Saturday, April 19, 2014

my version of being a "cat lady" and Easter (the two topics separately)

Last night, I looked around my home and thought, here it is, my sad preschool teacher (in my case toddler teacher) existence. And so I took pictures of it for you. I am not a cat lady. I only have a guinea pig. Instead, I'm a teacher of little kids. And I spend my money accordingly. Well, maybe I should spend it less, but I do spend it fairly consistently with what I care about. So this, my friend, is what a single lady toddler teacher's studio apartment might look like, down to the mess. I use most of my cleaning impulses up at work.
Toys, toys everywhere and not a drop to drink, to misquote Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
This (the cars, people, and animals) is most of the result of one of my larger thrift store purchases. You know my kiddos will be thrilled to play with the cars. At least the ones they consider cool, which should be most of them. But where shall I store them in my tiny apartment? Meanwhile, they are like a constant OCD trigger (I could call them an exposure, but I'm really not so sure I'm doing much Response Prevention, and OCD doesn't want me to risk telling a lie). Did. I. Waste. My. Money??? Possibly. Oh, how terrible. Now where will I store them. My kids will like them. But maybe I shouldn't have bought them. Oh, dear. Now where will I store them. Loop complete. Well, if it could be completed and still be a never ending loop. P.S. I would just love for you to reassure me that it was okay to buy so many cars for my classroom, but you probably shouldn't. Nonetheless, please don't make my exposure any bigger by assuring my OCD that I should not have bought them. I'll just satisfy myself with explaining my predicament and move on to other triggers.
Like my superbly messy studio apartment. Yes, I walk through it as if it was an obstacle course. Because it is, even if I didn't design it to be. Oh, and do you like the stack of pretty boxes on the wire shelves that now hold up my tv antenna? Safe to answer because OCD is busy elsewhere. The stack isn't straight. That keeps annoying me, but I always forget about it when I am up and moving, and Newton's law about things at rest (me) staying at rest is pretty accurate in this case.
And here is my kitchen. Yes, it is pretty much that small. And I am proud to show you how clean it is. There is not a giant pile of dishes from months ago. I think I even washed dishes last weekend.

And now, since people tend to only read one new post at a time (as far as I can tell and have experienced, I shall segue into my second post without actually changing posts, because I want to attempt to keep my audience for both posts that are now one post. This is my Easter post. My upbringing and OCD defying Easter post. I'd rather not say I was defying my upbringing, though. More choosing a different path. A path with Easter bunnies and chicks and eggs. Not real eggs, though, because both OCD and I dislike eggs, though not entirely for the same reasons. Anyway, here is my first Easter basket of my life as far as I can remember:
And here is the neatest, cleanest spot in my whole apartment, because I had to clear the table off to switch out my valentine's table cloth. By the way, if you want an Easter table cloth that isn't fabric but has that vinyl or something like vinyl surface, do not shop for it the day before Easter. At least where I live, they were gone. With the exception of ones that were merely striped or something not specifically Easter and two (and only two throughout every store I searched) oblong ones that were not round (and thus, would not be perfect). Correction, one was square, but it was too much into the yellows and oranges, and as you can see, I'm pretty big on the teal/light blue and the pink and purple. In short, Easter supplies disappear and there probably wont be multiple aisles of clearance afterwards like there can be after Christmas. Thus, I would advise anyone following my footsteps in deciding to begin their drastically different Easter celebration habits earlier than the weekend of Easter.

That about does it for my double post. Except that I want to mention the migraine that came today. It was mild enough that I wouldn't usually call it a migraine except that it was the exact same configuration and it annoyed me enough to still call it one. I am suspecting stress and some really disgusting Easter candy I ate last night along with staying up late and not eating too well. The candy was so not good that I actually replaced it with better candy (that was one cent cheaper - the advantage of Walmart over the dollar store) and threw the yucky stuff away. By the way, the other two kinds of candy that I got from the dollar store were good and are still in my eggs. And I gave up on trying to give myself the Easter-egg-hunting experience, at least this year. Throwing eggs around my apartment might work, especially with my apartment already being a messy obstacle course, but something about having the plastic eggs fall from that high and cracking open just isn't appealing. And I like my basket quite well. And the place mats are perfect, despite being almost a centimeter different in height. Why would you mass produce place mats that are not the same size? (The labeling said they were the same size.)

