Thursday, November 29, 2012

a tired day

Well, here I am, on the computer, pretty much set up for homework. But am I doing homework? Oh, no. I haven't even checked my e-mail yet! Checking that now...

Today was, well, one of those days. I woke up, late. (Self control did not win, and I went back to bed with my alarm on snooze, and then must have turned it off...). Knowing I would be ten to fifteen minutes late to work, I called to let them know, and took my morning medication. Well, that was the goal. But I started by taking my evening Seroquel. REALLY??? Great second step to waking up too late to get to work on time.

Then, at work, well, I still work in a toddler classroom. Kids still bite. I still get frustrated. And my boss still reviews what happened when a bite report will be sent home. This time, her conclusion was that I wasn't the best multitasker. Okay, yeah. I'll agree with that. I'll take her advice for letting somebody else do the multitasking job when such a situation comes up again.

Today, I had my moments of thinking how I wasn't good enough at my job. And then (to some extent) I moved on. Because, fact is, working in a toddler classroom is just plain challenging, whether or not you are a gifted multitasker. It is even recognized as a tough job by people around me. So, Self, you do a tough job, and you don't do it perfectly, but you do your best. And that is enough.

Now I am HUNGRY (as I am, what, half the time I write on this blog?), but I don't want to stop for supper until I've made a little more progress on my actual college class (as in, more than looking at the schedule for the rest of the semester and the titles for the four remaining lectures in this class). :)

I'm not quite sure what the official solution to taking your medication 14 hours early is, but I think I'll just not take it tonight, and live through however that messes me up, and soon be back on my regular schedule. It is not a big deal that I took the dose at the wrong time; I used to take twice the dose that I take now. And what's more, once I forgot and doubled that higher dose when I accidentally took it twice in one evening. (The doctor kind of laughed at me, and asked if it made me feel extra tired, which it didn't. Go figure. Today I'm extra tired, but on double the double dose, I was okay. But actually, today I could just be tired because I'm tired, completely unrelated to my medication mistake.)

Well, now for listening to a lecture...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

On the mental health front;

I learned something today. In my mind, my life consists of working, going to school, and taking care of my mental health. Naps, relaxing, exercise, self-care, all of that falls under taking care of my mental health. But I think it makes me sound ill when I talk about it that way with people who maybe don't view their own lives as being lived on a mental health battlefield. So today, I made a discovery; I can describe what I do for self-care instead of giving the "mental health care" summary. Actually, I think the outside world might call them "hobbies." I read books, watch movies, paint little things, tap dance... Doesn't that make me sound like a healthier person? Even to myself, it sounds more positive, less locked in mortal combat with the monster that is/was trying to take over my brain. So that is one recent lesson.

Another is about mindfulness and eating. My counselor mentioned how she sometimes suggests people think about what they are eating, the taste, the texture, just really sensing it fully while they eat. She said she tried it herself, and found it very pleasant. I've tried it a few times, and this is what I come up with; I get to thinking too much about what I'm eating and the texture, and then it starts seeming gross, even if it is something I actually like. So for me, it works better to just straight enjoy the taste instead of trying to think about the texture and such and risking momentarily repelling my appetite. Mindfulness doesn't solve every problem. :)

Christmas tree

 Despite the OCD-recognized possibility for it being evil, I got a Santa stocking. I have never had a stocking for Christmas (that I can remember), and I've decided that I want to do one this year. Of course, surprising myself with its contents might be a little hard. Because my gifts from relatives that get mail, I usually open them right away (not big on self control there), and gifts from myself, well, I've seen before.

But I've found a way around that. I plan to buy one or two of those mystery toys that comes in a little foil sealed bag and gives you one of the "series" of toys shown on the package. Basically, a surprise. Of course, that will take self control as well, so we'll see how long it lasts. Perhaps in my own personal tradition, stockings will get opened two or three weeks early. That is the advantage of starting my own tradition for myself, right?
 As for the tree, I got this idea last year of making one on the wall with construction paper. However, when I got out my green construction paper yesterday, there wasn't enough. Then I found tissue paper in not quite the right color, but the size and brightness was right. So I went shopping for green tissue paper, and found sparkley stuff! Hurray! (I love sparkles.)

