Wednesday, February 29, 2012

busy tuesday, more normal wednesday

Yesterday, I worked in the morning, had half an hour to eat lunch, and then I did observations for one of my college classes in the afternoon. If the time at the place to observe counted as work, I'd have clocked in 10 hours of work yesterday. So I felt okay spoiling myself in the evening. But after watching a movie, I wrote down what had happened on my observation before I forgot (I need to write a report for my teacher). So that makes 11 hours of work and school. Today, I'm feeling lazy. Not at work; at work, there were lots of kids and lots of noise. There were smiles and tears and trying to get children to look at me and trying to get others to stop whining at me... But we all survived. And I got a hard-to-get-to-sleep child to sleep. I feel so accomplished after that! And we did beading with those multicolored doughnut shaped but much smaller very sweat breakfast cereal. Fine motor skill development! Helps me feel like a good teacher when I get "good" activities in. Kind of silly since, while nice, such activities do not define good childcare. 


I think I mentioned having a rough day at work last Friday. It was nicely resolved Monday. Very nicely.

This afternoon, I started reading a mystery novel. I was quickly drawn in, but I had to leave to go to the library for internet so that I could attend my online sign language lab. Then the depressed thoughts spotted their chance. What did that? I'd been having a good few days (that or I just didn't have time yesterday for depressed thoughts, and part of Sunday was good, so that might add up to an illusion of really good days). Maybe mysteries are bad for my health, because when I make myself leave them half read, the turmoil that causes in me stirs up the depression. I don't know. That sounds a bit silly, too. And anyway, I intend to finish the book, with or without nice logical support.

Hungry again. What a surprise. I've woken up the past two mornings with a migraine, but they have gone away when I ate. So it remains likely that they have more to do with the size and content of my supper than with the med change. Guess I should eat more? Rats. (But I feel full enough after the meal... never mind all the times during the day that I feel hungry and don't eat because it's not convenient.)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

silver linings may come with clouds

Thursday, I saw my psychiatrist and my therapist. Both commented that it is my depression that is giving me trouble right now. Both asked about my energy level. How do I answer that? Energy level compared to what? So I'm tired. So I am busy proving inertia by have trouble moving from one location to the other (whether the location is home or elsewhere). That actually gives me some trouble. But oh, well.

I have a headache, so I'm a little distracted. I don't think I have medication for that with me (over-the-counter), and I am here now, so I'll probably not move too fast, as I just explained.

Anyway, I said my energy was low. I feel like it is.

Mr. Psychiatrist raised the dose of one of my meds. If this doesn't work, I can expect to change out this medication. Not sure if I'm happy or sad about that. He said that sometimes a medication works for years and other times in different people only for months. He thinks the venlafaxine might have just worked for months. I asked/commented about how this keeps happening that I start a new medication and get better for a while (measured in weeks, not years), but then I get worse again. He replied talking about how "he had to take my word for it," since I was good at hiding my depression so that I look like I'm feeling better than I am. He said maybe I was trusting more (implied trusting more now). That has me confused. I thought that I looked healthier than I sound right now, so why would this be a moment of trusting him more? He's seen me look worse. Hey, I didn't even cry this last visit (okay, so I don't do that very often). Or maybe he meant that before, I looked like I was doing well because I wasn't telling him that I was still feeling lousy. Who knows. It sounds so subjective, so dependent on what I say. But I am trusting him to use his knowledge and experience to hear what I'm saying along with how I look and act to understand relatively well how I'm really doing. Because I'm not sure how much I trust my own perception of how I am doing. I wonder if I just change my standards when I'm doing better, if I don't actually get worse again, but get pickier. I don't think that's what happened this time, though. And this paragraph is too long.

My therapist tried to think of what we haven't tried yet for the depression. I've been thinking too. I think I should work on meditation. Maybe that would help. Mr. Psychiatrist also said that therapy is what helps some people. I said that I've been going to therapy. I said, maybe if I tried harder... He replied that that would be difficult. There was a nice, non-guilt-building reply. I don't have to beat myself up for not trying harder (as if that would help depression somehow).

