Monday, April 30, 2012

I finished my classwork. I think. The OCD had a bit of fun with that. Like exams; test-taking strategy: never admit that you don't know the answer to a question (unless your teacher is one of those who specifically tells you she would rather you just right "I don't know" or draw a pretty picture or tell a joke - I've heard that before). Maybe your guess will be right and you don't want to admit ignorance if you are actually right.

But OCD says, "You might be lying. Maybe you should just admit that you don't know."

And Anti-OCD, a logical, conscienceless creature that lives to fight OCD, says, "If you are "lying," the teacher will know it right off. If the teacher knows it right off, then you did not deceive the teacher. It's called guessing on a test, okay?"

And OCD mutters, "I'm never okay with anything. Why do bother asking." But OCD did pick up on that "choose your battles" phrase thrown around in discussions of dealing with behavior issues with children, so OCD lets that one slide. (Besides, all that psychiatric medication and ERP stuff saps some of OCD's energy, so it does have to prioritize now.)

And... I forgot the other OCD issues. Just can't keep track of it all, you know, because I have limited time and energy and brain space, too.

Then, there was an assignment that wouldn't let me submit yesterday, so I submitted that assignment with another one and through e-mail. The instructor got the e-mail, sending back "thanks." But today, the assignment is telling me I'm late, and has the submit button back in place. It just isn't all rapped up nicely! Something terrible might happen. Like... the assignment living there for years, uncompleted. And that just is annoying.

The helpful web cite tells me I'm two thirds of the way to my degree (though just credit-wise, I'm much closer to having enough). I guess that's okay. I'm not taking one of the "planned" classes this summer. It is slightly tempting... but not very. I'm really ready for a break from heavy schoolwork (hence why I'm taking Human Anatomy this summer? Just kidding, I think that won't be too bad, and if it is, I can just put it off until I've had enough of a break).

Okay, over all, I'm doing pretty well today. As in, I'm feeling pretty well. And I was two minutes early for work. Hurray!

Enough computer for the moment... 'bye!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Optimist that I am (did I really just say that?), I assumed that because I am taking the medication in the morning, all my sleeping in troubles should be gone. But that doesn't explain why I slept until after I should have left for work yesterday and then was 7 minutes late for work today. I don't know if it is the medication or the anxiety and stress and depression (do I still have that? Oh, for goodness sakes! Save that question for another time) just wearing me out. And now it seems to hang on through the day.

I went to my sign language lab (via the lovely internet) this afternoon, but when I started to practice my presentation, my signs were all mixed up. About the equivalent of saying "bood day" instead of good day. I would expect that if I had taken most of the year off of sign language, but it had only been a week!

And my part of the paper we have to write together? On Monday I tell her that I'll have my part ready before lab, could she please work on her part. But today, she had her part, and my part wasn't ready. Let's just say that instead of her holding me back, I'm holding her back. So I gave my self the good old, "you'd have grace for her, so you need to give grace to yourself" talk. Actually, I might not have been too noble on the grace side if I wasn't running behind like I am. A few weeks ago, I was upset with her (silently). And now, I want her grace. Well, guess what; I think I've got her grace, too. It will work out.

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Question Regarding Therapists/Counselors

I had one of those conversations when I talk about things with someone, momentarily setting aside the fact that this conversation will probably disturb me later. I keep wondering why I talk about these sorts of things with some people, knowing how they might respond, but I do keep talking. Maybe hope is a good thing. Maybe sometimes it will make me sad later. Oh, well. It doesn't look like I'll stop talking (at least not for too long).

But this came up again. The theory seems to go like this. I'm not better yet (better enough, whatever that is), so my counselor must not be a good counselor. I should find a new one. Okay, that's probably a bit oversimplified with some added black and white.

