An Unexpected Path

Hello Folks.  I have been bad.  “Wicked, wicked bad”

roadblock2My plan/path/road was to take the blogging201 course.  I think I completed day 1 maybe day 2.  I encountered a roadblock in the form of physical illness.  Actually there had been a couple of illness crap things going on with me.  While I took the time to care for myself, my blog and many other things were put on the back burner. At times, I have had this blog pop up in my brain, but until today I was unmotivated to write.

“What’s been going on you ask?”

“Shhhh, Don’t tell anyone But, One thing happened which led to another thing then another and another. The result being I started writing elsewhere.    And now I am here.”

“Where is here?”

“On my couch, writing this.”

“Seriously????”

“Yes, seriously.”

laughingfreeI am taking part in a research study that involves using a mindfulness App to help people quit smoking.  When this opportunity arose, I went with it.  Part of the process of quitting is writing down your experiences with this App.  Writing ovah there led to motivation to write ovah here.  Hmmmm. Sharing my experience with mindfulness would not be a bad purpose for this blog. I am still looking for one of those.

A year ago I had an experience that felt almost life changing. I will warn you it is a bit long if you choose to read it.  Looking back, I can see that the experience gave me the opportunity to be more aware of what was going on with me.  To be present. To be in the moment.  Not worrying about something in my future that might never happen.  Not ruminating over something I did or did not do in the past. My soul focus was on whether I could get from the couch to the bathroom without help. I was forced to look at right now and nothing else. I was forced to focus on my body and what I could or could not do. This experience was the start of a journey I did not expect to be on.  This experience led me to My Mindfulness Adventure.

This new awareness led me to a new therapist.  He shall now be known as Dennis.  Dennis led me to a true introduction to what mindfulness is and what it can do.  Learning about it and practicing a bit led me to talk about it.  Talking about it led to a friend sharing a link with me.  That link led me to TheMindfulnessSummit.  I am presently calling this summit my crash course in Mindfulness.  From it I am learning exactly what I need to learn to continue my exploration of Mindfulness.  I am becoming aware (there’s that word again) of how practicing mindfulness can make a difference in my life.  My eyes are opening to the possibilities of what practicing mindfulness can do for anyone who gives it a chance.

roadblockfreedomFor instance, I did not know it could help prevent a relapse of depression.  There are things called Mindful parenting. Mindfulness for business. It can be used to help deal with pain.  I did not know there was such a thing as mindful eating.  Which is a tad odd as I recently made a decision to lose some weight.  I was actually losing weight by using mindful eating techniques that I didn’t even know existed.  The extent of my experience with mindfulness consisted of using it to deal with an anxiety thing.

Back to the MindfulnessSummit.  One of the lectures I listened to led me to a local Mindfulness Center that I did not know existed.  That centers website led me to ask questions about becoming part of a research study. That study was being conducted to see how successful a particular App was at using mindfulness to help people quit smoking.  Odd, I have been thinking a lot about how much I really need to make a final attempt at quitting.  Patches, gum, medication, lozenges – none of that appealed to me.   This appealed to me.  Is all of this one rather large coincidence?  It doesn’t matter as it all came together to lead me where I need to be.  quitsmoking

The first time I quit smoking was a bit unconventional.  The last should be as well.            .

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Are Ya Ready for Tomorrow????

Obsessive Thought Soup ====
Start with Numerous Random Thoughts
Add 4 dashes of Fear and Worry
Stir 16 times
Let simmer for exactly 64 minutes
Breathe and Let it Go
REPEAT

I’ve been Wicked obsessing again.  I can’t really focus on random obsessive thoughts today because it is so much more than just thoughts right now.  My brain feels like a family size pot of Obsessive Thought Soup, anxiously simmering on the wood stove. OTS should not be confused with LPS or Llama Poop Soup which in itself can be obsessive, but is a completely different kind of soup.

Okay, my most prevalent recent obsessions are as follows….

  • obsessing over never having finished Photo101.  Life got in the way of that and it was put on the back burner.
  • Obsessing over last weeks Photo Challenge (Close-Ups if you missed it).
  • Obsessing over this
  • that
  • all those other things.
  • And now I am Obsessing over how many cooking references I can accidentally have in one post.

I tried sitting with the thoughts and letting them go. I tried distraction as a way to rid myself of these thoughts. Old negative coping techniques no longer work so I shall not even go there.  I could verbally rant, but I don’t feel like bothering anyone else with my batshitcrazy way of thinking right now. Maybe if I take each named obsession one by one and rant a bit, they will lessen.  If I do this right, I should be able to rid myself of these obsessive thoughts, complete Obsessive Thought Thursday (maybe a day early even), do some work on Photo101, and release from my mind the other close-ups I’ve been obsessing over.

