Thursday, June 30, 2011

this that and the other things I wanted to say

The computer isn't publishing my posts. Very irritating. But I'll go ahead and try a new one. My therapist told me to research something! Though she said it with much reserve. She just wants me to get to the bottom of the sinus/ear infections I keep getting. Aside from the fact that I work with kids.

I'm told that saline nasal washes are disgusting. I don't think so. Maybe because my idea of disgusting is having another child sneeze on my mouth, or (one of the worst), wiping my face on my shoulder after a child did that and before their snot dried. That is gross. Even the sneeze thing isn't such a big deal anymore. Those are probably "safe" germs. As in, the kind that give me sinus and ear infections, but are quite unlikely to kill me or even make me miss work (since I work sick when it's not too bad).

What can I say? Making pizzas a a grocery store did not cure my ocd at all. Choosing to keep working with children, that's like choosing many natural exposures. Well, germs weren't my biggest thing anyway, unless I'm the preparer/cook. Which reminds me, I still might freak out when they ask me to cook something at work. But telling tales of what children put in their mouth oh so peacefully (with no appearent negative results), that I can do.

The latest is this. A child found a piece of pancake from breakfast lying on the floor. I told her to put it in the garbage. She grinned. She pointed to the TV. I looked at the TV. I looked back and caught her just before she ate the pancake bite. Tricky. And still a toddler! (This is a case of the naughty child amusing me more than annoying me, which is convenient for them.)

Oh, no, this isn't posting. Sad.

I might have sort of lied. Oh, hi there, ocd? How've you been? I've seen you recently, haven't I? But you were worrying about... oh, another case of maybe possibly lying. Great. I'm sensing a pattern here...

(Oh, and I hate exposures for the lying fear.)

(And I avoid ERP as much as conveniently possible anyway.)

(Oh, and the lying fear was the one that lost me a job I really wanted a year and a half ago. Grrrr.)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Side note. Have you heard the, don't pray for patience or something bad (but patience-building) will happen. That irks me (the word "irks" doesn't. I like the word). Patience is something God wants us to have, and does he really permit extra bad stuff to happen just because we pray for patience? I don't think so. I wish that meant no bad stuff ever, prayer or not, but it doesn't.

I spent the weekend at home, trying to speedily get through this cold I have. It is a somewhat onesided cold; one side of my throat is very sore, and the other is not. Along with the cold came the dizzy/lightheaded/buzzing waves through my head. I didn't drive Saturday or Sunday. But I'm doing better today. Not completely rid of it, but not having the really bad waves that make my eyes feel like they move a bit with the wave.

Managing versus obliterating. (See, I'll get around to OCD or depression some time.) I don't know if I'm lowering my goal, which may lower my results. But if I think about managing my OCD and depression, then it's like an underlying health condition. Usually (hopefully) I'll be able to keep it under control, maybe to the point of symptom free. Maybe that will mean counseling for a while. Maybe that means medication for who knows how long. That's okay (but I wish I didn't need to go to counseling every week, but I think I still do). Maybe "managing" is my way of accepting. It permits me to feel discouraged some days. It permits relapses, though it tries to avoid them. It permits me to continue to get help (psychiatrist visits, counseling). It encourages me to get OCD under control.

But, supposedly if you don't completely squash OCD, it'll come back. I can't see myself totally rid of OCD. I mean, I'm much better currently with medication and/or therapy. But a life where thoughts didn't fill me with unreasonable anxiety and even stranger questions and reactions, that I cannot immagine.

My brain asks, "What would OCD free be? Which actions are okay and which are obsessions. What thoughts are normal and what thoughts are ruminating." This, I think, could easily become yet another expression of OCD. (Oh, and the "I think," is the compulsive escape clause lest I tell a lie.) (These escape clauses on an application may be detrimental to getting the job.)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Caring for Toddlers. A break from OCD

Here are 4 of my top three methods of handling a bunch of toddlers that are going crazy. No, that should be 5 of 10? Or 5 of 5 since I don't know what the other five would be. This is put together from my 3.5 years of experience.

1. Bubbles. Blow bubbles, or (if like me you don't want to hyperventalate), swing the bubble wand around. The second method is a bit messier, but hey, the solution says it's non toxic. Oh, don't forget to do it outside or on carpet. This way the carpet can collect more dirt. - No, wait, this way the children are less likely to slip and fall on the hard floor. A bit more dirt is a small sacrifice for avoiding falls.

2. Sing with motions The Wheels On the Bus. This song is just about perfect. The right amount of familiarity. The right amount and right kinds of motions. The right amount of repetition and variation. This is a great song.