But here is what I wonder - no, first, here is what I think.
1. It's not fair to judge a counselor by their patient. Depression and OCD aren't always "fixed," even by the best counselors. At least, I'm pretty sure I could back that up, and much easier than backing up the opposite.
2. Just because you got over depression in half a year or a year and a half doesn't mean that I will "get over" mine that fast.
3. Too many things could factor into my mental illness. Let's not forget the chemicals. And the medication. Should I throw out my Psychiatrist because I'm still going through meds? (These people might think I should find a new psychiatrist - if I even need medication, so I guess that arguement doesn't hold much water for them.) But assuming the possibility of chemicals, a physical disfunction in the brain, and that sometimes it takes more time to find the right medication, these are all things that could offset whatever miracles a therapist might be working. Then let's add stress. Then let's add patient compliance (really, is it the teacher or the student's fault if the student isn't learning? Maybe it could even be both). Then let's add... I don't know. I'm still working through things, okay? I wasn't Miracle Woman, okay? My first medication didn't work for me, okay?

I guess I'm a little frustrated.

Anyway, maybe these wonder people have a point; maybe my counselor doesn't push me hard enough (of course, I don't want to be pushed too hard and don't want a counselor that pushes me faster than I'm ready to go - urge me, maybe, force me, never). Maybe my counselor isn't smarter than all the other people I've talked to about stuff I'm supposed to "get over." Maybe, just like everybody else, she can't solve everything.

Okay, I'm being way too frustrated for a good, present-a-question speech. Let's just say it.

How do you decide when to move on from a counselor?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A pretty good day/shopping anxiety

Today, I finished one of my classes. Finished! With a high B or a low A, if something good happens (like a bunch of people getting a lower score on the final exam? That doesn't seem very nice).

But I'm okay with a B. Or trying to be. And this helps; I've decided that doing schoolwork while your brain tries to convince you that dying is a great idea should give you extra points. I've decided it should give you ten percentage points, i.e. move you up one grade level. With that, I'm getting an A in this class (in my mental transcript that grad schools will never see). So that's good. I've accomplished something good. (Please realize that I tend to remember academic things pretty easily and I tend to test well with multiple choice tests; if you are one of those people who really works hard for a C, don't think I worked harder than you, because I probably didn't.)

Then, I went shopping for new shoes. Justification: My knees ache at the end of most days right now, so maybe new shoes will change that. And I went to the "big" mall in the neighboring city. And I had fun. And I bought a shirt for more than ten dollars, which might be a sin. And then I bought some kitchen tools at a good price, which might also be a sin. And then I bought supper, but I'm going to think that wasn't a sin, since it is a good thing to feed myself. And then I bought some books. Board books for reading with current and future toddler students. Not only did I buy these books, I also got the educator discount, even though I maybe shouldn't have since I teach toddlers, which might not count as Pre-K, so maybe I was stealing, even though the clerk lady let me do it. And then, as if that wasn't enough, I bought a video online. Surely by now, I have sinned by spending money that I should have saved. I'd like some reassurance, so please don't give it.

I bought a light jacket yesterday (see, I keep spending money). I really wanted to check the prices of some jackets I saw today to see if I really got a good deal or if I wasted my money yesterday, but I didn't. Pretty positive that would be some kind of reassurance checking. And what good would it do? The coats are more expensive, so I keep worrying and wondering if there are other, cheaper coats. Or the coats are cheaper, but I still can't (or won't) take the first one back, so I'll feel guilty, or try to convince myself I was okay to spend that money.

And now, is all that stupid anxiety, well, is some of it my conscience? Is it just normal anxiety that I'm too lazy to handle, so I seek to blame it on a disorder? Is that anxiety really OCD? Maybe I don't have OCD anymore. Maybe it doesn't disturb me enough or take up a whole hour each day. Back to the wimpy or lazy issue. Maybe I should spend another good while on this question. If I take an hour to solve it, at least I will know that I have OCD. Or wait; no I won't, because I wouldn't be able to know it for sure if I had OCD.

Other than that, I had a good day. The sun came out. I liked my new jacket. And my shoes... well, my knees didn't hurt until after 8 pm, so I'll hope that's a good sign.

And I really think that taking my medication in the morning might be working. And I really like getting rid of my supper medications; it is annoying to have to take them with me when I eat supper at someone else's house.

Friday, April 20, 2012

school stress declines, med dose increases, no corelation for the moment

Oh, no. They just changed format for blogger. I think that is annoying (the change, not necessarily how they have changed it)... but I'll get used to it.

