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.



I Really can turn it around

I did it.  I want to shout off the mountain top, “I FREAKIN’ DID IT!!!!”

I will try to make a long story short.

An unexpected not so good thing happened today.  This thing led to what I would describe as an even worse thing, but not devastatingly bad.  Manageable bad.  My hands shook while attempting to use the rarely used cell phone,

First call was AAA.  I just used these guys last Saturday so I am a pro with them.  Despite quivering fingers, I did well with their phone system.  The next call was to my therapists office.  Easy one. Well it became easy after the first number I dialed was a wrong number. Just say hello and ask for his extension here.  No need to deal with a computer.  You know, low tech, they have people.  People you can actually talk to and get to know. 

In my mind’s eye my 1st message to Dennis was panicked.  I could not remember my cell # , and rambled on about how “with my old therapist I had not missed an appointment and here it is Day 3 with you and I cancel…. WTF”

I stopped.

I put my phone down

I took a big sip of water.

I took a deep breath.

I called my therapists office back and left my cell phone number with them.  I then took another good deep long full breath and drank some more water.  The phone rang and it was Dennis.  I don’t think I’ve mentioned him yet.  He has the best voice. I thought my Doctor had a good voice when it came to helping people calm down, but Dennis’s is even better.  Hearing his voice and easily rescheduling my appointment continued the calmness I had started to feel.

Instead of feeding the all too well-known anxiety and anger, I took a few more breathes.  I realized this was the perfect opportunity to take a suggestion of my new therapist.  I did something Dennis mentioned.  Listen to how your body feels.  Feel the feelings.  It doesn’t just happen right away, but eventually I am able to let these feelings go.  The first time I tried it with Roy, I thought “yeah, right, just let it go, so simple yet so wicked hard”  But I have been practicing this with less important life crap.  When I really needed it to, It worked.  Surprised even me.

I had the calm time I needed to realize, “there is not a darn thing I can do to fix this situation.  I will miss my appointment no matter what I do.  It is so out of my control.  I can either focus on the bad of the situation or try to find some good.  I thought it would be fun to try to find some good in this life crap.  So I chose that.

I spent some of my time chatting with the Veterinary Tech I had just spoken to.  I laid down on the green grass and felt the warm breeze.  I drank some water.  I thought, “I should come back and steal some of their lilacs.”  Eventually I met D.J. and Rich.  Turns out Rich knows my husband, knew exactly who I was talking about when I mentioned  ‘the beagles guy’, and did everything in his power to take care of me.  And take care of me he did.  My car will be ready today by 5.

I am a firm believer in everything happens for a reason.  Part of the fun is figuring out why things happen?  It’s not often that I am able to figure it out, but when I do, it can make me smile.

Maybe my pleasant attitude and conversation turned D.J.’s day around. Maybe my expression of appreciation to Rich, on GM’s Appreciation Day I might add, made him rethink quitting his job, leaving his wife, and moving to Alaska.  Maybe someone who was passing by, saw me lying in grass, and it made them think “yes, I need to relax too.”

I forgot the point of why I started writing.  I will end with, despite having a lifetime of mental health issues, I am okay today.  I am not great. I am not perfect. It can be a struggle, but I can be okay.

I just realized my goal today was to answer this question, “If there was one thing you could tell people about your experience with mental illness, either in a family member, friend, or yourself, what would it be?”  Thank you Shirley’s Heaven.

Every day I get a reminder to feel gratitude.  Today I am grateful that I took the extra time to make myself look presentable.  I was expecting a simple trip to therapy, not running into the whole Chevy dealership.

I am going to go watch my humming birds.

he attacked my husband’s bright yellow and red shirt, so we gave him 2 brand new feeders. now we have 2 birds and boy do they fight.


99 followers on the wall….

You are following this blog, along with 99 other amazing people.

Cool 1 more human and I hit a true 100.  Who’daThunkIt ?  I was happy with my husband and friends reading this.

Much has changed since I started this blog in February 2015.  It says my first post was in January, but that is a lie. That was my last post for writing 101. It is kind of long, but that was part of the assignment. For some reason it got posted for January instead of May. It didn’t take me too long to find it as I am a proud graduate of Blogging 101 and have learned so much about blogs.

The winter was horrible.  I will write about how horrible it was soon.  I spent much of the winter expecting my very old beagle to cross.  Once spring truly arrived, he stopped acting like such an old man.  He still sleeps a lot, but is walking better and his cough has subsided.  I even caught him playing with a tennis ball.

It’s been roughly 4 months since I really started writing.  I had not planned on writing this much when I started.  I also have been writing about things I did not expect to be writing about.  I blame blogging 101 and writing 101 for this.  I highly recommend both these classes and look forward to my next one.  I am totally serious when I say I learned a lot about blogging and writing.  I’ve met some incredible people and been exposed to some fabulous writing as well.

On the home front, things have not changed too much.  I do have a new TV and camera.  Speaking of cameras, I am slowly trying out Photo Challenges.  Its rare that I don’t have something to say. If it does happen, I have these challenges to keep my blog busy and fun. It also opens up a whole new bunch of folk to meet.  Plus I love taking pictures.