Funny story of the latter part of the week; parking garage fee. I park in a parking garage beneath my psychiatrist's office (big building). The cost for the length of time I stay is two dollars. They only take cash. But as I drove over, I remembered that I had spent all my dollar bills, under the assumption that I would take my paycheck to the bank before my next appointment. Only this week, getting to the bank just wasn't happening (remember that inertia problem) (and add in the fact that I took the check out of my purse for a bit, to keep it safer, so then it wasn't with me one time when it would have been easier to stop at the bank). But I didn't have time for that anymore; I was slightly late for my appointment as it was. So I saw the doctor and then went back to my car and started it, but soon stopped it to take care of the money issue. I took all the coins from my coat pocket and counted them with the ones in my wallet. I was... eight cents short. How very annoying. So I searched my car. Surely I had dropped some coins. I've found change in my car before. So I rummaged through my cluttery car. I even looked in my trunk. No luck. Would I really have to go to the ATM and pull out twenty dollars, paying a three dollar convenience fee, all because of eight missing cents? I considered begging for pennies, but didn't. Finally, I found a coin wedged into the front driver's seat. A dime. And a few pennies. So I collected two dollars worth of change, with a few spare cents. But then I realized that in my search for change, I had misplaced my ticket saying how long I'd parked. And without this ticket, I'd need three dollars cash. Amused, I started going through my car again, even picking up some garbage and putting it in a grocery bag (which still remains in my car). I gave that up before long. I'm really having trouble with motivation/energy/whatever to clean things. I switched and looked in another place, and there the ticket was. So I payed my two dollars of change to the upset lady and appologized. She assured me she didn't care and dumped the handful of coins into her drawer. She wasn't upset about coins or even upset with me as a person; I think she wanted to leave on a break or for the day and was waiting for there to be no cars so that she could leave. (This happened another time, when I had gone to the trouble of using the ATM to get a twenty dollar pill that cost me twenty-three dollars. She didn't want to deal with the change, so she sent me on my way, letting me keep my expensive twenty dollar bill.) (I never know if someone will be there to collect the fee or if no-one will be there and the sing urges me to just go ahead and leave.)

That is my humorous story of my own life. Maybe I should look for some funnier experiences (but not seek them out; most of them have a down-side, too. Silver linings often come with clouds or bills.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Complaining is probably a sin.

So is expressing annoyance a sin? Hmmm, probably can be and can not be.

Anyway, I thought the "Please prove that you are not a robot" thing to post comments on Google's blogspot blogs was funny - once or twice. Now it takes to long. And now you have to type two words. Does that mean that robots can now figure out the word if it is just one word? I'm doubting it, because if so, I don't see what is hard about adding a second word on.

Another thing I don't like is when people in online classes are really wordy in the messages/announcement part. To be specific, I don't really care about a "funny" "google doodle" thing right now. And I really don't want to hear about it in three separate identical messages. I open these messages to get back to having zero unread messages. Then there are - I mean is - a case of a, um, extra involved? distance learning professor. I take online classes, and I do it on purpose. The teacher has the priviledge of suggesting readings, making outlines available, and recording lectures. Chances are very good that I will listen and watch lectures. Outlines might be used for review or for cramming. Readings might be... well, I like to either read the text or hear the lecture. But then making announcements every day or so, with multiple messages some days, in great big lettering of non-black color, sometimes with all capitolized words, and with "humor" that sounds sarcastic and slightly offends me... Well, I'll try to look long enough to make sure it isn't something really important. But my depression sometimes goes off with the "humor." What makes it even more interesting is that he warned us of the dangers of using humor over the internet, as it can easily be interpreted wrong, then told us to soften our humor and get thicker skins. So sorry that my depression doesn't have a thicker skin, Dr. Professor, but I bet you'd be shocked if you knew how my thoughts responded to your humor one day. I bet it's so not at all what you intended.

Then there are interaction times cut short. (I said I'd try to make my comments more concise, but didn't mean that my blog postings would be. I reserve the right to be very long winded on my own blog.) Take today's sign language lab over the internet. Yay for webcams, frustration with slow computers (yes, I'm talking to you, Mr. Laptop. What were you thinking? I had to hold my signs in place for soooo long before you would deign to display my visual words). Today, we were let out "a little bit early." As in, almost twenty percent early. I might be okay with that once and awhile. But my depression was sure on it. Goodbye to language lab, hello to that really, really, really annoying voice of depression (my own voice, which I understand to not qualify as "hearing voices". A slight comfort).
Anyway, I'm back to the good old obsessive depression struggle. Which comes with a nice helping of guilt (surely, if I was a bit more perfect, I wouldn't struggle this much. I must be doing this to myself, or at least making it worse for myself). (As if the guilt will somehow render me less burdened and in better shape to care for myself?) I see both my therapist and my psychiatrist tomorrow, which is pretty good timing, I think.