I do believe I am feeling an increase in anxiety which may be causing an increase in obsessive thoughts which definitely is causing more anxiety which leads to compulsions…………….OR did the obsessive thoughts start first which led to the elevation of anxiety which led to more obsessive thoughts which in turn led to compulsions……………All I know is I am obsessing.  Other coping skills did not work, so right now I am attempting to rant them away by writing. I shall write those obsessions right out of me. Write and rant about obsessions in order to rid myself of those same obsessions. Is this making sense to anyone???? I think I may have confused even myself.  I refuse to add to the anxiety by starting to obsess over the # of times I just wrote “right” and “write” or obsess over those run-on sentences I let stay.

Ah, I just took a break for breathing.  Breaks for deep breaths are good AND I completely forget about them almost all of the time.  How come the stuff that is the best for me when I obsess and feel anxiety are the last things I remember to try?  If I didn’t mind bothering other human beings, the very 1st thing they would have told me to do is BREATHE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Each and Every One of them would have said in a firm, yet tender voice, STOP and BREATHE!!!! and not in a loud voice either.  I have been doing very well with firm, yet tender prompts. “No, buts, just STOP and BREATHE.” They may have to repeat it. And possibly repeat it again, but it helps.

Close-Up of Toad that kept jumping out at me

Close-Up of Toad
that kept jumping
out at me

Time to stop ranting and writing and hit save.  This breathing thing is calming me down.  I am obsessing less and think that I just might be able to stop writing for now and maybe eat supper. Who cares when I finish Photo101?  I can’t just pull photo’s out of my ass, I mean hat, to match the subject of the assignment in the order they are assigned. Look at this past weeks weekly challenge.  It just happened to be close-ups.  To start, I went looking for close-ups. After I published my 1st attempt, close-up opportunities kept popping up everywhere. Inspiration can come from anywhere.

Day Seven of Photo101 Big & Point of View.  Ah screw it.  I am feeling better. Less obsessive, and no anxiety. I am no longer obsessing over finishing Photo101.  I also did tomorrow’s regular weekly feature today. So that leaves time open tomorrow to work on last months Photo101 assignments. and I forgot my 5:32 PM Ativan again.  So here’s to Obsessing or to Not obsessing.  I much prefer not.

Didn’t forget this time

No, I did not do last weeks OTT .

I did not forget.

In fact, I thought about it a lot.

I just didn’t do it.  So there….

I did work on a draft called CahParking%203Driving Lessons, but it needs much more work and a lot more editing. I will post it when I am completely and totally satisfied with what I end up with.  I have found that if I just sit down and write, things flow quicker, better, a bit easier.  I am better off not thinking when I write. There is always time to edit so it makes a bit of sense later. So, I am sitting and working on today’s OTT.  Not thinking, just doing. Obsessive Thought Thursday for those who don’t remember or never knew. Trying not to think about obsessive thoughts while writing about obsessive thoughts can be tricky. I have faith in my ability to handle it.

An intrusive thought is an unwelcome involuntary thought, image, or unpleasant idea that may become an obsession, is upsetting or distressing, and can feel difficult to manage or eliminate.

Okay,,,,What do you call those intrusive thoughts that are an unwelcome involuntary imagethought, image, or idea that starts as pleasant?  Some of my intrusive thoughts are not specifically unpleasant until they become obsessive.  Like yesterday I had the thought that I had to get pictures of some flowers before they disappeared.  I considered it an intrusive thought because I was busy with something else and didn’t have the time to take a picture. Not stopping what I was doing to take a picture, and the thought would take over my brain until I could not stand it anymore. I would be unable to concentrate on anything but those damn flowers. Taking a picture would have helped this thought leave my brain.  Noticing pretty purple flowers is a pleasant thought, until it becomes an unpleasant obsessive thought.

imageLuckily, I have a lifetime of experience with intrusive thoughts.  My experience is that if I deal with them head on, acknowledge them, talk about them, write about them, take some sort of appropriate action, they may go away. Medication helps too.  Odd, as I write this I came to the realization that another thought I have been experiencing lately might be nothing more than a regular intrusive thought (according to the description I found). One of the unpleasant ones though.image

Now I wonder, what came first?  The chicken, the egg, OCD, MDD, GAD????  I am pretty sure it was the chicken.  This recent unpleasant, unrelenting, intrusive thought might not be the reemergence of depression.  As I initially thought. It just might be the OCD kicking up a bit.