As might be expected, my counselor and my psychiatrist were quick to point out that other things could be causing my tiredness and my anxiety. Like taking too many classes, for example. (And neither of them argued with me when I said I took too many classes.) But I only have two weeks left, so I think I will survive.

And the teacher I was so frustrated with? He wrote back a nice, reasonable letter explaining that he didn't mean for me to feel frustrated and explaining the project in more detail, including that he was more interested in how we were signing than what we were signing on this project (I'd been stressing out about having "good enough" research and perfect APA reference listings and all that). So I think I will survive. And it is due in a week, so I have visualized for myself that I will do my best, send it in, and then the pressure will go away and it will be okay - "please, God, let me get a B or a C, whatever I need so that it doesn't hinder me later." Um, if I only pray that twice - oh, wait, maybe that would be more like 5 times due to my lovely habit of repeating myself - can it not count as a compulsion? Or... let's just decide not to pray it any more and not worry about whether or not I performed it as a compulsion in the past.

Back to the psychiatrist, he, of course, was more interested in raising my dose. He said it wasn't a fair comparison with my last SSRI, since I would need to triple or quadruple the dose to be equivalent of my last SSRI's dose. Yes, both of those are more than the "recommended" doses. Yay, OCD, so glad you are around to make me have to take two or three times the normal dose of things.

Of course, the OCD has decided to concentrate on scrupulosity - well, that or it has gone into hiding. But I get really, really confused sorting out depression, scrupulosity, and fallout from some bad church experiences. What is what? Who knows? Who cares (besides me)? So I would like to argue that I shouldn't need OCD medication right now.

You know, this keeps coming around and its visiting me again. The, I'm doing so much better; all the depression and anxiety I have left is purely my imagination. Aren't you jealous of my counselor? Actually, I think she often doesn't realize when I go through these periods because she seems to think that we already dealt with that and moved on. I've thought that, too, but am trying to decide that it will keep coming up, at least potentially.

My counselor's idea for improving my waking up was confirmed by my psychiatrist; I'm going to take the new SSRI in the morning instead of at night. I'm hoping it works... I took it this morning. Sure gave me an amazing nap this afternoon - I woke up thinking it was a weekday morning and I was running late for work. But that's okay; at least it wasn't true.

I've figured out at least part of my summer academic schedule. I get to take this lovely correspondence course for Human Anatomy. With a "virtual lab." I'm really excited about that. Even though I appreciated my college labs. I don't like doing them myself, though, and I didn't want to take Human Anatomy from my community college. Anyway, here is the best thing about this class; I have a whole year to complete it. Perfect! I plan to get it all done this summer anyway, but that far away deadline should help keep the stress down. Then I was tempted to go ahead and take to classes this summer, but I'm thinking I'll stick to my one class plan. Because I need a rest from the school stress. And because, even though I could take all year for the anatomy class, I don't want too, since I have other classes to take the rest of the year.

And another best thing? The big text book they use? They are still using the 5th instead of the 6th edition, so I found it online for $12.18 including shipping and handling. From my neighboring state. Perfect!

I seem to be in a good mood tonight. I also did some studying this afternoon, but I modeled it after the Speech Therapy pattern often used with children where they work on something for a little and then play a game or part of a game. I bribed myself through most of a journal article. It was fun.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Abigail's April Scapegoat

Sometimes I want to use a bunch of "bad" words, all together, and very loudly. Preferably with no one around to hear. Perhaps I should come up with some other way to express frustration. Besides throwing my car keys on the ground as hard as I can (I don't have one of those fancy electronic button key things, so this isn't particularly damaging to anything). Besides... I don't know besides what. I guess I'll just settle for trying to cool off by writing (might go over better than physical or vocal exercise seeing as I'm in the library right now).

It's the end of the semester. Everything is coming due (besides all I've already turned in). Time is, um, disappearing. So, I squeeze in observation hours of Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs, for short) at work. This means that after spending five and a half hours working with too many one-year-olds, I rush from work to the place the SLP will be working. The time between finishing work and starting observations (if the SLP is right on time) is 30 minutes, during which I drive and eat. Then I observe. And then today, I followed it up with my sign language class lab. During which our helpful lab instructor... helps us communicate, but is not informed of the particulars of our assignments. In fact, for over a month, our lab instructor thought we were in ASL I, not ASL II, which means we lost over a month's worth (maybe 6?) of lab sessions to start preparing for our group project, which she still doesn't know too much about. Note to self: if someone says, "I will ask for you," nod politely, be hopeful, but still go ahead and ask yourself. Or you will be where I am right now, about to write an e-mail with my questions to the teacher and hope that, despite his not answering my last two e-mails at all, this time, he will answer promptly. Why do I take classes????!