One major change I should make note of.  I am better at trusting my gut when making tough decisions.  The only way I have gotten better at this is by practice.  Lots and lots of practice.  I am learning to listen to me.

So here’s to 99 WordPress followers !!!!  Thank you for hitting that button.

Day 15 – Union versus Adminstration

“Day Fifteen: Your Voice Will Find You

Today’s Prompt: Think about an event you’ve attended and loved. Imagine you’re told it will be cancelled forever or taken over by an evil corporate force. Today’s twist: While writing this post, focus again on your own voice.

“OMG this wicked sounds like me.  It was so hard to misspell so many words, but it was the only way my voice would be heard.  I had no idear where to staht with this assignment, but I ended up having a lot of fun with it.”

I can’t believe this is happinin’. I can’t believe they are doin’ what they are doin’. It has been the same way forevah. Well, 50 years forevah anyway.

Workers in the other union, the powahs that be, and those not in a union want to change everything. “Make 1 big pahty for the whole institution,” they annonncd. WTF!!!! This pahty has always been R pahty. R time. R time to let loose. R time to not care. R time to not worry what others think. What moron from r local union let this happen? We are a union, don’t we get a vote?

R pahty was always the best. It had everyone from the facility undah grade 16 in attendance. That meant direct care, therapists, LPN’s, cooks, you name it. Everyone who had daily client contact, except the RN’s. The RN’s had their own union, so we snuck the ones we liked into r party.

R  Pahty!!!! I cannot stress this enough. It was Ow-wer pahty. We were always smaht about planning the pahty. It always took place at the same hotel. That way we could drink and drink and drink and not worry about gettin’ home. We just had to find the elevatah and we were in.

I will never forget the year my future husband attended the pahty, but nevah really attended the pahty.  He hadn’t planned on going, so he nevah bought a ticket. He was scheduled to work that night. He did not end up doing that.  Instead, he got a hotel room and spent the whole pahty time in it. He had more food in that room than I had at the pahty. I don’t remember how many people we had in the room that night, but it was a lot. At one point I swear we had more people in his room than the pahty had downstairs. This would not have worked if this was 1 big facility pahty. Oh no! It would have been wicked different. Sex in the hotel bathroom would not have been an option.

People will act different at a total facility pahty. Knowing the person at the next table could be watching and has the powah to make your life miserable does not make for a good time. This was always R time to let loose. We all had a very stressful work environment. We needed this pahty. We needed something that was just Rrrr’s.

I can’t believe the administraters convinced r so called leaders to allow every employee from work to come this year. They say it is so the whole place can feel like they are one. Well I say, Screw That!  Someone, somewhere, must be getting something for this to happen. Maybe Joe is getting a secret extra week of sick time. Maybe Sue is being blackmailed into allowing this. I don’t believe a single word being said. I’m sure money is involved somehow. It always is. I bet the admins offah to foot the bill of the whole pahty was a deciding facter.

At work we are one. Not that administration can see that. They see me as a peon. They think they are above me. That is all they see. But if it wasn’t for this peon and others like me, this facility would fail miserably. At work we need to work as a team. Outside of work we do not need to pahty as one. This pahty would relieve us of a years’ worth of stress in one night. Now the pahty itself is going to add stress. How can I discuss big ole Admin Barbara’s antics, with a member I haven’t seen in a year, if I don’t know if the man next to me is her husband or not?

This changes so much. Obviously the powahs that be, on r end were not thinking. I bet the administraters got jealous. Jealous because they heard the rumahs, they heard the talk. They heard how much fun we had. They want to be paht of R fun. By them being a paht of it, they take rrrr’s away .

I’d like to go this year’s pahty just to see. Just to see how many regulars really go. Just thinkin’ that has set my mind in motion. I say we plan 2 pahties. The one the administration is planning for us and the one we plan for rselves. There just might be time. I think I can organize it well enough. I know I can get a few people from the oth-ah buildings to keep quiet about it. Hmmmm???? Now that I think about it, they just might have the wrong people in chahge around heyah.

Her name turned out to be Robbie

Day 6 of writing 101therapycopyright

I’ve seen her quite a few times before but she never caught my attention until today. I can be very shy at times. I am not one to just talk to anyone I meet walking down the street, or strolling in a store, or flying through a waiting room.  She flew by once, twice, three times before I said something.  “You really need to think about slowing down a bit. You are speeding through here like a freight train.” She slowed down just long enough to respond.

“Yes” she relied with a big grin, “I do appear to be stuck in fast forward today. I have so much to get done.”

“Hey.” I replied with the devilish grin I reserved for the best of times. “Just be grateful dealing with me is not on your list of things to do today.”.

“Not a good day?” she inquired.

“I’ve had better.” I responded still trying to smile.

“Well I hope it all works out,” she said as she flew past again. She appeared to be hurried, but not panic like. Almost like she had extra energy that needed to be burned up. I felt jealousy slowly creep through my body. I want to feel that kind of energy again. I use to feel it. I miss it. There was something in her eyes that I could not identify during this first encounter. It did seem familiar. Eventually, in time, I would learn what it was.

