Thursday, December 30, 2010

objectivity

I guesssometimes I'm not very objective. The word makes me think of stepping back and seeing a more accurate picture. Like being reminded by my counselor that, even though I don't like the feeling of being angry, really, I'm pretty mild when I'm angry.

So glad I got to see my counselor again. It's been like three weeks, which translates to very long in my current state of mind. So helpful to have her to say, no, you shouldn't cancel your psychiatrist appointment just because you are "mad at him". And are you more angry with him, or with feeling the way you do for so long?

Yeah. So it's hard for me to admit that being moderately depressed isn't fun despite the improvement from severly depressed. It's frustrating to feel like I feel no better and maybe worse than I felt right before I started medications. Okay, some better and some worse. Net effect doesn't seem worth the dollars I pay for the medication.

Ah, well. And my general health doesn't help. I've finished two rounds of antibiotics since Thanksgiving and am feeling less than perfectly healthy. Maybe a sinus infection. But no, I don't want to go in to the doctor and admit that I'm still feeling sick, that the day after I finished my antibiotic I started feeling worse. Um, yeah, maybe next week. For now I have the weekend to relax. Because I get a three day weekend. Well, actually three and a half, counting this afternoon.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

happy-depressed-angry

Sometimes my mood flipflops way to fast. Today, I switch from cheerful to angry in almost no time.

Like medication refills for Psych meds. "They say," you have to take your medication. Don't miss your doses. And then the pharmacy says it will have your prescription in time and then tells you, oh, sorry, we're out of stock!!!! Like really! So then, because I was mad, and out of 40mg fluoxetine, I transfered my prescription to another pharmacy that has that in. But it will cost me 16 extra dollars. I don't usually spend 16 dollars just because I'm angry. I could have just taken 3 20mg fluoxetine pills. But no, I transfered my prescription. So there! It's not like fluoxetine is a rarely used drug! Why can't you have it in stock? Okay, so it did snow alot today, but this is my second "oh, we're out of stock" experience with this pharmecy, so I'm still frustrated.

And frustrated because the kids language-learning dvd had words that didn't match the pictures. I mean, how is THAT supposed to help language development? Say a word that means one thing and a picture that means another?

And then I changed to another dvd ('cause I was mad), and this one I'm pretty sure showed bananas hung on a palm tree/coconut tree. Really? Why can't you show the big banana plants? Are you really going to send the message that bananas grow on palm trees? I thought this was supposed to be educational!

And that's why I need to settle down and stop being so angry. Because it's only costing me 16 dollars and I don't really have 16 extra dollars right now.

And I just applied to the community college I got my AA in "modern languages" (spanish) from and I'm trying to take two more classes so that I can have an AA (the same AA) in psych, too, and then maybe get my B.S. degree in psych so that I finally have a bachelor's degree. And yes, I took lurazepam after deciding to take a class because I did want to sleep despite upsetting my brain. In case you wondered, I ALWAYS make last minute decisions about college. Whether last minute to pay or last minute to cancel or last minute to enroll. I have withdrawn from two colleges right before starting. And I've taken a semester at one college (just one class) and one at another college (22 credits) and two more at another college (one class each semester/term) and first of all, my AA at said community college. That wanted to know the exact days that I moved into state and started and finished educational experience. Oh, my poor ocd, I don't offhand know the exact days. Maybe they will kick me out of college for being a day or two off. Maybe I will want lurazepam tonight. But I don't intend to take it, because I only like to take it once a month and I already took it once this week.

Happy Wednesday. We have too much snow here. If you want some, there's plenty of extra on the roads.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

I survived Christmas. Actually, I enjoyed it. Not to say my brain never irritated me, but over all I enjoyed it. And today I am exhausted. It would seem that the stress of the holidays is real. Stressful to be around people in a way that isn't in my normal routine. Doesn't mean I don't love them. Doesn't mean they don't love me. Just means that non-normal is stressful to me (and normal is stressful, too).

I'm hoping I get to go to counseling this week. It's been awhile. It's scheduled, so hopefully it will happen.

And now I'm going to look for a movie instead of playing the "lets solve the mental problem that I'm sure is there and I forgot/don't yet know what it is" game. I can do this!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I was enjoying a lovely lemon cookie when... in popped the "brilliant" idea that maybe there was alcohol in the cookie and when I drove home, I'd be drunk driving. Maybe I'd get pulled over and the policeman wuold ask if I'd been drinking and how could I answer that since maybe the cookie had alcohol in it? I finished the cookie, but the pleasure level just wasn't the same after that. Stupid OCD.

My counselor missed two weeks of counseling, so I decided I'd better toughen up and work on this, because I was somewhat convinced that the pain of unchecked ocd was worse than the prospect of Exposure Response Prevention. So I wrote up a new exposure hierarchy and gave myself some exposures to work on. Going okay, so far (I didn't put any TOO hard exposures on, don't worry. I like success).

Now I must return to work. :( A few more hours and then I get a long weekend. I can handle this!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

reassurance

So it's no great secret that OCD can shift from one area to another. As my roommate says, I don't wash my hands as much. And that's not the only OCD area that causes me less anxiety currently. But it seems that the OCD just crawles back in another, preferably unidentified area.

Like reassurance. Like I want lots and lots of reassurance and I will do my best to get it from the people around me and/or from myself. "Figure it out" and/or reassure. Somehow regain that sense of peace that (maybe I imagine that) I had. Research, study, reassure, figure out.

Sermon at church today on peace. Last week was Joy, and I did okay; the pastor specified that joy wasn't the same as happiness, so I didn't have to worry about my fleeting happy feelings. But peace? Do I have peace? Oh, lets start checking now! Not! I am pretty sure that I need to just take the risk in the religous area of my life. Let's go for response prevention (I sure don't feel like seeking out exposure; that seems to come quite frequently without any help). Response prevention. That would be... not figuring it out.

So instead, I can talk about Christmas. Oh, no, that needs "figured out." Actually, for real I have to eventually decide what I'm gonna do 'cause at this rate I'll take lorazapam and hide in a movie like I did on Halloween.

Today, though, I think I'll try to paint something. For my dollhouse, I suppose. Painting gives me a peaceful feeling. Does that make it a compulsion? No, let's call it a "Pleasurable activity" that I'm supposed to be doing for homework for counseling (yes, I'm serious!). Don't "figure everything out", just live, trying to enjoy some moments.

Friday, December 17, 2010

First I was struck with the brilliant idea for a blog post. It went like this:

I do not have repetitive thoughts.
I do NOT have repetitive thoughts.
I do not have repetitive thoughts.
I DO NOT have repetitive thoughts.
And if I say repetitive too many times, I wonder if I'm saying it right
(the word itself is repetitive in the "etiti" part).
So that was sarcastic and funny and not a problem.
Then, someone suggested to me that since I can work and live life ("function"), I don't actually have obsessive compulsive disorder but rather have obsessive compulsive tendencies. Which actually matches what the Psychiatrist said a bit better ("obsessive compulsive symptoms"). And then, with the disorder I "don't" have, my brain started going crazy! Do I not actually have OCD? Am I no better than the people who claim OCD when they hang up Christmas decorations and live the rest of their life symptom free? Have I been lying to people, saying I have OCD? Should I just avoid this person the rest of my life because maybe the person thinks I lied to them? And so on and so forth. All the way home, all the way to bed, all the way keeping me up for an extra two hours at night, all the way through attempting not to seek reassurance in the library books I had brought home (for reassurance purposes, but I was thinking about trying not to read them), all the way through giving in and seeking reassurance from two books and my room-mate. (Then I framed it as a success; I successfully put off reassurance-seeking. Possitive thinking is coming into my everyday life!) If I "don't" have OCD, why do these thoughts bother me so much?! If a person can drag themselves to work, do they not qualify as having a mental illness other than depression? (Because my having depression is not as questioned as my having OCD and OCD prefers to choose the weaker link in the argument to torment me with.) I know this isn't true. I know I have OCD even though it isn't severe. I know that it interferes sufficiently that I want my life to be better.
But maybe I'm being unrealistic; maybe this is about as good as it gets. Maybe I don't have OCD and can't get better. Maybe I'm stuck wondering and wondering and wondering and wondering the rest of my life, because maybe the wondering isn't ocd and so maybe it isn't treatable, and maybe the ERP therapy wont work for me because maybe I don't have ocd and ERP is way too hard to do it without hope of improvement.
Blah, blah, blah. Kind of like the child crying hysterically, "I don't need a nap!" Only it's me wondering and wondering and wondering and wondering if I have ocd or if I'm a terrible lyer. And really, logically, what does it matter the name of whatever problem I have?
Because maybe it's not a problem. Maybe the problem is all mine and isn't an illness at all. Maybe I'm a horrid, wrotten, hopeless person. And so on and so forth.
Really? Does this never end? And I'm on stupid medication that I don't like and still my brain can tie itself up!
I guess there is the step-off-the-merrigoround option. Response prevention. As one friend who's "been there" with OCD has often reminded me, don't try to figure it out.
I'm guessing "figuring out" is probably one of my big, less-obvious compulsions. How is the psychiatrist supposed to understand how many times my brain second and third and fourth and fifth and sixth guesses itself? How am I supposed to express that on demand in a high stress, short period of time when he talks nearly as much as I do? But does it really matter? OCD meds tend to be depression and/or anxiety meds as well, so does it really matter if he thinks I have OCD or not? My OCD (maybe I'm lying again) thinks it is terribly important, with possible catestrophic results. What these catastrephies would be, I'm not too sure. It would mean I'm hopeless, self-centered, a fake, and so on and so forth.
On a different subject, I'm making Christmas/First Day of Winter gifts (depending on who they go to and what holidays that person celebrates in what ways). I'm enjoying that. I did that for part of my un-sleeping time last night. Relaxing.
Why, when I published this post for the first time (without this comment) did I get advertised to about panick attacks? I have anxiety; I'm not sure I'd qualify as having panic attacks, and my ocd is okay with leaving that vague. I'd like advertisements about anxiety disorders. Let's see if this paragraph will change anything.
Okay, no advertising that time.