But I was supposed to be cooling off, since expressing anger at teachers just might not help my cause at all. And sure, maybe if I was a super-hero student, I would have asked all these questions before instead of assuming that such seemingly basic information would be provided without being requested. Now, I am a depressed, anxious, irritated student frustrated by feeling asked for something without being given enough direction to give what is being requested.

Kind of like getting told by my boss that I need to have more help in the classroom when I know that the other teachers are also very busy. I got help... right along with eight more toddlers. I think I would have preferred no help and no more toddlers, but since when do we get what we want at lunch time in a child care facility. What a ridiculous thought.

And the thirty-five dollar question (that's my co-pay for three more months, after which I can join the ranks of the uninsured - wait, let me stop before something sarcastic and political comes out. And everything coming out right now is tainted with sarcasm, so the only thing I can easily prevent is politics). Back to the thirty-five dollar question: at my Psych Dr. appointment tomorrow, will he get the priviledge of seeing Abigail the sarcastic and angry?!? Because, with all my sarcasm and frustration, I'm holding the medication to blame! At least if that is the real problem, I can just stop taking the stupid med. If, on the other hand, that isn't the answer, I might be stuck with this mood for a good while longer. Of course, when have I kept the angry/irritated mood for too long... I usually turn out of it, deeper into depression if not elsewhere.

And now I've lost my train of thought. Let's blame that on the medication, while we're at it. Let's name this medication Abigail's April Scapegoat. Sounds good. Maybe if I'm angry with the scapegoat, I can fake a good mood for the sign language teacher. Maybe if I fake a good mood, he will get back to me faster. Hey, I can always hope.

While blaming the scapegoat, I'd like to bring up a crazy spelling/writing problem. It's been happening recently. For example, I was taking notes of my observation, like a good little A student. but I kept writing the wrong word! Skipping a letter, or even writing a whole different word that just starts with a few shared letters with the intended word. There should be a name for this. I'm apparently growing a disorder. No, wait; it can't be a disorder and be blamed on the medication, can it?

Let's not forget the latest in Abigail's Fight Against Sleeping In. When talking with a friend, I remembered how I switched from drinking coffee (I didn't like the taste and it took too long to prepare instant coffee) to eating candy, since sugar seemed to wake me up at least as much as the yucky coffee. So, since moving my phone alarm clock around the room wasn't enough to get me awake in time to get to work in time, I placed candy by my bed. Surely I would wake up for the pleasure of a piece of candy, and then the sugar should kick in and I should be able to get to work on time. Well, it is kind of working. I haven't been late to work yet. However, this morning, I found myself falling back asleep before I even finished the candy in my mouth. As in, I'd wake up to a mouth full of candy. Really? It's like I'm one of the over-tired one-year-olds who can't stay awake for all their lunch. They look kind of cute, sleep-eating until they are too deep in sleep for that, at which point they slump peacefully in slumber. Or not-so-peacefully. I'm sure they prefer their cribs. Well, at least that's an amusing thought to finish my amusing but disconcerting tail of wake up woes.

Now, with my partially functioning brain (the rest rode off on a certain scapegoat), I think I will try to politely, clearly, and urgently e-mail my professor.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

rough start, but at least the day got better

Really, I should probably admit to myself that the pastor was in a loose-loose situation with me before he even said a word. I can't fault him for doing a sermon on the first part of Philippians 4; even I agree you shouldn't avoid passages because they might make someone upset, today's someone being me.