And, as my mom said, a tree on the wall is a good idea in a space as small as my beloved studio apartment. And she's right. So the tree hangs above my guinea pig.
In new additions yesterday, this tree cost me two dollars plus tax. Adding in the table clothe and the stocking, it's a four dollar decorating spree! Yay for dollar stores. :) I'm sure the electricity could be added in, but that would be too complicated, so we'll leave it off.

Anyway, if you happen to like Christmas this year, Merry Christmas Preparation Time, and if you don't, I'm sorry. I've been there, too. But hey, the sooner Christmas comes, the sooner it will leave again!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

OCD found a silver lining

You wouldn't expect OCD to find a silver lining. Then again, maybe you would. OCD finds some sort of reassurance in a particular misery of mine... yeah, that has probably happened before.

In this case, the cloud was that I needed to replace the rear brakes on my car. Not what I'd planned for my try-to-reduce-my-credit-card-debt plan. And the brakes would cost more than what the lady put down for the value of my car when she helped me with my Food Stamps application last time. And there I finally found relief. See, I was thinking that this time, since I'm the one writing the value down, maybe I should put a higher number on the value of my car (which is really a mystery value, since nobody knows how long it will last; it is an old car, nearly as old as I am). Maybe it was worth more than the lady decided the first time. But add a big repair bill to the picture? Okay, the lady had a good value picked out. So that OCD dilemma was solved, thanks to my rear brakes going bad.

And I sent in my paperwork yesterday, which I hoped would take lots of my anxiety away. Actually, I think it has. But not all the way to being anxiety free (what was I thinking? that by winning one OCD battle, all my disordered anxiety would forever leave me? Am I an optomist or something?).

Now my brakes are fixed, too. My bank account is poorer, my credit card company is getting richer, and I'm feeling okay. Especially since I studied for one of my classes for over an hour while waiting for my car to be fixed. Has me ready to do something exciting, like window shop, with mostly no guilt, because I've already worked and done my school work. Haven't done my exercising yet - that's where the rest of the guilt tries to get in. But I can do that later. And if I don't? So what? I haven't been exercising much in a while, so it wouldn't be the end of the world (for all of which, Abigail, you really should exercise at least a little more, for starters).

My therapy light? I like it. Can't say for sure if it is working or not, but it seems to have something of the effect of a moment of blue sky, even if it is just the temporary feeling of, "ah, that's nice." I am glad I got the light I did that wasn't so bright; I still don't like to be too close to it (the goal is 6 inches, and I'm running around a foot or foot and a half, which is still okay, just less light exposure).

And just one more day of work this week! This is one of the few long weekends scheduled into the daycare's over all plan. I do have a test set up for Friday, and one more quiz to take before the end of Saturday, but other than that, I'm fairly free!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

My feelings go up and down. Yesterday? Great. Or at least good. Today? Well, it started okay, aside from feeling definitely sick with a cold. But when I got to sorting out my drawer of Possibly Important Papers and failed to find the one important paper I was looking for, well, that didn't go over so well. I finally fled my house to get to the library before it closes, leaving piles of organized papers filling my living room. The bank papers, the credit card and car insurance papers, the bills paid, professional development, mental health, garbage. I even forgot to throw out the garbage before I left. And the pile I have called Special Saves for years. Cards I'm not ready to throw away yet, mostly.

But not the paper I wanted to find. And I've been agonizing over where on the Food Stamps form to put the $20 bill my aunt sent me last month (because leaving it out would be a lie and might have terrible consequences). At this point, I'm almost ready to cry uncle and call the number to get help filling out the stupid form. Wait, the form isn't the problem; my chemical imbalance is (and saying that is another problem because I've just expressed myself as one of those people pushing off personal responsibility and blaiming my troubles on a "chemical imbalance").

Meanwhile, my sinuses hurt. Gotta love a cold. Especially with the depression. Especially when instead of numbing the depression like I want it to, it just creates a more conducive environment for growing depressed thoughts.