Monday, December 13, 2010

http://www.christianadhd.com/anxiety.php

This is what I found today in my search for info on anxiety disorders and Christianity. I'm sure there's more, but it's enough for today. I don't personally quite accept that having an anxiety disorder is in itself a sin, but have been confused about it. This article seemed decent, though too short (or shall I just remind myself that reassurance rarely shuts up the voice of OCD?).

Today I went to the Dr. for another ear infection. I'm usually relieved that I actually have something identifiably wrong when I go to the doctor, because I don't like paying money to be told I have a cold. So I was satisfied with today's visit - not a complete waste of money, and maybe I'll feel better soon.

And when I realize that I am legitimately physically sick not in the depression/anxiety sense, then I feel relieved that part of how I'm feeling should go away in a few days.

Being sufficiently negative, I told the receptionist at the Dr's office that I expected to be healthy in June. My doctor countered that he had higher hopes as in a few days instead of several months. I think I'll try to believe these so that I don't make a self-fullfilling sick-until-June prophecy. Because that wouldn't be pleasant, and if I have to be sick, I don't want it to be my fault (thank you, OCD).

Anyway, think three times before working with little children. It's a great job, but I'm so good at catching colds! (Add in unidentified allergies, depression, and anxiety, and who's really so surprized that I got a second ear infection within a month's time?) Actually, I love the little kids, and the Dr. told me he thought I did better depression/anxiety-wise when I worked more, so I'll return to work tomorrow! (I considered returning for an hour this afternoon after the dr visit - I worked this morning -, but instead I went and got one of my depression medications from the place that the patient-assistance prescription was sent to. Showing up to inquire helps with the speed amazingly. Phone calls and silence didn't work so well. And I know, it wasn't so-and-so's fault; the hold-up was somewhere else.)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

overthinking and Christainity with ocd

My therapist said I overthought things. Duh. That is a common thought. But stopping overthinking is another matter.

Maybe I compulsively overthink. Maybe I have to resist it.

Lately, I've been half thinking I didn't have OCD. Maybe wishful thinking. But when I wrote it out in my journal last night, it at least made sense. Thinking until things "make sense" is what I like. It made sense that if I really didn't have OCD, but just thought I did, thereby giving myself some symptoms, then if I could stop thinking I had OCD, I would stop having symptoms. One counselor I went to said something about my greatest problem was worrying about worrying, so if I could just stop that, I'd be fine; I "wasn't as messed up as I thought I was," she said. So, with my usual slow and obnoxious overthinking, I have taken a month or so to slowly conclude that MAYBE she was right and I didn't have so much OCD and I brought this on myself by thinking I have a problem when I really don't. Actually, I'm pretty sure that isn't accurate. In response to my "I'm pretending I don't have OCD" comment, my therapist said sarcastically, "well, that's a helpful thought."

What if. Key words in OCD, I know, but just pretend it's not OCD and "what if" it goes away? What if?

But then my stupid anxiety jumps up and grabs me about something stupid, an out of proportion response, and I go, grrrr, maybe I have a problem.

I'm "used to" being sick with a cold/sinus infection/allergies. I spend months this way, having maybe a week or few good days between one illness and the next (working in a day care doesn't really help that). It's a way of life, but I wish it wasn't so.

The anxiety, I used to be accustomed to it. It used to be normal life. Then I dared question it, dared hope that life could be better than what my depression and anxiety handed me. This lead to discouragement, because even though I think I should be able to significantly improve, I feel like I'm not improving enough.

I want the anxiety to go away! I want to stop having to fight through it!

My therapist said that now I am "behaviorally" like I was when I first started coming, before the medication challenges when I got worse. Now I'm extremely tired, but the difference is that now I expect a day when I'm not so tired. Now I don't accept the depression as "just the way life is." It seems like it would be easier just to accept it. Forget it! Stop fighting it. Let the OCD eat me; who cares? Its just a figure of my imagination anyway, so it should go away if I forget it! But I can't forget it enough. And so I'm here overthinking for the millionth time. Why do I blog anyway? I'm gonna say something stupid and something bad "will" happen. Anxiety or OCD, whichever it is, still influencing my emotions.

If I could just think right! That seems to be the focus of some/one method(s) of dealing with depression and anxiety. If I can just stop my negative thoughts and think positive thoughts. If I was just a better person!!! And I want an answer. And I can't have one. So drop the compulsive overthinking! But maybe I can't. Or maybe I can, or blahblahblahblah...

Another subject, Christianity and OCD and scrupulosity. I feel like a "bad Christian" now. I have watched R-rated movies. I've worn make-up and not worn make-up, so whichever or both is sinful, I've done it. I've stopped some of the compulsive praying, but "good Christians" pray more. I mean, I lot more, like I did when I prayed compulsively. "Good Christians" enumerate their sins when requesting forgiveness. "Good Christians" read their Bible every day. "Good Christians" never feel frustrated towards God because they are more humble than that. "Good Christians" aren't depressed and I dared to get severely depressed (as if that was intentional, but see, maybe it was "my fault" because I wasn't being a "good Christian"). "Good Christians" for sure don't have anxiety disorders, because that's straight out unbiblical. I mean, at least Elijah felt depressed once, but anxiety is in the category of sin. So here I fall. I'm a Christain with depression that has reached severe (even if it's back to moderate). I have anxiety issues. And I'm sick of fighting it! Sick of making myself anxious. Sick of not feeling like I'm making more progress.

Okay, I've probably written enough. I should probably move on with my day. Control my actions even if I'm tired of trying to control my thoughts or emotions. "This will get better." It better get better, and I'm choosing to believe it will.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

enjoying the humor in life

Work is going better - I don't feel shakey by my lunch break anymore. :)

My depression is a bit better, too, but not all better (it hasn't been all better in a very long time, so what a surprize).

I have started drinking coffee in an attempt to help myself be awake at the start of work. I think it works because I can get through the first part of the first hour at work without yawning excessively (though this does not work for the entire 8 hours of work). It was funny debating with myself about "becoming dependent on coffee." I can rely on prescription medication to stabilize my mood, medication that costs around 60 dollars a week, but do I want to depend on caffeine? No! I don't want to be "addicted" to coffee! But then again, I want to be awake for work, and really, caffeine is probably much less of an issue than my prescription medication. It was just funny that it bothered my brain so much to give in and drink coffee.

My most humorous moment of mental illness this week came when I asked somebody at church Sunday to pray for me. Some people at church know about my, uh, difficulties, and most people don't, but I was in the mood for prayer, so I asked somebody who was standing around waiting to pray with someone if he'd pray with me. "I'm really depressed and I want to die," I said. And the look on his face was something! I think I sometimes forget that most people want to live. Sunday afternoon I had my anti-anxiety -you're-not-allowed-to-drive-for-eight-hours medication. Usually I don't have it, but if my brain is REALLY bugging me and I don't have to go anywhere for eight hours and I don't have to work for more like 16 hours, then I can take it. Cry that my brain isn't more cooperative and then take the stupid medication! I hadn't taken it since Oct 31st, so I think I'm doing okay. It slowed my brain down to a tolerable pace and I watched two movies. And I have to think extra hard to remember what they were because I can't remember so well when I take that medication. Ummmm, ummm, what were they? "Because I said so" and "Two weeks notice." There! I can remember!

I have now completed two complete books of word searches since I "won" the first one playing bingo in the "behavioral health unit" of the hospital. That's about six weeks per book if I spent the same amount of time on each. I started the third one today. It's a nice brain-organizing activity. I intend to keep it up for a while, until my mental health is better.

Now I can go visit my friend, and maybe pick up my million dollar medication that makes me soooo sleepy.