Then he mentioned the Anxiety Disorders Association of America - who even knew they existed? (Well, I knew that, Pastor.) And here is my problem; I don't like anxiety disorders in the same sermon with the "don't worry" message. And if they must be there, I want a careful differentiation between disorders and the kind of worry that we see as sin. And that differentiation probably couldn't be made to my satisfaction, even if I had written the words and then forgot that I was the one who wrote them. So talking to him after church might not have been a good idea. I don't trust my brain to have heard him right, especially what he said to me when I talked to him. I'm pretty sure that he did okay, over all. That he did a fine job dealing with the issue. Even if it could be improved, he did well enough.

Turning back the clock a couple hours, I had a terrible time waking up, even though I slept in compared to work days and got around 10 hours of sleep. This coupled with... itself, I suppose. And I was really upset. I was really upset when I got to church; I was throw-my-keys-on-the-ground-to-try-to-get-rid-of-my-anger upset when I left church. I wanted to call the psychiatrist on call from my psych dr.'s office. I wanted to say that something needed to be changed right away, that I needed to start getting off of what I suspect is the offending medication.

Speaking of medications, I forgot to take my supper medications with supper today. Note to self: I'd better do that when I get home.

Instead of calling the psychiatrist, I went into a store and had a good time shopping. How can it be that I now spend money and get things to feel better? This could be a problem. Or it could mean that I will actually wear clothes that look good more often instead of my multiple years old, faded and dying clothes that I can't quite convince myself to get rid of. Let's hope for the more positive outcome. Anyway, post-shopping, I felt like I could handle life. With my two new shirts. I could survive Monday in the orange one. Maybe the thought of wearing it would help me wake up. And my psychiatrist doesn't come to the office until Tuesday. Tuesday, I could survive because I got a pretty, black shirt to wear when I go do my observations of yet another Speech Language Pathologist right after work. And surviving through Tuesday's observation is enough for the moment. I'll figure the rest out later. And maybe call the Dr. We'll see how it goes.

And now, back to schoolwork. That part of my life happens to be going pretty well today.

Friday, April 13, 2012

tired of the tired side effect

Tuesday and Wednesday nights, I was able to turn my light off by 10:15 and made it to work on time the following mornings. Last night? I ran late. This morning? I ran late again. It really bothers me. I don't think I'd loose my job over it, but if it became too much of a problem, I'm afraid I could loose the hours that I currently work, which I really like.

Today, when apologizing to a coworker, I explained that I was on a medication that I couldn't wake up on time from. The coworker surprised me when she said that it wasn't my fault. I, of course, was blaming the medication, but blaming myself even more. But she wasn't blaming me. Another coworker didn't even notice that I was late (8 minutes late; terrible, in my perfectionist mind). I see my psychiatrist Thursday. Hopefully we can find a solution. I realize that I haven't been getting as much sleep as I should because I keep staying up late, but even then, I have normally still been able to get up in time in the morning, not come more than five minutes late to work twice in one week.

Anyway, I seem to have finally woken up from my afternoon nap, but my brain is still having some trouble with normal thinking. Maybe if I eat supper that will help...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

toooo tired (please let me wake up on time tomorrow...)

I'm exhausted and almost ready to give up schoolwork for the night. I think I will blame part of the tiredness on depression and/or anxiety and/or medication. Because I think if I was healthy and non-medicated, I would be able to wake up in the morning after sleeping 6 hours. I realize that 6 is less than the "advised" amount, but I should still be able to wake up then. Instead of an hour later, when I'm supposed to be about to arrive at work, not just opening my eyes.

Of course, in my dream, I was dealing with a fire and a flood and thought how convenient/ironic it was that I had just gone to a training on emergency preparedness. Maybe all that excitement in my dream tired me out, or at least tied me into my sleep during the adventure.

My plan for tonight is to put my alarm clock under the dresser instead of on it and to hide my cell phone somewhere else unusual, so that hopefully I will have to look for it, and hopefully in that time, I will wake up enough to get myself to stay up.

The schoolwork, job work, and mental health endeavors have conspired together against me. I can't get an A in all of it (or maybe I can...). I work from seven a.m. until noon or 12:30, eat lunch, maybe take a break, and then do schoolwork until late in the evening. Which is obviously not working, since it is getting in the way of waking up the next morning. But the school deadlines are all coming up as the semester finishes. By 3:30 tomorrow, I am supposed to be knowledgeable about cochlear implants. Thankfully, I already know some. But still, I want to know more, to have researched more, to have better references, to verify that what I think is true from the last time I studied it is still true! Maybe it's not, and we all know how terrible it would be (to my OCD) if I accidentally lied, especially if I was negligent on my research. Okay, so I'm really worrying about guilt. Good to know. I already feel guilty for not studying better, like I've failed the other student working on the project with me. I wonder what "enough" would be? Guess what; I studied "enough" last week, but when I had to tell what I'd learned, suddenly I hadn't studied enough.