Then we've got the IRRITABLE feeling that comes after sorting through a big pile of papers so that you can shove them into a file box (assuming there is that much room left in the file box; otherwise I'm not sure what I'll do, but I'm grumpy enough to consider trashing my Special Saves pile - I shouldn't need that later to satisfy my anxiety when I fill out a form! Just my millions of papers with dollar numbers scribbled on them, still lacking whatever I most want to find at the moment.

I'm probably hungry.

Thankfulness. No, wait, that word is on my black list right now. We will stick with the term, "5 Good Things" which is what I label my list of things I'm thankful for, but by this other name.

Good things? A day of social anxiety tomorrow (baby showers; were they invented to torture us? Anxiety issue the first; what should I buy? Anxiety issue the first complicated; How much should I spend, because if I spend too much, I'm squandering my money and not using it wisely and then asking for help from others like a leache. But if I spend too little, I'm a miserly, selfish person. Basicly, I can't win, which you could have told just by reading my diagnosis of OCD.

And that isn't thinking about playing music in church, which could go really well, really terribly, or just happen, I suppose.

And I have seconds to publish this before the computer closes on me.

Friday, November 16, 2012

feeling more hope

Ah, the lovely feeling of ... HOPE! Don't know why it came visiting this evening, even while I'm hungry for supper, but here it is!

It seemed to start coming when I started actually doing the things on my list that are related to my fears.

I.e., reapplying for Food Stamps. Cue the form-filling OCD obsessions. (I'm gonna do it wrong. What if I tell a lie, accidentally or subconsciously on purpose? What if I send the wrong support information? - oh, wait, that one is easy; they will just contact me and ask for the right information.) But actually, some of the questions are remarkably easy. Like my address. I do know that. For sure and certain. (Now that I've said that, I'm trying to think of a way I could be wrong.)

And listening to a lecture. It was actually fine. Long enough that I wanted to take a break in the middle, but that doesn't have to be long. The next two lectures are really long, but they have been successfully downloaded (I hope). And, my college adviser said it would be okay if I keep going along at six credits per semester, so I don't have to panic about needing to add more credits next semester.

And washing dishes? Well, it wasn't too bad when I washed some last night. So surely I can do that tonight, too... I can do it! I can do it! I want to do it! I ... will eat supper first. :)

And changing my piglet's cage? Well, that just needs to happen. It smells bad. And if I clean it BEFORE I search through my drawer of Possibly Important Papers to find what has become a Wanted Paper (to back up information on my Food Stamps application), well, the paper sorting should be more pleasant.

And it isn't on my list, but I want to clean up my apartment because it is all cluttery.

And it wasn't on my list, but I read some of Therese Borchard's blog posts, and that was encouraging, too. You can find it here. She has encouraged me on other days, as well. And I found her through somebody else's blog, perhaps one of yours.

And I'm watching Season 2 of Full House. It makes me laugh, on the one hand, but when it stops, I often feel more depressed. Come to think of it, that happened before with some other tv shows on dvd. And I wondered then if I was sad because I wasn't married like the main characters, but with Full House, it would have to be something else, since they aren't married right now. My counselor and I hypothesized last time that it was because when the video stopped, I wasn't distracted and felt my depression again. And maybe I was relaxed enough to feel it more (work distracts and stresses me before I watch these videos).

Anyway, I want to go eat supper (but don't want to drive home, but do want to eat at home, and for sure don't want to walk home, so I'd better go ahead and drive). So I leave with a little more hope inside me! Yay.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Well, I've gotten a light box. In my counselor's experience, doctors have just recommended "getting a light box," not specified the perfect light box or the perfect schedule. So I went ahead and purchased one. And I'm really really hoping it helps. So far, it is really bright when it is on, but seems to help me feel more awake. Which is nice.

I practiced with two others from my church at church yesterday to get ready for music this Sunday. And guess what? I felt... safe. I actually enjoyed it. I enjoyed making music with other people. I enjoyed feeling like a valued part of a team. The experience was lovely.

As for school, I've come across a bit of trouble. I suppose it could be described as my usual trouble at about this point in the semester. This is the point, just after the last day to withdraw and get a W on your transcript, where I have trouble caring about my classes. Acoustics of speech? Not interesting enough. Intro to Audiology? Later. This would be one of the moments when I have to fight myself to do schoolwork. Actually, I've settled for downloading the lecture to listen to later. It, well, sort of counts, right? It would probably work faster if the internet was working better.