Oh, last night, I actually fell asleep like "normal" instead of like I'm-depressed/anxious-and-its-interupting-my-sleep. It was lovely! But it left me soo tired. What's that about? I had trouble waking up to my second alarm (the first was the radio and didn't wake me at all), reinterpreting the second alarm as part of my dream until it's persistance woke me.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I survived the work week. The new job and my depression didn't get along well, or maybe they got along too well. Either way, it's been a harder week. Even if I am just supposed to say I've had a few bad days instead of saying I seem to have slipped down hill a little bit. Being mad at one's therapist is probably not the most helpful state. But really, I'm more mad at me and mad at the mental illness that I've got. Mad at my unhelpful thoughts. Mad that I have to try to change them but that that seems hopeless.

I was amused this week because I was indecisive enough to worry the doctor. :) My tongue was bothering me, so I called twice about it at the beginning of the week (he knows I have anxiety trouble, so why pretend I don't? Oh, I know, I don't want it to become a compulsion). When I was told I'd have to come in for more information, I decided to wait. Especially because my counselor kind of reprimanded me for going with my ear infection to my not-quite-the-cheapest-in-the-area doctor and not arguing about the price. And I don't plan to ever argue with his office or him about the price. But Friday, when both sides of my tongue joined the game, I called and went in. Simple, nothing serious, then he asks, do you want me to write the prescription down or call it in? And then my brain goes panicky and I rub my forehead and he actually asked, "are you all right?" To which I replied, I was fine, I just couldn't make decisions! I forced myself to try to answer... call it in... unless that's too much trouble, you could just write it... I don't think he heard me, I was probably rambling... Then he helped me logically evaluate it, chose for me that he would call it in, and we continued on with our lives. Driving away, I thought to myself, I "have trouble making decisions." It's a symptom of depression. I'm aware of that. I'm on medication for that. Don't worry. This is what I might have told the doctor but didn't.

I'm not good at thinking for myself and not thinking for myself at the appropriate moments. I submit when I should stand and I stand when I should submit. I forget that it's okay to disagree with your counselor on some things. I also disagree on things I should probably not disagree with. Make your brain believe something different! Really? How? I know how to change my actions - "with greaaaat difficulty", as my grandpa might have said. But it's possible. I can get out of bed when I want to be frozen. I can make myself excersize when I don't want to move. I can make myself go to work. But believe something? I can tell myself, I'm "worthy of honor" in God's sight. I forget the verse referense. I think it's Isaiah or Jeremiah. But that's my English translation of the NVI (Spanish) version of the verse. I'll believe that because it's part of my religion. So maybe that works. Then what else am I supposed to believe. "I'm just having a bad day." Okay, sure, just a really bad day, just the millionth really bad day in the last recent while. But it is just a bad day. What else? "My roommate probably won't be harmed by my breaking any ocd contamination rules. " Are you rediculous? The rules are meant to keep my brain safe. Breaking those rules means risking dangerous contamination etc. There is a possibility (in my mind at least) that something terrible might happen. I must take the risk! How dare I underestimate the risk! (I mean, it might make exposures easier or something.) Okay, arguing with myself reminds me that my brain falls short of logical.

But I think actions are easier to change than thoughts. So I can focus on actions. I can choose to go be with people. That should have a possitive effect on my thoughts.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

irritable

It would seem that most of my good moods are away from the computer. Oh, well.

I went from being happy about work on my way to counseling to agreeing with my counselor that I didn't feel like I "deserved" food (I don't want to eat - but I still eat, so don't worry) to being depressed about work... I didn't eat a full lunch in there, so maybe we can blame low blood sugar, or my general moodiness, or my look-on-the-dark-side tendency, or my "lack of sleep" last night (merely around 7 1/2 hours). Or whatever you feel like. My ear that still isn't clear. My hand that cracked from being too dry (contamination fears here we come!!! Now I can worry about spreading diseases that I don't even have, all because of a crack on my hand). The fact that I still haven't eaten a full lunch (yes, I ate a partial lunch) (yes, I know that wasn't my smartest move)(yes, I think I've said this before, but I do like putting parentheses one after another after another).

My counselor said, I did great on writing down exposures and on writing out the thought challenges (thoughts, cognitive distortions, improved thoughts). But now, she said, it's important that I ... do it in my head. That I actually believe the improved thoughts. I don't feel like it. So that sounds lame. I don't feel like seeing the glass half full even though the half-empty glass has me depressed. I don't feel like eating! I don't feel like... dealing with this second bad day this week. I'm still on those medications; why can't they help a little more?

But bad days happen to everybody. My counselor said that, too.

But so I do want to get my college degree, but I still am not sure what I want it to be in! Nasty decisions, nasty budgets (or lack thereof), nasty... mood. I guess I should eat and excersize, probably in that order. Oh, and pick up a medication on my way home. Last week, I was okay with the fact that it is excessively difficult to wake up in the morning due to this medication (or depression, who knows for sure? But my depression prefers to just steal my sleep, so its probably the medication). This week, I've had to go to work early and I haven't liked it. Okay, so there's an eating issue. I don't eat soon enough to keep my stupid mood from being stupid! I have to start eating more between when I leave my home and when I finally get a lunch break maybe 6 1/2 hours later. I am aware of that. And it's slightly easier (maybe) than making my brain believe rational thoughts, so I guess it's a good place to start.

Oh, and I can't tell my ocd and anxiety and whatever else apart. I blame my ocd for calling my Christmas tree evil, and then my counselor suggests it has more to do with my upbringing. I blamed something else on ocd (or was it the same thing? I don't remember) and she said, no, that's probably anxiety. Oh, and my brain is currently proposing that I don't have OCD (around it's thoughts about how ocd is ruining my life). My brain doesn't keep it's story straight.

Why does life hurt? Why am I sad? Am I sad with cause, or without cause? Is it my perception of life that hurts? How does one change the way one sees the world when one is already depressed? With super-powers? My super-powers are tired again. The questions go on, but I guess I just need to make good choices now. Like reading other people's blogs and then going and excersizing and eating.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Back to work. Now hopefully my anxiety will calm down a notch since I haven't been away from work 5 days. The shakey feeling came back last night, to my intense displeasure. It wasn't as bad as the time I went to the ER and they treated it like anxiety. So I ate food and continued with my life and it went away.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I got an ear infection. I wasn't going to go to the doctor, but my sister said she would if she were me, and I know she's not big on wasting money, so I went, and it was probably good. Now I have antibiotics and a flu shot. If I turn into a monkey because of the flu shot... okay, so that's not realistic. Actually I'm just tired (can blame the ear infection, medication, ocd, and/or depression in addition to the flu shot) and my arm is a tiny bit sore. Just a tiny bit, not like my last nasty immunization (which was not the flu shot: this was my first ever flu shot if my memory is correct).

I put up a Christmas tree yesterday evening. My room-mate new I was nervous about it, but I wasn't quite so perceptive at first. But towards the end, when my temper was short and my brain was shutting down, I knew I had offended my OCD. I do the shut-down thing sometimes; I just hadn't made such a connection between anxiety and shutting down. But when there's been "too much", my brain kind of shuts off and I try to keep a smiling mask on my face so nobody knows I could be crying or falling apart. I get quieter, too, saying less. There I am, Abigail the turtle, peering out of my shell. Yes, it's nice to meet you, too. No, please let me rest before you ask me where to put that Christmas ribbon because there is now an "evil" Christmas tree in my house and I helped put it up for the first time in my life. (My family didn't celebrate Christmas "traditionally".) When I caught on to OCD's offense with Christmas, I did go ahead and put the Christmas ribbon up. So there, OCD!

And I was fighting contamination issues in the kitchen, too. I even washed some of the dishes, but stopped before cleaning everything up, leaving the kitchen irritatingly still contaminated. Then I said something abrupt to my room-mate like, "I finished." And she asked, "what?" And I realized that what I wanted to say was, please wash your dishes now and clean the contaminated counter off!" So I did not say that and the kitchen is still contaminated. I'd like to call this an excellent exposure, and maybe it is, but at the same time, my response prevention isn't going so well. I'm preventing one response (decontaminate the kitchen) and continuing another (don't touch the contaminated counter, only touch the handle of the sink as necessary, don't touch the rest of the sink). I guess I could mess that up by touching the sink and then eating lunch, but then what if I got ecoli and it was "my fault" for doing such a stupid exposure? Worst would be touching the counter. You can SEE that there had been raw meat there. Or tomato sauce. But "better safe than sorry" (NOT).

I want to take a break from my anxiety. I think I'll go rent a couple movies, but that will set off my anxiety, too. Am I wasting money? If I get the one I want to see about someone with schizophrenia, will my ocd continue it's "you have schizophrenia" game? Wait, I thought my ocd thought I had bi-polar. Silly ocd, keep your story straight. Yes, so my plan is to offend my scrupulosity ocd by watching movies in my house that now has an "evil" Christmas tree (but I'm not doing it to offend the ocd; that's just a byproduct). The good news? Night is coming, and then I can sleep! So much for having no depression left. But wait, I didn't say I had no depression; I think what I told myself was that I had moderate instead of severe depression. And that is still true.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

impulsive

If I hadn't thought it out quite so carefully over so many days and talked to people about it as I decided... I would so want to site dying my hair as an example of impulsive behavior that was a side effect of one of my medications (pick whichever you want to get out of taking). I mean, I have never ever dyed my hair in my entire life until today. I know, I was really bold and daring - I dyed it medium brown and it was dark blond/light brown. Basically, it's about the color dry that it used to be wet.