And now? My grumpiness or complaininess seem to have taken a break, so I feel better... and plan on playing computer games, for fun, instead of focusing 100% on my homework.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hmmm. I think there might be a little problem. My blog comments have gotten longer than my blog posts. Sorry. I'll try to comment more concisely. :)

I was having a bad afternoon. I took a nap, but even that didn't stop it. I'm in the normal pattern - the down side of it. I get more depressed, then I start having trouble falling asleep at night, and the loss of sleep seems to make the depression worse... It seems that sometimes if I really focus on doing what I need to do to help the depression (exercise, food, sleep, relaxing), that can change the spiral back around.

So I told myself I only had to exercise 5 minutes today to cross it off my list. But I then told myself to exercise for 10 minutes. I exercised for 15. Small steps are so much easier than trying to right everything at once (which just wont happen right now; I'm not feeling that good).

And reading blogs helped just now. Thanks to you all with OCD who blog about it!

Monday, February 20, 2012

The newest funny story

I work this amazingly fun job. Of course, one former boss told me that she had heard it ranked stress-wise up with air traffic control officers, which I'm sure came from some study, but I don't know what one. Anyway, I like to say that whenever I struggle to handle the job so that I can feel like I'm having trouble doing a difficult task, not struggling to fulfill the demands of a low-paying, lower class job. But over all, I very much love being a toddler teacher/caretaker. Anyway, my latest greatest story is this. I like to play around with hats - usually using blocks or books or other silly things as hats. But today I actually had some hats - and a headband "crown" - set on my head. I think it was with the baby doll hat we tried, but it doesn't really matter which "hat" it was. It was one too small for me to see when it was on me. But the child wanted me to see it. "See? See?" the child said, trying to turn my head up so that I could see the hat on top of me. Of course the hat fell off, but I was well amused. The child tried twice.

This day has been okay, except for when the depression tried to convince me of it's sincerity and rightness. Some of those depressed thoughts come at me with more persistence than most obsessions, which is really quite unfair. I'm guessing the OCD glitch in my brain hooks up with the depression glitch to give me some fun times. But as long as the depression's conversation stays as just a conversation and I don't get too emotionally involved, I'm usually okay. But sometimes my pure lack of emotion scares me. Depressing thoughts make more sense when I feel depressed or sad or something. They can leave me feeling out of touch with reality in a different way when I'm feeling fine (still not usually in a particularly good mood, just okay) and having those depressed thoughts. Anywhichway, I'm mostly doing okay today, so now how about I change the subject.

I worried about my tires. I think the OCD has gotten a finger into that one. Because some days, I can stare at a tire and feel it and kick it and examine all the other tires and still not be sure if the tire is going flat or not, with no amount of checking solving the problem until I decide to go ahead and drive (at which stage I drive successfully, without having a tire blow out, and then I try to return to my blissful ignorance about the state of my tires). Anyway, my digging in the paperwork indicated that my tires were from '96, which seemed too old. So today I decided to do something about it. So I called my dad, which, of course, brings no certainty. Then I searched my records, which proved that my tires were actually from 2005, not so bad (probably really good, considering the state of my finances and my car). But I carried out my plan; I got an oil change and had them check the tires. Which still doesn't completely give me certainty (OCD makes it easy to still get an exposure in, you know). Because I didn't express all my concern about my tires, so maybe they barely glanced at them, or even didn't look at them, just said they checked them since that is listed under the services provided with the level of oil change service that I ordered. But I'm feeling a lot better about it, and now I plan on trying to ignore my tires (except for glancing at them, not compulsively staring at them).