And my body aches. Irritated like it wants to explode and exhausted wanting to fall asleep at the same time.

And there were assumptions made on my part and on the part of others at work today that, um, didn't line up and left me with a telephone call from my boss asking about what one of the kids socks looked like (however good my memory might sometimes be, I don't memorize all of their socks) and about other things. So on the telephone I was my usual, "okay, uhuh, okay," self, while I got frustrated inside. Then I did raise my voice and slam my phone down after the call was over. So tomorrow I will try to explain my issues and find out how much overtime I'm being expected to work (time that I had planned to use for studying cochlear implants and related issues). And somehow... this will all work out. And my depression can just shut up, 'cause I don't want to hear it's snide remarks right now!

I did finally go back to a Zumba class I used to attend last night. It felt good.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

joy?

Something about feeling like I should be happy on a certain day sets me up for trouble. Makes perfect sense, I suppose. Christmas Day was a bit tough because everyone is running around saying, "Merry Christmas!" as if the day should have me smiling and happy. At least for Easter, they actually use a more current word to wish me cheer when they say, "Happy Easter!"

I did okay at church. Drew on my sermon note sheet, as usual. I drew a cross and was going to draw something sad, but ended up with an empty tomb, the sun rising, and flowers opening up in blooms. A nice hope of future joy. The next picture was of a woman crying. She might have been Mary in the garden before she knew Jesus was risen. She had a stereotypical Mary head covering. She was also me (but I wasn't currently crying). Then, above her, was a cloud. A dark cloud. That also came down over her. And above that? The sun was shining in a beautiful, clear sky, with a few small, light clouds. The sun's rays didn't come through the cloud though. And that is how I felt about the day. Like a split computer screen. The dark screen on the bottom where my depressed feelings still exist and the bright, hope-filled screen on top of that where part of me celebrated Jesus' resurrection and gift of salvation.

Maybe that's how joy and depression go together? I can't research that on the internet, though, until May 5th. :) And I'm okay with that. For the moment. :)

I did ask my dad a question. Judging from how his answer didn't give me what I wanted (which I don't even know quite what that would have been), it was probably some kind of reassurance-seeking or something. But I did not commit to living flawlessly without scrupulous compulsions for a month; I committed to avoiding internet research. I don't mean this is an excuse for me to run around asking people all the questions all the times I would have checked the internet, but I mean to remind myself that perfect, all-encompassing ERP was not the goal, and it's okay if sometimes I still end up doing other compulsions sometimes.

So, I wish you all a second computer window/screen with hope in it even if the only screen you can see right now is a depressed, anxious screen. The hope one can always be behind the depressed one, after all.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

I found some photos I thought I had lost forever

Last night, I was looking for a story I had started years ago. I didn't find that story, but I found some pictures that I thought I had lost forever when a certain computer died. Apparently, I had backed them up after all.

This is the first place that I lived that was far from home and my family and anyone I had formerly known. After high school, I spent the summer working at camp, and then moved to Luquillo, Puerto Rico, to work at a school for the deaf.
 
I could recognize Luquillo (Lu-key-o) by it's five tall buildings in the set, two clusters. This is a view of it from higher up, ascending the rain forest.

 
Closer up to two buildings. Riding home on the highway.

My first living room (shared)

Combined with partial kitchen (shared)
 
And bedroom (shared - conveniently, I was used to sharing and had done it most of my life).

The beach bordering Luquillo (see the tell-tale tall building). The first picture has the lighting wrong, showing it more like if you were wearing sun glasses. The sun was really bright there.
This picture is from in the school yard. Interestingly enough, I took almost the same photo when I visited two years later. I loved seeing this view.