This was the same day my therapist told me she would be gone for another 2 weeks.  Damn, I thought to myself, she just got back from Italy. I needed to decide if I wanted a replacement person for those weeks or just someone who’s available for me to call if I need it.  I thought about the uncontrollable, obsessive thoughts and feelings I had been experiencing lately.  I was also seeing my therapist almost twice a week. This was so not the time for me to be skipping a few weeks of therapy.

It was best that I go with the replacement therapist, just in case, but only if I get to pick who I see. I am a firm believer that one tends to get what they need.  Maybe I spoke to this “woman in flight” out of the blue for a reason? I went with my gut, I asked about her.

I learned that what I saw in this woman’s eyes was something I once recognized in myself. It was fun, joy, cheer, love of life. My therapist assured me I would laugh if I met with this woman, who I now know is named Robbie.

I only saw her twice, but we talked about everything. Dogs, OCD, stress, horses, conversion disorder, outlooks on life, laughter therapy, doctors, diagnosis, husbands, SIB, depression, showers, anxiety, beer, medication, and so on. We smiled and laughed about most of it. I have never talked that easily with someone I just met, NEVER, EVER.  I came close to a life crisis while my regular therapist was gone and this woman helped me though it. The last thing she said to me was, “you are a very interesting woman.” I think that is a good thing?

I’ve seen her again. Always in passing. We’ve had brief conversations, like, “Hi, How are you?” “your boots make as much noise as mine.” “How is your dog doing?” “You still move really, really fast.”  Circumstances have arisen where I may switch to her as my therapist.  I do not know at this time.  I am going to try and believe that whatever happens is meant to happen. Yes I would like to see what I can learn from her as a therapist, but I will be happy with what I get when seeing her fly by.

She remains the same as when I first truly noticed her.  A very busy person with eyes that smile.

Create a Feature/mental health or bad day?‏

My first thought when I saw todays Blogging101 assignment was “Nope, not going to do it.”  The assignment was to develop a regular feature for your blog. I still don’t know what my blog is going to be about, how do I come up with a regular feature? I instantly saw the point to creating a regular feature your followers could look forward to, but I had no idea what mine could be.  So instead of trying to do the assignment, I decided to sit down and just write. Little did I know, but as I wrote I realized I was coming up with my very own feature.  I do not do many things well, but one thing I do execute well is venting about life.  So, maybe once a week, or every other week, or every month I will vent about life in an appropriate way. Not only will this fit nicely with the goal I sort of have for this blog, but it will mean I completed todays assignment as well.

I was trying to describe how I felt.  I do not like the expression “It is just a bad day”, but if I did use that expression, yesterday would have been the day. Nothing unusual happened to make it a bad day. It just didn’t feel like a good one.

The day started by my waking up rather early.  6:40 a.m. to be exact.  Hubby was still home and getting ready for his day.  Although waking too early might be the start of a bad day for some folk, it was actually the start of what I thought would be a good day for me.  I got a kiss goodbye from hubby.  I never get them as I am usually still asleep when he leaves for work.  So waking up too early was a not such a bad start to the day. Getting an extra kiss from the one that I love changed that around for me.

The day went on like any other day.  I took care of my daily living type of stuff (coffee, tooth brushing, dressing, etc.). I even remembered to eat and take my fish oil.  I am always forgetting to eat. Therefore forgetting the supplements that go with it.  My beagle was good.  Resting comfortably, and waking only when he needed to pee or eat.  Such a great beagle he is.

A very long time ago I made the decision to limit my caffeine intake.  I don’t remember why I did this, I just know that I drink 2 glasses of iced coffee every morning then switch to water.  Today having woken much earlier than usual, I had ample time to drink more.  And drink more I did . This was a mistake.

I had only 1 real responsibility this day and that was my therapy appointment.  The rest of the days obligations were regular every day ones. Nothing too special.  Today felt different.  My thoughts were racing and obsessive.  I had so much I wanted to do and I wanted to do it all RIGHT NOW!!!!  Feeling like this is not unusual for me.  It is actually pretty normal. I haven’t felt like this in a few weeks or more.  I haven’t felt like this since the Doctor put my OCD medication back up to where it never should have left.

On the drive to therapy, I did one of my new favorite things.  I turned on my heated leather seat, opened the sunroof, and cranked the radio.  I do this to distract myself from any meddlesome, unrelenting thoughts I may be having.  And Oh Boy, today I was having them. None of my newest favorite songs came on the radio, but an older one did.  I found myself singing along to City Of Angels by…. haha it is not City of Angels although those songs and movie are nice.  It was Under The Bridge by Red Hot Chili Peppers. I am a horrible singer, one of the worst, but when you are in your car alone, it does not matter if you can sing or not.  You just sing!!!!  The singing, cold air, and loud music helped.  It did its job. The bothersome thoughts went away long enough for me to figure out what it was I was actually feeling.  I was feeling “CROOKED”.  It was the only way I could think to describe what it was I felt.  I did not know what crooked meant, but that was okay.  I was on my way to therapy.  The perfect place to figure everything out.