So I guess in summary, I'm slogging along. I work, and that has been stressful, but I've been able to do it. It is after I leave work that I find myself tired and unmotivated etc. Kind of like when I was working too much earlier this fall, but now I'm back to my preferred schedule at work, so I plan to keep that.

Monday, November 12, 2012

What does the farmer say when he watches all his chickens fly away?

P.S., the farmer did not clip the chickens' wings, so they can still fly. I'm not being completely unrealistic here, though possibly somewhat.

The farmer says, "Well, it's fowl weather today."

Last night, as has thankfully become unusual, I had trouble getting to sleep. I got thinking about something that bothered me, and it was slow to go away. But here it is. I generally like Facebook, and my problem is not with Facebook itself, but with people's posts. The dumb blond jokes have thankfully left (they didn't bother me too much, anyway, despite having "dirty blond" hair). Instead, people make jokes and digs about people on government assistance. You know, people like me, who have food stamps or something like that. Of course, if I speak up, they either say that they are only talking about all the people abusing the system, or they say nothing. (Okay, shall I admit it? This is only based on two or three entries.) So they don't think they are speaking against me.

But do you know what the "Dumb Blond" does when she uses Food Stamps? She worries about people judging her. I suppose that is the OCD again. But I wonder. What does the check out lady say to her friends later? "I hate it when people come and use food stamps to buy food, but buy dvds at the same time. If they didn't buy dvds, they wouldn't need food stamps." Or, "Isn't it awful how people have food stamps, but then use them to buy expensive or unnecessary things like donuts and pre-prepared frozen food?" Such thoughts make me grumpy. I know I should just not worry about what other people think, but I do anyway.

Beyond that, now that I've gotten myself all irritated again, we've been having snow and ice and wet and cold and clouds here. Actually, there were two sunny days thrown in, with cold and left over snow. But weather related or not, my mood is going south (where, I suppose, the rest of me might want to go to get away from the cold).

I just registered for next semester's classes. And scared myself. I get a teacher new to my college, or at least to my online university part of it. And his syllabuses looked scarey (yes, he's teaching both classes). They had all sorts of (I mean a few) unforgiving words like No Mercy for late assignments. Actually, he used different words, but I wouldn't want to start out the semester plagiarising (hi, OCD. I hate you, by the way). They had scarey looking assignments (with open doors for the OCD monster). And I want an A or a B. I mean, forget that I've never had trouble getting an A or a B except one math class I didn't study or listen to lectures much for and a class about missions that made me angry. Maybe this will be the semester when I get a C. Or worse. And I need a 3.00 gpa in my classes relating to my degree. (Forget that all the As I already have will help me out there.) Well, it probably wont be that bad, but last spring semester was hard, so this one might be. The winter combined with hard classes?

I should just label this whole post "Abigail is worrying again (shocking, I know - it's not like I have an anxiety disorder or anything)." But I like my joke. Even if I'm still sad.

I should go buy milk before I have to go to my tap dancing class ("have" to go? how about "get" to?). And then supper with a friend, and then driving home on ice, since I'm in a worst case mode already (actually, I think it might be icey on some of the roads because it is wet now and cold, and it will get colder when the sun goes down).

Speaking of the sun going down, I relate it closely to an increase in depression. "It" being the time change. Sure, it is not completely dark when I go to work, but I was used to that darkness. Now it starts getting dark not long after 4. Yuck! I'm really considering getting a light therapy light. With all the money I don't have. But if it would help? I'd do a lot to keep the depression monster away. (But would I wake up early to expose myself to the light before work? That is a harder question. I'd rather use the light in the early afternoon.) But my internet research said I should discuss the light with my doctor instead of doing it all on my own, and I don't have an appointment until well into December, and even though he said I could move the appointment sooner, I don't want to do that, either because I have self esteem issues, or because I have other issues, or something. Maybe a phone call would work. But that is scarey, too. Don't you love the depression/anxiety combo? The whole world gets smaller (except for friends - the distance between me and them grows), darker, and scarier, and I get less brave and ready to hide.

