Friday, July 29, 2011

I haven't "figured it out"

Okay, so someone else had some breakthrough in understanding, or that's what it sounds like. But I didn't. Or if I did, I forgot. Okay, so I don't give myself as much time to learn everything, either. Anyway, I'm glad for them, but annoyed at myself. Why won't the puzzle pieces of my life fall into place?? The 750 piece puzzle is making much better progress, even including my week long break.

Wednesday, I got to see Mr. Psychiatrist. We discussed med change options and possible situational causes for current depression dip. We decided to wait two and a half weeks. Then I went to my car, crying. Oh, I was out of his sight before the crying started. I wondered what people would think: I was in a medical building. Maybe I'd gotten some bad news about my health - non-mental health. But I was crying why. Mr. Psychiatrist suggested that part of my depression dip was because of not getting to see my counselor as often, not getting that opportunity to process through things. (My counselor had the audacity to go to the OCD convention.) And I cried, why? Why do I need an hour of time each week that costs money to see a professional to process my life enough to avoid even greater depression! And then, my favorite worry (can't remember if I worried about it then, but I've worried now): What about when I'm not on insurance in one year? (Assuming that happens, which it might unless I get a job with benefits or something like that.) But the insurance thing is good for a stomach ache and even a headache, but isn't particularly helpful even in solving it's own problem.

Back to why. (Because now I get to process here for free on my blog. Still not the same as talking to my counselor, though.) Why, and why don't I understand whatever it is I want to understand (I don't exactly know that either). Okay, maybe this could be summarized: Blah, blah, I'm feeling yucky, blah, blah, my brain is annoying, blah, blah, ????? blah, blah. So there. I hope you are as enlightened as I am. I'm guessing a nice section of my mental health - and all of my life - puzzle would be learning to quit thinking on things that I didn't have an answer to that didn't need answering. But I want to figure this out! (Not knowing what "this" is in the first place.)

I've been playing a word game. Instead of saying nasty words to myself, I say random words, like colors or animals or flowers or even more random. It's slightly interesting and not as depressing as the nasty words method.

The other word game is this: "I'm wondering whether you'd rather use wit, and not splutter in fetters and splatter your spit." I just like the sound of it, with a half way understandable meaning.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Brain, you're being mean to me. I'm gonna tell my psychiatrist on you!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Exposures racing through my brain

Since I've been on medication, I've had a slight increase in balance issues (I used to have really great ballance). Or, I'v increased in my observance of said issues. Friday, I broke my toenail, which adds to my balance issues. So when I suddenly change dirrection I'm walking in... you would know why, but the people around me wont. In reality, indecision (one of my strong points) can get me switching directions alot, so the net effect probably isn't much.

For my homework, I've been supposed to record good and bad judgements I make. That goes okay as long as I'm willing to write them down (i.e. observant and not too lazy in that area). Then yesterday I decided to also record my exposures. This was to combat my oppinion that I was completely lazy in the OCD department and help me appreciate what I was doing.

And this is what I'm finding. Just like a year or two ago, my obsessions and compulsions have short attention spans, but they make up for this by their number. Thus, instead of worrying for half an hour about how clean or dirty my hands are (oh, they are dirty ... no they aren't. I washed them and dried them on a "clean" towel), I go from worrying about spreading an illness (i.e. dirty hands) to wondering if my dress is modest (this can be "checked" by finding other people at church wearing the same kind of clothes), to worrying that I was singing with a proud attitude, to feeling guilty for being late, to not wanting to walk infront of people, to not paying enough attention (really, I just don't pay as much attention, and this is a battle I choose not to fight much right now), to it being too noisy when I unwrap my candy (which provides sufficient distraction so that I can pay half way decent attention to the sermon) to wondering if I just lied before God when I half answered a question, back to the modesty of my dress, or lack thereof, to the sparkles (sequins) on my dress (this was just a plain old thought; nothing wrong except that it wasn't my "best" job paying attention in church). So really, it's a compilation of OCD thoughts, anxiety thoughts, and random thoughts. Until my stay in the psych unit at the hospital, I didn't realize that my thoughts raced; this was normal. Now I'm still not sure, because how can one really know for sure if their thoughts are racing? We can't get into other people's heads to compare. And I have OCD and am worried about untruths, so yes, I've thought of this.