So, where does that leave us???? With the knowledge that by writing, talking, sharing, expressing, feeling, etc. I will be okay. Now that I really think about it or not think about it, maybe intrusive thoughts for me are not truly intrusive until they become obsessive. Just a thought.

Damn, another thought.  Should someone with diagnosed OCD even be writing?  Never mind writing about OCD, writing in itself can become obsessive.  I can hear my husband’s voice in my head, “Just freakin’ hit Publish!!!!”

I totally forgot again

I have managed to find someone other than myself to blame for my inability to get my weekly feature published on time.

My husband is to blame.  He has had an extra day off each week this summer which totally messes up what day I think it is.  Therefore it is his fault I cannot write about obsessive thoughts on Obsessive Thought Thursday. I do not know when Thursday is.

So glad we got that squared away from the beginning.  I continue to challenge OCD in some way every day. The more I challenge it, the more I reinforce the fact that it is okay to do something once. The more times I eat three skittlesimage at a time instead of four or 2 cookies instead of four, and nothing bad happens, the more I believe nothing bad will happen.  The more times I successfully challenge this disorder, the stronger I feel. And No, not every challenge is a successful one. Twice recently while in a store, I had an incredible increase in anxiety which was directly related to an opportunity to challenge the OCD.  I felt it in my body, just like my new Therapist wants me to.  I can hear him now, “What does it feel like?”     “Easy, It feels like I am going to puke.”

We have been experiencing a lot of ‘firsts’ the last few weeks and I am happy to note that in no way could I make them into fourths. It was stuff like the 1st time you peel and cut up potatoes without saving some pieces for the beagle. The 1st time you forget your water when leaving the house and realize you can go back in without disturbing the dog. There is no dog. The first time you cook and realize there is no dog to step over no matter where you move.  The first time you sit in your dog’s favorite spot on the loveseat and realize just howMattNoMoreFirstsWords comfortable it really is.  The first time you have sirloin tips for supper and realize there is no one to share the juice with. The 1st time your husband leaves when the dog would normally ‘think’ he shouldn’t and you both realize he doesn’t have to sneak out of the house anymore. The 2nd time you sit in your dog’s spot on the loveseat, only this time you recline back, totally enjoying how comfortable you truly are and think, “that little shit has had the best spot in the house for 15 years, and I can see the TV better from over here.” Done with firsts for now.

Okay, O.T.T., obsessive thoughts, Thursday, No its Sunday, Obsessiveness, you started this Saturday…. Lately, I have found myself obsessing over depression.  I have been obsessing over being aware that the depression may or may not be trying to get back in control of my head. I am obsessing over doing everything I can possibly do to stop the depression from taking over my brain. I am thinking this might not be a bad obsession.

Because I am constantly on the look out for signs that depression may be returning, I see the signs rather quickly. I see them before they can get a hold on me.  I can then do what I need to do to prevent it from getting worse.

For example, I have been neglecting my blog.  I enjoy my blog, I have fun with my blog.  The more I neglect my blog, the less joy and fun I have and the easier it is for depression to strengthen itself inside me.  There is more room for it to grow.

Sometimes depression tries to sneak up on me in other ways.DepressionStronger  It likes it when I feel irritable and get snippy with my partner.  I know this, I am aware of this, I can apologize for this and not do it again. Depression hates it when I do this, it loses power. One thing depression loves is alcohol.  If I have to do something that makes me extremely anxious it wants to convince me that it will be easier to do with a drink. It will be better with a  drink.  To someone with a history of depression, alcohol is just FFD (Fuel For Depression). Depression lies. It lies to me all the time. You don’t need to eat today. You will only get fatter.  Eat tomorrow. Depression wants to be that gut wrenching, motivation sucking, all-consuming monster it has been in the past.  And if that means lying to me, that means lying to me.

Today is different though.  I have had time away from that major, debilitating, dark depression. I like to think I have used that time wisely.  I have been able to work on ‘other stuff’.  I have learned how to get through some incredibly anxiety provoking situations unscathed.  I have learned and am still learning that unpleasant feelings just are. Everyone has them.feelingsEmotions  If I feel them and let them be, they will change or leave altogether. The more I fight unpleasant feelings, the stronger they become. Which opens the door for depression.  I need to allow myself to feel stuff like fear, or sadness, or even anger. That way when I feel things like joy, peace, and happiness, I will enjoy them that much more.