Now to the store with bright lights and milk! (Brightly lit stores are so nice.)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

How-are-you-I'm-fine (but not completely)

I found the perfect new shoes. Actually, they didn't pass the "I'm certain they wont hurt my feet by not fitting quite perfectly" test, because I decided not to give that test this time. Instead, this is what I got; tennishoes that have leather (or fake leather) around the toe and sides instead of that mesh stuff that is "in" now. And shoes that are supposed to make it harder to slip! Both good things, since these are to be my winter shoes. And I sprayed them with water-resistant spray for added protection. I decided to get new shoes yesterday when I saw that my old ones were like bald tires, missing tread in key areas.

Another thing I did yesterday was drive to the second-nearest mall to find these shoes, which involved crossing state lines and driving for a short while. This is important because I was setting a precident to keep driving even during the winter when it is cold and dark. Actually, it was remarkably safe since the snow had melted off the roads and they were mostly dry (hence, mostly no ice). But I was still proud of myself for going ahead and taking the longer option to drive to this mall (instead of shopping a million stores locally - I was getting tired of that route).

Today being Sunday, I got out of bed with the excitement of wearing my new shoes. But I carried the Sunday edition of OCD/anxiety and depression with me as I went to church. It is seriously annoying how the attending church experience spikes my mental problems. Then, in church, I realized that I have done what I didn't want to do; I have hidden my mental struggle from the people around me. Well, I suppose I was always planning on keeping lots of it to myself, but the whole "how are you? I'm fine" exchange? I didn't want to have to do that. But I had done it at least three times before I got to my seat. Nonetheless, what would the alternative be? "Hello, person who is welcoming people and holding doors or passing out bulletins. How am I? Well, actually, the anxiety and depression that haunt me are very busy intently haunting me right now. See, I have OCD. OCD is like [insert thorough description here], and I have these kinds of OCD [insert another description here], thus I am currently enduring this type of suffering [insert impossibly accurate description here]. But don't worry, I'll be fine." Instead, I claimed a more ordinary "fine"ness and continued into church.

We did vary from our normal routine when the pastor decided to invite people with health issues, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual, to come up front (but we got to sit in the front row, instead of some more obvious place like kneeling in front of the non-existant alter) and someone would come pray with them. Well, I figured this was a good time to releive my fake or real conscience by asking for prayer (you know that James passage about sick people coming to the elders for prayer?). I'm thinking it was at least partially real, with an OCD megaphone on top. But anyway, through this, I was able to talk to a lady in the church and admit my struggle so that it was shared. And she prayed.

Anyway, the pastor nicely confirmed at the end that the church did not teach that if we had enough faith, we would be healed. I actually don't like asking for instant healing, more for help (I still ask for instant releif from the pain, though :)    ). I guess I feel like if I got healed instantly, that I'd have an unfair advantage and wouldn't be able to help other people as well whome God didn't choose to instantly heal. Because thus far, I am one of the people without instant complete healing, who takes medication and sees a therapist and doesn't need any extra guilt that if I was only a better person, I wouldn't feel this way.

But the rest of my morning at church did go better, so God did give me relief, and not because I was full of faith that He would heal me, because I wasn't full of faith that He would heal me. :)

Next week, I'm scheduled to play guitar in church. So if OCD is correct, I'll be starting to ruin the church. Now I really wonder what someone from my church would think if they read that statement. So just in case anyone who knows me reads this and is concerned, please ask me, and I'll explain more fully. You can rest at ease that the church wont be magically destroyed by my simply standing up there playing guitar. Meanwhile, I just might be suffering through another exposure to my fear, even though I'll probably tell you I'm fine.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

An emotional yet random day

Well, my OCD was happy with the election results. Apparently my votes aren't going to ruin the country. Big feeling of relief. The only good thing about such fears of ruining the country is that they made fears of ruining a church seem anticlimactic.

Today, I met with the music pastor of my church and played guitar and sang. Well, if it was a test, I passed it. And I told him that I'd had bad experiences with playing music and church. So now I feel good about that, at least for the moment. And he seemed quite fine with my not wanting to play all the time.

How's this; I want to play, but more because I know that it would be good for me than because I straight up want to play. It's time to take my music skills out of hiding (where they truly have been, though some things are easy to hide when people don't actively look for them).

