Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Encouragement, followed by a battle with scrupulosity (I won)

Recently, I was there when a pastor in front of a church actually said that it was okay for a person to get therapy and take medication. Of course, I'm not quoting exactly, and I may have way oversimplified what he said and I'm not giving you the context, either. But it meant the world to me. It was like finally feeling acquitted (well, I guess just from myself and/or my OCD and maybe a few people who have said things that hurt; I've never been on trial in a court of law). Do you know just how wonderful it felt? Wonderful enough that I actually got up the courage/persistence/whatever to actually wash and dry and put away all my dishes in my house. That may sound like a small thing to some people, but let me suggest that it hasn't happened in over a month, maybe multiple months (I don't know when the last time I washed them all was). My dish washing or lack there of is remarkably tied to my mental health. (My counselor even said that she uses dish washing as a gage of how well people are doing; if they don't get around to washing dishes like I often don't get around to it, that can indicate a problem, like it seems to for me.)

I had a super exposure recently. Perhaps it will suffice to say that I'm fairly certain 9 out of 10 (or more) of people would think I had done perfectly fine, but my OCD was convinced I had sinned terribly. When I tried to figure out if this act was cutting between me and God, breaking our relationship, it was a solid OCD trap. See, reasoning is hard when your brain convinces you that NOTHING is worth messing up your relationship with God and then suggests that some act you have done is messing up that relationship. So then I moved on to the script stuff. But I was in my car, so I didn't write. I just went with the worst case scenario, which landed me in jail with people sadly shaking their heads that I had stooped so low as to do what I did.

And then, I had a great idea. Most of what I did was a necessary chore, and then there was the act that turned into an OCD exposure. So I decided that I needed to reward myself for completing the chore. I would go to the dollar store and pick something out that I would enjoy that night.

And then, my friends, sarcasm came to my rescue. I went ahead to the dollar store to get something fun for myself so that I could enjoy that last night of freedom from incarceration. Gotta love OCD. But the sarcasm helped so much, because it made the exposure a little easier to bear. I knew that my worst case scenario and sarcastic "planning" to enjoy this night of freedom before going to jail was not realistic, but it enabled me to live with the anxiety of the exposure I was stuck with as a result of disobeying my OCD in that one "terrible" act.

Remarkably enough, my "guilt" (or rather, worrying whether or not I was guilty) has shrunk immensely after exposing myself to my fear. Scrupulosity showing itself yet again to behave remarkably like (as in, a kind of) OCD.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday

I said I wanted to play music at church about once a month. So this week was my week. But it was work this week. I'm going through my not so unusual weekend mood dip, but at least it is just a dip and not a plunge this weekend. I know I could have called and said I needed the day off playing music, but why? Would it have helped? Probably not. If I was playing every week, I'd have to reconsider, but I'm free now for another month, so all is well. Besides, I wanted to give the gift of a day off to some of the people who usually play every Sunday.

I'm tired. I'm too warm, but that is a good thing, sort of. I got a new winter coat! (If you need one, this might be a good time to check the stores: mine was 80% off!) And I love my new coat and want to wear it, but it is very warm (I don't like to be cold), so since I'm wearing it inside, I'm very warm.

Well, enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

politics and money - please feel free to skip this post if those things trigger you :)

I went to some sort of political meeting, with State senators and representatives (i.e., to the State, not in the Federal Government). I made it through about an hour before I started feeling a really emotional response coming. Of course, they were talking about the health care legislation stuff. Each had their opinion, and each held it strongly. I made it so far before I got frustrated. What about the poor people? I wondered.

But my response was just as emotional as everybody else's and not founded on thorough understanding, either. More founded on frustration.

Once, at the Library, I found this book set out: Health care for some : rights and rationing in the United States since 1930, by Beatrix Rebecca Hoffman. It had this remarkable insight; health care is not equally accessible right now. We worry about what new legislature might do, what choices it might take from patients' rights. How some people wont get the care that they should get if we have a socialized system. But we forget about the current condition of limited care.

For example, people who can't afford health insurance and don't qualify for Medicare or Medicaid. Oh, yeah, I am talking about people like myself.

Has it ever truly limited me? I'm not sure. I avoid going to the doctor. I for sure put off the dentist and eye doctor visits. But if I really needed health care, would I get it? I was hospitalized once, and they did take care of me, and I will pay back the county for a long time after they paid my bill for me as a loan without interest.