But here is the best part of my evening. I finally got myself to put down my unfinished fiction book and drag myself to the place with free internet so that I could do my homework and turn it in. But here is the part I'm proud of. I bought myself supper. I actually did it! I got supper and ate before 7 pm! And found out that the internet wasn't working. Oh, well. So I did the writing that didn't require the internet (easier done when not in the same building as the fiction book, you see). And then, I played computer games. Played and played. It was fun. And I figured I was not using time so well, and that I should probably go order hot chocolate that I didn't want at another coffee spot that had internet working. But I just kept playing. And then, you know what? I checked, and the internet was working. See? My game playing turned out to be a great use of time - unless the suggestion is made that I could/should have been exercising. But I want to ignore that. My fun time worked out to my benefit. So there. (p.s. when the spell-checker suggests "excerpting" as the spelling for my attempt at the word "exercising," I might have a spelling issue with that word. But I got it right this time, so my spelling is salvageable.)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Okay, I gotta write really fast, because I get to take a test soon. Yeah, I'm excited. It's the kind of multiple choice test that I tend to do really well on. Success, in a short amount of time! (hopefully.)

Tomorrow I get to see my counselor again, but she's moved to a different office, so I shall plan extra driving time to find it. I'm excited to see her because this week hasn't gone so well and I want to talk about it. Usually on Tuesday nights, I visit friends, and that seems to be what helps turn me from my weekend depression to my better time of week. This week, I didn't go, and my depression had plenty of fun. I should make it pay rent for the time and energy it uses in my brain. But no, instead I pay money to try to make it less controlling (meds, dr and therapist appointments).

Happy Wednesday. My work week is more than half over!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday

I just felt like uploading a picture, in case you are wondering why it suddenly appeared. With my laptop, I can do that! (At the library, it involved remembering my camera, plugging it in, etc.)

Today, I had to finishing compiling information on graduate schools that I was to contact. I wrote the mandatory essay. Then I turned it in really fast. The reasoning? I'm tired, hungry, and mostly irritated. So I wanted to just turn it in as fast as I could. Which might explain why the first time I turned it in, I actually entered the whole two and a half page (double spaced) paper as a comment, with no submission. Quite an irritatingly long comment. My apology to the teacher's aide who grades my work. Yes, I apologized in a second comment, faaaarrrr below the beginning of the first "comment," and this time accompanied by the paper pasted into the appropriate paper spot. Basically, irritating, but shouldn't matter in the long run at all. Anyway, I'm glad I don't have to worry about grad schools again for a long while (I have a deal with myself, and according to this deal, all I've committed to is my bachelor's degree. I don't have to even think about grad school - except if I have to to complete an assignment. But that assignment is over now.)

Anyway, one question I wanted to ask colleges was about a part time option, in case I need it "for health reasons." Thought I'd keep my mental illness out of my e-mails to the colleges (just stating it for anyone to see on my blog instead), at least for the time being. Anyway, while I suspect I could get a part time option to work at most places, it doesn't look like most of their students are taking such an option. Oh, well. I'm not most anyway.

Yesterday in church I heard a comment that I've heard in church before. The good old reference to people trying to escape the unhappiness that their sin has caused them, trying to medicate it. It's such a simple little sentence, and I'm sure it is meant sincerely, and probably if I brought it up as offensive, I'd be told they weren't talking about me. In fact, there might even be people, or maybe just a person, out trying to medicate their real, non-mental-illness-related, guilt away. Then again, it wasn't at all lightly that I started taking medication. And really, so what if it was real guilt that fueled my depression enough to land me in a psych unit at the hospital? You wanna go tell someone in the hospital that they shouldn't take meds, they should just pray? Um, if praying could fix it, I'm pretty sure there would be less of us in there. I think I'd sum the issue all down into one of unawareness. The poor pastor probably doesn't even know that I struggle with depression. He probably didn't consider that such a comment might have no affect on the mentally healthy, truly rebellious Christian while it would potentially hurt a medicated or not-yet-medicated Christian with a real mental illness. Or just fuel the uneducated bystanders with questions about possible real guilt causing mental illness. Which I'm sure it could, but really? I've prayed, okay?


