Sunday, February 3, 2013

Trying Again- Taking My Life Back From Anxiety

I have rewritten the first part of this post several times now.  I can't seem to even decide for myself what I want to say.  I gather my thoughts toward a central theme, but my efforts seem scattered, just like my brain.

So, let's just get to the point that I am looking to make with this post, or at least the thoughts I am trying to convey.
In my last post , I spoke of struggles that I don't discuss much on here, or on my FB page.  I do discuss parts, at times pulling up the dusty curtain that I hide my junk behind just enough to reveal a small sliver of what I am hiding back here.  That glimpse is all that I typically show, before snatching the curtain shut.  I don't know what I fear would happen if I opened it all the way showcasing my flaws, and sad parts for the world to see. I suppose I fear judgment.  I fear that maybe people will decide that my 'crazy' is too much for them, and they'd stop following me, stop listening to me, and stop interacting with me.  The very thing my OCD drives to avoid might happen, and my fears would be realized as I stood there baring all.  That's the last thing I want, so I go to wild extremes to avoid this judgment.

It has gotten to the point that my life is no longer running smoothly because of some of these issues.  Anxiety, and OCD behavior tends to breed more of the same when left unchecked.  When I say unchecked, I don't mean I just give into my every anxious whim, but rather that I have not found a successful method of overcoming my issues, but I have tried.  Lord knows, I have tried. I have tried so many meds, and methods that I am tired of trying anything.  I think that is the point that I have been for awhile now.  I am tired of fighting against this thing that always wins.  I am tired of my life being such a struggle.  I want one day of worry free living where nothing was a struggle, or a care.

One thing that has come to my attention recently, is that I am totally not alone if this. The autism community is full of people that struggle with many of the same things.  Knowing this has given me the courage to try again.  I have ordered a book about Body Dysmorphic Disorder to try to help me get a hold of my appearance related issues.  It's not the first book I've ordered on the subject, but it's been over 12 yrs since the last time.  I have grown, and matured a lot over the last decade, so maybe this new book will have some eye opening advice. It's based on CBT, which is what the clinician that diagnosed me with AS told me to pursue.  It's not my only issue, but it is the one that causes great damage to my relationships, primarily my marriage.  You can't let someone else love you if you can't love yourself.  So, if I can get a handle on this issue the hair pulling, and germ avoidance issues may quiet, too.  Last, but not least I would like to tackle some of my driving fears.  Not that I totally fear driving, but certain aspects of it.  This limits my life probably more than anything else does.  It doesn't cause as much in the way of relationship damage, but it is incredibly limiting.

I will write more later on how these individual issues affect my life. This entry was a sort of introduction to these problems.  I hope you stick around to read them, and if you're struggling with OCD like behavior, thoughts, and rituals I do hope you'll keep reading, and sharing with me on this journey.


  1. Hey girl, I'm sorry you're having a difficult time. (This is aspergermoeder btw, I changed my name.)
    I haven't been that active in the online autism community lately, because I have done some soulsearching myself. And I discovered that everything that holds you back and causes problems are you're own fears that can run very deeply as I'm sure you know by now.
    I have taken the chance and gone through them. Facing every fear, one at the time. The trick is to really feel and experience it all again. The fears of your childhood are so important, because you keep yourself back there. You are that little girl, as I still am. Comfort her, feel her fears, her sadness, her anger and then bring her back to you.
    I have done this. It is extremely difficult, but really worth your while. I feel so much better! I really want this for you too! Have patience! you will get there if you keep trying!

    1. Thank you! Glad to hear from you, and glad to hear you're doing so well!

  2. Oh Dear do I know the feeling! It is difficult and terrifying to lay it all out there, and I try but fail often. I too have a driving fear--not the fear of driving around town per se, but long distances, places I've never been, outside of city limits, country roads, long bridges, and my list goes no you are absolutely positively NOT alone!

    BTW--on a differnet note...I printed your "What is Executive Functioning?" hand-out this morning to bring to my meeting with my son's teacher and it was a tremendous help. Thank you for putting that together, I have little to no patience dealing with the school.

