Saturday, September 28, 2013

An unseen illness

Well, to continue a train of thought started at 71 and Sunny's blog, lots of my OCD has been, well, invisible. Every now and then, I'd spout off an imitation of my brain's on-going monologue, and either be regarded as worrying about stupid things or be regarded with a bit more respect. My brain jumped topics pretty well, too. I'm not sure if that is typical with OCD, but it usually was with mine. Like while driving.

"I wonder if I offended so-and-so last night in our conversation. Oops, I went over a bump. Was it a bump, or a person? Check mirror. Looks like nothing, but maybe there was a person lying in the depression in the road. Well, probably not too realistic. But wait; I wasn't paying attention for the last moment. Better check the mirror again. Rats, checking the mirror meant I didn't pay perfect attention in front of me. Quick, check it again. No, don't look that long, now you have to look again. This is not going to work. Look further ahead, look behind. Look further ahead, look behind. Some people drive around the block to check the road. I don't want to do that. If I did, well, when would I stop? Check the mirror. And that conversation last night, what did I say again? Maybe I was too sarcastic. Did she understand I was being sarcastic? Check mirror, look ahead, check mirror. Maybe if I had worded it differently. Check mirror. Is the car behind me a police car? Check speed, check mirror, look ahead, check mirror. Well, as long as there's a car behind me, and they stay behind me, that should mean that I didn't run over a person. Because if I did, they would notice, and they would stop. I wonder if I should talk my friend again on Sunday. Just broach the subject, test if she's offended or not. Hmmm, will I be able to do that before church, before the Lord's Supper? If I don't get to it until after, should I not partake in the Lord's Supper? That verse about fixing things with your brother before you give an offering, just how does it apply to the Lord's Supper? Check the mirror. That car is completely gone. Empty road behind me. Wow, what kind of lousy attention am I giving this? I don't know when the car turned off. I should pay better attention. Look ahead, check mirrors, look ahead, check mirrors, feel for and push button for radio, check mirror more carefully to make sure I didn't run into anything."

Well, that is a fictitious example. What I might have done 3 and a half years ago. When my drive to work was maybe 45 minutes one way. That sure added up for time spent obsessing or compulsing. And when I'd detail my thoughts like that (such an example could also be dreamed up while driving - I was a daydreamer, spending lots of time imagining conversations and things I could write and such), I could see, no wonder I was having a little trouble.

I didn't know until I was in the hospital that such run-on thoughts might be considered racing thoughts. How exhausting to have had racing thoughts, and I didn't even known it.

But guess what. My brain is quieter now. Not that it never jumps into action over an anxious thought or two, but it isn't usually consumed with solving problems. Now, an OCD exposure might take 3 minutes, and then I'll forget about it until it comes up again. Actually, that happened with accidental exposures before. The difference being, in the past, I usually forgot one OCD issue while stumbling into the next. Now I might forget one to move onto... living. Trying to provide Indirect Language Stimulation for my toddlers (that's a fancy phrase I got to learn from my college classes), playing peekaboo, without the sinking feeling in the back of my mind and stomach that I may have done something terrible, but I was going to try not to think about it for the moment. Yup, increased health. Even if my mind did decide to bring up my worst obsession recently. There is still improvement, like in how I handle it.

But I was supposed to be writing about an unseen illness. So I guess I did. Most of the thinking I've described would be invisible. If not all of it. And believe me, I'd try to put a smile on top for the kids I worked with at the time. And the adults. Thankfully, now the smile is usually hiding less.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

caution signals

You know the whole, too tired to go to bed, problem? That's me right now. I'm plenty tired. And taking a shower just seems like too much work. So I'll blog instead, and keep myself up later. Maybe my blog title should go back to being UNreasonably rational.

I'm pretty sure that the stomach flu didn't help things, but I've gotten pretty tired. Add in the growing darkness, chilly weather, and dry skin from hand-washing (and this potentially without OCD hand washing; I tend towards dry skin, especially in the winter). The weekends are too short. School is too much, even though it is only a few hours a week. The children are trying my patience.

And weight! The annoying issue. I still seem to be gaining a pound or two a month, which adds up. But I'm plenty hungry. Plenty hungry. Though that seems to finally be evening out as I get further from the flu. Now I'm simply really hungry and have gotten past the urge to try to fill myself up with potato chips because I was sick of being hungry.

But in short, I knew I was pushing it to take two classes and work full time, but I did it anyway. I could still ask for fewer hours, but I still don't want to. So now I'm a tad worried, but still hoping it will all work out.

But my main problem is just feeling super tired except when I'm at work (the kids keep me more in the moment). So that could still get better.

And I'm working on using my Happy Light more. That should help.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

fighting back against anxiety by having fun

Today I decided it was time to fight back against the anxiety monsters. My anxiety got worse over the course of my stomach virus and then my recovery. I'm sure the lack of food (and appetite) followed by the incessant hunger that keeps coming back didn't help.

