Thursday, 6 June 2013

Words away

Warning - this one is not as funny. Pretty sure not funny at all. Except that was kinda funny that I said that.

I recently finished the fifth book in George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones series, and there was one line I kept noticing that was repeated quite clearly and deliberately: "Words are wind". Characters refer to promises that can be easily broken, the proverbial "actions speak louder than words", and in some cases the actions taken were the opposite of what was said (is that the same as a broken promise?) For those of you who are big fans of the books or TV series, I also found this OxfordWords Blog on the language of Game of Thrones: http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2012/04/the-language-of-game-of-thrones/. Yeh!

I wondered however what my son would make of this phrase "Words are Wind".

My son has Obessive Compulsive Disorder, otherwise known as OCD. And its real OCD - not the commonly made-fun-of, anal retentive, neat freak televised version, but the kind that is not always logical and ebbs and flows. The current state of his OCD requires a lot of repetetive counting and doing things (usually in nines) and an obsession with what is referred to as undoing behaviour. What needs to be "undone" can change and I never know when it's going to happen.  One of his recent objections requires family or friends to do a reversal or a re-do of sentences that begin with "I have to..." or "I must..." or "I can't". He will immediately ask you to repeat the phrase and finish the sentence starting with an " I don't have to, but I would like to..." or "I can...". Sometimes I can get away with an "I should".

Until this experience I did not realize how much I use those phrases on a daily basis and how incredibly frustrating it is to either avoid them or turn them into a positive. At first I was angry and I ironically thought "I can't do this"! We have not started therapy yet and so I am still inclined to give into his OCD just to keep the peace. So I tried. And I realized, in this case, he is actually giving me and my family a gift.

The process of the re-takes started me thinking about whether it really was something I must do, or have to do - did I really? Who was making me? Not likely someone else. It was me. I put that pressure on myself and I was also looking at my pending actions in a very negative way. So yes, I have to put the washing in, but when I started phrasing it like this: "I would like to put the washing in so we have fresh smelling sheets to sleep in tonight" , it somehow didn't feel like such a chore. And "I can't fall asleep" for my daughter became "I can fall asleep, eventually, I am just not ready right now". It is amazing how much one's anxiety is relieved when words become affirmative.

As I have mentioned before, many of the concepts that I blog about are not new. But I challenge my friends and family who read this to try and refrain from using or turn-around those "I musts" or "I have tos" and other similar sentence starters (you'll know what they are) for an hour, a day, a week. You will become aware of just how much you are emotionally taxing yourself.

Today, I really didn't feel like blogging, but I had to because I promised myself I would do it everyday. Being in control of which way I blow the wind (you can read that in a funny if you want), I changed that to "I want to blog, because I can". Thank you for showing us how to put our words away, son. I love you my sweetling.
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