In my regular weekly update, I share about disappointing others, traveling with my brother, and sketching my surroundings.
These weekly updates are an ongoing series in which I share what it is like to live with OCD in an effort to reduce the stigma around mental health, particularly in the workplace.
Following a difficult week, I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy a lovely week largely free from stress and anxiety. It was a great reminder that emotions are always transitory.
One of the challenges I did face resulted from the hard time I had the previous week. I volunteered a little while ago to take on a project for one of my mentors at the company, and while there was no set deadline, I was hoping to deliver a first draft last week. As I was struggling, I sent him a text to say that I had not made the progress I wanted and asked for another week.
That week passed fast. As I chatted with my friend and collaborator on the project, she challenged me to consider the possibility that I would not be able to provide anything. As she said that, a shockwave went through my body and I started to feel physically ill. It was clear to me that I was not prepared for such an outcome.
Over the past few weeks, I have been discussing disappointing people with my therapist. She has helped me see that this is one of my core fears. One of my main symptoms when OCD is flaring up is irritation. Ironically, as a result, when I get afraid of letting someone down, I often treat that person poorly as I get irritable. I see this occur most in my life with my wife, which I am not pleased with. This is definitely something that I want to continue tackling in my life and remain the actor with my emotions and not let them act on me.
I had a special treat this week. For my birthday, my brother bought me plane tickets to come join him on a business trip he had in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. I flew in Tuesday evening and stayed through Saturday afternoon. It was such a relaxing trip I even cancelled my phone therapy session I had planned for Friday.
With many trips I have taken away from the family, I have felt driven to accomplish a great deal and I often arrive back home exhausted and needing recovery time. This can be doubly difficult on the family. The last few trips, and especially this one, I have focused on relaxing instead. I got lots of extra sleep, and enjoyed some walks around the city. It was a fantastic way to recharge.
One of my favorite activities while I was on my trip was some simple pencil sketching. As I waited for lunch to come out, I took a few minutes to draw the building across the street. It a nice meditative exercise and there were other benefits as well. It was fun to hear my server comment how much she enjoyed watching me draw. I have found that people always like watching someone work to create something in front of them.
Another benefit I found from sketching buildings occurred later in the day as I walked around the same area. When I saw the buildings that I had drawn, I felt an attachment to them. I knew them more intimately than the rest of the cityscape. There was a sense of connection from the time that we spent together that made seeing them again a pleasant experience.
Sketching my surroundings is something I hope to do more often.
This week was a great recharging time for me. I hope that all of you can find a way to relax and recover and be your best self.
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