Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Learning to Be OCD

Okay, I know that OCD usually has negative connotations and most folks who have such a disorder have to learn to compensate for it in some manner. So you might think it somewhat strange that someone would consider striving to achieve this condition. Well, okay - it seems strange to me, too, but here's why: my life is a bit too far into the random zone. Admittedly there is an argument for spontaneity and leaving yourself room to be flexible. My problem is that these characteristics have taken over to the point of causing extreme stress and chaos and heartache in my household.

So...after ANOTHER major emotional meltdown awhile ago I found myself on the floor of my disheveled living room wiping away tears as I prayed. Looking back it really was a very lovely pity party. "Why, God, why can't I function as other mature rational adults seem to? Why is it that I struggle with deadlines and simple household chores and taking care of my kids and pets and don't even get me started on my husband?" Basically I was asking -again- the age old question of "Why me?" I just knew that another missed deadline or lost school assignment or past-due notice would put me even farther over the emotional crisis edge-as if I wasn't already there. Chaos is self-perpetuating. One after another simple screwed-up event had multiplied to become a household in total disarray, with finances askew, disgruntled children, a frustrated husband, and a distraught wife.  Flat-out, I had had enough. Something needed to be different and I was ready to do ANYTHING to make that happen. Granted, I'd thought I had reached this point in the past - several times actually-only to find myself in the same disorganized rut all too soon. This time, though, I'm pretty sure I felt a somewhat different kind of hope. After so many tries and failures at getting my life back on track I had a long list of ways NOT to succeed. Maybe what was left were options that might actually work!!

I have long been a fan of the FlyLady. Her website is and she is my hero. She has a wonderful testimony about how she came to the be the FlyLady. The FlyLady promotes learning good habits to organize your life and NOT beating yourself up for not getting it right. F.L.Y. stands for Finally Loving Yourself. In my renewed journey to get my act together I turned to her to get me going in the right direction. FlyLady promotes babysteps - and you must take those one at a time.

Even though everything facing me seemed overwhelming, I could only handle one thing at a time. So, I decided to start with learning a good daily routine. I knew that this time I had to involve my family as much as possible. My girls have been very supportive. My husband-well, let's say the kids and I are going to have to win him over. Even after 22-years of marriage we still have different ideas on how things should be done. One of the drawbacks of two bossy oldest children marrying each other.

Learning good daily habits - simple things like making your bed when you get up, eating breakfast (don't laugh), checking your calendar for what's happening when, actually looking at the list you made to help you remember what you need to do that day, brushing your teeth before you go to bed.  The FlyLady encourages us to have everyday lists that include all the basic things you do - no matter how mundane. It's scary how well she gets me sometimes. But at the same time it's also very reassuring to know that I am not alone. If I were, the FlyLady's website would not be as popular as it is! The kids and I are practicing this in the summer. My hope is that by the time school hits we'll be ready to tackle the added events school entails. Things like homework deadlines, school events, when lunch money is due, having our backpacks loaded and in the same location to avoid last minute rushing in the morning to find everything we need so were not late...again panics. I'm somewhat nervous about all this, but we really are doing much better so far!! And I love that FlyLady stresses not letting yourself wallow in feeling behind. Just jump in where you are now and get busy!!

Learning good daily habits may not be the definition of OCD - but for me it's close. And the nice thing is that it's working. My stress level had been much lower, my house is in better shape than it's been in quite some time. My kids like eating regular meals (don't laugh). I still have much to conquer, but I have faith that we're going to be okay - one baby step at a time.