I wonder, sometimes, why I did better there. In fact, I didn't do so much better. I worked part of the school day and part of the afternoon/evening (i.e., not full time). I had my moments of strong depressed thoughts and my five month run of crying hard every other night (seemed perfectly natural then, especially when a close friend was having the same issue). But, after the depression from the preceding summer took one last attempt, I did maintain a reason for living. I loved my students so much. I felt like my life had meaning and worth as I helped them learn and watched understanding and smiles light up their faces. And I loved the place: the smells, sounds, heavy rain, and bright sunshine. It was a period of growing up and of freedom. A period that, as it drew to a close, was overlapped by OCD making its claim on my mind.

It was a hard experience to give up. I missed it passionately. Perhaps it was really depression, but I accounted for it as the call of God upon me to return to that place and/or missing it/reverse culture shock (fascinating subject, by the way). I figured that I wasn't depressed because I actually still had a goal for the future: to go back. I got myself through community college, striving towards my goal. Choosing a church, making friends, getting my wisdom teeth out. I had a goal, a desperate earnestness.

Then, it didn't work out. Four words that cover a few difficult months. OCD played a part. Past depression played a part. So I came up with a new goal. I was going to get my mental health together. I wasn't going to promise to ever try going back again, so that goal was cut off. But I would go for mental health. Surely I would need that if I ever wanted to do something similar (which I really did want, still do).

Mental health is about as easy to attain as my goal of moving back longer term; not all of it lies within my simple control. It's a goal that slowly wilts and morphs, yet never quite gives up on regaining a non-depressed state.

So now? Now I can remember back. I can smile and feel the comfort and joy I had there. I know it is past, but...

Oh, forget the deep, philosophical thinking! It was really nice to find those pictures. :)

 This was in El Morro, the very old castle/fortress in San Juan.
 View from El Morro

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I was just going to quickly process something through writting, but it kept getting longer...

I saw my counselor today. Spent the first part decompressing from a hard morning of work. It wasn't just me; I think all the staff felt it. Why do we decide to decorate eggs and conduct egg hunts? But we all survived.

We talked about my anxiety with some social situations that my nasty - I mean, my challenging college classes have brought to me. I still don't like it, don't like the anxiety. But time is running out... nothing like a little pressure to force me into an anxiety-triggering situation (haha, it's probably a good thing that happens since I'm not good at doing it completely voluntarily; that's how I got so much more comfortable driving on the interstate - and I mean the nice semi-country interstate near where I live).

We touched on the potentially obsessive-compulsive issues I have with Christianity. I was eager to defend my recent research of Charles Spurgeon. My counselor was wary of anything involving the word research (outside of "normal" research, like college homework). So as I left, with the sun shining (I'd seen snow earlier in the day, so the sun was extra nice), I thought about it. I've recently researched Spurgeon. I've resently gotten the confirmation and encouragement and comfort that I wanted about my depression and still being a "good" Christian (never mind my technical oppinion that there aren't "good Christians" and "not-so-good/rebellious/bad Christians). And so, I nobely determined that, OCD or not, I could withhold from researching for a month, until May 5. That goal is so much easier in the sunshine. It kind of falters in a room with walls and a roof. It really trembles a bit when I look up a book that the young adult group at my church is going to go through. This, mind you, isn't the same kind of research. Maybe OCD, but not quite the kind I'm determined to avoid for a month. This investigation was to gage if this book was likely to make me angry/upset when I go to the group. So I look at one page of the book shown online. And I read through it. And... there wasn't anything wrong with it, no obvious heresy (I know, a "normal" person wouldn't be worrying about that) nor any doctrinal errors. But, there were instant triggers. And suddenly avoiding research for a month became a much stickier problem.

It's easy to determine Response Prevention when still enjoying the comfort and assurance of the last compulsion. It's easy, in the bright sunlight and brief moment of mental clarity, to see that I really don't need to keep researching this; a month off won't hurt a thing. But once the window passes? Once my brain is re-scrambled? Once the fear and almost-despair and I-don't-even-know-what arrive on the scene, I wonder how to handle this. No research. I'm still solid on that (after all, I haven't had that determination for three hours yet; I can't quit yet). But... When do I place myself in situations that set off my fear and guilt/false-guilt/insecurity? When is it better not to place myself in situations that I know will upset me? Is this something I need to "expose" myself to, or is it enough to just fight the compulsions that will naturally occur without enviting them to come faster and harder. Because Mr. Psychiatrist has actually commended me for avoiding situations that will bring me down.