I do not know where I am going with this story and I barely know where I’ve been, so my suggestion to Myself is to end it here.

THE END

This time I totally forgot

I missed Obsessive Thought Thursday again.  This time I completely and totally forgot about it.  It wasn’t until Friday that I even thought about Thursday.  This could very well be a good thing.  Maybe I am forgetting about it because I am not having constant, unrelenting, obsessive, intrusive thoughts.obsessiveNot

I made homemade chocolate chip cookies on Thursday.  The number totaled 1 cookie short of 5 1/2 dozen.  I thought about the number briefly.  I was okay with having such an odd number.  I did not stress over having that odd number.  I did think about it, but I thought more about the fact that I was okay with the odd number.  In the past I would have had to figure out how to get a much better total number of cookies.  In fact I would have started my baking with the final number in mind.  I would have made some cookies bigger or smaller to get to a decent final number.

12 cookies per sheet = 24 cookies each time I put the sheets in the oven.  That gives me 24 each time.  If I squeeze three extra cookies onto each sheet each time, that would give me 30 cookies which is closer to 32 than 24.  Then I only have to worry about 2 cookies not 6.  I do this twice and I end up with 60 cookies.  This is much closer to 64 than 48.  48 is not a bad number it is just not as pleasant as 64.

If I do this 2 more times, which is 4 times, I end up with 120 cookies.  8 more and I have 128 total.  That is a great number.  Very easy for me to work with.  I did not do any of this.  Yes, the number of cookies was always in my mind, but it did not bother me too much or cause increased anxiety in me.  I did count the cookies as I baked them, but my only goal was to bake a lot of cookies.  The total number I ended up with did not matter to me.  I just wanted a lot of them.

I ended up with 65 cookies.  So close to 64, yet so far.ocdRELIEF

I sat and I pondered.  I felt.  I sat and felt whatever it was I was going to feel. I felt okay with this number.  I liked the number better when I called it 1 short of 5 1/2 dozen, but 65 was okay too.  Eat one and I am at the magical number of 64.  I did not do this.  Instead, I thought about how cool it was that I was feeling absolutely no anxiety over the number of cookies I baked.

Yes, I thought about the number of cookies, but that is okay. It may have even been normal to want to know how many cookies I ended up with. I have been obsessing over numbers since I knew what numbers were.  I can’t expect to completely forget about them all at once.

What do I attribute this amazing feat to?  A few things come to mind.  Medication being number 1.  Without the proper medication, I would not have the opportunity to even attempt to challenge my obsessions and compulsions. But, medication did not fix me.  It helped me.  It gave me the ability to really take a look at the obsessions and compulsions that were left.  With medication, the battle of challenging the OCD seemed possible.  A battle I believed I could finally maybe win.  I had hope that I could beat this illness.  Before medication, I was completely controlled by the obsessive thoughts and behaviors.

Many of these compulsions had become habit.  I never thought about putting 4 ice cubes in my drink, I just automatically did it.  I learned in childhood that if I did not do things in 4’s, I would feel uncomfortable.  When I got older I learned that this uncomfortable feeling was called anxiety.  I learned that I could prevent or lessen this anxiety by doing things in 4’s. lifestronger

So although medication has helped me, I have had to do a lot of hard work as well.  I have had to force myself to do things differently.  I have had to be willing to experience those uncomfortable feelings I’ve been trying to avoid my whole life.  I am challenging OCD and I am winning.  Each and every time I challenge it, I get a bit stronger.

cheating a bit today

Day Eleven of Photo101: A Pop of Color and Last Thursdays OTT

Life has gotten in my way recently. I am trying to get myself back into this Blogging thing. Also, I missed O.T.T. again last Thursday. I did think about it. I just didn’t do it. I am also wicked far behind in Photo101.

So today, Monday, I am going to combine O.T.T. with photo101.  I am going to challenge my OCD by getting back into my assignments, but I will mix things up a bit and do the assignments out-of-order. I obsessed a bit when taking pictures of this Pop of Color I found. A bit more when it came time to edit.  But, It was not to the point that I felt out of control. Just some minor anxiety that was easily managed.

This is progress.  The big test will be whether I can stick with doing the assignments out-of-order. Please note that there are 3 pictures.  Not 4 (down from 8).  This is a big deal to someone with my kind of OCD.

Now that I think about it, had I ventured down to the water I could have taken care of Day Seven: Big & Point of View as well.  Next time I will go to the bottom of the dam and look up.