As for the "risk" my OCD has informed me of that the church might fall apart when I play guitar in church on Sunday, well, I wont be playing this Sunday, so the church's OCD-forcasted demise can be postponed.

Today, in counseling, my counselor and I went over the exposure's I've been doing. Then we got to the point where, well, the problem wasn't so much OCD anymore. I was back to the sadness of the past, perhaps "reliving" experiences from the past since the present reminds me of them.

And then my phone rings. Sometimes I turn it off during counseling, but plenty of other times, it is on vibrate. It was my boss. Usually, I wouldn't answer, but I suppose you could say I had a premonition that I might need help afterwards. Looking back from emotionally stable ground, I can see that the conversation was about a little misunderstanding that happened at work that isn't that big a deal. But at the time, on top of the sadness I was already dealing with, it was crushing. Apparently, handling my boss's disappointment in me was too much for the moment.

I somehow need to seperate my emotional well-being from my boss's oppinion of me (and under this, let me note that her negative oppinions get lots of weight in my mind, but her possitive ones slide under the radar). And please don't just say that I need to trust God more. I suppose that could be the answer, but it sounds too short and simple, too guilt provoking without being actually helpful.

Well, I'm trying to evaluate these situations where I know my boss will be or was upset, evaluate them for myself like I did with the director of the musical this summer. Then, hopefully, I wont take responsibility for "problems" that weren't mine, or will be able to take the responsibility that IS mine without adding guilt layers that aren't mine.

Anyway, back to counseling, I'm still kind of glad I took the call then, because I did need encouragement afterwards,  but I'm also sad, because I was all set up so that a straw could break the camel's back and send me into tears, but I ended up crying over a work misunderstanding instead of trying to get further dealing with the sadness from past church experiences.

Which, by the way, I still don't know how to "move past." It has been more than 10 years since part of it happened, and it still can put me near the verge of tears!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Election Day coming ... make that Scrupulosity OCD Has a Heyday Day.

Tomorrow, I get an unwanted exposure. I'm busy with my planned exposures, thank you. But no, election day comes regardless of my feelings. And really, I'm not against voting. I think it is a privilege. But OCD has been known to mess with people's privileges. Driving without undue anxiety? Privilege? Yes. Mine? Um, sometimes. Voting is similar. Too much responsibility, even while I know that my one vote won't necessarily (or even likely) be a deciding vote on anybody's election. In fact, in a past election that my OCD messed with, I was relieved when I learned that my vote that OCD was bugging me about had NOT been a deciding factor.

But here I am "researching" my choices for tomorrow. I won't call it OCD researching, well, not most of it, since it is preferable for people to have some idea of who they are voting for instead of playing eeny meeny miney moe in the voting booth. But I will call it amusing. And here we present, candidate so-and-so, whose party my family typically favors over the opponent's party. But get this; she is a car salesperson. And she was in favor of one bit of wordy legislation that I'm pretty sure I'm opposed to, but on two other issues, she sides with me against the opponent. So what is that? Two strikes against both people running. Will I be flipping a coin after all?

Add in the religious scrupulosity. Some issues could be seen as religious issues. Well, at least one of them gets plenty of air time in churches. And I agree with the "churchy" view, at least some variation of it. But what do you do when it is two strikes against both candidates? Do I vote for the person that "feels" right? But what if what "feels" right today feels wrong on Wednesday? Should I take the "coward"s way out and not vote (in which case, please don't mention it to my family; they'd have no choice but to accept my choice, but still)? Should I give OCD an easy victory and avoid voting at all? Oh, wait, OCD might prefer torturing me, in which case voting might be better, because then it can second guess me for the next four years. Then again, if I DONT vote, I think the OCD will still torture me, along with my fake and perhaps my real conscience. Damned if I do, damned if I don't. Thank you, OCD. Guess I'd better keep up my research. And bring a penny to the voting booth?

