Monday, January 30, 2012

Participate in online surveys for research on OCD and family relationships via Case Western Reserve University

Amy Przeworski contacted me about posting a link to her online studies. Researchers at Case Western Reserve University are conducting two online studies about the relationships of individuals with OCD or hoarding. Each study involves completing questionnaires online about relationships, emotions and OCD. You must be at least 18 to participate. Those who participate may enter into a raffle for a Target gift card. The information gathered from this study may help to improve therapies for OCD.

For more information:

Individuals with OCD and/or hoarding:

Relatives and significant others of those with OCD and/or hoarding:

This study is being conducted by Amy Przeworski, a researcher in the psychology department at Case Western Reserve University.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Two Years of Exposing OCD

It's Exposing OCD's blog anniversary! I've been writing this blog for two years. I am grateful for all the readers who contribute to a rich community of comments, and for those who read these words, and go on to start their own blogs. My blog roll has gotten longer and longer, and this makes OCD less isolating and lonely.

November and December were a struggle, and I pulled inward. The darkness, the cold, my back pain and subsequently spending much of my time inside and alone, contributed to depression.
Fortunately, when I called my therapist, in the midst of this lowness, he encouraged me to realize I am a social being, even if I am introverted, that I need human contact, and I focused on getting out of the house and meeting with friends or going to networking events. I also found someone who gives lessons in the Alexander Technique, who is also an artist, like I am, and he has been helping me with my posture so that when I am in the studio I don't aggravate my back.

In the mix with all this, I did my breast self-exam and felt an unfamiliar lumpiness, and started into a cascade of "What's wrong with you? Maybe you are just hyper-sensitive to your body, and that means you are a bad person. Or maybe you have cancer, and it's all your fault. . ." and on and on. I was able to wait a week or two, and do my self-exam again, to make my best guess, since I still felt something, and make an appointment to see a doctor, not knowing for sure if it was OCD-warped perception, or something wrong.

The doctor couldn't feel anything. In the past, I would have had a panic attack about how stupid I was to go, or find another doctor to make sure. He did prescribe an ultrasound, and then my annual mammogram which came back normal. I have a follow-up appointment in February. That I can deal with potential health problems is really big, and as much as I hate the uncertainty, I know I have much more ability to cope with it. I am reading a book, Present Perfect, about perfectionism and the author says that if we are alive, we are all survivors of uncertainty. Uncertainty is all around us, but OCD hones in on certain ones, and says, "If you don't know this, you can't go on" but we go on all the time--we just don't realize it.