Tuesday, August 30, 2011

ocd and paperwork

I was doing an online training thing that was supposed to take about 30 minutes. Took me an hour and a half. Like the OCD said, "You can think you've got the best of me, but guess what? I still know how to make some of your schoolwork take three times the length it needs to. I just easily ate up an hour of your time - which re-qualifies you as having clinical OCD just in case you thought you were under-qualified."

How have I gotten along up to this point? I have a great memory (which is useful to the OCD). I can learn things the first time around, often. Otherwise, who knows how long I'd spend on schoolwork. Maybe not that long. My brain still has it's limits (attention-wise and motivation-wise).

I take this exercise dance class that has almost continuous but slow movement. Only they like to talk about things like freedom. Meanwhile, I feel un-free, un-happy, un-whatever positive emotion I'm supposed to feel. Maybe I'm still a rebel (okay, sometimes I am). But still, it's exercise, so it checks something off my to-do list.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

a piece at a time

Sometimes I wonder how to keep going. Like this morning at church. Well, if you can't cry at church, (at least silently), then you might want to look for a different one. Actually, I don't really worry about permission; I just figure people should be allowed to cry at church, and I go ahead and cry sometimes. Hopefully in such a way that is not obvious.

And then prayer.  This one couple has been around helping me through this mental illness stuff, usually just by talking, praying, and being there, which means alot. Letting me be there with them, which is one of the most helpful things. But the husband is on the prayer team, and I'm not too scared of him, and his wife is my friend, and I went to ask for prayer. The good old, I'm having trouble talking because I'm crying, kind of requesting. It was good, though. He asked somebody else to come, who does another kind of counseling. And this is the neat thing. I thought he'd be judgemental about my being on medication and being a Christian and struggling this much. But he wasn't. He was not judgemental. He didn't blame me. He said medication was fine. Etc. So that was nice. Because I was feeling pretty judgemental about myself, like, "what am I doing wrong? But I know that just because God hasn't healed me yet doesn't mean I'm doing something wrong... But, how do Christians deal with chronic illness? I need to know."

Apparently they pray, they cry, they keep in touch with friends, more or less, and they just keep slogging through their chronic illness, but they don't have to blame themselves. That's the good news there.

And then there is distracting chatter. I love it. And get frustrated if there's too much of it. So I enjoyed the church picnic and was happy to leave. And by the time I left, I had just enough encouragement and whatever I needed that I know I'm okay through tomorrow morning. And that's just how I'm living right now. Through defined bits of time. Too long might be too overwhelming. It's like saying, I'll write the first page of my 50 page essay. Now I'll write the second page. Now I'll write the third page. And if it was me, the third page might very well be the last, and the 50th page might well be the first by the end, so the analogy breaks down. But the moral of the story is, I'm living life a piece at a time.

And I'm emotionally exhausted, the kind that sleep might not relieve so much. Will a movie help? Or maybe a book. I've been wanting to read a fiction book. And exercise today; it's an exercise day in my normal schedule.

Friday, August 26, 2011

One for me, one for OCD

According to my counselor, my ocd will continue to pop up at different times, regardless of the state of my depression. I just have to exposure it back into place. So far, that's true. At least with the depression. Handwashing - suddenly the maybe-not-clean-should-wash-now state returns. It must be fooling me, because I let myself wash my hands. And another area, but I'm not willing to give that one back to ocd, so exposures have been lived through. I guess the moral of that story is I've learned more about dealing with ocd, and I have room to improve. But the germs... :).

Maybe someone is allergic to the coating of my antidepressant medication, which I touched. So if I go to a picnic without washing my hands, maybe I'll touch their food with the exact spot on my hands that has(?) residue from the coating of the medication, and then they will die. You know, peanut allergy type allergy, except it should probably be a little faster, because even a peanut allergy case might not be fatal since we're in the city with help near bye. Okay, so when I write it out, it becomes more obvious the chances of my fear occuring are very small. First, that the coating leaves residue on my hands. Oh, maybe 10%. Then, the coating is still there after I drive there but will come off onto food. Okay, that could be 1%. Then that someone with a severe allergy would happen to pick up just the right piece... Ah, the OCD fooled me again. That's gotta be a very very small chance. But I thought it was compelling justification to wash my hands.

