!
The Bad Parts Of Routine
For me, the bad part of the routine is that even though none of it was set in stone or life or death if it didn’t get done. The problem is I will obsess over it like it is, and push myself to exhaustion to get myself through everything.
I literally have a list of tasks in my bullet journal and I obsess over getting them done and being able to check off all those boxes. If I don’t feel well enough to do something on the list, I will obsess over it to the point I feel worse! Which makes me wish I would have just sucked it up buttercup and done it in the first place!
Everything I Do Is Very Deliberate
I take care of my pets in the same order. Post to my Instagram and blog in the same order every day. Everything I do, I do it at the perceived best part of the day and for a certain amount of time. I don’t feel like I can check the box unless I have really spent time on the task, not rushed through it. I live for the satisfaction of checking those boxes, no matter how hard I exhaust myself and flare up my TBI symptoms in the process!
If I was asked why I do these things in these certain ways, I couldn’t really answer you. I just do!
Some days I would say my OCD is something that calms my anxiety. It helps to keep me focused and on track when my brain tends to be foggy and forget a lot of the time.
I write everything down and take notes on everything because I’m afraid I will forget something later. One would think that the writing things down would take the pressure off. It would avoid the frustration of forgetting. You would think that would calm my anxiety.
I have to go everything, over what I wrote, over the boxes I checked and depending on the day and how “well” I did with everything will determine if my anxiety level is helped or just fired up more.
Is It Obvious?
I don’t think the fact that I’m OCD is necessarily obvious to people who just know me casually or people who are on the outside looking in.
When I know I didn’t do something on my list, I stress over it like it has to be done right now! I won’t be able to relax until it is. My boyfriend and parents can tell you all about my weird tendencies, but people I see in passing won’t see it.
My ability to focus seems to turn its self off and on. In some ways, I think my OCD is good for me. Since I always have things written down and in lists, it keeps me straight. I almost always have something to use as a reference to get me back on track and not confused anymore.
No matter what, I can’t seem to totally shake the confusion issue. Even with all these things, I’m obsessively doing. If I had to guess that is because I’m obsessing over them. If I would just relax and refer to my lists, maybe I could get things done without stress. Obviously, for me, it is harder said than done.
It Doesn’t Interfere With My Life…Too Much
A lot of the time it really has helped me to be more organized. I just have to figure out how to do it without feeling stressed. Without worrying that the world might end or pigs might fly if I don’t check every box.
I Get This From My Pop
My Pop was most definitely OCD. I must admit that I’m just like him in that way. He had very specific ways he did things, they could only be done one certain way. You couldn’t help him unless you would take the time to allow him to explain all his”systems”.
He had a certain place where he would keep his lottery tickets sitting next to his chair. They had to be lined up just right so he could grab them and check the numbers. He always had his glasses right there and ready in case he needed them. Nobody went to sleep until the lottery numbers came on t.v.
Also, nobody went to sleep without checking the locks on the doors multiple times. Then if one of us grandchildren was there, he would use that as a great opportunity to obsess and he would go get us to check again. Which was alright I guess, except the basement door leading to the outside. It was creepy down there and I will admit that quite a few times I just opened the basement door, stood there a second and then shut it again. Pretending like I had gone down the stairs to check the door lock, but not really doing it. If they have internet in heaven and my Pop is reading this I hope he will forgive me!
Being Self Aware
See, I just admitted to the whole world via the internet that not only do I have a TBI, but I’m also OCD! I’m fully aware of these tendencies in myself and I feel like being self-aware and acknowledging it, is one of the most important ways to help it.
When It Is The Worst
It is the worst when I’m having bad days when my symptoms are already flared up and I force myself through my list of things. I can’t let myself just not do one or two things and rest.
Anyone recovering from TBI understands what neuro fatigue is like and how it just makes you crash. It will do you in for the day and you might as well not even try to accomplish anything, because you won’t be able to.
When I push myself to that point (which I, of course, know better than to do). It sometimes takes my mind and body as much as a day to recover back to normal. That, of course, makes me feel like I’m losing ground on my recovery which disappoints me and makes me frustrated with myself.
Once Again, The Many Aspects Of TBI Come Into Play
Until you are living it, you can’t comprehend all the layers and levels of symptoms that are involved in the recovery process. Due to all these different issues we deal with, it can cause us to feel and react differently to things. Whether in a physical or emotional reaction.
All I’m Sayin’…
Is that I know my TBI has increased my OCD. Sometimes it can help other times it is anxiety causing curse.
I have come to realize that it is part of who I’m not so I need to work on learning how to make sure it is only helping me and not hindering me.
Anyone’s very best is all they can do. I’m doing my very best to deal with all this and all the other things that go along with TBI, and my very best is all I can do.
So, I’m going to keep on keepin’ on!