Well, I'm pretty positive that I should start my church-related exposures before Wednesday, or at least before next Sunday. Otherwise next Sunday promises to be hard. Now that I have "accepted" the risk of going to hell, I can tackle the "risk" of killing a church by playing guitar up front. Yuck. New meaning to magical guitar strings?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

OCD fight 1 has played out; now preparing for the second

The librarian was talking too loud. And emphatically. And urgently. And repeatedly, saying the same thing over and over, like she had to out-talk the person she was trying to help. Good thing she wasn't talking to me, but it was still hard (or impossible?) to ignore.

Back to OCD. I did exposures through the week on my fear of the pastor deceiving me, my going to hell, other people going to hell because I didn't figure it out and say something, etc. Sunday, I did it through the sermon, and was VERY anxious. Monday, I did it while waiting in my car between activities, talking audibly approximately along the lines of a script, over and over. It was simultaneously increasingly boring but still anxiety-triggering. Tuesday and Wednesday, I was distracted by high anxiety mistake at work. Thursday, I did the written script (or was that Friday?), over and over. I got my anxiety up to a 7 (on a 1 - 10 scale) and also down to a 3. I varied the script somewhat, though, trying to get a short enough one and the most helpful one.

Saturday, I took a video of myself signing in American Sign Language the same script-ish information, and then watched it several times. At this point, I could get myself to feel things related to the script; sadness, sorrow, but for the most part, not anxiety. So I decided that was a good thing, and it was okay if my obsessive thoughts made me sad since, if the thoughts came true, it would be sad. But I did not have that panicky, anxious feeling, at least not much, so there was improvement.

Today, I was anxious before hand. And depressed. Probably the time change and staying up late last night had an impact there. At church, for the first hour and a half or so, I was very upset. I could feel the yucky, depressed feeling that haunted me for days and months in the past couple years. But during the sermon, I did not get much OCD anxiety. My brain seems to have accepted the risk that the pastor might lie to me and I might go to hell. Granted, I still reminded myself not to start in with my compulsions. I suppose I even "checked" if the obsession was still there. But in general, I did all right.

So that is battle 1 in my OCD church struggles saga. Battle 2 is scheduled to begin Wednesday, if not earlier, when I meet with the music pastor and another member of the music team and practice, probably for helping with music this coming Sunday. Obsession? If I play guitar in a church, the church might die, and I might have a miserable time, and it might spike of my anxieties about the pastor deceiving us again. I guess I should start some scripts so that hopefully I can take part of the sting out of it before Wednesday. But Wednesday is the real life exposure, so I'll just expect it might be hard, but try not to have a self-fulfilling prophecy about how terrible it will be.

Back to the depression, last night, I updated my mood record, averaging out the last several weeks so that I could have them plotted in a chart continuously with my records from some time around May this year. I could see the pronounced decline in anxiety and depression when I stopped working afternoons, but then they both climbed up again, the anxiety especially making a huge leap up. It is discouraging to see that you are in a pattern that has rising depression and anxiety and could continue rising. But then I figured out that the anxiety leap had to do with the OCD I uncovered regarding church stuff. So now it isn't just a random increase, perhaps caused by weather and seasons that I can't control. It has to do with specific anxiety that I am fighting and that I expect to diminish. As for the depression, rising anxiety tends to increase the depression as well (though depression doesn't tend to increase anxiety as much). Thus, when I successfully tackle the OCD in this area and get it to shrink back to mostly out of my way, the depression should shrink as well, leaving me feeling better again.

As for today, after bothering me for a few hours, the strong depression struggle has receded. So hopefully the rest of my day will go better and my new week will start well, too.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

update

Well, I've had quite the week. Exposure on Sunday, talking up an exposure on Monday (like a loop tape, except that I just repeated myself speaking instead of recording myself), making a mistake at work that could have turned out badly, getting through the anxiety that brought up, and now, I'm getting ready to take a test.

So I guess things are going okay now. Work was more enjoyable today. And, unlike my dream this morning, I did get to the library in time to take my quizzes before I am scheduled to take my test. (And I'm feeling pretty positive about the test, too.)

My counselor recommends I do a written exposure, repeating myself in writing, and noting my anxiety level a couple times per page. She thinks that it will be easier to see the anxiety going down. And she, of course, approved of my trying to do exposures during the week and not just on Sundays.

Well, I'll keep this short and go get ready to take my test. Happy November to all!