3. Give them food. This one is especially good if you can't stand any more noise and need a bit of quiet.

4. Turn on a Baby Einstein movie (What? I'm really saying this?) and give a radio sports reporter's play by play account ("Look, she's taking it out. Taking it out. Taking it out. Taking it out. All done!" (You and the older toddlers should clap then since the hand on the video/dvd has successfully removed all the toys from the box). The verbal addition to the movie may be necessary to keep more of their attention.

5. Read a very short book. As in, about one sentence or less per page. Summerizing is acceptable if you do it so quickly you could be reading it. And pictures are pretty much essential. Brightly colored ones are good. Sturdy books are preferable, since two of the toddlers (or more) may try to take the book from you before you've read all your short lines.

Crayons are pretty good, but there will probably be tears before you are done, so if you are going crazy, I recommend you choose another option.

Putting them down for a nap can be good, however, once again, there will probably be tears, perhaps loud and insistant and pitiful, before they are finally asleep.

All in all, I'm glad I work with toddlers. They make me get out of bed five mornings a week. They are funny. They make me feel significant. And they are very distracting. And I love them.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tuesday

I know, it's a profound title, one that is surprisingly intelligent and requiring great knowledge.

I have to go to the library to use a computer to use the internet. This is probably good because it limits how long I can be onling. Also, being on the internet gets boring. I like writing blog posts. But once i've read others, checked both e-mail accounts (not opening every new item), etc., then it gets boring, so I can walk away and do something more interesting like looking for more yarn for my knitting.

As anticipated, the depression didn't go on vacation for long. First the anxiety came later on Sunday. Then by Monday... I was grumpy. Once on a Monday I had a really bad evening, so now all Mondays are contaminated. I don't know how to change that. I've kept living my life anyway, even though I don't like that time very well. But beyond that, what can I do? A script maybe, writing over and over about some feared outcome? I'm not so sure that's a good idea.

Okay, I almost have a pattern. I'm just writing it out; I don't know how accurite it is. One day, I notice that I can do something I haven't been able (or willing because of anxiety) to do. Then I get really excited. The depression lifts a bit. I feel better connected to God (that isn't ocd; that's just feeling part of the depression lift). Then, before too long, I do something that still triggers anxiety (because, face it, I just can't avoid it. Anxiety at home, out side,any place, I can't avoid it if I wanted to). So then the anxiety comes. And I think, that's okay, that's okay, I'm still making progress. And then the anxiety continues, with the obsession, oh, no, now I'm not going to qualify for help (i.e. counseling and the more frequent visits to the psychiatrist). There's a thought to bring down more depression.

Yesterday, I was talking to someone. I was talking about my obsession and about the compulsion of checking and that I got mad at myself for checking... And the other person said, If I thought that way, it would pull me down/drop me down/something like that (the person was concise. My memory aided by OCD is inprecise). That made me stop and think. Oh, these thoughts aren't easy. But I also wondered, if I didn't get mad at myself when I knew I'd performed a compulsion, what would happen? Would that be like this I-can't-remember-the-name thinking where I just accept my thoughts without going one way or the other. Just leaving them there as thoughts. Mindfullness! There's the name. If I didn't get angry when I completed a compulsion, would that hinder my recovery or help it? I'm guessing it might help the depression.

Maybe I'll stick to this week's homework. And do more before the day of my appointment (when I usually pull out the book I'm supposed to be working through while I wait in the lobby for my appointment)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

success

What does it take to get me to dance on the dance floor at a wedding reception? Not too much; just two antidepressants and one mood stabalizer (antipsychotic, actually), and friends I felt comfortable with who didn't go to my church. Oh, yes, I might be a hypocrite. But still a Christian where it really matters (salvation by grace). Actually, I don't always (often?) act that out, but it's still true and I believe it.

Back to dancing. I also deliberately stood on the dance floor when the bouqette was tossed! I was deliberately not going to catch it, either, but I did stand up! Standing then and dancing later, I used to be too aware and worried about what people were thinking of me. You know, one of my logical thoughts, just like people can actually look like a manhole cover in the road (not). I didn't want people to think I was flirting or dancing in a sinful way, etc. (and don't forget the random, unexplainable but related anxiety that joins the crazy thoughts).

So today, I'm feeling pretty good. Pretty happy. Like, I almost parked in a scarrier place when I came to the library. But then I thought, maybe I shouldn't, because maybe one way I destroy my good moods is by testing them too far too fast. And by thinking I shouldn't have any depression left. I want my brain to understand that I can improve and still be legitimately sick and in need of help.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Okay, the last two posts are out of order. They didn't post the days I tried to post them, and now they are not in order. Grrr.

Last night I played handbells at a fundraising event fighting against cancer. We played around 10:00 at night. I was the youngest, but not the only one who is usually in bed by 10. Now today, I feel sick. My throat hurts, my stomach doesn't like me... Only, I suspect it wont turn into a full blown cold. I think when I relax enough and sleep enough, I'll feel better. And yes, I was in bed 12 hours last night and this morning. Ahhh. :) 24 might be better.