Then I overheard something about rebellion and questioning God about a mental illness. And I really want to say that I wasn't in rebellion when I sat through church alternatingly participating and praying and distracting myself by doodling on my bulletin so that I didn't get too angry about things that were said that triggered my upsetness even though the actual things spoken were fine (I have some baggage, okay?) (and I wasn't going to bring up the doodling, either, if I jumped in). In my praying, there was a lot of talking to God about my depression and OCD, and there were questions about why, and there were requests for healing (and if all this didn't occur in church, I'm pretty positive it occurred over the course of the day). I still ask God to give me a new brain. I still wish my brain worked differently. I still wish I was healthy. I think it is okay to feel that. I don't think that is in the same category as simple rebellion and turning away from God. I think sometimes it is actually turning towards God, turning to Him with a broken heart.

(Oh, have you ever wondered if clicking on a word in spell check counts as plagierism or using someone else's work, since you didn't type the word? Or typed out the date when the computer brought it up so you could just hit enter, in case hitting enter was cheating? While simultaneously knowing that that's silly and that a million students are out using spell check and entering the date instead of typing it out?)

I tend to have trouble on Mondays. This Monday joins the group. It's after 7:15 and I haven't eaten yet. I'd better go buy food that I want to eat tonight.

Friday, February 10, 2012

support groups and schoolwork

Greetings. I have finished one of the two remaining lectures that need to be finished before the end of tomorrow. I want to get the other one done before I finish for the day. It's only 23 minutes long. (But I'll probably pause it once or twice to relisten to something or to look at a slide more closely.) I have concluded that I can keep up in two classes at the time. This results in a juggling action where I get ahead and catch up various classes but am kept on my toes at some point each week. But at least it is working. And I haven't had much trouble keeping up in the ASL (sign language) class once I got caught up the first time. It is the required classes that keep scaring me now. What a (not) surprise. Oh, and the bad grade I got on a test in ASL? The D? He regraded it and gave me a B. Not sure why. I forgot about the teachers who grade on a curve or who set the A standard on the highest performance on the test instead of 100%. Maybe that was it. Somehow, that doesn't help me feel so much better because I still think I should have known it well enough to get 96% of the points as written. Oh, perfectionism.

I had a question for people. Does anyone else ever go to support groups for people with mental illnesses? I have done so and still do sometimes (but I've been having trouble getting myself out of the house for that recently). Last time I went, however, I found myself feeling inferior to the other people with mental illnesses. As if I'm inferior to healthy people and to these people, both. I don't cope with stress as well as a "healthy" person. But I don't have the same problems as some of these people with mental illnesses. I hear them and think, now they really have a mental illness, not just a light case like you have. They are truly brave and courageous dealing with the sorrows life has given them, while here I am struggling to get by with my stupid little case of depression and OCD. My OCD isn't that bad - I can still work. What am I complaining about? Can't I just deal with it? My depression - well, it might just be an episode (yeah, the kind that lasts off and on for years). It's not bi-polar, which, obviously, is more respectable, a more real mental illness. And I'm not in the hospital nor particularly close to needing such care at the moment. Ha, I'm only mild to moderately depressed. Why do I have trouble? I shouldn't say much. My trouble is too little. I'm just weak.

Huh, funny that "weak" is the final conclusion. So what if I am weak? (I mean, so what beyond my silly unhelpful and unhealthy ideas of what I should be.)

Anyway, I wondered if anyone else felt this way, neither sick enough nor healthy enough. I know that thinking was kind of distorted. Funny how it still feels disturbing despite distortions (yes, I'm playing with word sounds now).

Now I'm getting hungry. Hunger is always interrupting my studying - or my procrastination of studying. I think I'll go back and try to get a little farther before I call it a night and head home for frozen pizza and an adventure book (easy-read suspense novel equals escape or at least partial escape from the world where my brain is throwing darts at me).

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Quiet Day

Sleep is so important to my mental health. But its another of those things that can be a symptom and a depression perpetuator at the same time. Twice last week I pulled the I-don't-feel-like-getting-up-and-eating-supper game, followed by dinner after 9 pm and a very late evening of reading a book. These aren't exactly helpful in getting a handle on the latest depression attack, but I'm trying to have a little mercy on myself at the same time, because the depression attack is probably what made it so hard not to pull one of these late nights.

