Saturday, December 21, 2013

'Tis the Season to use my mental health toolbox

Yup. Suddenly my brain is on it's "something is not just right" kick. I should turn off the music I'm trying to learn for church tomorrow and brush my hair before I write this, so I can concentrate better. Besides, the cheery music is wrecking my discouraged mood.

I backed out of a hike with my family when the snow stacked up yesterday (the hike was for today). My previous delight at actually being ready to celebrate Christmas my mom's way (and actually really going for it) is being dulled by the unexpected surge in anxiety. And the anxiety doesn't even have the graciousness to focus on one thing. If it was all focused on a fear of light switches (and causing a fire) for example, I'd know to do an exposure on that. But no, it has to randomly attach itself to various things. The only unifying measure seems to be the "just right" feeling that is lacking and the elevated feelings of anxiety. So that makes exposures easy, right? I just do things just not quite right. Persistently. And the anxiety will go away, right? Soon enough for me to have a just right Christmas vacation, right? Oh, shut up, OCD/anxiety, whichever one you are.

Anxiety and depression are friends in my case. Well, it isn't quite a fair relationship, because if the depression is super duper strong, it can overpower the anxiety. And depression doesn't necessarily cause anxiety. But anxiety almost always brings a rise in depressed feelings.

So there I am, with depression and anxiety hitching a ride for another holiday season, or at least the pre-holiday work up.

So I'll just have to get my toolbox out, anxiety monster and depression monster. See, I'm really quite skilled in fighting you. I mean, I hate fighting you, because it is hard and requires effort and the experience generally isn't fun, but I'm not stupid. I learn tools and can dig them out.

Let's see. I have a list of things to do today. That's a good tool. A couple things could even be fun (which is a good way to say, "So there, anxiety/depression, take that!"). What else? I can choose to have fun today. I can enjoy the music that I'm slowly learning while writing this, that I'm going to help play tomorrow. I can enjoy my time on the computer (take that!). I am getting my laundry done (take that!). I'm going to watch a fun tv show and/or read a book later today (take that!). I might clean my apartment a little (take that!). And breathe deeply (take that!).

And basicaly keep living, intentionally and with enjoyment. This could be fun after all.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

fall semester finished, tv off for the evening...

Well, I'm practicing a new skill under the heading, "Self Control." This skill is called "turning the tv off." You might look at me (or rather, your computer screen) like I'm strange, or grew up under a rock (I've been asked), but let me explain. I just got a digital-to-analog converter for my tv. So now I am in control of a tv in my house that actually can play something besides dvds and videos. After being bored by boring shows, I finally found a few I wanted to watch... followed by a few more. Until I was watching 3plus shows a day. Which might not be so bad if they were 25 minute shows. Actually, some of them are, but in those cases, they show two episodes back to back, so we are back to talking about 3 plus hours.

I do enjoy zoning out that way. Really enjoy it.

But due to practicing my new skill, I have time to blog.

Sort of. Meaning my eyes are tired and should be released from staring at electronic objects.

Anyhow, I just finished my semester this evening! I think I got A- in both classes, which is above my B goal (which was remarkably easy to not be content with). I actually got 100% on the test I thought I wasn't prepared enough for. So that was nice.

Now I have one more semester, and then I graduate.

On the positive progress from OCD side, I managed to sign the graduation application as a natural matter of course (after long deliberations over whether to finish this spring or not, but the application was not a problem). On the still human side, the second paper they sent me to sign reminded me of the intimidating task of finishing and graduating (not sure what is intimidating, except for their very specific language that you must do xyz or you wont graduate). Anyway, I think I'll be able to fill out that paper with minimal distress as well.

Lots different from my worrying for what might have been years over whether or not I had answered the residency question correctly on my application for community college. Why did I worry? I was afraid I had answered it wrong, and that it somehow invalidated my whole degree. Aren't you jealous of my questioning mind? It comes with easy As in many classes, along with needing a few hundred dollars' worth of medication every month. And don't even think you can get my easy As without my mental problems. And that is why I'm not sure that a high IQ is really something we should be to quick to wish on anyone.

Actually, I suppose there are people with high IQs that are free from mental disorders. You can aspire to be one of them, and hope your children will be among them. But I think average IQs are quite fine.

Actually, I've never tested my IQ. Perhaps I have an inflated idea of what mine is. Moreover, I don't know what it is like to have any brain except for my own, so this comparison stuff is a bit silly.

Really? I'm writing this on my blog? Maybe I should turn the tv back on. Just kidding.

Or go to bed and observe the blank wall while I don't fall asleep. Nothing like delayed sleep for the last two nights to make it hard for me to go to bed the third night.

Aside from that, life is going pretty good.