Friday, July 2, 2010

Home from Vacation

I'm back from my vacation to Washington DC, and I had a good time! My husband and I walked thousands of steps, and saw 14 museums. I was very grateful that I started OCD treatment before going to DC, because the sheer quantity of things to see would've been overwhelming, since part of my compulsions was making sure I didn't miss anything. My husband has trouble sitting still, and likes to roam around museums. A few years ago we realized that we have the best time if he just starts roaming, and leaves me to read all the interpretative signage, and now it's even more improved because I have much more ability to move on even if I haven't finished every single word, and looked at every single item on display!

My desparate OCD compulsion to not miss anything would've been paralyzing in DC. I still had some difficulty at times. At the Museum of the American Indian, the cafeteria was full of interesting dishes I'd never had, and suddenly a several tour groups showed up and the lines got very long. I had a "nested basket" response of "Oh no, you took too long to decide and now there are crowds. How could you do that? What is wrong with you? Oh, I shouldn't be so critical of myself. Why can't I stop doing that?" but I focused on choosing some dishes easiest to get to, in spite of a barrage of "You need to choose the right one, how do you know it's the right one?" and did enjoy most of what I got. The cold radish and melon soup was delicious, and worth the risk. The maple pinto beans were not as exciting, but I am so much better prepared to just say, "Oh, well," and let the disappointment pass.

The photo above is of Christian Burchard's Basket Series from the Renwick Museum of Contemporary Craft. I asked my husband to take a photo of it, because it is such a powerful metaphor for my OCD thinking.

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  1. So glad you had a good time on vacation! And that you and your hubby have worked out ways to work with the OCD. Isn't life better when your loved ones are on board?
    That's a cool pic too. I agree - it depicts OCD well.

  2. Once again, I amazed at how your description of OCD is so similar to my own experience with the disorder. I'm sure a lot of people with OCD struggle with museums, but this is the first time I have heard anyone talk about it!

    When it comes to museums I have always had a love/hate relationship. I find them interesting and like going, but they always become a bit of a burden when when my OCD is in high gear. The need to read plaques and descriptions extra thoroughly, combined with the feeling that I am not correctly appreciating what's on display when I skip certain artifacts or works of art, can leave me feeling worn out from what I have viewed and guilty for glazing over the rest. It's gotten a lot better over the years, but museums can still be a minefield of OCD triggers for me sometimes.

    I, too, will be in DC soon for the OCD conference. I'll be staying with a friend afterward and will probably have a lot of free time to go to museums and such. I'm hoping that my newfound ability to recognize my OCD tendencies will make the whole experience significantly more enjoyable!

  3. Yes Shana, having my dh on board really makes a world of difference.

    Fellow OCD Sufferer--so you are acquainted with the museum OCD as well! It's definitely exhausting to compulsively account for every bit of information and artifact. I hope you have success with challenging the OCD when you visit DC for the conference! I find that any improvement in challenging my OCD results in more enjoyment in my life--1%, 3%--anything. I will be at the conference and maybe we can have coffee!