Saturday, July 25, 2009

Beyond Muffin Top and Brownies

Another post about baking ;-) and this is going to be a very honest one. I risk being misunderstood and seen as a freak. Actually being seen as freaky doesn't bother me ;-) but being misunderstood does.

But, you know what? Fuck it!

Confessing my muffin top, my hearing loss and my experimentation with the Brownies ;-) on this blog have been positive experiences for me and with that I say....

Hello, my name is Marnie and I have OCD; obsessive-compulsive disorder.

There, I've said it.

Actually that wasn't too difficult as a few of my friends already know this about me, though some do not. I've also met many people with OCD, attended an OCD conference and have volunteered for OCD organizations. I don't have shame in having this thorn in my side.

I have often chosen not to tell people though. This is because after I told a certain friend, she interpreted any quirk I had as a result of OCD instead of just a normal quirk like anyone else would have. I found this highly irritating so I started to not tell people.

But, I've realised that I do feel better about myself when I'm open about it. It makes it lighter to carry. Part of my inspiration to do this post comes from prkl!!!!, who, on previous manifestations of his blog, has been very open about his struggles with bipolary stuff. As well as the more private struggles about the 'weird shit' other friends struggle with.

OCD info, briefly:
OCD is quite common. You probably all know someone who has it (though they may hide it). You may even have it yourself. ;-)

I hesitate putting info about OCD on here because most info about OCD describes all the various manifestations of it. Most people with OCD are bothered by much narrower slices of the OCD pie and, with proper treatment, there is great relief for many people. OCD can fluctuate; when life is good, OCD tends to calm down, when life is shitty, OCD can become a dragon. There's not really 'a cure' but treatment allows a person to manage OCD so that it doesn't manage them.

Treatment of choice is CBT; cognitive-behavioural therapy and, in terms of OCD, it means facing what is feared and learning new ways to manage the anxiety that occurs. It also involves looking objectively at your own thought processes and tweaking ideas and beliefs and learning how to manage stress. It's very similar to the treatment of phobias.

Some? many? people take medications (SSRIs and what not) either on their own or in addition to CBT.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, a sort of mindfulness meditation, which I've blogged about before, is also helpful.

My experience, briefly:
Essentially, I have anxious thoughts about contracting specific germs/illnesses and sometimes I have to check the stove a lot to make sure it's off before I leave my flat (although sometimes I don't at all? weirdly). I can feel the urge to wash my hands a lot. When life is good and my OCD is under control this urge is minimal, if it is even there; when my life is stressy and OCD is not under control, I can wash my hands excessively and feel a lot of anxiety.

I first developed OCD when I was 25ish. I hid it and had no idea what the fuck was happening to me. I thought I was going insane. Then at 27, I had a major time with it. By this time I had learned about OCD but still I did not seek help. At my worst, I did not leave my house for many, many months, depression had set in and I very nearly committed suicide.

Ironically, my fear of germs made me too afraid to take a handful of sleeping pills. I thought: 'what if when I pass-out and die, I fall on the floor and catch germ X off the floor?' The complete bizarre-ness of that thought made me laugh and stirred something good in me. From that point I realised, 'hmmm, maybe I do need some help' (well, duh) and got it.

My doctor prescribed an SSRI and I saw a psychologist who ran me through CBT. CBT was very, very difficult. Imagine making a sandwich on the kitchen floor or a toilet seat and then eating it. Imagine being a germaphobe and doing that. (Oh, the CBT stories I have!) But, it worked and things turned around enormously, even my culinary skills. ;-) I went from being house-bound to venturing off to live in England for a time and stopped taking the SSRI in 2001. To say I was and am proud of myself is an understatement.


Things are not so rosy. I've had a lot of major life stressors packed into a very short span of time; major geographical moves, away from friends, death of my Dad, dumped (twice), family stress, a stupid huge mistake, financial woes, etc. I'm not surprised that my OCD has risen its fucking ugly shitty head. I haven't felt this OCDish in a long, long while. I think I'm having a re-lapse and I hate it.

On the plus side, I understand why this is happening and I am addressing all the crap I've gone through. And I've made an appointment with psychologist who treats OCD (hurry up August 4th). And I do have a solid understanding of OCD and CBT already; I just need it refreshed, a booster shot, a professional kick in the arse. In the meantime, I'm sending this off into blogosphere to lighten the load just a little bit.

I think that's all my warts, confessed... except for the bank robbery. I'll blog about that when I get out of the slammer. ;-)


  1. Brave post - well written, and though I don't think I know anyone with OCD, and don't have any personal experience of it, maybe your fellow blogsphere peeps can give you a blogland stylie kick up the bum until the 4th August comes round. Hug.

    Now then, about that bank robbery ...