The depression is being it's usual annoying self. One day I'm in tears, another day I don't care in the morning and cry at counseling. Another day, well, I've just got other things to do. But I'm tired. Because 8 1/2 hours of sleep just isn't enough.

Tonight, I'm planning to take it easy. Spoil myself. For now, I have just over two hours before I go back to work for the second part of my day, which should be shorter than the first, so I'm okay with that.

Monday, August 22, 2011

circumstantial happiness

circumstantial happiness; it throws everything off! Well, really, I'll just be thankful for happiness, but whether or not my meds are working right...? It did suddenly occur to me that my knee jerks less often. Maybe getting off Seroquel is good for me. My sleep is unpredictable - except that I can sleep. The quality of the sleep and dreams, that varies.

Friday, I decided to enter something in the local fair, so I made a practice edible house. I really enjoyed making it. I'm thinking maybe that helped Saturday's cheerful morning.

Yesterday was not fun. But when I made my actual edible house, I enjoyed that. Maybe I should do art more often. Now it's at the fair. Which means that I for sure do want to spend the dollars to go this year (okay, I was already planning on it). Thankfully, entering was free (ignoring the cost of all my ingrediants and an icing tool).

Sunday, August 21, 2011

mountain top and then sliding down the other side.

Yesterday was great. Really great. I woke up happy to be alive. Note that amazing sentence. Happy to be alive. Then I cleaned my kitchen, part of my room, and did laundry - all the way to putting my clothes away. It's amazing how much one can do when the depression takes a vacation. I did discover that being actively excited to finally be happy to be alive was still emotionally draining. I also found that I tired more easily than that phantom time when I lived a "normal" life.

I went to the NAMI picnic. I ended up playing the guitarist's guitar when he wanted a break. Spontaneity. I like it. Oh, and there was just one person I particularly knew still there then. That helps. And people mostly ignored me. That helped, too.

Then I crashed for 30 minutes at home. Then exercised at the gym with a friend. Then went to my dad's b-day party. Stuck my foot in or near my mouth a few times, talked alot (I do, sometimes), ate food, petted the stinky goats - oh, wait, I didn't pet the really stinky one, I just petted the nicer ones, petted "my" cat and dog. Then dreamed about my dog that night, I think getting ready to die in my dreams. Alas.

I knew the happiness might or might not last. I'm going through a med change, so maybe it would last this time, I told myself. I was not going to "plan for my relapse" or however my counselor put it (negatively). I was going to keep high hopes. I did remember that it's rotten to have the depression say hello after a really good day or few days. But I was going to hope.

Yeah, today,...

I HATE ocd. Or whatever it is that messes with my brain. I can't figure it out. I can't understand like I want to understand. Christianity, chronic illness, sin, grace, etc. I visited a different church today. It was nice, but nothing seems to shut up the hole in my understanding. I guess I've got to just let it be there. I HATE ocd.

When the depresion goes down, then I can notice the anxiety. Then the depression comes back. That is my lovely pattern. I hate that, too.

Anyway, today I was feeling like a stranger on earth. One of those people who should be locked up. Great morale to be gained by a stay in a psych ward.

But I was hoping my meds were working better. I keep hoping, keep thinking that this time, we've got it licked. That in the next few weeks, this mental illness thing will recede enough that I can live a normal life - i.e. work full time without going crazy, or taking lots of college classes also without loosing it. See a counselor only every other week. See the Psych Dr. every 6 months. Be able to plan to go over seas again. Not need to keep getting training and help to deal with this monster. But so far, I'm not all the way out of the woods. Well, maybe this afternoon will be better. Or tomorrow. Or the day after. Come on, optimism, don't leave me now!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

when I feel the craziest

The psych ward was interesting, because of it's implications. No plastic containers?

My therapist's office. Ah, the tears (when the depression is having a party). And the "the tears are just under the surfice and why do we have to discuss this and why did my brain come to such an unhelpful conclusion and how do I change it and it hurts not to cry" moments.

The Psychiatrist's office. No, right after being in the Psychiatrist's office, when I'm leaving and crying.

Church/religious issues or paperwork to fill out and sign my name to (yes, I have to verify my FAFSA information; suffering through the initial form was not enough). Scrupulous OCD, you're like the princess and the pea.

