Day 7: Do you think there are any triggers or patterns to how your illness(es) effects you?
I have a lot of triggers for my OCD, but I want to talk about a couple of ones that are really frustrating.
Food/Eating-Related Triggers: I hate eating – I don’t have an eating disorder, I just hate eating because of the anxiety it causes. I have said multiple times before, if I could be hooked up to a feeding tube instead of having to physically eat, I would do it. Everything about eating, from choosing what to eat, buying it, making it, the presentation, the actual eating, the clean up, all of it makes me so anxious. I don’t like to be the person to choose what to eat in a group of people. I don’t want that kind of pressure or responsibility. I hate the grocery store, I’m a terrible cook (thank God for my husband – he’s a fantastic cook!), I don’t want my food to touch, I think people are judging me when I eat, and my husband hates the way I do dishes because they have to be perfect. It’s such a hassle that oftentimes I go to comfort foods that I should avoid. And up until I started therapy, I wouldn’t try new foods if you paid me. Now, I eat sushi and can go to a restaurant without scouring the menu beforehand to ensure that they have something I can eat. And that’s the thing, I don’t have many dietary restrictions (just no citrus – gives me migraines), yet I’m the one asking for my food to be special. It’s so embarrassing. Everything about eating is anxiety-inducing and triggers my compulsion for complete control over my meals.
Appearance/Perfectionism/Embarrassment Triggers: So one of my big issues is perfectionism, and one place that this is really strong is in social/work/family gatherings. I feel like everyone’s eyes are on me and what I’m doing wrong or how I’m dressed weird. It’s so uncomfortable. I analyze every move I make and every word that comes out of my mouth. This is why I spent more and more time at home over the years, opting out of social gatherings, or rejoicing when plans got cancelled. At work, I want to give off this impression that I’m professional and I know what I’m talking about, but I feel like most of the time, I’m a blubbering idiot. Knowing that I’m going to be in new situations/meeting new people/having to attend a social or work function triggers my compulsion to have everything perfect and then check and recheck.
Safety-Related Triggers: If you want to know what to do during a zombie apocalypse, I’m your girl. I plot out every move in case the worst happens. This is my compulsion to my fears related to safety. I obsess over making sure that the dog is safe in the car, that I don’t have static electricity build-up when I pump gas, that my straightener is unplugged, that the blinds are closed at night, that the doors are locked before I go to work. I am always afraid that the worst is going to happen at any moment. Being home alone, leaving for a trip or working late can trigger my obsessions about safety and the subsequent compulsions to check, plot and plan.
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