Although yesterday had some fabulous times that I will blog about in another post, the day was marred by a resurgence of my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder problems to an extent I haven't experienced in a number of years....most disappointing.
It started early in the morning after church service when our little thrown together choir for next week's baptism went to use a previously booked space in the centre to have our rehearsal and found it full of people. There were people gathered around the piano and another small group talking in loud voices as we tried to gather together to sing.
One of my symptoms is an exaggerated sense of "rightful ownership" and I can't relax if I think anyone is intruding on my own or someone else's rights to space, possessions and what have you. For some reason, perhaps because my husband's work is consumed with "people stresses" lately, I was intensely bugged by these dear people being in OUR appointed space.
The people had no idea they were in our booked space because there is no communication available outside of the church leaders of the three congregations to let people know when a space they normally use has been booked for a period of time by someone in one of the other groups. The sign up sheet is tucked away in an office that isn't even open on Sunday mornings. Our little group of choir women was standing around seemingly helpless in the face of the folk in "our" space, wondering how best to handle the problem of trying to rehearse a hymn with all the conversation and other noise going on right around us. Fear of offense is a big fear I find out here on the prairies. Fortunately or unfortunately I do not share that fear in the same proportion as the other ladies. That, coupled with the tendency toward OCD gave me the boldness to interrupt the fellow still sitting at the piano after his group's service had ended, to ask him not to close up the piano because we were booked to use it. It also gave me the boldness to approach the loudly speaking group of people from the other group who had met previously in that space and explain to them we had booked it for our rehearsal. I was polite. I was kind. I was honest. None of the people I spoke to seemed to mind at all vacating the space so we could rehearse...although, come to think of it the piano guy was maybe a little miffed. O well.......
Once everyone else was finally gone I could feel myself on the verge of relaxing. It was okay that I approached the intruders to our rehearsal. People don't know things if they aren't told. It was good that I wasn't brusque or nasty. What wasn't good was the depth of how bothered I was by their presence. It is difficult to explain how incredibly upset I can be if I feel my own territorial rights have been trodden upon. The best way I can describe it is to suggest you watch an episode of The Big Bang Theory on tv and pay close attention to the character of Sheldon Cooper. The incredible, over the top OCD angst he experiences is dead on correct to how I feel when I am having an episode. The most difficult thing is realizing that my feelings are way out of proportion to the reality of the situation and having zero control over them. It is a hideous experience. While I appear more or less in control outwardly, inside I am seething like a five year old in full tantrum. I feel like screaming at the people I perceive as being inconsiderate, I want to smash my head against a wall in frustration, my stomach is churning and my mind is whirling out of control as my anger builds like an out of control grass fire. During this experience there is another compartment in my mind telling me my feelings are not rational and that I need to set them aside, chill out, but I can't do it. I am powerless as the internal feelings rage and I battle to maintain outward calm.
It has been so long since I experienced this level of anxiety that I had forgotten how bad it is, how humiliating, how completely it overtakes my entire being.
I felt calm again once choir rehearsal was over with no more interruptions, but an episode of OCD never retreats that quickly. It reared its ugly head again late in the afternoon, after a wonderful house concert, when my husband decided we should stop on the way home and check out the newly opened Saveon Foods. It was a crowded mess of cars and people in the parking lot and inside the store there were lineups a mile long it seemed at the check outs at the wind down of the opening weekend. We picked up three items and got into the faster moving Self Checkout line. (Kudos to the staff at Saveon and the way they organized the lines ups and kept people moving. It was great!)
As we unpacked our bag of items back at home, I realized the most expensive item, my yogurt pack, was missing. I had just gotten my good clothes off and put on a comfy Tanzanian house dress and flip flops, but threw on a coat and went out to the parking lot under the assumption we left the bag with the yogurt pack in the back seat of the car. It wasn't there. My husband then told me he brought only one bag from the store. In the busyness of the checkout and the mad house of people milling about, I had not noticed he wasn't carrying both bags. The bag with my yogurt pack had been left behind at the check out.
I completely lost my cool at that point. My rage and upset were not confined to an internal reaction.They spilled out in a loud, furious reaction of complete shock, rage and an overwhelming sense that the very universe had betrayed me. My fancy, expensive yogurt treat, the most expensive item purchased...left behind....and at a time when I am attempting to cut back on grocery spending.....NOOOOOOO!!!
Try to imagine going in for gall bladder surgery and awakening in the recovery room to the discovery that while you were unconscious the surgeon had amputated your left leg. If that had actually been the case I couldn't have been more outraged at life in general than I was over leaving an $8.69 pack of yogurt behind at the store.
I screamed at my husband that since he was still wearing street clothes he had to return immediately to the store and find it. I started to cry from the frustration that once again something that was "mine" was not accessible to me, things were not happening the way they are supposed to happen. Groceries are not supposed to be left behind in stores after they have been paid for. That yogurt pack was MINE!! No I didn't care that I was standing on the back lawn losing my mind over yogurt for all the neighbours to hear. I didn't know and didn't care. Those kinds of details completely disappear in the heat of the moment.
My husband is the most wonderful man in the world. He took one look at my steaming, out of control self, gave me a tired little smile and told me he was too exhausted to try to get himself back to the store that was closing in less than fifteen minutes in an attempt to do the impossible recovery of one grocery item that was likely all ready back on the shelf. I started to cry because I was so angry, felt so persecuted by the forces of the universe and knew I wasn't handling well the fact that he was 100% correct that eight or nine dollars in loss was not going to bankrupt us. He offered to pay me ten dollars if that would make me feel better and less like I had lost something important enough to require the overreaction I was giving the loss.
His attitude and calmness did help, but it wasn't until I went online to check the store hours and realized it was closing in 5 minutes, making it impossible for me to get there in time, that I began to calm down.
I managed to get through the rest of the evening without tormenting myself too much over why I had not checked before we left the store to ensure he had both bags, but I woke up at 3am flagellating myself for being so stupid. I know better than anyone else that when my husband is this tired I have to watch every move he makes because he can't track, he can't remember details. I blamed him, I blamed me, I blamed God...and for what? A forgotten yogurt pack!
Finally, after tossing and turning in frustration for over 2 hours, I regained sufficient control to try, finally, to pray my way through the whirling mind and churning stomach. Being so exhausted made talking to God much easier and of course the answer came almost immediately: "WRITE IT DOWN!!"
Of course...that is what calms me, gets me back into the wonderful world of reality...it is why I started this blog. (and why you sometimes see posts that are almost repeats of things I blogged about previously and leave you wondering why I had to write it all down a second, or even a third time)
So now it is 6:30am and I find the "demons" of OCD slowly ebbing away. Peace is returning to mind and body. It feels good. I can think about what happened yesterday without driving myself crazy over the loss of something that is technically MINE, something I paid for. I can look back with some sense of gratitude that I was able to clear the choir space that was also MINE by talking to the "intruders" with some level of decorum and kindness.
I hope this is the last incident for awhile. There will be less stress in our home today because my husband has the day off work and his job rarely intrudes on us during that precious time alone. I will have a chance to think about other things than missing yogurt...although...the store does reopen at 9am and I have plenty of time to eat breakfast, get dressed and arrive as the doors open, receipt in hand, to plead my case.....
.....JUST KIDDING!!!! hahaha
I'll simply take my husband's offered ten dollars and return to the store sometime this week to purchase another yogurt pack.
Oooh, I feel so much better now.
Later on I will blog again about the wonderful things that happened yesterday before losing control on the OCD front. Apart from that it truly was a special, lovely day.