I ended up learning one thing in therapy this day. It was a lesson I have learned so many times before.  Remember earlier when I mentioned my 2 glasses of iced coffee.  In therapy I became aware AGAIN of why I limited it to 2.  Any more than that and I become wired.  Totally out of control. Manic even. Racing, continuous, intrusive thoughts.  The cool thing is that years ago, before I “woke up” from my latest bout of depression, feeling like this would have been horrifying to me.  I would have thought, “Oh my Goddess? What the heck is wrong with me?  Do I need a medication change, more therapy, possible hospital Timeout? This is never going to change.  No one can help me. I will always feel this way.”

Not Today!!!!  Today I used skills I have gained.  Some skills have been taught to me by parents, friends, teachers, television, strangers on the street, etc., while others I figured out on my own.  Today I used the experience of distracting myself from the obsessive, chronic, never ending thoughts that I was able to figure out that I am okay!!!!  I took a step back and looked at what was really going on with me. I simply drank too much coffee. The let down I will eventually feel after the coffee wears off will go away.  I will not become overwhelmingly sucked into the deep depths of depression like I have in the past. I will not become all consumed with these incessant, perpetual thoughts.  I will be OKAY!!!!

If I experience a bad day, maybe it is just that, simply A Bad Day.  I just have to do what I can to make sure that 1 bad day does not turn into 2.  Today I can do that by 1) only having 2 glasses of iced coffee 2) using the know-how I have gathered from living life and 3) by venting about my bad day.  One of the very first things I learned in blogging 101 was what a text widget was and how to use it.  I wrote “I love to laugh and I love to vent. I use both of these things when dealing with life. I guess, maybe I will try to put laughter and venting together and see what happens.”  I do believe I did well with the venting part today, not too sure about the humor though.  What do you think?

Try (Another) Blogging Event

Day 13 and I find myself writing again.  Since I started blogging 101 I have not written anything I had planned to write.  Taking this class has changed me.  Todays assignment only proves that more.  The event I picked was The Best of Me: an ode to the past.  I am not sure what exactly I am suppose to do for this “event” but I am just going to do it.  I seem to be saying “Just Do It” a lot lately.Just Do It I feel like an advertisement for Nike.

I picked this event because even though I just started my blogging adventure, I already want to write about where I have been. Last month is the past so I guess I do actually technically qualify for this event. It all started with the first blog I ever read.  This woman and her writing helped inspire me to write my own life crap down.  At the same time my therapist suggested that writing might help me figure some stuff out.  I didn’t want to “just write”, I wanted TO WRITE!!!!

I have always, well not always, but on a fairly regular basis written things down.  I have journals, notebooks, and slips of paper scattered throughout my house.  Now I have a place for all my new stuff.  I have a place to do something with my writing. I am still not sure what my ultimate goal is with this blog, but right now if asked I would say, “I want to educate about life using humor to do it.”  The first thing I published on this blog was an About Me.  I wonder if my goal in that is the same as today.  I highly doubt it.  I don’t even recall having a goal when I wrote that. I just wrote.

Enter Blogging 101.  The first assignment was pretty easy.  An Introduction of some sort.  I cheated by simply answering the questions asked in the assignment. This is where I first learned that blogging was not just about writing. This is where I was first asked to come up with a goal?  I was asked who I wanted my audience to be? What topics I might cover? What do you hope to accomplish?  It has been less than a month and I feel like I have come a very long way.

I think what I really want this post to be about is Blogging 101.  I want to talk about how I am learning so much more than I anticipated.  Yes I am learning how to use this WordPress blog system.  I kind of expected and hoped that would be part of it.  I am learning about links, widgets, titles, and taglines, etc. I am also learning about community, inspiration, prompts, and now events.

Some things have not changed in the past month.  I still want to connect with other human beings.  All, but 1 of my followers are human, but all are welcome here. I still want to use humor whenever I can.  If I make someone smirk, smile, or laugh I will  be happy.alien3 If someone learns something by reading what I write, that is okay too.  A while back I was asked what my job was?  My answer was “retired, but looking for something fun to do.”  I think I found my something fun.

Today I will try using a very simple, yet so difficult life skill.  I will keep it simple and end my post here.

Get Inspired By the Neighbors

Today’s assignment: write a post that builds on one of the comments you left yesterday. Don’t forget to link to the other blog!

I am finding much humor as I learn.  I am finding this humor in things I read and in the knowledge that I am a lot dumber than I ever imagined. Yesterdays assignment was to leave comments on 4 blogs I have never left comments on before.  I thought, “How easy is this going to be?” Haha, Not so easy. I did not remember where I left my comments and therefore had to begin today with searching for them. I did manage to find 3 out of the 4 comments.

