Distraction is the key

So in last week’s blog I wrote about the ongoing situation of lockdown and the impact that it is having on Bonnie. I briefly touched on the OCD issues but today I wanted to write more about this, in particular because I feel that my last blog painted a rosy version of some of the issues that Bonnie faces and yet I am fully aware that I should not be blase about some of these points, OCD in particular.

Bonnie has received therapy in the past to help her deal with her OCD issues ,you will also be familiar from previous blogs that the therapy did not go so well and caused Bonnie more issues than it solved, which means that she feels that if she does not do certain things in a certain routine then bad things will happen. At the moment the majority of us have daily, if not hourly, concerns worrying about our loved ones as the worrying levels of people losing their life due to COVID19 continue to happen around us out of our control. Now imagine if you felt that by following a certain act or routine that you could keep those loved ones safe, this is what Bonnie does. Currently the situation means that statistically something happening to one of her family members is an increased chance from normal so her OCD is higher than it previously has been.

The issues regarding the washing of clothes, as I mentioned last week is acceptable. It is quite right that at the moment we keep on top of our hygiene including the washing of hands and whilst on first appearances it would be perceived that Bonnie has a keep grip on her OCD I have noticed numerous changes within her schedule that make me aware of a deeper issue. Not only are clothes removed from her room but a number of items, books, makeup, shoes, things that are placed in the hall outside her door. I appreciate that it is a small price to pay for giving her some peace of mind, but eventually after a week or so more items seem to live in the hall rather than her room. Yesterday we took time to replace the items one by one in a neat order but I am left wondering how long it will be before they return to the hall.

One of the hardest ones for me to deal with is her issue of taking the toilet roll, at night, and throwing it down the side of the vanity cupboard in the bathroom. This can be rather frustrating if you get up in the middle of the night, and lets face it these days I always need to get up. The toilet roll is lodged down the side and the gap is rather tight, I am not very tall and the position of where it has fallen means that I sometimes have to risk hitting my head of the window sill or unit, or I can take the third option of drip drying …. eew a bump on the head it is.

Bonnie’s latest therapist, a private one, is brilliant and has recently tried to work through some of these issues with Bonnie. She is aware though, as are we, that the work involved in treating OCD is a long process and its hard work, very emotionally upsetting for Bonnie and tends to set her back for a while before you begin to see the improvement. We have collectedly decided therefore that it may have to be put on the back burner for now. For now Bonnie will continue to paint, read and train her dog and find time to distract herself from these worrying thoughts.

Distraction is something that most of us are currently doing; I have been gardening more now than I have ever been. It is important to find ways of making our lives seem good again and I have reduced the amount of time that I look at social media and the news, I find it all too much and it brings me back down to life with a bump. Put aside the financial worries and the issues of schooling our lives are what matter the most and I am very lucky not to have had loved ones taken by this horrendous virus. I am reminded that we should always choose our battles and I can therefore continue to live in my little distracted world and tackle the ivy growing on the walls, the war of fighting OCD is for another day.

Are you still writing ?

Well guess what, I’m back !

A couple of months ago I was asked by several different people during various catch ups if I was still writing. The answer simply is no, the reason why though is a slightly more awkward one, I’m not even sure awkward is the right word, maybe embarrassed ? Let me explain why.

Blogging for me is an outlet, I really enjoy expressing myself in this way and whilst I totally appreciate that my style may be rubbish and that my grammar is appalling, it is never the less my own work. Blogging though is like many other forms of social interaction, your usage is monitored and you can obtain feedback on the number of views that your posts have had etc and there in lies the problem for me. I started to loose sight of the aim of my blogging and become obsessed with the numbers rather than the reason for writing. There you have it, simple pure embarrassment in its basic form.

So for the wonderful friends who asked me the question “Are you still writing ?” thank you, thank you for making me question myself and get my butt in gear.

I was going to start a blog about what we have been up to the last year blah blah blah but then COVID 19 hit us all like a ton of bricks and more. The biggest question I then got asked was “How is Bonnie coping?” and this prompted a conversation between myself and Bonnie and the conversation was a pretty interesting one.

Bonnie has Asperger’s and I could understand why many family and friends would feel that this could send her into a spin but actually what has happened is that for once everyone else has had to shift into Bonnie’s world.

Bonnie has a few friends, very limited because she only likes some people, so if you’ve made it on to her friends list then you should give yourself a pat on the back. I say a few, it’s not that many, but she does have friends on the internet. She cannot meet these friends due to the distance in which they live from her, and people always used to judge the interaction. “It isn’t a real friendship !”, “How can she read their visual clues and expressions ?” Guess what though, that’s the only friends I have these days too. No more can I have face to face catch ups with my pals and put the worlds to rights over a slice of cake.

Quickly I established that I too can use various social get together apps ( that is if I have been brave enough to put on my make up and a decent bra) and have a great time with my friends.

Going out has never been high on Bonnie’s to do list. She has a routine and it suits her. Her trips outside the house are very few and so life prior to lock down was also judged. Not anymore. Her routine has become the routine for most people and so whilst the social butterflies are struggling with this new found containment she is where she has always been, at home surrounded by the things that she enjoys. Art, reading, trampolining, surfing the internet, these are all things that she has maintained.

For most of us we are shocked at the sounds around us, for the first time in years we are sitting back and taking notice of the birds in the trees, are they louder than they ever were or are we just taking the time to notice? You can see them soaring in the clear blue skies and for the first time ever maybe see all the details of their beautiful wings. For Bonnie though this is something that she hears and sees all the time. Her heightened senses are something of a super power, a power which we all seem to have adopted now that the world around us appears to have stopped.

The supermarket is not a place that she has been too. I come home with horror stories of the game of pacman around the shop trying to keep a distance, trying not to make eye contact, trying to pretend that my purchases are essential She laughs when I tell her this. That mum is normal. You see to her it is, avoid people and keep your head down.

We all know the importance of washing our hands. I say to her “but look at my hands, they are cracked and sore and it hurts”. She takes a deep breath and reminds me that she has had to have cream prescribed from the Doctor due to her OCD of hand washing and I take a moment. I am having to cope with this issue for a few weeks, she has been dealing with this for years. The same goes for the washing of clothes. She has had an issue with clothes being taken off when we get back from an outing for years now and putting them straight in the wash. Now though we are all doing this. It used to drive me insane, now I realise it was just plain smart.

The most positive thing to come out of this horrendous situation is that my family is all pulling together. They are being nicer to each other, more tolerant of each other and helping each other. I know Bonnie likes it like this, I love it like this and I hope that when our life returns to some sort of normality that this will continue…… until then I shall remain bra less.