So, happy Easter. May you enjoy the pastel colors, rabbits, lambs, chicks, and eggs if you want to. And my enjoying pastel colors, rabbits, lambs, chicks, candy, and eggs does not change the fact that Jesus died for me and then came to life again, saving me. Jesus dying for me seemed pretty strange back when I wanted to kill myself. It is still something that I don't fully comprehend, but I'm okay with that. And I am grateful for Jesus making a way for me to come into a relationship with Him and stay out of hell. I didn't want to go to hell, even when I felt suicidal. I wanted non-existence or a better life, not a worse one.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

feeling better

Well, my friends, life has gotten better. Who knows if my migraines were scheduled to fade, or if cooking and eating ground beef for several days together, or if drinking water from a mold-free water bottle, or backing off chocolate, or answered prayer, or all or some of these resulted in the migraines leaving, but they have left. I still get the start of them, or something like them but not as strong, or a weaker version of them, but oh so much better.

And remarkably enough, simultaneously, I have regained (for the most part) my ability to fall asleep pretty normally instead of having to listen to the radio to distract my mind from it's rat race etc.

Thus, I have been sleeping more and eating better (until my ground beef sloppy joe mix ran out Thursday). And feeling much, much better. I tend to feel much better when I'm sleeping better, and if I feel worse and add not sleeping, that is just tough.

And I've read enough transcripts this semester to change my writing style, I fear. As if I'm talking. Or rather, as if some imitation of all the various lecture presenters is speaking. I did try to listen to this week's lecture, but waiting four seconds for every one second of play time (interspersed more or less like that) is painful. (Actually, I wouldn't have bothered trying except that the link to the transcript was missing). So I searched for the transcript, and it sounded like (in my head) a different version of the same lecture, because the introductory phrases were in a different order. So maybe the instructor does it live for the on-campus classes and the one video recorded for us was not 100% the same as the one transcribed for us. So I will confess to you all that I might not have read exactly the right words. My OCD is concerned about it. I am not concerned enough to suffer through a lecture delivered in one-to-three second segments interspersed with long moments of silence (well, actually, it is even better than that; the computer delivers the sound for the three seconds of material, then starts the video two seconds in, ending with two seconds of catch-up visuals with silence. Good for practicing lip-reading?).

I am so close to graduating that I can taste it. May 2, here I come.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Migraines, budgetting, and OCD/depression spike

Recently, I've been getting these headaches that one doctor once called migraines. They have been usually hitting about an hour or two before I need to get up in the morning, waking me up. Then I take over-the-counter medication, eat something (in case hunger is part of the problem), and try to fall back asleep, which, thankfully, has been mostly working. The thing is, even with falling back to sleep, it is interrupting my sleep, leaving me extra tired. Being extra tired is like sending an invitation to the OCD and depression monsters. Not to mention plain old stress.

The plain old stress in a particular situation had me breaking down at work. Just one day. And the people were nice about it. But it was a red flag warning that I need more rest.

Then there is budgeting. Who likes budgeting? But the problem for me is that OCD/depression/cognitive distortions jump it. Thus, budgeting falls into the category of things that are a tad risky for me. More dangerous things include fasting and dieting. Because I don't want OCDish thinking to jump in there and give me eating disorderish thoughts. So I don't fast and I don't go on a strict diet. Apparently, I shouldn't go on a strict budget, either.

Because where can I try to cut down my spending? Food. And is that a good idea? No. Not for me. Because when I am stressed and vulnerable, it is easy for me to not feed myself well. And that becomes a vicious cycle. Feel bad, eat less, feel worse, eat less, feel worse, force myself to eat...

Not to mention "discretionary" spending. You know, things like buying a new water bottle that doesn't have mold in it that I can't get out. Technically, I don't NEED that, so maybe it is a sin to buy it. Good old Scrupulosity OCD. It just loves to come shopping with me. It gives me that "OCD exposure" feeling when I go to check out at the store. It threatens me when I come home and am torn between enjoying my purchases and putting myself down for buying what I did.

So, after two weeks of successful budgeting followed by three weeks of less-and-less successful budgeting (pay day was further away), I sadly give up my strict budget. It feels like failure. It feels sinful. I mean, shouldn't a good person in my situation (i.e. credit card debt and a tight budget) be budgeting, sacrificing my wants so that I can pay down my debt as fast as possible?

But no. It is time to take care of myself. Which means spending money sometimes. Money cannot be the driving force in my life, or it will drive me back towards OCD and depression. And that really isn't cost effective, if you know what I mean. Little things like doctors bills and lack of ability to work kind of get in the way of "monetary health." I suppose only in the extreme, and maybe that wouldn't happen. Maybe I can "deny myself" my desires and live a sad, cost-effective life. But I'm choosing not to go that way. My sad apologies to the people who think I should use my money better (even if "those people" are really just me).