Yesterday, I first had to find the blogs I wanted to comment on.  I thought this would be the simple part as I have a lot to say about a lot of things.  I probably read half a dozen blogs before I found one I wanted to comment on.  I can’t just comment.  No! that would be too painless.  I have to really relate to what I have read.  My comment needs to mean something to me.  The blog needs to “touch” me in some way.

I started with looking up blogs that pertained to anxiety.  I couldn’t really find anything that I wanted to comment on, so I moved onto depression.  Nothing really clicked with me so I went to OCD.  Wham!!!! I found so many blogs I wanted to comment on.  I should have started with OCD because when I first read the assignment I thought “4, comment 4 times?  I can do this as 4 is my magical number.”

This is the comment I left that I chose to expand on, and where I left it. You mean the DSM was written about me  My assignment today (blogging101) was to leave comments on 4 blogs I have never commented on before. You are #2. I picked you because much of what I have read here I can relate to. The only major difference so far is our opinion on the colors of your gym. Purple and yellow are my favorite. We can learn from our differences and I am all about learning. I will definitely be back to read more of what you have to say.

When I think of OCD, I do not think of myself and my thoughts and behaviors.  I think of Monk and his life altering obsessions, compulsions, and phobias.monk_wallpaper_1280x1024_6  My compulsions and obsessions are so unlike Monk.  OCD is just part of who I am.  Something I have been learning to live with my whole life. I always knew something wasn’t quite right.  I have spent forever hiding my compulsions and adapting to my thoughts and behaviors.  Yesterday after reading many blogs about others OCD, I realized how very unique OCD can be to each person.  The one thing I did identify with was public bathrooms.  I despise public bathrooms.  I don’t have a germ phobia like so many others, I just truly hate public bathrooms. It is the touching.  I hate touching things that are not my own.  I must say the Walmart near me is pretty awesome.  I had to use their bathroom in an emergency once.  I was greatly impressed.  I did not have to touch a single thing in that bathroom.  Well I did have to touch the toilet paper but in my mind, that was okay.  It would be flushed to never never land.  Never to be seen again.  The toilet flushed on its own, the water at the sink turned on when I put my hands under the faucet, it shut off when I was done, and I could easily dry my hands.   I touched nothing.  Okay, discussing my bathroom habits is not where I expected this post to go.  But Walmart’s bathroom is my OCD heaven.  If a bathroom could be described as heavenly Walmart’s would be it.

I think the point I was trying to make is that everyone’s obsessions and compulsions can be exclusive to them.  I loved watching Monk.  He had it bad. Very bad.  Watching him helped me feel better about my own obsessions and compulsions.  Although mine did greatly interfere with my life, for the most part I was able to manage it.  I grew up with it.  It was “normal” to me.  I don’t even like the idea of calling it a disorder.  OCD-like thoughts and behaviors works much better for me.  There have been times in my life where these thoughts and behaviors have been out of control.  A few years ago I had had absolutely enough. I was already in treatment for depression, but felt I needed more.  I knew depression was not my only issue. If I truly wanted to be okay, I would have to address this OCD-like crap as well. l found that the more the depression lifted, the more anxious and obsessive I became. I consulted a psychiatrist to see if he could offer any help.  I went well prepared.  I brought my therapist with me and I had my thoughts, behaviors, and compulsions written out so I would be unable to forget a thing.  I ended up with medication and a behavior modification plan.OCD

I am always learning new things about my obsessive and compulsive thoughts and behaviors.  I swear the less depressed I become the more I am able to see me.  Recently, my psychiatrist decreased my meds that may or may not have been helping with the OCD.   I quickly learned how important the meds really were to me. I originally thought that they helped me better manage the thoughts and behaviors.  Little did I know but they actually lessened the thoughts and therefore the behaviors abated.  I found this out after the decrease in meds.  I went batshitcrazy.  I was completely out of my mind.  I had chronic, obsessive, meddlesome, sometimes disturbing thoughts at all times.  It was most bothersome while in the car. I did have tools to help me combat these thoughts, but none that I could use while driving.  Being the good mental patient I so strive to be, I actually developed a tool that works in the car.  A favorite Journey song came on the radio.  Although it was cold and snowy, I opened my sunroof, cranked the radio up real loud, and was able to distract myself from the disturbing, intrusive thoughts. They turned into less disturbing, less intrusive, more joyful thoughts.

I have spent much of my life controlled by OCD.  It constantly interfered with my life.  Well today Life interfered with IT.  I learned that writing about OCD can trigger OCD in me. I had stuff to do today. Stuff that I refused to allow OCD from affecting.  So I walked away from writing this post.  I got in my SUV, opened the sunroof, and cranked the radio.  It did not distract me as well as it has in the past as I was missing the snow and the cold, but it helped enough that I was able to get my life stuff done.  I was then able to return to this post and obsess over it some more. I mean finish it.  ocd-cycle


an Irresistible “About” Page

Today’s assignment: create and publish your About page, then either adapt it into a widget on your home page or add it to your menu. funny_quotes_life_3

My original “plan” was to write about a variety of subjects related to life and feel better doing it. Then I came across Blogging 101. So this is what you get today.  Learning is a big part of life so that is what I find myself writing about.  You can never be too old to learn.  You just need a desire.  Now that I think about it, a desire is all you need to accomplish a lot in life.  See, I just learned even more and I wasn’t even trying.