I even did an OCD homework thought challenge about my assumption this morning that "dying my hair will ruin my life". I concluded that my evidence didn't cut it and I went ahead and dyed my hair like I wanted to. It might be a sin. I might be allergic to it (I have a sore throat) (and it started bothering my head before I rinsed it off). But I'm pretty sure it won't kill me. Unless it gives me cancer; then it might. But that wouldn't be right away, so I don't need to worry about it yet. Unless it gives me throat cancer. Okay, so that wouldn't be right away either. I should save my anxiety for more immediate issues.

Like the dinner I'm going to tonight. If I bring butter for my rolls, the butter might not be good anymore since I have had it for a while. I know that I lived through eating it last month, and I'd eat it again today if it was just me, but feeding it to other people is scarey. I will bring already opened salad dressing, so I will get an exposure in with or without the butter (not to mention the exposure to whatever immitation or real social anxiety I have). Hmm. I can almost immagine my counselor questioning me about this butter poisening I'm afraid of. Actually, it's margarine, so it might be good for 100 years. Spoilt margarine sounds less likely than spoiled tuna on my dish towel if I dried my tuna-water-y hands on it. Maybe I will bring margarine after all.

My other grand thought that my room-mate said I should put on my blog is this word of advice: If you have a choice between a one-syllable word and a three-syllable word, use the three-syllable word. This can slow your thinking down (at least if you sound out your thoughts like I usually do). I have been told the speed of my thoughts is part of my problem. So supposing I select elongated units of speech, this could possibly result in slower thinking. Or confusing myself, which is fine, too.

Monday, November 15, 2010

dreaming of a better future and eating tuna

Started new job today. And saw my counselor. On my to-do list is... breathing, or more specifically, not to stop breathing. I dream of a better future, when I will be able to stand to eat more than two things for supper (currently tuna and crackers plus fruit and veggie or bacon bits and cheese on salad, but it used to be pizza and veggie or cornbread and beans), when I will quit holding my breath as if that will help me deal with the situation better, when I will have a good night's sleep and not wake up early nor have trouble waking up from a medication, when I actually want to live most days of the week. Yes, this sounds lovely.

In the mean time, I have started taking classes at my local gym. Well, really, I've only taken one so far, but I intend to add to that shortly. And I've been excersizing at least 5 days a week for at least 20 minutes. Have i been working on relaxing? No. But excersizing? yes.

Today I expressed to my counselor that I was upset that my ocd didn't follow the rules I think it should (haha, as if ANY of our ocd follows the rules we want). See, I did the bathroom cleaning exposure and then journaled about it. But I got the bathroom clean in about half an hour! I was doing well! I mean, if you overlook the fact that I had several different excellent examples of catasrophic thinking in the short half hour, I was doing great. So she suggested I do some of the cognative work thinking about what evidence that I have that because I touched my swimsuit with dirty hands, I'd contaminate the whole chlorine-filled pool next week or month or year when I go swimming again (or pick another example of catastrophic thinking; I wasn't short on them!). It's just so irritating that the ocd can play so many games in thirty minutes. So the bathroom ended up clean, but my anxiety level was raised and my poor brain must just get really tired sometimes - I get tired of it even if it doesn't get tired of me.

Then there was the tuna example. Since I have switched tuna from the list of foods that might poison me to the short list of foods I'm willing to eat (go figure!), I fix it more often now. And after touching it, I want to wash my hands with soap before touching the dish towel because I don't want tuna germs on my dish towel. Immagine! She suggested that a normal person might wipe off their tuna-water-y hands straight onto the kitchen dish towel! How terrible! I mean, think of the germs! But my counselor countered that I eat tuna. But not after it's been sitting on a towel for a day! One of those conversations that leads me to suspect I have more contamination issues than I realize. If I die of tuna poisoning, then don't copy my tuna exposure of .... only rinsing my hands (no soap) before I dry them on the kitchen towel. Really risky, I know, right along with not PERFECTLY cleaning the bathroom. This life is hillarious (and depressing) but I wonder what life without ocd feels like.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

update

Now I have given my two weeks notice, so it doesn't have to be a secret. I'm changing jobs. Not fields, I'll still be an early childcare teacher. Well, maybe I'll get to be less of a lead teacher, but that is okay with me right now. And working in a classroom WITH another teacher sounds GREAT (even though it can double the number of kids in the class). So that was my big anxiety creator for my last blog post; I was going to give my two weeks notice when I went to work and I was worrying about accepting the job the evening before.

At my current job, the worse depression came back, not as strong as it has ever gotten, but stronger. I hate depression. But Saturday came and I felt better. Amazing what the weekend can do. Good thing I'm changing jobs. I hope it helps (but it could make things worse; I'll have to "take that risk" like my counselor keeps talking about).

I'm doing pretty good at not washing my hands this week! Not so good at writing down every handwashing, which was the actual assignment. :) And I've never kept track at work. Maybe that's avoidance, maybe it's recognizing that a toddler teacher can justify washing his/her hands pretty much any moment of the work day. Really, I don't wash my hands as much as I "should" (early childcare guidelines) but sometimes I throw in an OCD handwash (marked by greater germ worry). On the positive, I've eaten with "dirty" hands a number of times this week! So funny that I get to celebrate that fact. It is a little bothersome when I'm with someone who doesn't have OCD but does care about clean hands and germ caution. But usually it's just myself that I slightly annoy.

And don't be too impressed and for sure don't feel bad, because handwashing is not nearly my biggest OCD issue. It's one of my little issues that is easier to fight.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

anxiety

It seems to me that exposures come quite readily without my seeking them out. Going to the gym to exercise is an exposure all by itself (because I might die if I go. No, I don't know how that would logically happen). Then work, particularly a work change coming up. So I sort of brought it on myself but I am SO SCARED!!!! Not for any super good reason. Well, anybody would probably feel scared, so I guess I just need to not let fear paralyze me. But really, I took last week off, remember? And this week I have to deal with this????

So my weekend of stability has run into an anxiety challenge. The kind of anxiety that robs me of a normal night's sleep - not to mention potentially steeling my appetite. Oh, great. So I did a thought challenge thing where I wrote my thoughts and feelings and cognitive distortions and more logical response. Helped some. But does that make it a compulsion? The questions never end! Hence the fact that I'm almost never bored.

And with the anxiety, the depression tries to gain a better foothold.

Oh, well. The sun is shining, and I have exercised today, and I'm going to work despite my fear, and I could go to a support group tonight if I choose to, and so I can accomplish my list of to-dos for the day.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

mad lib obsessions

The depression might have stabilized. I'm assuming so until otherwise notified for more than a few hours. What a pleasant surprise that the break from work helped. My counselor said that sometimes people need that rest.

So the OCD is having fun. What used to be a miserable obsession has become a mad lib game. The color(s) and substance to be used keeps changing. I'm in danger from an orange and purple panda bear, or orange and green spinach, or purple and green giraffes. Who knows. It is all very funny. Especially since these objects aren't readily available and dangerous.

But I'm back to work - the purple and pink panda bears don't interrupt too much. And the absence of the feeling that my emotions are about to hijack me and slam me this or that direction, that is nice. Dispite a stressful day at work. :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

rest can be good?

So yesterday after finishing my time using the library internet, I had a meltdown in my car. I wasn't working. I didn't want to eat. There's some Bible verse about not working and not eating. Why was I so foolish as to take the rest of the week off work? I was doomed.

But talking to my sister last evening, I was able to look at it a little more positively; maybe this would help me to learn that my value wasn't all tied up in the job I did. If I could learn that, that should help with my depression.

And later last evening, I went to a Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance support group meeting. The first one I went to left me feeling more desperate, but I enjoyed this one. I'm starting to get to know people. And we can talk and laugh about other things, not just discuss mental illness. I like going to this and to the NAMI Connections support group because I feel like I don't have to pretend to be someone else. I can be me, depressed and discouraged. I can move my hands and feet with restless nervous energy and not worry about it. I can be one of a group of people dealing with mental illness. Kind of like being one of a group of people who blog about OCD. :) Not alone.

And then today, amazingly enough, I felt better. This morning I slept in and then got myself to eat breakfast. Then I was allowed to crawl back in bed to read a fiction book because it was on my list of things to do today. I finished it! Finished a fiction book that wasn't short! Yay for my growing attention span!