Then last night, I babysat. Which I enjoy. But it went late. And then today, when I did leave the house, I got grumpy about something someone said. And had the nice, really indecisive-but-still-trying-to-shop experience after that. Then I wisely took a nap. Not so wisely, I didn't eat lunch first, just drank a breakfast chocolate milk thing. So, not surprisingly, I feel sick now. And I have plans for tomorrow that do not include being sick and laying around. What is wrong with me and when am I gonna get a handle on it? I'd think by now that I would know to accept that I have a chronic illness that isn't my fault that I really truly am doing my best to deal with, but it isn't all in my control. Someone recently was reminding me, it is an illness! You don't get over it by faith or will power anymore than you would get over heart disease or cancer.

Anyway, I'm gonna try doing some schoolwork now. Sometimes that helps my brain straighten out some.

Friday, February 3, 2012

"outswamped" is my new favorite word

Once again, I find myself with my computer taking a study break from wading through a lecture on the tympanic membrane - I'm supposing that he will soon move on to the rest of the middle ear, since he only has so many lectures on the ear's anatomy. And I'm hungry. It seems that hunger and studying go together, but I don't want to buy food here. Oops, wasn't I supposed to accept that expense? Well, still... I'll eat at home in a half hour or forty-five minutes.

Today, I found out that my living situation will be changing, probably with a new room-mate, at least. So now that the stress regarding my mom's health (which concludes with my mom not having cancer - you know how it takes time for the medical people to prove to their satisfaction that cancer isn't there. She hasn't had it yet, either.), anyway, now that is past and the roommate situation comes up. Life continues to be, um, not boring.

My current hobby is reading suspense novels - still the cheap, quick reads.

Interestingly enough, what threw me most today was finding out about a friend who is preparing to move to another country, as a student, but more so doing her best to follow what she perceives as God's leading. There seems to be plenty of references to missionaries "giving all" and following God to a foreign country, sometimes one that they hadn't wanted to go to. I presume that these people (or at least some of them) end up loving the place they go to and "growing in their relationship with God." I've kind of been through part of that, moving to a different place with a different culture. But the only "changed" expectation was that I figured God would send me to a desert, and instead landed near a rainforest. But I ended up loving it. And I don't feel like I "lost everything." I traveled there with my suitcases and didn't much miss the stuff I'd left at home. Probably the biggest thing I "lost" was a shot at American "normalcy" in a just-after-highschool college experience. And that was something I probably wouldn't have completely attained anyway. And my cultural standards got nice and confused, which made returning to my "home" state confusing. But I gained lots, which still fits the stereotypical missionary immage of the "I left everything and I gained something so worth it." Which is a nice happyish thought. Really, its okay if you don't want to read my ramblings about mission work; my blog isn't mostly about this, so feel free to bail.

Anyway, my story gets more complicated when I returned to my "home" state. I didn't feel like God had led me away from my "mission" site, yet situational "guidance" pretty clearly sent me home. (Someone later told me that I could have stayed and cooked and mopped floors and things. I.e., come have a job where my contamination OCD could grow into a heart-wrenching problem while the pleasures of the job were way outswamped by the struggle.) So basically, I felt betrayed by God, that he'd led me where he wasn't allowing me to go. Interestingly enough, there was some comfort for that when I read the part of Acts where Paul kept running into dead ends. Anyway, then I "felt" like I was supposed to go to College A, but I really really didn't want to go. So I ended up going to the local community college, and I very rarely regret it. But it wasn't following the "feeling" of God's leading - but I did get a "feeling" in "answer" to a prayer that said it was okay to stay a the community college instead of going to College A. I, of course, decided this a few days before I was to fly out. So I still think it was okay to stay at the community college, however, was that what messed me up from "feeling" God's Will? What that the "sin" that irreperably broke the connection? That has never been fixed because I've never truly "repented" enough? Possibly, but I don't think so.

But it gets better. Which is my way of saying that it gets worse. I spent the next three semesters rushing through college to get my A.A. degree. Yes, I graduated in three semesters, and yes, I'm a bit proud about it in a hopefully-un-sinful way. The trick was testing out of a semester's worth of classes. CLEP tests, language placement tests, planning myself and checking it with my advisor instead of having her plan my life for me. But my whole goal was to go back to the last official missionary job that I had, which was a job I loved - the raising support thing isn't so much fun, if I could have been payed in place of the "missionary" title, that would have been even better. So this was the purpose I lived for, the future plan that let me think I wasn't depressed (since I actually wanted to live for this job). And then... my plan fell through. I was willing to go, but my application and my past history of depression along with my OCD method of filling the application (be sure to send your OCD on vacation far away from you while you fill out an application that is important to you) and the people who got it... I wasn't straight out turned down; my application was pretty much turned down, as in, I was asked to re-write it. Which is funny, considering the reason it sounded so wishy-washy to them was because I was afraid of lying and my OCD had fun with that, since that was the one thing I thought could disqualify me. Instead of re-writing a poorly worded but none-the-less sincere application (immagine the number of "maybe"s I put into it), I "withdrew my application." And the plan I had been living on for almost two years was broken.