But what really seems crazy to me? Working with six to eight toddlers by myself, or with help, and liking it. Why on earth do I like it? Changing diapers, contemplating the misteries of healthy discipline (that nobody's really figured out, but some moms are probably closer), eating snack so that I don't loose my temper (not always successful, but worth a try), controling my lost temper, getting in trouble for what a toddler did (crying, throwing a fit, biting), getting them to take a nap, putting on sunscreen - esp. if the child tries to bite me while I do it - but that only happened once - wiping their noses again. Why do I like it? What makes the hard hours and, um, not the largest paycheck worth it? Some psychologist has some theory, but I prefer my own. I like seeing their smiles. I love their hugs. I like how they call my name when I come in. I love hearing them go from using no words at all to two and then three and then more word sentences. I really enjoy watching them sing. How this all overcomes the negatives, I still don't understand. And that is probably why I sounded "like it's a bad thing" when I told someone I liked my job. Some sort of feeling like life is worth living around them might be involved. And now, please let me sleep those ten hours a day that I like. Pretty please? Please with a fit, lots of tears, and a show of teeth? Just kidding. (Have you ever watched two kids open their mouths, simultaneously threatening to bite each other? That's pretty cute. Especially since it didn't get past the threat stage.)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Med change

The doctor mentioned something about my possibly needing help to sleep again on this new medication. I wasn't really surprised when I didn't sleep well last night. That could likely be "normal (for me)" worrying. I think the nausea might actually be from the new medication. And maybe part of the tiredness? But maybe not, 'cause I've been pretty tired lately.

A bit of advice; don't read a book about people having upset stomachs when yours is upset already.

So the medication testing continues. Switching from Seroquel to Abilify. Yes, I'm scared. What if the Seroquel helped more than I thought it did? What if I have a bad reaction to Abilify?

Yawn. I'm a bit too tired to worry very well today. I skipped excercising today. I'm a bit too tired for my most hazerdous thoughts. That's convenient. Back to my oppinion last fall; if I feel like a zombie (in the not-horror-film-art sense of the word), there are some mistakes that I wont make. I wouldn't want to bother. I'd just want to sleep. Or stare into space. That's pretty nice, too. But I'm bored (what? I'm saying that?). And I feel like I have a light case of the flu. Yay, med change. And tonight I want to watch a movie that I rent for about 50 cents. I'm pretty excited, in my deliberate, tired way.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


It occured to me perhaps 25 minutes into shopping for the right gift bag for a babyshower gift, that people actually wouldn't be analysing my choice of gift bag (too girly, too boyish, wrong animal, inaccurate baby when it's for two babies, too big, too small, etc.). I did finally choose. Oh, and I didn't spend the whole 25 minutes on gift bag shopping; I got a few other things, too.

Hehe, and I went to a whole different store before that to get the gift. Trouble finding the registry. Checking to see if I could have gotten a better deal on a lawn chair at this store than the chair I've already purchased on clearance at another store. Yes, I knew it was checking to make me feel better. No, it still didn't solve the pressing question, should I or should I not have bought said lawn chair. I like it, but maybe I wasted money on it. Maybe it's a sort of stealing since I've gotten some financial assistance in another area of life. But chair aside, I found a baby gift. Off of the registry that I finally found after checking a different machine after looking for baby gifts myself after trying to find the registry on the first machine. Then, let's not forget the "is it too boyish or girlish" question (hint, if you keep thinking it's one and then the other, it's probably pretty nutral). I chose a bit quicker because I friend walked up (who was also on the babyshower gift hunt). She answered my checking question that the colors of the sippy cups were okay. She thought it was a fine gift. Somehow I felt locked into getting that gift then -some indistinct avoidance of lying? Then the, should I get more than this or not question. Which relates to the whole big question about spending money right and not missusing it... The good news is, I can make a shopping trip last a long time, so if I'm trying to kill time, I'm fairly successful.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Sarcastic, silly, and serious, all at once

I saw my counselor yesterday. I gave my suggestions for why I was depressed, but she wasn't convinced. Maybe I have a tiny sinus infection really close to my brain... Um, no. Maybe it's because one of my medications last month had funny spots on it (seriously, but I've already taken them, so it's too late to change that. This months still look fine). Um, no.

So why? Why the stupid depression? Maybe if I did this, maybe if I did that, maybe... oh, please, I just want to sleep (she doesn't particularly like me using the sleep answer to what-will-I-do questions).