I think I will keep to my current course? (End confident assertions with question marks. Leaves room for the OCD to question you without adding in false-OCD-guilt over lying.) I go to church on Sunday. Maybe I will be triggered alot, maybe I will just be triggered a little. Maybe it will be one of those amazing Sundays that actually goes well at church. But Sunday morning service is staying on the calender. Sunday school and young adult group? Those are optional. They have been optional for months, so I'm not making a new decision of avoidance. I'm trying to keep myself a little more sane. Like when I decide not to go to support groups for mental illness sometimes because I think that if I went, I would have to follow it up with self-support and attempting to talk myself out of the piece of gloom that came directly from my time at the support group.

Instead, maybe I'll get my taxes done (now, I'm just talking about tonight, since there is a church option and a support group option available tonight that I just might not go to).

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

It's been quite a day. My firefighter theme at work was put on hold as Easter eggs and candy arrived. Sometimes I have fun with holidays, but I wanted to just sneak past this one. But no, that was not to be. Today a teacher helped my older kids dye eggs while I managed to get snack cleaned up just before we started preparing for lunch. It was a busy morning, the sort that builds stress without anything bad happening. Actually, we got through it pretty well.

Then I had a quick (as in, shorter than usual) lunch, followed by studying. See, after worrying that my partner in this school project wouldn't do her research, I put mine off until last night and this afternoon in the hour and a half before lab, when our research was supposed to be done. Needless to say, I was no expert by lab time, but I did get enough crammed into my brain to slide by without looking really bad. My partner also had enough to go on, so we made it through lab.

And now? My self-discipline for the day is spent and I am doing what I want to. Which is writing. And not calling the Psychiatrist (because it's only minutes until his office closes, or at least that's my excuse). I have nothing particular to communicate, he just told me to call him in two weeks regarding how I was handling the med change. I slept in and was a few minutes late for work (but still arrived before both of the other people who are more or less scheduled to arrive at the same time), but I don't know that I could call that a side effect. Is it a side effect from staying up late, depression, or medication? And if medication, is it a side effect of withdrawing from a med or adding another one? And if it was from staying up late, was that from meds, depression, or my own, um, lack of wisdom? We will leave these questions to someone else, because my head aches (not a migraine, a simple tired/stressed headache!) and I just don't think there is a quick answer there and I really don't care much.

It snowed here today. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

a pretty good monday

Well, I'm already set for turning in at least one assignment late (not by midnight). If I hadn't set up a dentist appointment, then maybe... But I did set one up, so my paper can loose one point (a tenth of it's value). So, with my handy prioritizing brain, it occured to me to write the short paper today so that only one gets turned in late. Only, I still have to do the lab for this paper. The lab requires going to three different places and having a conversation with a lisp. I have to go to the bank, so there's one. I can go for-fun shopping and make myself have a conversation at two other places. And my current buying obsession is focused on board books. Good thing I'm a toddler teacher, or I really wouldn't have an excuse.

How I'm feeling changes, but is over-all staying at my normal, not-quite-healthy state. I think that is a good sign. I still want to blame some tiredness on my new medication, but I still can't quite justify that, considering how tired I was before I started it. I could blame interesting dreams on it, but they haven't been very troublesome, either. So I think the side effects are acceptable or even non-existant. Let's just hope that one of my medications supports what health and nerve I can gather so that I can actually have my conversations with a lisp. Because I'm pretty sure the teacher wanted the conversations to be longer than, "Can I help you?" "No, thankth."

I'm busy with a Community Workers theme for my toddlers. I'm having a good time with it. They have done pretty well, so far, except when one child got too excited over the fire truck book. As problems go, that's a pretty good one. Of course, there were all the normal problems, but I wont blame them on the theme. I'm slightly annoyed with myself that I can't find some personal hobby to give me the same amount of pleasure as I research and prepare on my own time. Oh, well. Having fun at work is some sort of justification for planning, especially if the planning is even more fun than the actual doing.