  2. Well done Marnie. That took real guts 'I don't have shame in having this thorn in my side'.....nor should you.
    You're an inspiration.
    I sincerely hope the load is lightened for you.
    What was it I said?....indominat.... indomanat....
    aw shit, you know what I mean. x

  3. Cheesy peeps, Ms TB. That can't have been easy for you to write. I hope it helps you to have done so and can guarantee it'll help many who read it.

    I'm hugely impressed that you laid this heavy shit out there and still managed to have a wee laugh with it. That takes style which you have by the bucket load.

    Take it easy and be sweet to yourself. You deserve it.

    Awrabest fir noo.

  4. Well my friend. That was a load to share. Stress manifests itself in different ways in all of us. Mine is eating, drinking, slobbing out and staring into space. Yours is your OCD thing. One day we can combine the two.

    Until then, you are now on the way up from your trough. You've told us, not that we judge you for having OCD, but I understand the importance of opening up about something like this. You have made an appt with the psychologist, all big steps that will get you where you want to be.

    With apologies for any trite homilies that may have crept in.


  5. If someone thinks lesser of you due the OCD it's his/her lost. I raise my virtual hat to your boldness. And wish you strengt to your "battles".


  6. I am so overwhelmed by this!

    Ann, I'm not telling you where the money is.

    Neil, I know, you know, I know. ;-)

    Naldo, it was easy to write but hard to press 'send'! lol...

    Mog, you're right...big steps. I'm hoping that because I've taken them before, I'll rebound pretty quick. I had to look up 'homilies.' ;-)

    Ditto prkl, thanks for your boldness; it's been very helpful to me.

    Thank you, people. Big hugs all around. :-)

  7. Good for you, is all I can say. Congratulations on your courage and walking on the healing journey. You'll win/get there! But don't tell anyone where you hid the money.

  8. Thank you for your post, Marnie.



  9. I have to confess in my still slightly flu brained state, I did have a moment of wondering why you chose only to ingest drugs in the form of brownies.

    Anyway, good post - let's hope there's lots more exciting (in a good way) things going to happen again after you kick the bootay of OCDness back to where it belongs.

  10. Wow, who knew you were so interesting!
    A dear friend of mine has OCD (and there I was thinking she was just a tad forgetful) with panic disorder, so I understand how it can get the better of you once in a while, but I too know that you can, with help, get your life back.

    So, good for you for sharing and reaching out for help. Neither easy, but both necessary and a big step in the right direction.

  11. Sara, Judy, Jane and Rob... Thank you.

    I can't get over this... I'm all cry-babying again.

  12. It is great that you share this with us. It helps you to deal with it and you can see people really really care about you no matter what. It is you who has to deal with this. If someone can't understand -fuck them.

  13. You're a bit of a soppy cow aren't you ;-)

  14. Virtual hugs your way my friend.

    I applaud your bravery for posting this. It is not easy admitting to yourself or anyone else for that matter that you have stuff going on in your life.

    These things are not easy to deal with, but they make us human.

    You are courageous and obviously a survivor.
    It is good that you are getting help and talking about it, that's a positive step.

    Keep the faith.

  15. This post just keeps getting better and better. I am not only inspired by your open declaration but also by the wise and supportive responses. Communicating this pain is a step in releasing the power it has over you. Thank you for having the courage to be real.

  16. That was a great honest post,and also really interesting for those of us who know little about the subject. Hopefully just the writing of it will provide some release for you.

  17. Jelly, Kathreen, P... thank you.

    Aw dammit, I'm crying again. :-/
    ...but I wised up and wore waterproof mascara today ;-)

    You know something about robbing banks, P? ;-)

    I am honestly very overwhelmed by all of this feedback... I don't even know how to respond except by saying thank you.

  18. I'm behind in my blog reading again but the good thing is I got to read all the wonderful comments you've received. Let me add my voice to theirs and say how brave you are, Marnie. I haven't found the courage to be this open on my blog. You're a wonderful person who is much appreciated and I have every confidence you are on your way to recovery. Hugs, Sarah

  19. Thank God you finally confessed you were normal. To put it in Marnie speak, who gives a flying fuck what others think. As the saying goes, "What others think of me is none of my business anyways". I just think you are funny,quirky and I like you for just who you are. As you say, we all have personal demons we battle. Some share their burden and ease the pain while others carry it inside and go it alone in silence. Thanks for your openess Marnie.

  20. Thanks Bogey. :-)

    Your openness has had an influence as well.

  21. Hi Marnie,

    Thanks for sharing this. It can be good to open up once in a while, many of us have similar or different issues.

    All the best with your forward progress and I do want to hear about bank robberies, even if they are fictional!

    Is it hot enough for you!

  22. Thanks Kevin. :-)

    Bank robbing is in my blood... At least three of my ancestors have done time for bank and train robberies... two died in prison. Cool eh?

    Yes, was very hot... crazy hot. I'm glad that it's over (knock on wood).