But anyway, conveniently for me, my anxiety really likes to get on me for things like spending money and having fun. So the good news is that exposures for me can be things like buying things I want from the store and going out to eat and going to a movie. So I actually had a really fun day. I got a new sweater, squirrel salt and pepper shakers, a kitchen towel that wasn't perfect (the design didn't make me feel "just right"), and a dress-up hat for my toddler class. And I went to a birthday party for a 6-year-old. Going to a kids party as a single, childless adult has a certain amount of awkwardness in it, but I enjoyed my cupcake and hanging out with adults who weren't single and childless. So it worked out well. And I went to a movie.

This is where I have trouble; the mental review. I can play the reassurance game: "Yeah, you 'splurged' by purchasing a discount movie ticket. See? You were still thrifty." I can basically do that with every purchase I made. But that might sabotage my exposures, not to mention taking out any perfection I might have attained and replacing it with semi-failed exposures.

So then, reviewing without reassuring myself. I mean, hey, can't I think over my day, relive a few good moments, process and enjoy the memories? But what do I do when the OCDish thoughts come back. Take the "You wasted money" thought. Is repeating it to myself an exposure, or a form of trying to punish myself? I kind of settled on the idea of replacing that taunt with something perhaps more accurate, like "You spent money on things you enjoy."

And now I've got my anxiety on again about having written the wrong thing on my blog post. I could post it quick, or try to think of something else to add. I think I'll stick with posting, especially since I want to move on to something else now.

Convenient, hey? One more exposure that is actually a fun thing to do; posting a blog entry.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

trusting myself

Well, I stayed home today for my little flu again. And then I found out other staff had gotten it. And I thought to myself, "I wasn't making it up." Apparently old habits die hard. Not trusting myself. I mean, as if the physical symptoms of the stomach bug aren't enough.

Oh, well. I think I am still improving, so I'll be content with that.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I went home sick today. Stomach something. Now im wishing for a keyboard on its side so that i could type more easily while laying down. As it is, im a onehanded typist.

ive also been doing schoolwork. including these quizzes that i have two attempts for. got 9 out of 10 on the last two. and then i lay here contemplating how quickly my goal of getting Bs this semester changes to getting 100%. But im too done in to actually put in the work right now. Stupid stomach bug or bad milk response; cant my appetite come back now? I really dont want to miss more work tomorrow!

Friday, September 13, 2013

moving on to other topics...? Toddler teacherhood, for example

I think I want to change the name of my blog, but I can't remember how. I did it on my other blog (the one that died a silent death but is still sitting around in cyberspace), so I know it is possible, but I'll have to figure it out again. Unless one of you would like to share the secret. I'd appreciate that.

Anyway, I don't want to stop blogging, but my focus in life is no longer mainly on my mental health. So I think my blogging topics will need to start exploring alternate subjects. So for those of you who suffered through my mental health updates, (if there are any of you left), rejoice. And if all you want to read about is how I deal/dealt with OCD and depression - that is okay; I've been there to. But you might have to look into older posts. There are only something like 390 of them, so you should be able to read for a while. Or you could follow other blogs, since there are lots of great ones.

Anyway, my subject for today is being a Toddler Teacher.

You might be a Toddler Teacher if you have almost as many board books as the local library, and you still go out and borrow those, not to mention haunting thrift stores for "good" board books.

You might be a Toddler Teacher if you have proved to yourself that washable paint really does wash out.

You might be a Toddler Teacher if your nick-name for Lift-the-Flap board books is "Easy-to-Rip" board books.

You might be a Toddler Teacher if you just want to forget about that stuff for a moment (i.e., until you get into the next store selling supplies you are on the lookout for) and enjoy (or sleep through) your weekend.

And if you are a Toddler Teacher, or if you like cute little homemade stuff, you might appreciate my latest toy-making results. Rest assured; the paint is non-toxic. And some of it has gotten a bit messed up in the wear and tear (i.e., slime and teething) of toddler play, but they are still looking good. And think of how much money I saved making them out of scrap wood and painting them with paint I already had. I think I did go ahead and buy a new permanent marker to finish up, but I use permanent markers, so it wasn't just for that. Oh, and if I actually published this picture before and then forgot about it, my apologies.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Well, I'm back to working full time! And I finally purchased internet for myself so that I can access it from home. Ah, now I can write late night posts without having to be out somewhere late at night. This may be a blessing, but it might also turn into a problem... (gotta keep some pessimism in my life, you know).

So work is going great. Now I'm trying to settle into a school routine. Actually, it is pretty much like the previous semesters. Mostly, it is much less work than I expected. The information is much less new than I expected (i.e., I probably know 50 - 90% of the information already). Somehow that keeps happening. And there are moments of worry surrounded by lots and lots of procrastination and good grades.

Take right now. My scores are all perfect so far. (positive). I'm approximately where I should be (i.e., a little behind, but not too far). (positive). I'm scheduled to take my first proctored exam on the evening of the last possible day because of schedule conflicts. (negative.) And I have an assignment due in a week and a half that requires 3 interviews, which depends on more people than just me. (negative.) But for the most part, I'm still feeling positive.

Well, that is the end of my brilliance for this evening. Perhaps evening posts aren't such a good idea. Then again, if you like reading short posts, it might be good.