Anyway, writing down exposures informs me that, yes, I'm still doing them. They are part of my life. Part of choosing what to do in the day, part of how I evaluate what I do, part of my everyday life. Yesterday, I watched a movie when it might not have been the best thing to do. Exposure. Then I might not have watched it in the way to get the most enjoyment out of it. Exposure. And the response prevention was at least partially there. (Note my inpressice language that avoids accidental "untruths". Response prevention not carried out.) Then, I took a really bad bath. I thought I'd messed with my showers to bug the OCD, but yesterdays was a winner; in the past, the towel would be contaminated. Well, it still is, but I'm still using it. Then I contaminated the hand towel (the humor in this is that my roommate doesn't always wash her hands, so she might never be exposed to the contaminated handtowel, instead spreading her own germs, which are usually okay because I pretend not to know about them).

In conclusion, I'm still doing exposures and still working on limmiting my compulsive responses. It's a part of my life, like scratching an itch or blinking. I don't always even notice it. But here is the million dollar difference from a year ago or even several months: it hardly prevents me from doing my work normally anymore (slow down, but not completely prevent)! (well, except for food prep, but let's ignore that, especially since it isn't a big part of my job). The busy brain continues, the depression doesn't want to leave, the unexplained weariness visits off and on, but one of my main OCD issues has become less of an issue. No, I don't want to tell. It's not a germ issue and it's not a turn-the-stove-off issue. Research OCD and make whatever guess you want, or just believe me that I've told enough and go along your way.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

how I am today (self absorbed, perhaps?)

Wow, I went 5 days without posting. Very good. I'm not completely addicted to writing on my blog. (This was helped along by my theory that only one out of three libraries I go to will actually post my post.)

Once my family get-togethers were completed, my mood lifted somewhat. I still have trouble getting out of bed, but I was 4 minutes early to work this morning (exactly on time yesterday). After work I'm ridiculously tired, but I can live with that.

Yesterday and today I went to two dollar stores. Reason for the second was to see if they had multiplication table posters for my teacher sister. I didn't find any. Just Addition and Subtraction. Multiplication must be more expensive?

Today I got in a nice little anxiety fit. I like shopping and seeing what's there. But dollar stores are tough for me, especially when I have cash. Thus, I convinced myself to buy three things. And I walked around debating buying other things - decorations for my toddler classroom. Puzzles for my toddlers. Jelly Beans. Breathe, breathe, I told myself. Why the anxiety? Maybe because I was worried about turning down a good sale and not spending money. As a general rule, I don't buy things for my toddler classroom. But I want to, and they had some nice educationish stuff that was still toddler-friendly. Oh, super. I can mess up my breathing with anxiety just by thinking about this. Not aweful anxiety; just annoying anxiety.

I left my break lights on in my car yesterday. Not on purpose, obviously, but sometimes they just stay on. I finally figured out that setting the parking break turned them off. But for yesterday, I had to jump my car. Which involved asking for help. I hate doing that. So I decided I'd rather ask my room-mate to drive me jumper cables instead of my coworker... She came, but it turned out that her jumper cables didn't work. So then my coworker drove to my boss's house for her jumper cables while my room-mate and I waited. These cables worked great, and I drove away freely. I am a bit extra nervous about running out of electric power in my car. I'm checking my break lights every time I leave my car. I think I can do that for a few days before labeling it OCD and backing off. Because who wouldn't check for a little bit after making such a mistake? (And even if they wouldn't, I still want to... OCD?)

Friday, July 15, 2011

It's okay to miss her

How many times have I told myself, it's okay to miss him/her/that place. It's okay to feel that sad feeling. Not that I like it. I want to rush in and try to resurrect a relationship that maybe should stay quiet for now. But I don't want to rush, because I don't want to make anything worse. Relationships sure take some of the boredom (and certainty) out of life.

I got clothes with frogs on them from my Aunt. I am so excited. (Frogs represent good memories from Puerto Rico.) (Giraffes represent something, but I don't know quite what it is. Depressed but hoping for improvement? Immagining something to take me out of the current trouble? But the giraffe things people gave me represent them trying to get something I'd like.)

It's Friday, which is probably good. I'm ready for a couple days off work. Today, I got scared and defensive about something my boss said, then realized she was just asking a question and wasn't there to judge my answer. When will I learn? When will my fear of authority figures shrink to more reasonable proportions?

In the mean time, I'm very tired this week. I'm blaming it on depression. And I lost my appitite again, which I first blamed on the milkshake, but now am blaming on the depression as well. My counselor was gone this week, which tends to make things harder for me. But she should be there next week. (And so much for my wish to slowing down to every other week.)

I've started reading How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill Me, by Susan Rose Blauner. Isn't that the greatest title? And her having been there helps me give her credibility and take her advice more seriously.