I said, I felt like I came to counseling and got told what I'm doing wrong. She said, no, if I'm getting that impression, I need to let her know. Her final position was that I was doing the right things. She still wants me to be less judgemental of myself and had mercy on myself (particularly in the area of figuring out my own understanding of religion in relationship to what I've been taught). Blah, blah, blah. Scrupulosity is a really annoying thing. But maybe it isn't all OCD, maybe there are other problems, too. I admit; I don't really understand everything about God. Actually, I understand a little. And technically, that's enough. She wants it to truly be enough, not just true for 26 hours. Picky. I want the same thing. Picky, also. Oh, and that was just two judgments. Which are bad. Which is another judgment. So it must not be good. Which is another judgment. Have fun with that treadmill.

So this weekend, I'll keep working on doing what I'm supposed to (excercise, eat, talk to people, do fun things...). And the depression... well, I'm afraid we tend to fight extra on the weekends. It finally occurred to me within the last hour that the weekends aren't my fault. I'm working to do what I should. It's not my fault that I don't work at the child care center on the weekends (when it isn't even open). Remarkable the guilt I manage to scrape up for myself.

Happy Friday. "This is a new minute of a new day (days restart every minute for this)." My counselor called that a mind trick, but said, "whatever works." "This is a new minute. This is a new minute and not a compulsion. This is a new minute and not a compulsion. Really, this is a new minute - no wait; new seconds of the old minute. And not a compulsion. Merely sarcastic, silly, and serious, all at once.

viewing non-ocd life

One of my friends invites me over fairly often, and I invite myself over occasionally (okay, maybe I only did that once). I love to watch her make cookies, with help from very young helpers. And she peacefully ignores the loud bang of measuring cups on the counter. Doesn't care when a child decides to try raw oats, seems unconcerned about the raw egg, and definately eats the raw cookie dough. She might rinse her hands in there, but I don't recall a good, solid, with-soap handwashing. I just watch kind of amazed (and very rarely help, after I wash my hands with soap in an acceptable way). I think, this is how people live on the other side of the ocd barrier. (My family had ocd-ish tendencies in cooking and cleaning.) I feel uplifted by the insane possibility of sanity in the kitchen. And I feel a bit jealous. And I sort of almost kind of start to understand, but at the same time, it never really makes sense. That's my non-ocd glimpse through a friend.

This same friend has been leading a Bible study. I have scrupulosity issues, as I've already expressed elsewhere. We landed on a verse that my ocd would have a grand time with. Something about turning away from barretsin and obeying and doing right. This is the sort of verse that my ocd thinks justifies perpetual praying and more (I mean over and over asking for forgiveness and searching to see what else I should ask forgiveness for and generally feeling bad and wanting to feel "right"). In response, I feel like I've rejected the obedience verses in the Bible. Because now I only ask for forgiveness once a day (or two or three times...). Because now I don't notice as many of the millions of sins I think I must be commiting each day. I even don't recall any specific sins. This is all clear (OCD) evidence that at best, I'm a back-sliding Christian. (Meanwhile the pastor's wife holds as her goal to ask for forgiveness from God every day instead of less often.)

So I asked my friend about it, in my lovely, repetetive, almost stuttery, having-trouble-expressing-myself-in-words English. Her answer was amazing. Just like eating cookie dough or not washing hands. To her, the verse meant that she should admit/claim Christianity when it came up, instead of just being quiet about it. One general/basic application. No lice comb needed. No infinite number of applications to worry about. Just a quick hair clip added. Prettier, less stressful, and more practical (at least if you don't have lice).

For all of which, I still don't think that way myself. I still am not sure how to think that way.

This post was mostly written on a different day, not Friday.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

live my life

The Sunday meltdown. Usually, I don't actually cry in the morning. Wait, didn't I say that another time not so long ago? But I was discouraged, even though I kept telling myself it was a new minute in a new day (new days restarted every minute). That helped, but didn't completely erase the muddy waters swirling beneath me.

I asked for prayer. The one word "health" on the paper thing that the church collects. The multiword having thoughts I don't want for the lady available to pray with people that I talked to. I didn't want to say depression, because I didn't want her to judge me. I guess I feel like unwanted thoughts are more acceptable than an ongoing, yet-to-be-ideally-medicated depression.