But this afternoon, I've planned to go to a friend's wedding. So the stress continues. Oh, well, it should work out better than I fear, since things with these people tend to work out better than I expect.

The handbell playing went well, by the way. I now feel like I'm on the same playing field as all the others, not a good step ahead. There was a part where I just stopped playing, because I got confused and lost and I waited to rejoin where I was more comfortable. That worked just fine.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

future

Wow! I made it 4ish days without writing a blog entry! (This "reassures" me that blogging isn't a compulsion that I'm stuck performing.)

Today, I saw my therapist again. It's been two weeks, and that was long for me. It was a good catch-up session, and she gave me the encouragement I really wanted. To keep going through this depression. And through the ocd. I feel like ocd is a part of my life, but I'm pretty grumpy about depression sticking with me like this.

And I applied to a college! For an online, Communication Disorders program. I've taken two of the classes as a non-degree-seeking student. But now I want to be able to use financial aid, so I have to be degree seeking. And from talking to a friend and my counselor,I'm learning that I don't need to know how long I will live to take classes and work towards a degree. Some days I may expect to live years. Some days, today and maybe tomorrow is all I want to think about. But I don't need to worry about that. Just need to always live the current day. The future can be overwhelming. But that will probably last as long as the depression, and my counselor said that maybe working towards a degree will help my depression lift. I sure hope so. In the mean time, I hope I get to take some fun class this fall like Phonics and Articulation, or whatever the next class is called. And I'll hope I don't have too many general studies classes to fulfill. I've got my AA, and I finished the pre-degree, off subject classes from another online college before I decided I didn't want that major from them (Special Ed, then Ed. Studies, then withdrew). And that online college was based in the same state as my prospective college.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It occured to me that it is June now, and I'm still stuck in the OCD and depression. Depression perhaps more, OCD, maybe a little better. But a whole year! I know, lots of people have dealt with a mental illnessfor many years. One year isn't that much, but it is still discouraging me.

I should get to see my counselor this week. I want emotional support, even though her specialty is OCD, which has a heavy ERP focus.

Last night I practiced playing the handbells so that we can play them at an event that goes through the night fundraising for and recognizing and remembering people with cancer. I was going to say no when I called about playing for this, but instead of the answering machine, I got a person, and wimped out and said yes. But really, director, I was not kidding when I said that event was late for me. Not kidding. Dead serious. But I've commited and I don't like uncommitting, so I'll be staying up late for this event. :( We practiced earlier last night. 6 to 8 pm. By the end, not only was my head playing the lightheaded game (that started long before I even got to practice), but my stomach hurt, my emotions were messed up, and my brain was annoying me! And I was tired. I used to be able to play the bells better. I used to be the sort of musician that could play well without too much practice. "Naturally gifted." But now, I guess I've joined the same playing field most people work from. Rats.

I wonder if I could skip my meds just the day of (or day before) the event so that I wont be so tired. But I somehow doubt that would work.

Then there is the beloved (not!) trouble falling asleep. Tired all day and when I try to sleep, the upset part of my brain starts talking. And talking. So I add music, or I retry reading. I eat something in case that will help. I read with my eyes half closed to get as close to sleep as I can before I stop reading. And then, misteriously, I'm not sure what worked, but I fell asleep. Thank God.

I think I'm being complainy. (I think that should be a word.) I'm thankful for... work, "my" kids (that I work with), knitting, dvds to watch, knitting, dvds to watch, knitting, and... friends.

I have found that if I do two things at once, my brain behaves fairly well. But if I'm only doing one thing, my brain can run into trouble. Hence, knitting and dvds together. Using an excersize machine and watching tv simultaneously. Watching six or more toddlers simultaneously (welcome to the world of child care) and sometimes with help, and sometimes talking to the other grown up. Driving is trouble; the radio only counts as part of a second activity, leaving room for my brain to get into trouble. Walking, just walking, asks for trouble, too. Writing takes more brain space/energy, so this isn't so bad, except that I type about what bothers me.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

grumpy Sunday

Acceptance? Denial? Complacency? Which word(s) apply to not asking for prayer on Sunday. I did well on Saturday (of course, I had knitting in my hands most of the day and something to watch on the television simultaneously). But Sunday... I didn't want to wake up. I didn't want to eat breakfast. I didn't want to go to Sunday School. I was grumpy, even though the sky was brilliant blue. But what surprise is there in that? Really? When was my last Sunday void of more intense troubles? Sundays are just hard. So why wouldn't I walk up to one of the people ready to pray and ask them to pray for me because my brain is giving me trouble? I've done that before. I've asked more vaguely for the Sunday School class to pray for my health. But I don't want to do it every day. It seems that God isn't going to answer by taking the depression and OCD away right now. Maybe if I prayed with them more, the depression and OCD wouldn't be so strong. But prayer doesn't work like a vending machine, so that may not be true.