It's not so different from CBT and DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) and Mindfulness. And I in theory support all of those. But in fact, I struggle with feeling guilty. If there is something I can do to solve this problem on my own (i.e., without medication, with books and advice), then it seems like it's my fault I have the problem in the first place. If I'd just live right, I'd be okay. Which can quickly spiral downward into how I'm a terrible person, etc. (Which goes against the CBT, DBT, and Mindfulness.)

Ms. Blauner told the reader at the beginning of the book to take it slowly, which I think was considerate of her. When I can maybe change what I'm doing to solve the problem, sometimes I get in a hurry and I want to change it all right away! (After all, if it is a sin problem, am I not supposed to stop immediately, like the super person I think I should be but know I'm not?)

But this is a long run sort of deal. It's not like the depression or OCD is new for me. Why should I get rid of it quickly when it's been around so long. And does being able to fix something mean it's my fault that it was broken? I'm guessing not (while my emotions argue). Someone else could break the curtain string, and I could repair it. Someone else could spill the milk, and I could clean it up. And really, why do I worry so much about figuring out that I'm guilty and trying to be sure I know I'm guilty if I am? See if you can make that sentence more complicated.

And so, the magic cure I've longed for since I was a child that would instantly take away this sad, hollow feeling still remains out of reach.

But what about the Christians that talk about how people have a hole that God needs to fill in their lives? If I'm using medication and therapy when I should just pray (as if I haven't prayed about it)...

Happy weekend. I'm going to spend more time with people this weekend. And I'm a bit scared. Really.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I'm not getting along with myself very well. Distracted at work? I feel a bit better. Distracted by a movie? I'm fine until it is turned off (or approaches a disturbing topic). Distracted by the internet? (And if it's in Spanish, it's a double distraction.) I feel better. But with myself?

"Be anxious for nothing..." King James Version. I do that, only opposite the way intended. I can be anxious for nothing, no reason at all. Anxiety doesn't need a just cause to ambush me. Then again, there's probably always a few factors joining in. Like being tired. Or something someone says. Or having drank a milkshake after being off milk for months (only straight milk; I still consume it in yogurt etc.) (But lactose free doesn't solve my milk problem.) Post milkshake, my stomach has joined my brain in it's attack against me.

Ha! watched a short video of a song in Spanish and am feeling momentarily better. Maybe it will last! Now, if I watch a movie with the sound or the captions in Spanish, will my supper disappear effertlessly?

OCD-wise, it was growing again. So I licked both hands in my angry attempt to keep it down. This isn't really so wonderful since that is lower on my heirarchy. But the attitude of fighting the ocd? That's helpful to keep resurrecting. Because I sure get tired of fighting it. Oh, THIS time let me ask her to repeat herself so that my brain doesn't trick me into thinking I missunderstood her. Oh, THIS time let me check again for my driver's license. Oh, THIS time, and This time, and This time, and every time I want to, let me check to make sure the bump in the road I just drove over is indeed just a bump. Oh, THIS time, I'm back to being scared of police and cars that might belong to them (basically, any vehicle black or white, add in other colors when I'm worried about the unmarked cars). Really? What am I afraid of? Okay, I know the answer. They are gonna know my brain is saying depressed stuff and they are going to take me to the hospital. And then either I'll be sent out not feeling ready, or I'll be kept longer than I want... and it would just be horrible, like every other thing that I'm afriad might possibly happen would be horrible. Since, face it, I've got to catastrophize to justify my great fear! The chicken and the egg... OCD and depression and sleep trouble and stress and anxiety and cognative errors like catastrophizing and all that fun stuff.

And this week at some point, I'll have been on various psych medications for a whole year. That, is, bothering, me. I feel discouraged. Let's blame my bad mood on that, on the milk shake, and on the lack of food inside me since I'm in an anti food mood (oh, that sounds cool. What kind of food mood are you in today?). And lack of sleep, since I haven't been sleeping 12 hours a day, just somewhere around 8 (oh, yes, I'm being sarcastic). Well, good bye for now. And if you ask how I am and I say "okay," it probably does not mean "good". It's a compromise between answering the how-are-you question with the socially expected fine and code word letting on that it's just not the best moment for me.
Today (Monday, I just couldn't post it until today) was not good for my back. If I misjudge the direction a child is going and they start to fall where I don't expect it, well, I might have reflexes to save the child from any harm, but using said reflexes might make a muscle or two hurt. And I think when I reflexively move like that, I also have instant tension at the same time, making it even easier to annoy my back. Oh, well. I think I'll be lifting carefully for a few days.
The depression is being really annoying. It's better right now, but an hour ago? Not so good. I started watching a movie. Highly recommended. And I stopped as the lady was preparing to check herself into the psychiatric hospital. The main character is actually her son, but I wasn't feeling ready to see the lady go through that.
Because sometimes the distance between me and the psychiatric hospital gets kind of thin, figuratively. There are good days and good hours and there are tough days and really tough hours. And sometimes I feel confused about my days in the "behavioral health unit." It's kind of an emotional topic for me.
And I remain amazed at the number of movies in which someone dies or someone goes into the hospital for depression. Now I think I'll go look for a kids movie...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Two steps forward, three steps back