Spring of 2013 I woke up from a long bout of depression.  Since that time, I have become more aware of things. I may have mentioned somewhere that I may have some OCD like traits.  Well some of those traits are showing up while taking this course. The first part of the assignment was create and publish your About page.  I did that last month. I did it before I knew Blogging 101 even existed. I really didn’t want to write another or even tweak the one I had, so what do I do?  I must create and publish! It is part of the assignment.  I must create and publish! It is part of the assignment.  How about I create a blog about the day 6 assignment.  I can write about writing an about me page.  I actually had half this blog written when I realized that was what I was doing.

Okay, where does one begin?  I know. I shall try the beginning.  The very first thing I was able to push publish on was something called  A Bit About Me. I spent a lot of time working on this “about me”.  I wrote and published it long before I knew I would be taking blogging 101.  I wrote a bit, walked away, wrote a bit, walked away, then shared it with hubby and a few Internet friends. I got much feedback from all who got to read the original.  I received a great hug from hubby after he read it.  Internet friends said……..I am honored you shared! You seem so familiar. Like I’ve always known you……..I believe you have a gift with writing……..You did deserve a “wicked” cool hug for this!!!……..I bet it is very therapeutic to write out your story and feelings for others to read…….. I then rewrote it again and added my therapist and “replacement therapist” to the list of people who got to read it.  I got more positive feedback.  Hubby gave me a tighter, longer hug, my Internet friends said…….. I love your pup! He looks like quite the character!!!!        Your honesty and frankness can help others        You have a great writing style        you should find more people who can empathize and learn from your experiences……..I got gutsy and published the “about me”. I think it stayed online for about 2 hours. Then the 2 therapists said……..You are an Interesting woman……..You can definitely reach others with your writing……..your talent with venting might be beneficial to not only you……..They actually read something else I wrote as well which got me to thinking about venting as a valuable tool.  So I published the “about me” again and it stayed. Longer this time. It even got published twice.  Well maybe 3 times, as I have another blog under another title which may not remain as anonymous as this one.  

I should get back to the rest of the assignment which was either adapt it into a widget on your home page or add it to your menu.  I know what a widget is, so I figure I am half way home.  Sometimes I really crack myself up with my child like innocence.  I knew nothing about them.   I was suppose to use a text widget to write a brief description of my about me post and that widget will link back to the post.  Easy I can do that.  It was so easy I had to walk away and come back to it I was making myself so crazy with it.  When I returned I figured it all out.  It was as simple as reading this sentence, “You can also add a link to the full page at the end of your short description with some simple HTML.”  All of my confusion was instantly wiped away.  Well most of it anyway. I did not adapt it into a widget on my home page.  I am not sure I can do that with the theme I have actually been able to keep for 2 days.  But I did adapt it into a widget.  I think I added it to my menu.

links and widgets

this is me learning about links and widgets

So I may or may not have completed the assignment for Day 6.  I did play with my blog and I laughed a few times while doing it. So that is good.  I learned about links and if you click on that funny looking thing in the upper right hand corner, you will see that I did in fact adapt my about me page into a widget. I think. I hope that when I am done with Blogging 101, I will actually know what that means.

Day 20 – I treasure Awareness, and Family, and dogs, and the ability to pee by myself, etc.

Day Twenty: The Things We Treasure Today’s Prompt: Tell us the story of your most-prized possession. Today’s twist: We extolled the virtues of brevity back on day five, but now, let’s jump to the other side of the spectrum and turn to longform writing. Let’s celebrate the drawn-out, slowly cooked, wide-shot narrative.

Good luck to all who read the whole thing and I promise never to write this much again!!!! 4189 words

It all started innocently enough.  I first noticed I couldn’t feel my fingers. As things progressed and I told my story over and over again I realized it actually started weeks before.

I couldn’t feel the cigarette smoke go into my lungs.  I remember telling Jax, “I can’t suck. I suck at sucking.”  I was also eating a lot of Tootsie rolls.  Every time I generated some Tootsie roll flavored saliva I would cough, sputter, choke almost.  I blamed these things on a sore throat and slight fever.  Little did I know that these simple, little things would turn into what it did.  I went from dead fingers and a throat I couldn’t control to not being able to hear what I say and my brain not communicating properly with my body.

My brain doesn’t always register what my fingers type, but knows if it’s right or not.  Sometimes I care sometimes I don’t.

At Christmas dinner I noticed one thing.  I couldn’t feel myself swallow.  I was still not concerned.  I did not think anything of it. I just thought it was some weird freaky strange thing. Nothing to worry about, It would go away. I slept well that night.  The next day was different.  I woke with no complaints.  I still couldn’t feel my fingers, and was still not concerned.  I thought to myself, “I will mention it to my doctor when I see her next week.”

