The Story that is My Life

My life as it has been and as it continues to unfold is a story. One story made up of many stories. One complex, yet simple story. One sometimes messy, but so beautiful story. One story that I wonder if it might be interesting to be told.

This blog is my attempt to put part, or parts, of that story into words, pictures, or whatever form my mind can wrap itself around or create from within myself to express what it is like to be the one inside Cindy's Story. This is an exploration on my part and on yours in reading, and seeing, and maybe even hearing. It is not necessarily chronological. It might not always make sense, but it is my expression. It is me.

You are invited to see how my story unfolds.....

Friday, May 22, 2015

OCD: Reflections on Skin Picking and Hair Pulling #2

The following three questions about resilience were proposed to me in a second email by the OCD Center of L.A. as it relates to skin picking and hair pulling.  This is something that I have and do struggle with.  It seems to be in reaction to anxieties, known and unknown, that I carry in my life.  After answering last week's questions and coming up with some good ideas of other ways to cope, I still had trouble stopping this compulsion.  I have gotten frustrated by how difficult it can be to follow through with simple changes.  Maybe you have some compulsive behaviors that have broken into your life that you could use to answer these questions also. 

The OCD center of L.A. says:
A setback is a crucial opportunity to learn resilience by understanding what triggered the behavior, what techniques did not work in a specific situation, and how you can change your behavior in order to reduce the likelihood of having a similar setback in the future. Resilience is the cornerstone to making effective change during your recovery. 
"Choosing to get up and try again."

1) In what situations have you stumbled and found yourself needing a greater level of resilience?
  • I found many flaws in my skin this week and picked at them.  They became bigger flaws.   Also, I ate lots of sugar this week at work.  There was a party for a coworker on a day that I was not at the office, but for the rest of the week I found that I could not resist the many sweet things that remained every day.  I think I even gave myself a headache from it.  By the end of the week I felt ugly and fat, and like I was failing.  I did do my exercises on a number of days, but not every day like I intended to do.  So, I guess a little good, but I needed that greater level of resilience to do better and be more consistent at the good intentions I have.
2) In what situations have you effectively exhibited resilience?
  • A couple years ago when I lived within seven miles of work, I decided that I would ride my bicycle to work each day, since I did not have a car, and I had to get to work anyway.  I began riding.  I found that there were hills to climb and traffic to look out for.  I continued slowly pedaling up the hills a little faster each day, and I learned how to find which roads were designated as roads that were safer for bicycles.  Then it started raining daily.  I did not quit riding.  I bought rain gear (waterproof pants, coat, gloves, backpack, and shoe covers) and also put fenders on my bike.  I did not quit riding.  This activity every day, though difficult, made me feel healthier, refreshed, and good about myself.  Being resilient in this situation was worth it and made me proud of myself.  It also distracted me from having the time to pick at my skin.
3) What specific techniques have worked or not worked after previous setbacks?
  • Techniques that have not worked for me in the past after previous setbacks include telling myself that I am stupid for having weaknesses and believing that I am a failure because I could not be perfect at what I was trying to do or not to do.  Both of these subconscious "techniques" have only had the consequence of making me want to quit.  I may have been partially successful and done better than I had before, but I did not take that into account.  I just got frustrated.
  • A technique that has worked for me after previous setbacks is to enlist the help of a friend or family member that I trust.  Now that I live too far away from work to ride my bicycle each day, I have gotten out of shape and put on more weight than I care to admit.  I recently decided that I wanted to join an Athletic Club because I wanted to start doing some yoga classes and swimming.  My husband and I can now say to each "lets go to the gym together".  Going together gives us more companionship and makes it fun to encourage each other and even try new things.  I also am going to a trainer for a little while to help me know how to work out my whole body and integrate health and balance into my whole being.  This is another person who encourages me not to worry about setbacks, but to start each day with good intentions and follow through with them as much as I can with a positive "Yes, I can" attitude.  It is helping me to restart a new day each day by choosing to get up and try again.  I can remember the small joys of releasing the negative parts that I built up inside of me.  It helps to remember the smiles.  I am also hoping that this technique with it will bring other changes as one part of myself affects all the others.

On another note, I must put forth to you the truth that without it I cannot have the continued resilience that I need:  
I am a fallen being in my core, as it says in the Bible, so no matter how hard I try, I will at some point lose my resilience.  But there is good news.  God says he is faithful, and he will complete the good work that he has started in me.  God sent Jesus, his perfect Son, to rescue me from my sin.  I can receive that salvation by just my confession and belief in him.  I cannot do this on my own, no matter how hard I try.  And as God has made me a whole person, not a person of disconnected parts, I believe that when I give myself wholly to him, his saving grace reaches me as a whole person, in my spiritual self, my emotional self, my relational self, my mental self, and my physical self.  God has started good things in the various parts of me, and I pray that I can trust him as he continues, in his time, to complete the good work in me.  Jesus is how I am resilient.  God's is the hand that I reach for to help me get up and try again.