And all the people standing ready to pray were men. I try to avoid going through lines with men as cashiers when at a store. Glance ahead, if it's a women, feel relief. If it's a man, find another lane or suffer through the anxiety. Oh, yes, I know it isn't more sensible than any of my other compulsions. But if I don't even want a man checking out my groceries, why would I walk up to a man and say, oh, by the way, my brain is really irking me today; would you please pray for it (that would probably go over better than telling them how my brain was irking me). So one man knew because I'm friends with him and his wife and child. But I didn't want to ask him. I didn't want to tell anybody new, either, and the two people I was looking for, I didn't find. So I left. And wondered, do people with cancer and other longer term illnesses feel the same way? Tired of asking for prayer, might as well skip it?

In Sunday school, the subject of fear and doubt came up, and someone said that they had heard/read that antianxiety medications were the most prescribed medications in the country. Or something like that. And we were talking about being spiritually sick, etc. So once again, the, "I'm sure that there are some people who need that, but some others that just need to trust God more." And I was already grumpy.

So would I be one of those people with less faith that they were discussing? I have a hard time thinking that's true. I mean, I suspect that I have around the same amount of faith as them, but my brain is better at generating fight or flight issues than theirs is. Instead, like the blind man in John 9, I think God is working with it. The disciples tried to blame someone's sin for causing the blindness, but Jesus said that wasn't true. Same with the tower that fell on people, talked about in Luke 13:4. They weren't more sinful because that happened to them instead of other people.

So there. And I'm still grumpy. Soon I plan to go home and watch a movie and knit. Maybe the grumpiness will at least have the decency to hide.

And I still feel sad and wonder about my time in the psychiatric ward ("behavioral health unit," as if I'm misbehaving instead of my brain) and other people's time there. A big, sad, unanswered question (or questions?).

Knitting should take my mind off of it.

Friday, June 3, 2011

this and that

Last night, I was informed that I wasn't supposed to dream about my current job at night. My dreams should be of things further back in my history. Really? I've been dreaming about my then-current job for years. Sure, sometimes I have students who are thousands of miles apart in the same setting, but who doesn't dream about their work? Appearently lots of people. Same as lots of people don't wonder if they hit something they shouldn't while they drive safely. So now, am I cheated of dreaming right, too? Maybe. Or maybe lots of people are and I'm not. As for realistic dreams that I almost confuse with what really happened, I'm not running too short for my tastes. It's a little unnerving.

This morning, the event occured that I used to set three or more alarms for at different times of the morning (and then repeatedly check that they were on and set right the night before). I slept in. I shut the alarm off, and slept (dreaming about getting ready for work and about work today - what do people think about dreaming about the near future? Does that make me really messed up?) until my boss called to see what was up. Here's the good news. A coworker told her that I wasn't there yet and that "it wasn't like me not to be on time." So they were worried. I'm just glad I have six months of mostly on-time arrivals to offset my 45 minutes late today (and it would have been longer if she hadn't called).

I wondered to myself what happened. I didn't stay up rediculously late last night. I don't think I made a mistake until this morning, when I turned the alarm off and fell back asleep. Or maybe the time I woke up and assumed it was still early, so I didn't look at the clock so that I wouldn't panic and not sleep any more. Anyway, I think I'll add an alarm in the mornings. I can persist in trying not to check them multiple times the night before, but I think I want one more alarm. Oh, and yes, I remember reading that having your feared thing occuring once in a great while was not cause to return to the compulsions. But really? Appearently I'm not into killing my OCD too fast? (As if there was any danger.)

I haven't been feeling good. Depression-type stuff. Somebody said I could call it after the medication. I didn't think that would help, but today, I'm calling it fluvoxaminitis. It refers to a general disgusting feeling, unmerrited sleepiness, loss of appetite, stomach threatening a revolt, and excessive sadness. I did decide that I currently wanted to live. That's a relief. And my great goal in life? (I mean currently, not long term.) I'm trying to knit a blanket. A big blanket. For me, not my doll nor for the child I don't have, nor for the neices and nefews I'm not yet expecting. But that will take a lot of yarn and perseverence. So I try to knit fast so that I finish before I give up. Okay, and the next color/multicolor of yarn is more desirable that the current one. Silly me. Well, the one I'm using now is slightly, almost ugly. The next one is pretty nice, and the next one is in bright Christmas colors. And yes, that's the yarn I want to use.

The downside to being in a hurry (aside from not enjoying the present as much) is that I get tense. Even trying to type fast I get tense.