Within a few hours I couldn’t open the sliding glass door to let the beagle in.  BUT, I could open the refrigerator to get a bottle of water.  I started thinking that maybe something was wrong.  If I can’t open the door for my dog or light my own cigarette, there might be a problem.  Jax and I both thought it would be best if I called the doctor. Of course this was the day after Christmas and the office was closed.  The doctor covering  was actually closer to my house and they wanted to see me at 2:30.  This is when I began my first lesson of this whole experience.  2:30 was a long way off, I would learn how to wait.

At 2 PM I could put on my sweatshirt.  1 hour later I could not take it off.

All I thought about was “it is the day after Christmas, in New England and I am only wearing a sweatshirt. The sun is shining bright and the temp is reasonably warm.  The fact that my arms don’t move doesn’t really bother me.”

We didn’t stay at the doctors long, they wanted us to go straight to the ER.  I must briefly mention this doctor’s office.  For a place I had never been before I felt very comfortable here.  There was a Dustin Pedroia “fat head” on the wall and I knew the medical assistant.  I knew I had to be a bit nervous as I repeated over and over again, “it should be Kevin Millar on the wall not Dustin. Kevin Millar, not Dustin. It should be Millar not Pedroia.”  The medical assistant talked to me. She kept me calm. This was the first incidence of thoughts coming into my head and straight out my mouth.  The doctor I saw a week later described it as me “losing my filter”. I basically spoke without thinking.

When leaving the doctors, I noticed I was walking very slowly. Whatever was going on was progressing and I was starting to get a tad concerned.

At the ER 5 minutes later, walking was very hard. Jax had to fill out the paperwork as I could no longer write.  Very little waiting here. They got me right in.  I was amazed at how quickly they started to care for me.  I have never seen a small town ER come alive as quickly as this one did. One nurse was drawing blood as someone else started an EKG.  I was getting nervous and asked for Jax.  It took 2 hours for him to find me. They never went and got him. OH well, except for this, they were taking very good care of me. Plus their focus was on me, not on finding him.

While waiting (there’s that word again), I sensed I had to pee. I couldn’t feel it, but on some level, in my head I knew I had to go.  I didn’t think walking was an option at this point. Bring on the bed pan!!!!  After quite a while of trying to relax parts of my body I could not feel, I only managed 3 drops.  Plus, peeing while lying down is not that easy when you are in control. Forget about it when you have lost that control.

Later without thinking, I made a slow trek to the bathroom.  I got part of the way there when it was suggested I ride the rest of the way.

You have no idea how proud I was when I peed.  I announced it to the whole ER.  Remember “no filter”.  It was good that I peed as they wanted a sample.  They also did a cat scan which showed nothing.  At this point I could lift my arm to scratch my head, but couldn’t put my arm back down.  The doctor did some neurological tests like follow my finger, now squeeze it.  I don’t know if I passed.  This ER knew they couldn’t help me so it was off to the big city hospital. By way of ambulance.

On the way to the big city, I lost the ability to talk.

What a trip this big city ER was.  A nurse said it was a calm night, but boy was it ever busy.  There were people everywhere.  Voices on top of voices on top of more voices.  Patients never stopped coming in the doors.  I liked my ‘room’. I could see it all from my vantage point. My ‘room’ was the hallway.  Two people occupied the stretcher down the hall a bit.  I don’t think this was another space issue, I think it was love.

I still couldn’t talk and was very scared. I never realized how frustrating it could be to not be able to talk. Until it was taken away from me,  My name tag did not have my name on it.  I was incapable of telling anyone.  Finally by way of frantic hand signals, nods, and shakes of my head, a nurse finally understood what I was trying to say.  They gave me the right name.

Jax arrived quicker than expected.  I saw him from a distance and was able to wave.  Couldn’t do that at the other ER. When he got here, I had already seen one doctor. It was very frustrating trying to tell this Doc. all that had been happening.   All I could get out  was “Call the other hospital.” This Doc. knew everything any way.  He just wanted me to say it all again.  Wicked not funny. I must say, “Jax, not the Doctor, is a very smart man.”

Jax noticed almost immediately that if I didn’t try hard or think too much, it was easier to spit words out.

The neurologist was next.  He was difficult to understand as he was definitely not from this country.  I pointed to my ear every time I couldn’t understand him.  Jax was right, if I didn’t try, it was easier to do things.  We told the neurologist this.  With much effort and little thought, I was able to add, “my sense of humor is one of the best and I am doing everything I can to keep it.”  For some reason I felt this was more important than whether I could squeeze his finger or not.  I have never spent more time with one Doctor.  His questions and tests lasted forever.

At one point I don’t think this Doctor appreciated my humor.  He wanted me to remember three things.  They were auto, bowl, and New York City.  Being a diehard Red Sox fan, my brain would not allow me to say New York City.  It kept saying “Yankees suck”.  He laughed the first time this happened, but not all the other times.  I was trying so hard to be good, it just wasn’t happening. I was freakin’ out inside and laughter helped.  Finally after doing more and more tests, he left my hallway.

After a short bit the original ER Doc came back.  He had good news.

