In a quick update this week, I discuss taking a week off, a date with my son, and a device fast.
These weekly updates share life with OCD as part of my Mental Work Health project to reduce stigma around mental health, especially at work.
I vacillated on whether to write an update this week, and in the end decided to write something quick. My hope is that this can still be helpful for you.
We had a game night this past weekend with my brother- and sister-in-law. Two days later, she let us know that she could not taste or smell and was congested. We decided that we would keep everyone home from everything for a bit and try to make sure that we are not spreading anything nasty.
I had the thought to take the week off work to help with the family. Even though I work remotely, and could have just tried to work from home, I decided that was not a great idea. There was a reason that I got an office space to work in. Trying to focus and be productive with the kids running around and the natural sounds and stresses of a large family is exceptionally difficult for me.
So for my family’s benefit, and for my own mental health, I am taking the next week off.
I mentioned last week that I started a new Lego set and included my three-year-old in beginning the project. He continued to ask about it throughout the week and check in on the progress. So on Saturday, I decided to take him on a date to my office to finish. On the drive over, he was giddy.
3yo: “Fank you so much for my date. Dad, I am so excited for my date, with you.”
Me: “We’ll get a treat at my office too.”
3yo: “Aaahhhhh! That’s what I wanted! That’s so kind of you, Dad.”
I let him play with some extra pieces and characters in the chair next to me while I put together the last couple bags and finished the Millennium Falcon1. After finishing, we played with the different sets together, each of which had some sort of shooting capability. He shrieked with glee each time he shot whatever I was holding.
“Dad, I so excited to play with you your favorite game!”
This was truly an experience I treasured.
In addition to taking the week off to be with the family, I decided to try and take a break from nearly all screens. I may still watch a show with the kids or my wife, and there are a couple important calls that I will get on, but I’m going to keep my phone in a drawer and try to not get on my iPad. I also decided that my Kindle doesn’t count as a screen, so I’ll still read books on it throughout the week.
Part of my goal is to be bored a bit more as an exposure2. There are many facets to my OCD, but one is that my mind often races, and I seek escape through busyness. I want to be more mindful this week and just sit with the thoughts and emotions that come to me, especially in the pauses. I’m trying to not have expectations of what will happen, and instead just be curious.
That’s it for this week. I hope that you are happy and healthy and finding ways to care for yourself. Remember to be kind and compassionate, with yourself and others.
Again, not the epic one of my dream, but the smaller one. ↩
Exposure and response prevention is one of the best therapies for OCD. ↩