Then I excersized. Another thing checked off. And then I was for sure feeling happier, BUT I did not have an appetite for lunch. Then I thought to myself, this is how I usually get stuck back in depression; I think my feeling better should cover more than it actually does, get frustrated and upset, and return to my previous depressed low for a few more days. So today I tried to not be conserned that I wasn't hungry for lunch (and ate anyway). Instead I appreciated that I cleaned out the oven so I could bake corn bread muffins and that I actually baked corn bread muffins for the first time in a while. I read a magazine and got through lunch and made two scarey phone calls and started cleaning my room... (good progress on my list). And now I'm at the library. :) Writing, which was also on my list. I was planning to write on my story, but I think this counts, too.

So now I'm not nearly so upset (for the moment) that I took some days off work. If that's what helps me get better, I am SO willing to try it.

And I was maybe going to switch to a nearer, cheaper counselor, but she recommended I stick with my gut feeling, which leaves me with the counselor I like whome I'm already seeing. So now I can stop worrying about changing counselors for the moment. :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

accepting loss

http://www.ocdhelpdoc.com/2010/10/jonathan-grayson/the-cruelest-obsession-obsessing-about-obsessing/

I just read the article by Jonathan Grayson about "obseessing about obsessing" that's link is above. Reminds me of me.

Monday I was discouraged and my counselor and I came up with the idea of asking my doctor to write a note so I could take a few days off of work. This was supposed to be helpful; a break from the stress.

Tuesday, I worked part of the day, then left with the note from my doctor. Today, I'm so frustrated. Why can't I work? (Well, I could work, but I'm taking a break.) My own appreciation of my value is so tied into my work. If I do valuable work, then I feel valuable. If I feel valuable, I think I am valuable. If I'm not doing work that I percieve as valuable, then I don't feel valuable and think that means I am less valuable. I KNOW it's not true, but it feels that way.

So, oh, what a priviledge, I get to sit here and not work while my brain yells at me. Please, can it go away now?

Dr. Grayson talked about accepting what we do have, which includes mourning what we don't have. Mourning that, in fact, I'm not at my paying job today. Mourning that I'm scared and procrastinating certain tasks. Mourning that my brain doesn't always tell me the truth. Mourning that I'm not "better" yet. Mourning that it takes so long. Mourning that I'm afraid my life is doomed because I went home from work yesterday and because of what I said to this person and/or that person.

But if I wasn't so busy trying not to explode with frustration at my irritating brain, I could be enjoying writing this. I could enjoy how well I can sometimes type. I could look to see if going to a college this winter interests me. I could enjoy the sunny weather outside (like really, can't it rain when I'm in a bad mood?!). I could take a walk. I could go to the gym even if I was afraid that I'd make some terrible mistake there. I can enjoy my teacup even if I'm not so crazy about tea. I can enjoy my book even though I'm not at work earning money. I can enjoy life - what a thought!

Sometimes I try to write out two "good" thoughts for the next day, coping thoughts or hopeful thoughts or something. I started writing, "I deserve..." last night and then got stuck. Do I deserve anything? I don't think so. But I'm thinking that deserving is based on doing, not being. If we have to do enough to deserve life or happiness or respect or anything, well, that gets tricky. Have we done enough? What is enough? Where is the line? But if it is being, well, I happen to be a person, regardless of what I do. If people deserve respect and love...? then I do, too, because I'm a person. Oh, so hard for my brain to grasp. I don't know if we deserve it, yet God grants people mercy.

Friday, October 29, 2010

self-fulfilling prophecies

I've thought of something else to worry about; self-fulfilling prophecies. I'm worried that my medication will affect me negatively. Maybe that is a self-fulfilling worry. I'm worried that I won't be able to work full time. What a great thought to self-fulfill (YES I'm being sarcastic.)

It seems like a most important skill is that of not overvaluing thoughts.

I recently realized (thank God) that I'd thought myself into a dark corner, but I'd done this before and gotten out again. That was enough to get me out of the dark corner. Dark corner type thoughts don't just disappear, though. The anxiety builds and another pops into my head, but it's just a dark corner thought, so for the moment I keep going with life. As in, so I might get really anxious, but the depression isn't winning.

Basically, most of life becomes a pseudolifeanddeath question. I'm asking a question of a college and "about to die" - I love OCD or whatever brings me these thoughts (not). Logically, how is asking a question of a college admissions person so dangerous? I don't know. I know I won't actually die. I'd like to take a class next semester, but am not sure how to pay for it. And I'm running late. Oh, well. I suspect I will delay classes until the summer.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday

I think one of my medications said it could make your vision worse. Maybe two or three of them. That must be what is happening to me (since pure lack of sleep must certainly not be related at all) (nor would eyestrain from computer and television use).

It's SO exciting to feel like my appetite is getting better! And I actually started reading a long fiction book that wasn't just james harriot (not meaning his writing isn't excellent, but it can be enjoyed a chapter at a time like a bunch of short stories, thus it does not represent the same increase in non-depressed symptoms). And my brain sleeping at night! So my mouth was dry and I kept waking up because of that, but that's much different that being awake because my brain won't stop thinking.

Good days present their own challenge. Like I start thinking the next down turn is just about here (that probably could be a self-fulfilling prophecy). So it's just a thought. Maybe if I remember that it will help.

And I'm better at calling friends when I'm desperate, but I'm not desperate today, so I don't feel as justified in calling a friend. But technically it would be better to interact with friends when I am just slightly down instead of waiting until I'm considering going back to the hospital. :) Which I'm not considering right now. That was last week. I don't like that I need other people, yet I'm glad not to be alone. You'd think I was human or something.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

One thing I find amusing is to listen to people talk about OCD in front of me completely oblivious to the fact that I have it. Like last night. So in their favor, they all spoke pretty respectfully about hoarding OCD last night, so I wasn't much annoyed and was mostly amused. But not quite bold enough to say, "I don't have hoarding OCD particularly, but I do have OCD and anxiety and depression and one or the other or all or two of them landed me in the hospital for five days and also in the ER last Sunday (who knew physically shaking could just be anxiety instead of some horrible reaction to medication)." Actually, I'd have risked interupting someone to interject that I had OCD, and interupting might possibly be construed as a sin and I have scrupulosity issues, not to mention that I often refrain from admitting to my OCD with people who think I don't have it. And I feel like a spy and smile on the inside as I listen to people talk about "my" mental disorder without knowing I have it. So now they might read this and discover that they unintentionally amused me and maybe they would feel like I had cheated them by not telling that I have OCD. And yes, I am aware that when I put many maybes in a sentence that my OCD is probably (maybe) having fun.

I think my currentest OCD worry would be about medication... I just changed dosage on one of them. I'm not sure if I can trust my brain to be okay. Because the anxiety medication I took earlier in the week, well, I just don't remember everything clearly from then, so maybe this medication is messing with my memory, too. Probably I should just stay home in my safe little room with my guinnea pig who is scared of me and my familiar belongings and away from the world where I might mess up. Okay, what shall we blame this on? OCD? Maybe. Anxiety? Maybe. Depression? Maybe not. I'm not sure where the depression went. It's being confusing. It might still be here; it might not. We don't know. Medication is obviously very dangerous. I mean, I actually want to eat (candy of all things!) sometimes now. (And haven't gained weight and besides, the psychiatrist told me not to worry about my weight until I'm 34 - not his exact words.) And jelly beans are really good. But I did get a stomach ache eventually, and then I stopped eating them. And I think my brain is still going fast. Maybe I should... um... I don't know... um... stop worrying about the medication I took last night. :) This is when I think to myself something like, Movie time! (dvds at home - movie theaters are expensive and scarey and last time I was in one I got a migraine). Or Word Search time. That is my new hobby. It slows my brain down and/or distracts it or something.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

superpowers

So, yeah, when it is so hard to start my day in the morning, I like to pretend I'm superwoman with superpowers. Only my super powers are things like the ability to get up in the morning and the ability to take a shower, and the ability to keep going, and the ability to... whatever. The stupid stuff normal life is made of. Or the not-so-stupid enduring whatever my brain is doing and keeping going with life while I wait for the "right" medication. Doctors changed the one I take before bed. Supposed to help me sleep and with the obsessive depressive thoughts. Okay, so I didn't actually sleep the whole night through, but I was more relaxed. I think that counts as improvement. And now today I am sleepy. The moral of the story is, if I'm in my zomby/sleepy depressed mood then I want to be awake etc., but if I'm in my anxious/energetic depressed mood then I wish I was back in the zomby just-let-me-sleep-and-sleep-and-sleep mood (and dispite the mood, my ability to actually sleep is limmited to a 7 - 9 hr night, or maybe 10).