 

Photo101 day3 just say water

Day Three: water and orientation.

vertical >>>>

vertical >>>>

“I’ve got plenty of water. wonder what they mean by orientation?” 

How will you interpret this theme???? How can you tell a story with

water???? 

horizontally or vertically????

“sounds like I get to decide???? Well, I went absolutely batshitcrazy with this assignment..”

After you snap your picture, rotate your camera and take a shot from the other orientation — horizontally if you first took the picture vertically, and vice versa.

“Yes, I went A.A.T.N. absolutely almost totally nuts. Remember, I have a camera we bought 4 months ago. I’ve been practicing with it a lot lately so,  I pretty much know how it works.  Then Monday, the darn husband insisted on buying me a smaht phone.  More new stuff to learn, “I chose to take on the challenge.”

horizontal (i think)

horizontal (i think)

Good thing I did too.  I was forced to upgrade regular PC stuff today and now I can’t upload my pictures from my new camera to my laptop like normal. So, all of these pics came from my new, never, ever wanted, smaht phone.  Some of them actually do kinda tell a story.

What do you think?

imageimage imageimage

Thursday Already ????

This Obsessive Thought Thursday is certainly not turning out to be what I envisioned.  Today I got nothing.  No obsessive thoughts.  Don’t cry, this is a good thing. This means that the medication could be working.  Although medication is only a small part of my recovery from OCD.  Practice at challenging my compulsions is a big part of it as well.  I have my own ice cube challenge. For weeks, I have been practicing putting only 3 ice cubes in my coffee or tea.  Down from my norm of 4.  Today I can honestly say that I don’t need 4 ice cubes anymore.  3 is okay.  I do not stress out at the odd number. Great Progress!!!!

But only when it comes to ice cubes.  My next challenge is to eat three cookies.  I know it is hard work, but it must be done.  I haven’t thought about the light switches in my house for weeks.  Until last night.  I was able to go to sleep without checking their position.  More progress.  Excuse me for a second.

Okay I am back.  and I must say…. Damn they were in the wrong position!!!! and are now fixed….  A bit of anxiety when I saw that they were not correct, but nothing I can’t handle.  I may or may not have to keep checking them, but I am voting for not.  I will be okay…. Damn, I wish I believed that.  Anywho….

44sBack to compulsions.  This clothespin thing has been really bothering me lately.  I have tried them in numerous positions.  I have come to two conclusions.  They are best when positioned in random and utter chaos or if I get caught up in my obsessions, four 4’s. I tried two 8’s and one 16, but am most comfortable with the four 4’s.

So that ends todays OCD lesson from my point of view.  Be sure and return next week for who knows what????

Unprepared for today’s O.T.T.

Or was I?

Thursday kind of snuck up on me this week.  I haven’t been all that obsessive this week.  Thoughts or otherwise. I have been busy.  I have been challenging myself more and more.  Like 3 ice cubes instead of the normal 4. I have plenty of saved up obsessive thoughts stored on this computer. So I am going to go with one from a few months ago.

Uh  Oh !!!!  I wicked want to shave my head !!!! and yes I am getting to the point of obsessive about it…. Do I mention it to hubby???? yes,,,,talk about it then maybe it will go away…. His haircut looks nice….I just got my haircut but I DIDNT get it shaved….I want shaved….we should talk about it before I just go and do it .  Not like I haven’t done it before….One of the 1st night we worked together we got bored and he was involved with my original head shaving….or maybe it was his day off….I would need to get big earrings as Mom will say….if I did it????Oh Look I can do it for charity

We did talk about it.  I did not do it.  Talking and writing helped it go away.

 

A not so funny O.T.T.

I do not understand why when I post some things they get posted on a different day than when I posted them.
Yes, I wrote most of this post awhile ago, but never finished it until today. Why it is being posted out of order, I do not know.
This is the 2nd time this has happened to me. If anyone has an answer, I would greatly appreciate it.

life as seen by me

Okay I did not expect to be writing about obsessive crap so soon.  It is only Friday.

My husband calls every day on his lunch break. He does not miss a day.  Some times he may be a bit late, but he does call.  every day  Sometimes I can’t wait for the call and I call him. Today I waited for the call and waited and waited and waited some more. Finally I called him.  He did not answer.

and it starts.  well it already started. This is just when I became aware it was starting. I speak of anxiety.   

He always answers why did he not answer???? why did he not call???? what happened to him???? why can’t he call???? was that a noise outside???? is someone here to tell me something is wrong???? Why hasn’t he called???? where is he???? What has happened to him???? He should have returned my call by now,should…

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