Just yesterday I blogged about my OCD and Anxiety and pretty much let it all hang out about the struggles I have with each and how I know it affects my loved ones. Normally when I create a blog entry, my dear boyfriend will read it, email me some compliments then slip in a few ‘edits’…LOL. He is such a great proofreader and my fingers tend to move faster than my brain and I am quick to make typos. I noticed that yesterday’s post came and went without any edits and I questioned him when I got home to see if he read my entry. He told me he read it but did so on his phone and didn’t really see anything that needed editing. He also didn’t comment much on it at all which I found to be a bit odd. Well, to my surprise he emailed me a word document today that contained the following:
A Blog to the Blog “My Voyage To You”…
While reading this blog…I began to reflect on the realness of having OCD, Anxiety and OUR relationship. Like most new relationships, we discussed what we like, disliked, etc. and Aurelia mentioned to me her condition. She was even kind enough to share with me the definition and some other literature which I read thoroughly. Being on the receiving end of someone with OCD and Anxiety, I’m wondering if other loved ones have similar experiences and how they deal with them.
To be brutally honest, I had no idea what I was dealing with and how our relationship would be altered by her condition. My mindset was, “it’s a medical condition” and if you care about someone, if you really love someone, then you figure out a way to make it work. Likewise, I’m sure I’m not always the easiest person to deal with; so I’m taking this condition and I’m going to see what I can do to mitigate its effect on our relationship. The first very time that I can remember it having a definite effect on our relations was when I wanted to do a weekend get-away…a surprise weekend get-away. You can tell from the symptoms listed; change and surprises don’t go hand-in-hand with someone with this type of disorder. So, what I thought would be a simple two day get-away…turned out to be a lot of questions about who, what, when, how, etc. We did manage to get through it; but I made a mental note for future reference and I also got a better understanding of what being a relationship with someone with this disorder was all about. I’m a hopeless romantic at heart and love doing things such as get-aways and surprises; so my dilemma quickly became how do I feed my desire to do these things, with someone with these conditions. We talked a lot about it and I did alter the plans for my next weekend get-away. The second time I planned something for us, it came with an entire itinerary, maybe not the location, but the pick-up time, dinner time, dancing time, breakfast time the next date, etc, for the entire weekend. I sent it to her prior to our departure and she felt much better about it. The more get-aways we took, the more comfortable she has become and now days, if I plug something on our calendar and say, “don’t ask”, she doesn’t. She knows it will be fun and I’ve covered all of the bases. Our latest get-away was last weekend in Atlanta, a trip I had planned 6 months ago, but chose not to tell her because of the “surprise” factor and also because of the “worry” factor. The trip was planned on our week with the “boy teen” and I knew she would worry for 6 months about what to do, how we would manage it, etc. I actually had already talked with him and made arrangements for my adult son to stay at the house; but she would have literally not have enjoyed the time leading up to the event…due to her condition and her constant worrying about something happening. As it turned out, everything was great; the kids loved being in charge and things went off smoothly.
There are two areas where we still struggle somewhat and is a concern for both of us; in my opinion. One has to do with unplanned changes that occur from time to time. No matter how much we plan in advance, unexpected changes happen. We had made plans to take the grandchildren to the local amusement park on Friday and we were planning on doing a college drop for my daughter on Saturday. We received a late notification that our daughter would actually need to be dropped off on Friday. To me, this was a simple switch-a-roo. To someone with OCD & Anxiety, this was an event that needs a conversation, then another conversation, some more planning and then another conversation. I have to catch myself not asking her to not to worry or obsess over changes; when it’s not something she can control. It does require more patience on my part, something I’m still working on by the way; and it requires an understanding that things will be fine at the end of the day. As she has sporadic episodes of worrying about things, I try to remind her of what I call the “day after affect”, which invariably always ends up just “fine”. The second area has to do with “repeatedly being asked or hearing the same thing”. This one is more on me to continue to adjust and it really is an adjustment, since most of the time I operate in a “ask me a question…I give you an answer mode” and move on. Over the past two and half years, we have gotten better at reading each other and she can tell when I’m a tad bit annoyed and I can tell when she is a tad bit worried and we each adjust accordingly. Adjustments actually come quite naturally now and something as simple as walking to the same side of the commissary to begin shopping is easy to do.
She often has asked me about my “lack” of worrying about things and just as she can tell me how she’s wired, I share with her my internal wiring. My internal wiring is built on “Faith”, which is spiritually based. Faith and Fear cannot exist in the same space, so I don’t fear what tomorrow holds or next week for that matter; because my faith is that everything will be alright. That God has the master plan for our life…and things will be just fine. One of my favorite scriptures is Roman 8:28 “ And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.” With that mindset, I am not really concerned about most things in my life. It’s often said opposites attract; and that could not be truer in our case. While she worries about most things, I walk around with not a care in the world. I can’t explain it, it’s just me; just as her condition is just her. For those who are in relationships with those with OCD and/or Anxiety, life can be a challenge. Now, not to sound all gloomy, there are some positive, I can’t remember the last time I’ve had to vacuum!! Seriously, if you have found that person who you plan on spending the rest of your life with, you know…that person who will be running out to get you “depends” and vice versa; you will learn to accept and adjust. It’s really a small price to pay for eternal happiness.
I read this twice and immediately teared up at my desk and had to step away to call him to tell him how much I appreciated the time and energy it took to express all of that. I thanked him for all of the understanding and adjustments that have been made thus far and all he did was assure me that it was never a problem and we together would continue to adjust as we move forward.
Damn, I am one lucky gal!