Good things. The sun is shining (it is a traitor to my mood, but I guess we can be thankful anyway). I went on a hike this morning, so I don't have to excersize until tomorrow. I like word searches. Enough that I keep the book in my purse. Okay, so that sounds a bit compulsive. Lest my thoughts overwhelm me, I keep a word search book nearbye to help my brain relax. No, we'll call that smart planning, not a compulsion. :)

This weekend I'm trying to give my superpowers a break (without staying in bed all weekend). The superpowers where giving out and I think I'll need them Monday to get to work. But I'm still moving. On the hike this morning, at the end, I would pick a spot on the road, walk to it, commend myself for the success, and pick another spot. That's kind of like life now. Each hour is a success in itself. If I look at it that way, I can keep rejoicing and commending myself.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Today, the frustration grew enough that I called the doctor, and the doctor said, No more monkeys jumping on the bed! Not. Not the monkey part that is. Medication dosage change and a few days to feel better without paying for another office visit. Aw, that's nice. And the nurse said, he said it would be appropriate for you to go home from work today. Grrrrr. I mean, so I was a little absentminded at work. And felt almost shakey. And in a place that I don't care to stay emotionally, but really, that's enough to go home from work? Ah, learning to rest. What a job. So I spent some time with friends. Which really helped. So now I'm hoping to work tomorrow and to be feeling better in a few days.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The depression seems to be staying less, but the anxiety plays games. I spent the later part of the work week sick, and am now starting to get out again. Yay for anxiety. I'll get the wrong birthday present for the party this afternoon (I already got it, but I didn't spend the perfect amount of money on it). I'll be late. I'll have too much time at home. I wont be able to eat. I need to eat or I wont feel better. If I eat, the stomach flu will come back. I'm gonna die. Why? I'm not sure. Not because of the stomach flu - I survived that.

Okay, sometimes it seems to help just to write out my chain of (somewhat contradictory) concerns.

Now I can write my blog post more peacefully.

maybe I'll write it wrong. I'll say too much. I wont say what I want to say. I spent too much money at the book store getting myself a DVD. I'm gonna die. I... need to return the movies I rented. I need to get home in time to get ready for the birthday party. Maybe if someone sees me today they will be offended that I canceled our trip this morning because of being sick (okay, the trip just seemed like TOO much, so hopefully we can go next week or something).

Now, what do I have to write? Medication. Perhaps we can blame my lack of depression (or of as moderate-severe) to the medication. Perhaps we can say that the medication helped me get through a sermon and actually think the pastor did a good job instead of thinking he was sneaky person getting ready to destroy a church. I know; my fears are so kind. Perhaps the medication helps me see the world (and the pastor) a little more accurately. Sweat. But it doesn't instantly remove the anxiety or make me want to get up every morning. I'm trying to understand that I'm improving but still struggling. It's such a confusing concept.

Oh, well, my gift WAS the perfect gift - just not the perfect price. Okay, well a pretty good gift. I guess that makes it grey, neither black nor white. Good; grey is where I'm trying to live. Bad, that might make me anxious.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

So the depression is finally giving me a break for a few days. This way I actually care more about things, and if I care, it's easier to get anxious. Oh, what fun.

But anyways! I got new glasses and can see better. That's SO nice. Even though the change in prescription wasn't that much.

I turned in my scariest paperwork for the moment - or for last moment, now I have more that could be done that is scarey. But I think it is a little bit less scarey, but still scarey enough that I might choose to fill it out with a friend around. I finished the first scarey paperwork by doing part of it with the lady who gave it to me, procrastinating until the week it was due, finishing almost all of it in my counselor's office, and finally calling a friend and talking until I was ready to complete the last part at home. But I DID it! I'm choosing to call (most of) the time w/other people as support. Okay, so some reassurance was gained, but I still had to do it and did it. One doctor told me it was okay to borrow my counselor's brain because mine can tend to race off into some unhelpful place. Reassurance and support are close, but support is a good thing. And really, I had to get the paperwork done! We can do more ERP later.

And...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thursday

Happy Thursday. So, I've worked 4 days in a row for the first time since before Labor Day! (okay, so that's really only two weeks of working 2 days each). I did it! And I expect to work tomorrow, which will put me back to working normally (though I'm more tired than normal). Actually, I worked late some of these 4 days, so that's even more minutes for my time sheet.

Now I should tackle eating and being sociable for a little, and then I can rest until tomorrow.

Pets can be antidepressants, but even they have side effects. Possibly I am allergic to my guinnea pig. Possibly he'll die. Am I feeding him well enough? Am I giving him enough fresh water? (He's not reliably drinking from the water bottle yet.) Did I waste my money on him? Should I have not spent that much money getting set up to care for him? Etc. But I still like him and am glad I got him. I guess I'd say he's a good antidepressant and he is an exposure (or multiple exposures) for OCD.

Sunday, September 19, 2010



Stress w/ work. Well ANYONE would be stressed by that.


Stress w/another area of my life. Yes, I have a wonderful, amazing, and irritating brain.


Stress relief with Friedrik the guinnea pig. He's eating again, which is a relief. But still scared. And in my normal tradition, I rename him with nick-names. Goofy is one of my standard nicknames. Piggywiggy is more specific to guinnea pigs.
Stress relief with my doll house. It's looking better!

Tomorrow I go back to work and then see my counselor. Today I am hungry, but it's 2 o'clock and I only at snacks, not yet lunch. So I guess that's fine.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friedrik

Got a guinnea pig and two days off work. The doctor said I shouldn't be too hard on myself for being tired after coming out of the hospital.
Friedrik/fredrick/freddy/fred, but spelled Friedrik. :) He's about 3 months old, and my landlord gave me permission to have a guinnea pig, so I got one within a few hours from hearing that.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Uh, yeah. So....

Oh, the present. It's easier to talk about sometimes. I seem to have drank borderline spoiling milk today and/or food with too much spice. At work. Because I seem to have a VERY picky stomach for milk (I like it, but it can still be reasonably good and leave me feeling sick). My solution to this problem is to not eat for several hours. This seems the shortest road to recovery, though it is a bit of a pain when I already was falling on the eating too little side.

But the past is fascinating. Especially mixed with the present. Like the fact that I have 43 unread messages for my main e-mail address (I glanced over the titles/senders and it just didn't seem worth the effort for the moment).

My good time last Saturday that I posted (a week and a half ago) didn't last long. At all. Like, 5 or 7 hours. Then I returned to being exceedingly depressed etc. The OCD liked to say, "you're gonna die" about things like eating the fruity gummy snacks that I liked. The depression thought that was depressing. The depression thought, "I wanna die." The OCD thought that was alarming. So basically, the depression and OCD got together and had a party, possibly aided by meds that either weren't right for me, had inconvenient side effects at the moment, and/or made one or two of my disorders worse. Who knows exactly what happened. But Tuesday I called my doctor's office (Monday was labor day). The receptionist somehow was swiftly convinced that I should see the doctor when in answer to one of her questions I said I wanted to die but was not going to kill myself. Then I asked if it had to be that day, she informed me that it did. Sad, because I didn't want to be a bother taking time off from work that day. Anyhow, I saw him and he switched me immediately from the OCD med and anti-headache-and-depression med to something else that he hoped would help me and keep the headaches away. So Wed morning I took it and in the evening I saw my counselor and she ended up recommending that I visit my local hospital for a rest and medication help.

So I encouraged myself through the ER by thinking about how much I wanted to sleep and how they could give me something to help me sleep. But I had to sit around a little too long to make it convenient to go to the ER for sleep. They did give me something to help me sleep that night: it lasted from about one a.m. to 5:30 a.m. Yay for my great ability to be awake. I got to see more of the night shift nurses that way.

So that's how I managed to be on Cymbalta for only one day. Now I'm on another OCD med and one to help with sleep. Unfortunately, it doesn't make me fall asleep fast. It can leave me in such a state the next morning that my boss said she thought I sounded "kind of groggy" in the morning. My old schedule for waking up and going to work doesn't work at this time. I guess I'll have to start waking up earlier. And really, I want to take it 4 hours before bedtime instead of the recommended one or two.

Now I have returned to the outer world. Rough transition, though. I guess I shouldn't be surprized; I was basically told that I should feel better in a month or few months. But hopefully they'd give me coping skills to better handle the rough spots in life. Somehow coping skills are easier to practice in a hospital environment where I am away from my normal trigger-filled environment.

Oh, and the exposure response prevention stuff I did to get myself to wear my watch on my left hand (which is just not right in more ways than one) turned out ... useful? Because the hospital put my allergy and name bracelets on my left hand. And sometimes that REALLY bothered me. But I was too scared of sinning/messing up their system to switch it to my right even though I could have. Thanks to the OCD for once again providing contradictory obsessions. :)

On a happier note, I'm now trying to get a guinnea pig, but waiting to hear from my landlord if that's okay or not. Apparently some people think they smell. Well, I have thought that, too, but I can also be used to it. We have guinnea pigs at work (pets for half of the classrooms).

Saturday, September 4, 2010

and the roller coaster goes... up for the moment!