My choice of psychiatrists is probably limited. Before I had insurance, I went to the cheap community place (that still cost some money). When I was put on my family's insurance since they raised the age children could be on their parents' insurance, I got to pick a psychiatrist. I still couldn't exactly afford him, but that is what credit cards are for, right? (Wrong, but that is a side point.) Then, when I lost my insurance because I "aged out," my psychiatrist graciously agreed to see me for a really reduced rate, which I now pay for with my credit card or with money from my pay check that I can use towards doctors bills while I pay my rent with student loans. So I get the care that I want. My counselor uses a sliding scale, too. And I did order medication from Canada when I couldn't afford it stateside.

So I get the health care I need, thanks to loans, sliding scales/charity, and my good old credit card. Works for the moment, but is a little unnerving.

But the alternative? What if I quit my medications, therapy, doctors appointments? My credit card and bank account might thank me (actually, the credit card company probably wouldn't, seeing as they would loose interest). And I can't tell the what-if future. I'll never know. Maybe I would be fine. Maybe I would plunge back into deep, dark depression. Maybe my depression would take even more of my ability to work and attend college away. Maybe eventually I could qualify for disability, or even live on the streets.

Yeah, public: it is a sad truth. I very well might need either health care or disability assistance (with health care). I guess my existence is costly right now.

But let's not get into that train of thinking; depression can really take advantage of it.

Let's consider the alternatives (that seem a little far fetched right now). Maybe I'll become a millionaire or a billionaire and help lots of people later in my life. Maybe that will even out to my being a financial asset to my community. Or maybe the monetary aspect really isn't that important.

Who knows. I'm glad I left the political get-together. It wasn't too good for my mental health. Informative (for a while, at least), but necessary to limit, like my exposure to the news. Predictions of gloom, doom, and "onerous" disaster are not what I need.

P.S., what is it with using the word "onerous" so often in your speeches, Politicians? How about getting your thesaurus out?

Oh, and thank you, politicians, for dealing with that stuff. I guess somebody has to, and I'm glad it isn't me.

Monday, February 18, 2013

cleaning out my closet

I really think my medication dose change is working! That has me so happy. Even though I'm sick with a cold or sinus infection, my mood is mostly okay, which is like a miracle. The kind of miracle that works with science, not the kind that breaks scientific rules.

Today, I got that irritating feeling that is great for cleaning out my belongings. I thought of getting rid of various things, but settled on cleaning out my shirts, pants, and videos and dvds.

I actually sold some of my dvds to a store to resell! I haven't done that before, so it took some courage (I have anxiety issues, so that isn't a surprise). The rest went to the thrift store bearing the name of the organization that I've heard about helping people with mental illness and people needing help.

As for shirts, I seem to have developed a tendency to just keep saving shirts. This time I told myself I should only have 7 of each kind of shirt. That leaves me more than enough, yet I still had a basket full of clothing to get rid of.

I still have a few that sentementally I keep saving... Maybe next time I go through my shirts I get rid of more. I did get rid of one of my shirts from Puerto Rico. Good thing I already donated it; just now I'm thinking, "But that's my only shirt that said Luquillo on it!" Getting rid of shirts doesn't mean I get rid of the memories; my counselor taught me that. But the shirt wont be there any more. :( Oh, well.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

back to blogging

I feel like I've run short on inspiration. I had a panicky beginning of the week on Tuesday when I panicked that I was behind on one of my group projects. Not really so logical looking back, but when I saw that the other two people had been talking Sunday and Monday and that I was just jumping in on Tuesday, I panicked, I guess that they would think I wasn't doing my part and that I would get kicked out of the group and fail the class because of it. Catastrophic thinking returns. Somehow I forgot or overlooked the whole clause about the instructor giving you the chance to do the whole project on your own if the group kicks you out. Oh, well. I tried to do too much Tuesday, which ended with me up very late at night since I hadn't taken enough time for myself (not schoolwork) earlier in the day. But then the rest of the week, things slowed back down.

Now, I'm either on another cold or I got an almost instant sinus infection from allergies and perhaps leftover cold congestion. Basically, my face hurts, I'm tired, a little down because of it, but otherwise pretty okay.

I'm waiting for the day when getting a cold or a sinus infection doesn't trigger worse depressed thinking. That will be a great day! Right now, it doesn't trigger it all the time, but it can occasionally.

