A few months ago I was sitting at work with some coworkers. I have worked at the same place for many years. I have worked there before the diagnoses of OCD and after. A few of my coworkers have known me for a long time. A few others have only known me for a short time. One in particular is really good at listening. She and I have shared alot. I think I have helped her just as much as she has helped me. We have both grown tremendously in the time we have known one another. I'd like to think it is because of some of the time we spend together at work. I would consider her a friend, but not in the traditional sense (I suppose that is a post for another time) because I don't really have those like others do. She and her husband are in ministry. She is very giving and a really good encourager.
So, my co-workers and I were talking over lunch. The conversation turned to worry. They are all very aware of my OCD and all the issues we have parenting our children, because I am pretty much an open book. I made a comment about a certain kind of worrying I do and we started talking about how my OCD manifests. We had a really good talk. I began to really spell out what it is like to live in my head. I tried really hard to explain how my head functions. They got it. They explained how they react in the same situations. We talked about the differences. They not only understood but they commiserated and even asked questions. It was awesome.
I went back to my desk and began thinking about the conversation (because that's what I do, I replay conversations and try to see if I needed to add anything and make sure it is completely understood properly, I dissect it all) and I began thinking that if those people that I have known for so long didn't really understand how my brain functions with OCD then how could my husband? I decided I needed to have a very similar conversation at home. My first thought was, "I have said all those things before!" But then I realized the only time I have ever really tried to make him understand why I think the way I do, or why I say what I do is when we are arguing, and that is not the time for understanding.
I went home and had a very similar conversation with The Big Man (hubby). It went well. I felt like I had hit my stride. I felt like I could finally breathe. I felt like I finally lived with someone who got me. It was incredibly liberating. Since then things have been different at home. He is much more understanding. He doesn't get so irritated at the things I do. He is kinder and more gentle.
The way he used to react to me would've been completely fine for "normal" "sane" people, but I have a disorder. He never truly understood how that effects me. He never truly understood the worry, the nagging, the reasons behind it all. He saw it as "normal" people would as purely annoying. I never truly saw it like that. I simply saw it as him not listening, the problem was that I wasn't talking about the right things! A simple solution took far too long.
I am thankful for that day at work. I am thankful for understanding, both theirs and mine.