You guessed right; I'm not in the happiest mood today. I cried in the church parking lot (in my car), which I haven't done for a little while. But I had a solid plan for after church, and I knew it. So after a few more tearful moments that kept trying to interfere with my driving, I got home and I... ate lunch! That is a really good thing. I thought I might have to just eat a snack and take my lunch to eat later when I was better distracted. But no, I was able to eat lunch. (I like bagels frozen anyway). Later today, I plan to listen to music and knit. I picked up my knitting again last night. It really seems to have a relaxing effect (until I get tense about my knitting, but that's still beter than other thoughts). So, I'm good for another 3 hours. Maybe after that, my brain will settle down. I just hate bad days after good days.

Mr. Psychiatrist and I talked on the phone for a moment on Thursday. He said sinus infections could lower one's mood, "just think of that big infection in your head by your brain." Hmmm. Somehow I thought my sinus infections were figments of my immagination, or at least small. How crazy is my thought process? But Mr. Psychiatrist thinks I'll get better. I'll just borrow some of that hope for a while...

Here are two examples of using a method of getting rid of thoughts that involves immagining them leaving, gone wrong. One time, a set of depressed thoughts were sent up into the sky on immaginary rockets over a short period of time. Then that got depressing because of all the depressedness that was then in the sky. My recent example involves rabbits. I immagine the thought jumping away like a bunny. It worked okay, until suddenly I pictured a whole bunch of rabbits jumping around in all directions, but keeping the ground near me well populated. So much for that idea. Maybe I should go back to the Ships sailing in the Ocean scheme. And cut the anchor off, and use a great big blowdrier to fill the sails in case the ship ever anchors itself in place or is stuck in motionless weather. (And the coal/gas/paddles/etc. are all just gone!). Okay, that's sarcastic enough. I don't think I've actually had any problem with the Ships sailing the Ocean picture. Yet. :)

Progress on the breakfast foods front; I am actually using Vanilla soy milk and a new-to-me cereal instead of the old standbye cereal with chocolate soy milk. (Of course, I want to go back to the chocolate soy milk, but I am eating this.) Also, I rearranged my room, and fell asleep after a while and after knitting and eating chocolate. I have this idea that chocolate candy helps me fall asleep. Never mind the caffeine.

Friday, July 8, 2011

It can be expensive to treat yourself like dirt

The weekend commeth again.

But I wanted to talk about yesterday, Thursday.

I saw my counselor. And she saw something I'd written (on pages I just gave her to look at) and asked, do you really wonder if you would be better now if you hadn't taken medication? And I said that yes, I truly did wonder that. Gotta surprise your counselor every now and then. No, actually, it's a pretty annoying thought; there are much more pleasant ways to surprise your counselor.

She said I should ask Mr. Psychiatrist about that. So it's on my mental list for next time I see him, which is scheduled for the beginning of August. She said, you, of all people, should know that you tried everything else first. You've done the praying and the religious stuff and so on. Which is true. Religion, Exposure-response prevention therapy, talk therapy... But maybe I just didn't do those things RIGHT. Maybe I messed up the ERP by not trying enough. Maybe I messed up my prayers by not having enough faith or not thanking God enough, or living in sin, or something. Maybe I didn't learn what I should have (or accept it) from the counselors I talked to.

Don't you love OCD? It takes an annoying issue and adds a magnifying glass and endless repeat play.

But this Thursday, I wasn't in to polishing up my thoughts. Did I think I deserved punishment? Yes. Did I think I deserved anything good? No. I don't know if I've been this blunt with her before. There are ways to smooth it over... I don't even want to be honest with myself! Because I might know things that led me into this pit, but I don't know how to get out!

Take, "I deserve nothing good at all." Which goes along with, all people are guilty. Of something. At least a "little white lie" or stealing a cookie when they were young or SOMETHING (and probably more things). I somehow concluded that I was basically sinning all the time, multiple sins in a second (they can happen at the same time). I was never good enough. Ever. I hated the word "best." "Just do your best." In my mind, "best" was something I always wanted to achieve but could never reach, because I always figured I could have done it at least a tiny bit better if I wasn't so lazy, and/or if I hadn't stayed up late last night, and/or if I'd excersized like I was supposed to, and the list goes on.