Okay, so I didn't convince myself to actually give up on my sleeping-as-late-as-I-can plan until I had slept in AND had come up with an idea for how to do the roofing on my dollhouse (read "intentional hobby to help the depression"). Then I ate -would you believe it, contrary to my anxiety at the grocery store a few weeks ago at the mere thought of eating something besides raisin bran for breakfast, that today I finished my raisin bran (as in, the bag is empty now) and ate a different kind of cereal for the main substance of my breakfast! And it tasted good - well, good enough. I won't die, contrary to OCD's suggestion. Well, then again, who knows what dangers I am yet to encounter today! We shouldn't be too presumptuous. And the spell-checker said I spelled that right. It wasn't okay with "OCD's". Suggestion was fine, so it seems that the spell checker doesn't like OCD, which is silly since OCD probably gives it more business.
Now if I go back in my blog entries, I can find out how long it took me to get from one happy time to the next. I'm guessing two weeks.
The headaches have let off some. I had one last night, but it didn't hurt as bad. It actually felt really wierd because it was the same one-sided headache, but it hurt differently and not as bad. That probably helps my mood.
I'm going to publish without spell-checking the end.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

irony

Wanting to write. I guess that's a good thing. :)

Shall I write of the irony of medication?

First, I suspect I am not abnormal in not going in to get medication until I was feeling like I couldn't handle it without medication. It being depression and/or anxiety and/or OCD. I came to this conclusion in part based on the fact that I was having trouble eating and sleeping. That is in itself depressing. So I get the medication, but I'm afraid of it, thanks at least in part to the OCD. So I took it, but worried about side-effects etc (and just plain dying because I took the medication. My OCD likes the simple "If _____, then I will die" formula. It can be used for any situation). So the first irony of medication for OCD is that we don't get them until we need them but it takes a couple weeks for them to start working. The second is that my OCD was afraid of taking medication and the medication wouldn't help that until a few weeks after I started taking medication. Then is the lousy fact that the first medication tried may or may not work since they don't all work for all people.

Well, the first medication helped me sleep for a bit, but then the drousiness wore off and i'm back to having trouble sleeping. Which reminds me of another irony. Medication can make you drousy or it can agitate you/keep you awake. I'm pretty sure it can do both at once. For instance, take my second medication. This one started because of the migrains I started getting once the Dr. upped the dose of the first medication to a more potentially useful level. I was excited to take it last night because I hoped it would help me sleep. (Okay, yes, I was scared to take it, too. After all, "If I take medication, then something terrible might happen.") (Note that if the OCD overuses the "gonna die" threat it might become less effective. The more vague danger signal can work well, too.) Anyway, I slept, but not well. And today I was extra tired. The upside is that I haven't gotten a migraine today. I've gone a day and a half without a killer headache! It seems that I'd prefer being sleepy 24 hours a day to having a really bad headache for a few hours a day.

I started painting my doll house. Actually, I'm almost finished. It is part of my anti-depression drive. As in, I'm trying to have a hobby that will distract me and help me enjoy life. The painting is working well. Not sure if making furnature will work as well. We'll see. I can stop whenever I want to, which will probably be after I finish painting it if not later. Because I like to paint. Rooms, doll house, pictures. Painting can be so satisfying. And so I try to find meaning as I engage in a relatively meaningless activity, which is made meaningful as it is used to improve my life. I'd see it as meaningful if a student of mine did it, so I should see it as such for me as well. Happy Tuesday.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I cleaned the bathroom. Well, really just part of it; I skipped some in the interest of saving time for the moment and being lazy for the moment. But as I cleaned, my brain had this rhythm going on. "I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die." Interspersed with the counselor recommended, "Maybe yes, maybe no." This, she said, at least gave two possibilities instead of just the one extreme and unlikely fear. How exactly I progressed from fear of contaminating others to my death I'm not sure. I was going to get a fatal disease, pass it on, and then die. Despite the probability of that occuring being relatively close to 0. Maybe even zero, but then again, I can't be too sure about that.

Other than that, I've taken up a great interest in Sudoku. And I'm pretty good at word searches. I skip the cross-word puzzles. Having a good vocabulary does not equal cross-word puzzling skill.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Yes, I drove to the library because I wanted to write on my blog. Nobody reads my journal and it is less lonely to write on my blog.

Church. I grew up in church. I'm the daughter of a former church leader. I know how to go to Sunday school and the morning service. I know how to find verses with a concordance. And so on and so forth. So then I sit this morning listening, and I heard how people need God and try to meet that need other ways and end up in trouble. And I sat there knowing that I did have this relationship with God and still I was in trouble. I'm not saying I don't want this relationship. It's very important and I'm very excited for heaven. I just want help even though I already have this relationship with God. So then I feel like a selfish person wanting to hog people's attention (in church instead of just by blogging instead of journaling). I guess I'm missinterpreting again. Seems I'm good at that. In reality,... let's try and apply some cognative theoropy type lessons... Um, REALLY the speaker wasn't saying that life has no troubles once a person becomes a Christian. Really, my conclusion that the speaker would think my anxiety and depression and OCD was really just because I wasn't a good enough Christian, that conclusion wasn't fairly reached. Really, I shouldn't assume he'd think that. I don't... I don't know quite what I think, but I think it's fine to get help, and I think people's brains can have problems of more physical and less spiritual nature. And wow, if I have to be "good enough" to get rid of OCD and anxiety and depression on my own, it's just not going to work. And I'm already "good enough" in God's eyes through Jesus Christ, so really, I don't need to worry about it.

Then there was my moment yesterday when I was at the store and started to panic at the thought of buying something besides raisin bran for my morning cereal. Like really? That much of a reaction? What's wrong with me? But then I read the second comment on my last post (read it today) and suddenly understand more clearly that even my getting upset over the problem can be part of the problem. So really, I kguess I shouldn't get so upset over being upset. It's just another mood or feeling or whatever. And later, I'll turn on a dvd or read a book and save myself from my thoughts for a bit longer. Avoidance. Oh, well.

Back to being with people today. Sometimes I do the Hi-how-are-you-i'm-fine thing. Talk about work and/or school and all that safe stuff. But once today, when faced with the what's new question, I opted for the more "dangerous" approach. "Well, I'm dealing with depression and anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, so that's fun." (I like sarcasm. It might possibly sometimes be a sin to use sarcasm, but I think it's what you say or to whome you say it, not merely the fact that it is sarcasm that makes it wrong.) "And then I'm taking medication too and I don't feel good and I don't know if it's the medication or if I just have to wait it out for a few more weeks..." Okay, so the conversation didn't get too far past that, but it did feel good just to SAY it. And guess what? I don't think I was condemned. That's nice. A bonus.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hope

Hope is such a lovely thing.

I've been feeling a bit better, which is lovely. Gives me more insentive to work on exposures.

I actually wanted to wear make-up again enough to buy new mascara (the same kind that worked before) and use it. Today I didn't wear it. Give my eyes a break. Make sure nothing terrible happens because I used it too much too fast. Okay, so the OCD is on it still. I guess I'll wear it tomorrow. But it's easier to do an exposure when it's doing something I want to do but haven't done for a while. It's exciting to feel like I'm getting my life back! And it's scarey because I'm afraid of the moment my happy bubble will burst. As if it will inevitably come. Well it probably will. And what's talking now? Depression? Anxiety? OCD? Oh, well. At least I can try to enjoy it (happiness) while it lasts.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Stop sign intersections. There's the kind of stop where people don't quite actually stop (this can result in the police pulling you over). There's the normal stop and go. And there's my OCD variation, which is to stop, look and inch forward and stop again (doubles the likelyhood that I actually completely stopped at least once), look and go. I wonder what the people behind me think. No, I don't always do it; I'm not that consistant. But I'm a bit nervous about the day when my counselor thinks I should start resisting OCD driving compulsions. I want to check in my rearview mirror as often as I want! (And stop twice at a stop sign if I feel the need.) Just in case I missinterpreted what I saw on the road. Just to make sure that was merely a pot hole or bump in the road. Just to stop obsessing until next time. Okay, but I do want to be less influenced by OCD. Mutually exclusive desires once again!

Once I surprised a counselor. She gave me a look, like, "I can't believe you just said that." And she made some comment about my cynicism. At which point I mixed that up with sarcasm in my mind (look, they both have "c"s and then "sm" at the end). At which point I assured her I was serious. I'm still annoyed that she was so surprised. She guessed that maybe I needed more time, because she said I had the right answers but she just didn't know why they weren't helping me feel better. So I'm not supposed to feel that way? I'm not supposed to be that angry/frustrated/upset? I guess I figured a counselor shouldn't be surprised. Maybe that's unfair of me.

I switched to a different counselor based on my research about OCD. I don't think I've shocked her yet, which is nice. She did, however, tell me that my emotional reaction to a cold/virus/sinus infection was out of proportion. That makes sense when I look back, but surprised me, too. It seemed so logical at the moment to be that depressed. But it's encouraging what she said about reaching a more stable, less depressed state of mind some time in the future.