That's okay, I thought, I'll just live my slightly-American-dream-ish dream of working full time in a paid setting that I enjoyed (i.e., childcare) and living in an appartment and owning a car. So I started living that. Right along with starting to investigate my "emotional problems." And in less than a year, I visited the "behavioral health unit" of the hospital for a few days. By the way, that name bugs me. Makes me feel like a child who never learned how to behave. Mental health unit sounds better, since I like the mental illness model of understanding my illnesses instead of the if-you-were-a-better-_______-then-you-wouldn't-feel-this-bad model.

Back to my story. I spent the next year and a half getting to where I am now, living through the depression and hopelessness and lack of desire to continue living on this earth. Heaven sounded really good. But I was pretty positive that there are better ways of switching from earth to heaven than trying to make it happen all by myself.

So now I'm here, working part time, educating myself via student loans and online classes and lectures that I'm momentarily avoiding, and trying to preserve as much mental health as I can while still taking three classes and not exercising as often as I should and generally not being "better enough" at whatever it is that I wish could cure the remaining depression. And my friend is working towards a "foreign" place, following what she sees as God's clear, undisputable call, afraid to even consider what could happen to her if she disobeyed. I remember that fear, too. What-if I didn't follow God's call and something bad happened? It still seems a little more like OCD than biblically founded fear to me. But that's my interpretation.

And she mentions the people who avoid "following God's call" to missionary work, who aren't willing to give up "everything." Que the music for setting up "missionaries" as "more obediant" Christians. These unwilling people are also part of the stereotypical talk around missions. But here is the missing part. Missionaries are just Christians (unless, of course, they are missionaries of another religion). Missionaries have the same basic sin problems and personality problems and stress problems and money problems and health problems - except for the ones with such health problems that end them up off "the field." I guess even that part isn't too far off from the stereotypical conversations around missions.

Here's the part I haven't heard about so often. The people who desperately want to go to "the field" but who can't because of funding, family issues, visas, health, application issues, mission agency issues, or whatever. People who would gladly give up "everything" since it isn't everything to them. People who have cried because they couldn't go. People who look on the surface to be just like all the other "lesser Christians" who stay home from missions and instead live the "sinful" "American dream." People like me. But I just tried to say that there weren't "lesser Christians" and "better Christians." I guess this is a fine place to admit that what my mind knows doesn't always change my feelings when I want it to, so I continue feeling like there is a heirarchy even while I believe that there isn't one.

So I cried today. Because I still don't fully understand why I'm here and couldn't go there to a place of warmth and light and ---NO DARK SNOWY WINTERS!! :-) --- there might be some Seasonal Affective Disorder issues hidden in there. Because I kind of miss the times of feeling like God was giving me specific directions and I was "surrendering" to Him, getting closer and closer to Him as I became more obediant. But I know that times of feeling like God is being silent on an issue can require just as much if not more faith - which faith my mind knows is also a gift, so we can't really have faith competitions; that's kind of a silly idea. I still have a desire to go, after all my personnally life-shaking experiences over the last year and a half.

But I don't think God always directs us with specific "you need to go here now" directions. Sure, he can. And I'm trying to presume that he did, in my friend's case. Either way, she's the one who has to decide what to believe on that, not me. And I still kind of think he did for me, too, in the past. But now? It's different. It's so much less specific and open and foggy. And sometimes I'm afraid I've gone numb, gone calloused through disobedience and lack of repentence - especially now that I'm trying not to ask forgiveness for things that I'm not sure are sin (i.e. trying to keep the scrupulosity from being a big part of my religion). But "that's a risk that I'm going to take." It is. I am. But I haven't turned from God; I've just changed part of my ideas about him.