I continue to not understand the whole Christianity versus legalism versus laziness versus scrupulous OCD thing. Earlier this week, a friend asked if the OCD was why I had so many questions about that. Yes, I'm pretty sure it's nicely embedded in the issue. And I told her that right now, I was okay with not having the issue solved. Now I wanna know, I wanna know, I wanna know! For sure and certain, 100% accurate. Oh, and I want to be that perfect, not just because of God's forgiveness, but because I now live up to it. And yes, I know that that is technically an error. Who can "live up to" God's forgiveness? I think I should go back to the not-knowing-and-okay-with-it state. I love God (really imperfectly), He loves me, somehow He will take care of me. The end, for now.

Today, I talked to a lady who has been through the OCD depression game, only she actually got out of it. She said I should stop trying so hard to make it stop. Hmmm, sounds like good ocd advice. But I want my depression to stop NOW! I'm excersizing, thinking, eating when I make myself, thinking, working on a puzzle, thinking, watching movies, thinking, etc. Maybe she's right. Maybe I need to accept where I am right now and quit trying to frantically get out of my dark hole that I am scared of. She said, let God do the healing, and I just needed to keep living, not worrying about getting better.

I thought... I've got questions there. But I'd already taken a nice amount of her time. And it sounds good.

But runs right back into the Christianity/Legalism/Liberalism/Ocd issue. Rats. I think I'll finish up here and go buy myself something sweet to eat at the local fair/something similar to a fair. And take part of her advice without forever analysing the rest. I'll go live my life.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Sometimes I think that (other) people with mental illnesses who are still fighting, I think they are so brave. I forget to apply that to myself; personally, I know how un-bold I'm feeling. How sick of everything. How it's hard to keep going. I know more of the tears I've cried, more of the times I've indulged in coming up with bad solutions. I know more of the hours of "un-needed" sleep I've enjoyed, more of the therapy homework I've left undone, more of the meals I have trouble bringing myself to eat. I don't feel bold. But really, I am part of their group. Maybe they don't "feel" brave, either.

It's amazing how much sympathy and care other people with mental illnesses can give to each other. Never mind - or perhaps especially in mind - of their own time in deep dark holes. Them there telling me to take care of myself. Me promising to see them next week. I'm glad I go to some support groups here locally. They aren't specifically for OCD - more generally for people dealing with mental illnesses. But it's helped me.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"I'm not freaking out, I'm not freaking out, I'm not freaking out, Okay! I'm freaking out." That is the way I drove into the center of town. Ha, and I live in a small town. Immagine what I'd do in a big city (simple, I wouldn't go there unless there was a compelling enough reason).

My rough days got rougher. Sunday and Monday were pretty bad. I can't remember much of Saturday (I did sleep a good part of it), so that could be good or bad. But today, I was more hopeful, having survived yesterday. Now I just have to finish out the evening and get through tomorrow. Thursday, I see my counselor.

Yesterday, I went to a book store that was closing (my afternoon plan was to wander stores until I needed to get home to eat something in time to get to the gym for the excersize class. After that, I was free to go to bed. Ahhhh. :) But back to the book store. My weekness in buying books is actually for board books. And preferably not the lift-the-flap kind, because those get ripped in a one-year-old classroom. 9 books (carefully chosen based on appearance, educational use, price, and suspected durability) and 20 dollars later, I left the book store. Today, I brought six of them to work. The kids liked the new books, but they didn't amuse them for the hour I wanted them to be amused (okay, so that was a high expectation). I brought the books home again, too. They are my private collection that I might sometimes share. :)

Today, I got the oil changed in my car. It was first come, first serve. There were parking spaces available; several, so I could choose an easy one (i.e., not right next to any other vehicles). The office didn't smell overwhelmingly of rubber (I still am not sure how that happened since there where tires in there). They charged me a reasonable low price (as in, within a couple dollars of the cheapest in town), and tested my car to find out what the nasty sound was from. They didn't figure that out and asked me to come again another day when they had more time. They did make sure it was safe to drive (what I really wanted to know), and they didn't charge me for the diagnosing they started. I'm impressed. And it's within walking distance from my house. I think they may have won my business.

I'm really really tired. Fighting my brain can do that to me. But Thurs. I see my counselor, Lord willing. That is a managable time to fight my brain for (if it doesn't get too much worse). For the moment, I feel cheerful, actually.