In the mean time, I guess I'll try to follow some advice someone gave me about enjoying little things. I will plan on enjoying the dvd I'm getting from the library. And enjoy the clouds outside (okay, so THAT's a good feeling, much nicer than the previous "it's cloudy outside and I can't emotionally handle the lack of sunshine very well" feeling). And enjoy supper? Okay, maybe not so much. But eat it. And enjoy the hungry feeling; it's nice to be able to feel hunger. Enjoy the second hand purse I just bought? After I finish wondering if it was worth while and if I wasted my money and if I shouldn't have spent two dollars on a purse at this time in my life and if it's the wrong size and if it won't work out because it's the wrong size and if the stains are too obvious and if it will last well and if I wasted my two dollars - and I already talked about the two dollars. Okay, maybe LATER I'll enjoy my purse when I'm done being anxious about it. Now what was that about congnitive homework and labeling "thought distortions" and thinking more rationally? "What is the worst that could happen?" I'd waste two whole dollars and eleven cents. Okay, so I'm going to guess that the thought fallacy is catastrophism because I've concluded that a small thing was very terrible. Maybe I have the wrong name, though. Maybe my post will be as imperfect as my thrift store shopping trip, but as long as it is as much of a success (I did drop off four bags of give away in spite of all the anxiety about whether I was doing it right and I did go in and look at clothes, even if I didn't buy any) then I think it is worthwhile. For me at least. :) And you are responsible for choosing to read it or not, so let me post now.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

I was sufficiently worried about the project due for my class, but then I got a perfect score! Even though I turned it in without it being perfect (as in, each paragraph was not perfectly filled out and balanced).

My turning it in without being perfect was aided by the fact that my car had stalled that morning and I'd gotten a ride to work. I had planned to get a ride to the library and walk home (because that day the project was due!), but instead I was allowed to finish it on a computer at work after I finished my shift. And I got a ride home. So I missed my walk for the day, but I got my assignment done.

The car has now taken up residence at a shop. Silly thing (the car). You'd think it could go on working a while longer, right? Never mind it's age, it's younger than me, and I'm still going!

The silly car leaves me missing counseling next week. Oh, so sad. I lamented the fact, and now I'm not as extremely sad. Unless I think too much, then I might get more sad again.

But counseling and driving to camp are the only things I'm missing, and I can drive to work etc. in another car. It's fun to talk to a two-year-old at work who noticed I was driving a different car.

Handwashing is tied to fear of harming others. I don't mind accepting the risk of germs for myself - well, I don't mind as much, at any rate. What I mind more is the thought of somebody else getting sick because I didn't wash my hands. It is interesting to think about how our actions MUST touch the lives of other people. If I wash my hands, if I don't wash my hands. If I go to this store or that store. It affects people, more or less. This interests and scares me. Think of the Bible story of Abraham and Isaac, when Abraham was told to sacrifice his son. He was to trust God in doing something that would have cost his son as well as him. Actually, it must have been quite the experience for both of them, the build up and then the other animal getting sacrificed instead. This story helped me once in "letting go" of a person who was special to me who had been removed by circumstances from my life (I could be bitter or let go, but the person was already gone). It's one thing to trust God with my life. It's another to trust Him with the people around me. Maybe that sounds silly to you, but that's how I tend to think right now.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

My grades in a class tend to follow a pattern. They start high, might get a bit higher, and then start sloping downward. Take, for example, my current class. Full points on chapter reviews for the first 8 chapters, then 90% on the 9th chapter. That's still not too bad. But this is: I went to write my chapter review today, but had re-studied the ninth chapter. REALLY? Is that what I get for trying to read my text book at 3 in the morning when I couldn't sleep? Now I have to finish the 10th chapter (I have read part of it) and probably come back tomorrow to write it's review. REALLY?

OCD and depression and schoolwork. Think wonderful combination. OCD or depression says, "I don't care." I'm tired and frustrated and sarcastic and think, "I don't care." And then the deadline still approaches, and I'm thinking, I'm not ready for it. I want to take a break! That's what should happen in 2 weeks when the deadlines are passed. So for now, I guess I'd better glare at my school work, struggling not to be 100% stalled by OCD perfectionism.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I'm a student, sort of. Meaning that I work and am a student on the side, whenever I happen to be taking classes, which has been most of the time. I am taking one class right now, which is a bit inconvenient. I have terrible trouble with motivation. The first two weeks of a class are all right, maybe, but I am pretty good at wanting to drop out shortly after starting. Sometimes, if I put enough work into it, I end up wanting to finish (okay, I always want to finish, and so far I always have except for classes I withdrew from before they started or during the first week). But I remember at the community college being so annoyed when we passed the last day to withdraw for the semester. I want to know I have the OPTION! I don't know if I've passed it with this class. I guess I'll try to finish - it was expensive and I payed for it, so I'd like some little words on a transcript saying I finished it with an A. That's what I'd like, but it might be a B. That concern about a B and my not wanting to do the work fuel the wish that I wasn't taking the class now.

Ha! Finished my assignment. I shall not drop out yet!

Monday, July 5, 2010

titles post in a different color, and I think I like the color - we'll see

I took a break. One week when my thoughts were not so focused on OCD (I don't mean I didn't have OCD thoughts, I mean I wasn't thinking, "Is this OCD? This is OCD."etc). One weak to enjoy helping with VBS at my church. Okay, by the end I was really really tired. Having a hard week followed by a week of "normal" days followed by VBS evenings when I was responsible for a group of people is tiring. But it was good. Will I do it again next year? Ask me next year.

I am, of course, procrastinating right now. I am taking one college class and carefully putting an assignment off for a little bit longer (16 more minutes would be okay). The assignment was due yesterday, however, so I want to actually finish it tonight. I don't usually turn things in late, but occasionally I like to strategically intentionally do that. Like this time, when I really wanted to go on an all day trip on Saturday when I had been going to complete the assignment. So I'll turn it in today, hopefully, and hopefully get 9 instead of 10 points.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

alarm clocks

So, from a blog, I realized that maybe my four alarms set for each work morning was an OCD thing... I cut it down to two when I moved. Aren't you proud of me? Then my counselor recommended one. I did that, too! And then I figured maybe I should cut down on checking to make sure said alarm was set... Not checking the time it was set for when I haven't changed it. Then, silly me, I informed my counselor. So she recommended I not check the radio volume either! So I'll try to only check once each night that it's on in the first place (it's not the kind you have to reset, so I'm fairly safe, except on a first day of waking up to an alarm instead of sleeping in)... Here is my success story. I have a few others. And then I have the, "I'm working on it" story.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Exposure and Response... Modification, right?

So, my OCD knows about offering choices. You can... wash slightly more than necessary or check and avoid to avoid the need to wash. So if the counselor encourages not washing slightly excessively, we can handle that (maybe), just as long as the proper avoidance and checking is carried out - and as long as it doesn't rain. Cloudy days are just a little too depressing. Good thing the sun came out again. :)

Friday, May 21, 2010

I drove out of state to see a counselor who works with OCD and was listed on the ocfoundation website. Okay, so I merely drove about an hour. I drove longer to get home, but I also didn't pick the shortest way home. I like the person, so far. Which might not mean so much, but being me, it might still mean something.

Now I'm hungry and tired, so good night.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

So if compulsions are things I do to get comfort from obsessions, and if going through with them makes OCD worse, (and if I have OCD,) does that mean that I shouldn't be comforted? Sweet.

There's a point when I've read enough blogs and articles and books about OCD. Where that in itself might qualify as a compulsion. Let me reassure myself one more time that I'm not the only one who wonders these things. Let me know that I'm not alone. Let me know that I'm not as defective as I'm afraid I am.

Christianity and OCD; there's a subject. Verses in context, verses out of context. We could talk awhile, couldn't we. Oh, there, thought of it. But an English concordance might be faster than a Spanish one (my Spanish is, uh, limmited). Oh, there, I opened right to it (the verse). James 5:12 verse (yes be yes) is true. So must I only give yes or no answers? But then I might lie. James 4:15. Yes! I can give something besides a yes or no, something that recognizes the uncertainty of the future and that it isn't in my control. Having said that, putting maybe, probably, and I think all in one sentence is not what the verse is talking about and it might (maybe, possibly) be unhelpful. :)

John Bunyan, Grace Abounding. Neat book. I think maybe (probably [ha! got all three in again][hey, your not supposed to do that]) he struggled more extremely than I do. Certainly WHAT he struggled over wasn't all exactly the same, but I can understand part of it, the feeling condemned by one verse and loved by another. Here is something I wonder, How did he "get over it?" (I think he got over it, at least to a large extent.)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

thinking

So.

Someone said to me one day in the last few months that if I had a label, they would guess Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I said, well, I'd been diagnosed with that in highschool.

Then I started researching it. It was fascinating! I read about people who thought like I did (okay, maybe they carried some things to a greater extreme than I do). It was quite the relief! But then (another OCD symptom?) I worried that maybe my OCD tendencies aren't strong enough to really qualify as proper OCD. Okay, why does that matter? Well it does matter to me. It matters how seriously I should pursue counseling. It matters in that I don't want to say I actually have OCD when I really only have OCD tendencies. It matters that I don't want to be wrong. But REALLY matter? No.