I think that the medication change is working to bring me back to that functional place where the mind battles aren't sooo exhausting. Back to where I'm okay waiting until April to see my Doctor. (Translation, I might not be symptom free, but I am moving back towards symptom levels that I can live around without so much distress.) It takes time to tell, especially since my symptoms were not continuous, but I think I'm really on my way up again. :)

I got myself a Valentine present this year; perhaps because I don't have a boyfriend or such in my life, but more likely because I really like stuffed animals. I waited until the day after Valentine's day, due to scheduling and wanting to get it on a good sale. It worked: 50% off. And now I have the cutest big teddy bear. I like big stuffed animals. It isn't huge like my stuffed frog that sits at my dinner table, but it isn't the small kind from the dollar store, either. It is just perfect, including a smile.

Friday, February 8, 2013

life continues

I think the main result so far in taking a higher dose of escitalopram is eating more. And it isn't just sugar! It is sitting in front of the TV and munching on carrots and sugar peas and more carrots and more sugar peas. Eating for the sake of eating. Of course, it could just be a coincidence, but what is the fun in that?

Either way, I need to stop eating too much pie (the carrots and peas might not be so bad).

School is going okay, as in, I'm making good progress this afternoon/evening. Almost done with my part of Group Project number 1. That might lessen my stress.

Honesty OCD had some fun with me (I didn't enjoy it so much). I stated something I was 95% sure was true. Maybe even 97%. But I don't know for 100% sure, and that isn't even because I don't believe my eyes. I stated what happened the moment I wasn't looking as if I was looking (I looked right after the instant it happened). Totally unacceptable. So then the exposure fun of "reassuring" myself that, yup, I had lied, and so-and-so would know it and look at me with her disappointed eyes because I lied to her, and so-and-so other person would dislike me from now on... And I don't believe my exposure, either. Just enough to sigh sadly, but not enough to make the anxiety go away (because apparently, in my mind, as soon as I do a real exposure thought to fight back against the OCD, the OCD should completely disappear, or at least stop bothering me). Okay, I guess still feeling anxiety with an exposure isn't so bad.

Well, now I'm hungry again. All that school work with that little bit of an anxiety-provoking exposure, along with the anxiety that my computer battery will run out before I post this... Maybe I'll eat something healthy. Like... how about graham crackers and milk! No, wait, I think I'm out of graham crackers. But that could be remadied. I have to buy a small flash-light sometime (so I can look in people's mouths for another school assignment), so why not tonight, while I buy graham crackers? But I don't want graham crackers for night snack anymore... And now I am reduced to using the internet to broadcasting my debates over what to eat for snack. :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

med dose increase

Well, I got hold of my doctor. And his recommendation was what I expected; raise the SSRI dose (I wasn't at the upper limit of normal for this SSRI yet, since I seemed to be doing well enough before we reached the higher normal dose, so now I will be taking the higher normal dose). And call back in a week or two if I don't feel better.

I plan on feeling better? No, can I really feel better? What a strange notion! I'm hoping, though.

The stress from this semester doesn't seem to be receding like I had hoped. It is receding, just not as much as I'd like. The OCD plagiarizing scare turned into a more general anxiety infestation, which is better in that the emotional pain isn't as pointed, but worse in that I find it harder to counter attack. Nonetheless, I'll take the more spread-out, less disturbing anxiety instead of the OCD plagiarizing issue.

Which I get to see how I'm doing on in a few moments when I summarize my research information.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

decided

I've decided it is time to call the psychiatrist. I'm more than a little sick of spending 5 or so days with super depressed thoughts followed by a couple days reprieve followed by more really depressed thinking. The days off are great; I'm not against those at all. But I finally concluded that the days with the really depressed thoughts are enough to be worth doing something about.

Now I am distracted, though, so I want to stay distracted (this morning was not very nice). I'm doing research! Exciting stuff.

Back to my decision. I'm concerned that when I actually can call my Dr. and contact him during business hours, my depression will sweetly hide until the weekend. It is tricky like that; only bug me when I can't do as much as I'd like to about it. But I'm not sure how well I'll be able to express the problem if I'm feeling better.

Second thought, I can just tell him that my mood is fluctuating, leaving me with a number of more depressed days each week. I could say that even when I was feeling better. Now to keep the determination to do the scarey deed (call the doctor, I mean. That can be rather intimidating).

Having Fun?