I guess that sounds like OCD scrupulosity, doesn't it.

But I thought it fit with my religion. I thought my religion stated that all people were sinners, etc. Maybe I just failed to see that Adam and Eve and the rest of the people did not loose their value when they disobeyed. They had consequences, but their value never changed. Hmmm. Maybe that thought can sort this all out?

I don't know. But I finished my counseling session upset with myself for the things that I'd been doing "wrong" that I was supposed to fix (letting go of judgements, not thinking some unhelpful thoughts that can supposedly be addictive...). Which was just another confirmation that she was right about how wrong I was about blaming myself for being wrong, or something like that. Not only did I negatively view myself, I viewed this nagative view negatively.

I think I keep acting like the depression and OCD and anxiety are just because I'm not living my life right. Like I should be able to change myself and get rid of this stuff. That it's my fault I feel bad. Oh, and the whole give-an-example-of-a-physical-illness that people wouldn't blame you for, that doesn't work so well. Because I've "learned" that my sinus infections might be because I'm not thanking God like I should. When I'm physically sick, I think, I didn't get enough sleep, or I touched my face while at work with toddlers, or I didn't eat right, or some combination of problems. Any illness I get just might be my fault. Either I've opened the door to it (or left it open) or I'm straight out being "disciplined."

All in all, this dark view of myself doesn't seem so helpful. Good for perpetuating depression. But then again, it is also a simptom of depression. I don't know how to solve that riddle.

But "this will get better." And even if it wont, I'm gonna tell myself that it will, because it's worth the lie. That might be a sinful thing to type. Let's obsess about it for the next two weeks, and change it inthe drafts section of my blog. Change it back and forth and back and forth.

Or not. This probably will just save in drafts at this moment, but not because I don't want to post it. Something keeps preventing me from publishing posts... (is that because I write the wrong things?) (Okay, I know I'm going overboard. But yes, I have wondered that.)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Success: I got up today

Long weekends actually aren't my favorite. I've worked very hard at a successful schedule (or maybe it just sort of happened). I had free time. I had activities to occupy free time (library-computer, dvd, and/or shopping, which lives somewhere in both the enjoyment and the frustrating category). I had outings (support groups, excersize classes/excersize). And work to wake me up five out of seven mornings. A four day weekend means that I have to wake myself up and get myself out of bed without the incentive of work for twice the usual number of days.

But I did it, or I wouldn't be writing here at the library: I'd be in bed.

I visited my family for the fourth of July. 1) because it means alot to them. 2.) because on holidays I don't call friends because I think they are busy celebrating, but I can get pretty depressed by myself. 3.) because I thought it would be good for me. Same as driving is good for me. Tell the anxiety and depression, you can change this much of my activities, but enough is enough.

Which kind of works. However, days when I drive out to visit my family tend to be followed directly by extra depressed days. Even when the days went well. Maybe its a stress thing. P.S. family, please don't be insulted if you read this. My getting stressed doesn't have to mean that you did something wrong. I'm quite good at getting stressed all by myself.

Now, I'm hungry. 17 minutes until I give up and eat supper at home. 'Till then I can keep hoping to eat with a friend. Oh, my cell phone company says I have 18 minutes.

Today, I did some cleaning, which led to me feeling better. Appearently there is some emotional benefit to making your kitchen stop smelling from spoiled food. But then someone called before I washed the last pan, and I said that they weren't interupting, because I wanted to talk to them. So now there are a few remaining dishes. And the floor looks really bad, just the way I like it if I'm going to sweep it.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Hurray, this computer at this library at this time is letting me actually post my blog entries! Hence, the sudden addition of posts. There was another one about my OCD being found mild on the test my counselor gave me (instead of moderate). I was elated for a day and a half and then returned to being depressed.

This latest round of depression is either due to the sinus and ear infections I got or to the drop in Seroquel dose or some combination. But the doctor and I aborted our what-happens-if-we-lower-the-Seroquel-will-the-lightheaded-problem-go-away test. At least until I feel better. And yes, I'm hoping for really better. Not just the "I can now live my life almost normally" kind of better. I've got that (thank God for antibiotics!). But being off the decongestant medication would be nice.

I also feel like I'd rather just stick with the current medications and dosages. Give myself a bit of a rest from the whole guinnea pig fiddling around with my medications to make them better. Chances are, in a few weeks, I'll be ready to try for improvement. But right now, I want to appreciate all the happiness and non-ocdness that I can have with these medications I'm on at these dosages right now. I don't want to risk getting worse again.