    Keep up the great work here and don't doubt yourself (well, try not to, I know that is easier said than done :) Your blog was one of the first I came across when I was diagnosed with Asperger's and it has been invaluable to me.

    1. Thank you so much for the feedback! I think part of the thing with ASD, and maybe with the BDD, as well... not sure, is that I have no way of gauging how others see me. I never know how I come across to others, unless I'm directly told. It's kinda weird to say that, but it's true. Knowing that I am helping is a nice reminder. Otherwise, I may just close up shop, because I won't see my efforts as really paying off, or worth the time I spend. (Running a page and blog that is updated and interactive is time consuming.)

      I have a feeling you are like me with the driving thing. It's more about getting lost due to very poor sense of direction, than about driving. I have a Garmin, so I know that if I get lost I have a back-up, but I still get afraid that it somehow won't work, or something.

      Oh, and your blog is terrific, so don't feel that you fail in that way, at all. You do a great job talking about important issues!

    2. Thank you. Funny that you mention the Garmin, we purchased a Tom Tom a few years back specifically to address my unwillingness to venture outside of town alone (driving), and it did help. However, you are right, there are times that the darn signal was lost, and I freaked out! For the most part though, it does work when needed.

  3. I could have written this post myself if you replace your body dysmorphia with anorexia and your hairpulling and germ avoidance with skin picking and having to have all the clothes we are wearing washed and put away every night. I struggle to find middle ground and hope that you find yours too

    1. My OCD issues tend to change over time. I used to have to do so many things like put my clothes away in a certain order among other things. I hope we both can find a nice middle ground!

  4. Uggg, I have the skin picking. The anxiety when traveling if I get even slightly off track. I never go out "joy riding" because it's torture to me. My Tom Tom gives me so much anxiety because it's been known to fail me, too.

    I won't even start on the rituals. The "processes and procedures" for EVERYTHING. I have so many rules for everyday life. I know it's ridiculous because the dishwasher will get loaded and the stuff will get clean no matter how it's done but I still lose my collective shit until it finishes washing so I can check it if someone besides me loads it. Uggg. I wish there was something that could make me "let go" a little. Meds didn't help me either.

    1. I feel the same way about all that stuff. I have let go quite a bit of it, but I'm far from being free from it.

      Thanks for leaving a comment. I feel less alone, even if I'm not happy that others suffer, too.

  5. I am sorry you are struggling with this. There are so many things you have in this post that I relate to.

    I too go through this and have such a hard time even though I do expose quite a bit of myself. That stirs my anxiety too because I do share so much, BUT that is still not all!

    The BDD is something that I struggle with terribly. It heightens when I feel stressed or feel trapped in a situation. Then, that spirals me into a depression because I cannot understand why logically I know what I am doing, but I cannot seem to stop it. My OCD is more like "Pure O OCD," while I do have some OCD types of behaviors mine normally manifest through obsessive thoughts instead of actions.

    I did notice that after having my children I was forced to stop many of my OCD behaviors because my children required too much of my attention and I was too exhausted. :-) I suppose they helped me with that, the only issue is that it made my mental OCD take on new heights.

    I get frustrated sharing at times on my blog because I think "How many times do I have to go over this again?" I then, I fear what people will think of me, but I do it anyway. Every time I share and write about it I am one step closer to healing, and one step farther than I was yesterday. The lie that always fills my head is that no one else knows what I am talking about and people will think that I am "too much drama" or something.

    That is so untrue, there are many of us who are ASD and those who are not who suffer from similar types of things. I find comfort in discovering others who struggle with me even though I wish they did not.

    Every time you have shared I know that it has helped me!

    I am going to check out that book because my goodness! I want to progress in that area of my life.

    And thank you for sharing!! :-)

    1. I'm so sorry that I haven't replied to your awesome comment. It got buried in my email, and I just forgot until I started cleaning out my inbox!

      I am glad you share. I love reading your posts, even if I don't always get to read them as much as I'd like, or have much to say. I feel less alone reading your writing, too.

      I still haven't made it very far in the BDD book. Did you get it? I hope to get to that soon.


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