“There is nothing wrong with you.  You passed all the tests we have and we couldn’t find anything wrong.  You’ve seen the best neurologist. The best Doctors.  Had every test.  We put our heads together and came up with conversion disorder.”  He explained a bit of what this was and continued, “You can go home. See your psychiatrist as soon as possible.  Here are some names, numbers, and instructions for weakness of unknown origin, depression, and suicidal thoughts. There is nothing we can do for you. You can talk to a Psychiatrist here before you go if you’d like.”

This was all a tad shocking.  As far as I knew I still could not walk.

How was I supposed to function without the ability to move?

I had a feeling he was going to come up with a psychological reason for this crap.

I am having trouble believing my brain is capable of this.

After a short bit they sent a Neurological Psychiatrist dude down to talk with me.  I think I wanted him there to convince me that yes, my brain was capable of completely shutting down my body in this way.  This Doc made sure I was ‘not at risk of harm to self’ and left.

Impossible earlier, I again had to sign some papers.

With Jax’s encouragement I was able to write my initials. It took a long time, but I did it. I figured if the doctors were right, and there was nothing physically wrong, I could sign my name.  I just didn’t know I could do it.  I had already walked to the bathroom with help. I was so proud that I was able to pull my pants up by myself.  I didn’t think about it, I just did it.  Still “no filter” as I announced this small feat to the whole ER.  The nurse who discharged me rolled me to the door, said Good Luck, and left me.  Eventually Jax found me.

When we arrived home, I felt gratitude that there was no snow on the ground as my feet were covered in just hospital socks.  I would not have enjoyed walking in snow.  It was just too hard to think about putting my shoes back on.  Without thinking too hard, I struggled up the few steps to my back door.  I kept telling myself that there was nothing wrong and I could do it.  I trusted that I could do it.  Funny, this was how I got through an anxiety provoking situation a few weeks prior.  I just kept telling myself that I could do it and there was nothing wrong.  Hmmmmmmmm, The power of the mind comes up again.  There wasn’t much to do once we got home.  Jax helped me smoke a butt, (which is something I really, truly wanted). And I went to bed.  Didn’t even waste time peeing.  Couldn’t be bothered.

The next day was interesting.  I woke up before Jax and went straight to the bathroom.  I didn’t think about it, I just did it.  I was so proud to tell Jax what I had accomplished all by myself.  Maybe this wasn’t going to be so bad after all.  The big city Docs recommended I see a psychiatrist for follow-up.  Luckily I already had an appointment scheduled.  I have a history of depression, OCD, and anxiety. I am being treated for all and am or thought I was feeling better.

On Saturday I was able to do a few more things….  stand up, walk to the door, smoke (with help), and pee.  Getting TP was very hard, but someone how I managed.  I am also noticing that I can do stuff, I just don’t know I’m doing them. I am not sure how to better explain it.  I basically just went on with my day, did what I could, trusted that I was doing what I thought I was doing, and went to bed.

My constant thoughts were “I can’t handle this waiting thing anymore. I am getting too much practice with waiting. I should be better at it by now. I can’t wait to see my shrink. I just want this crap gone and I want it gone NOW!”.

Sunday morning was the best.  When I awoke, I immediately announced to Jax that I was back.  I had walked to the door without a problem and may have even opened it. A few minutes later, after fully waking up, I noticed that I still couldn’t feel my fingers. I didn’t care that much, I HAD HOPE.  Hope is pretty powerful.  Just like the brain.  My symptoms slowly returned throughout the day.  I was having trouble turning on the bathroom light and getting TP was still a tough chore to tackle.  Jax suggested we take a ride.  We ended up going to NH.  I could walk slowly and get into a car.  Dealing with the door handle and putting on a seatbelt was not happening.

It is these simple, little things that I am grateful I am able to do today.

Monday was Monday.  I couldn’t do much.  Jax was very helpful, yet I sensed he was tiring of it all.  I know I was.  Jax kept me fed.  He did a fine job with this.  Eating was still very hard, but I managed.  I could talk, but couldn’t hear myself talk.  I was constantly asking Jax, “Did I say that out loud? Did you hear me? Did I say that?”

Tuesday was Mom’s day.  Jax was getting a break from me and got to go to Work.  Technically, there was nothing wrong so I couldn’t ask him to take another day off from that joyous place.  He really does love it there.  I don’t blame him, It is a fun place. I had already spoken with my mom and explained what was happening.  I assured her that I was okay, I just needed some help.  Jax had left the slider unlocked and I was able to open it all by myself.  This was tremendous progress.  Mom’s job for the day was to get me to the doctors.  This is the Doc who has the dog.  I think it is way cool that my doctor has a dog with him.  How can I not trust the man?  We got to the doctors early so I got to experience waiting again. I didn’t care anymore, I was getting real good at it.  I couldn’t talk to the receptionist, so Mom helped me.  Jax had written down most of what had been happening just in case I lost my voice again.  I’m glad we thought to do that. It was less stressful that way.

I ran into my doctor in the hallway.  He apologized for being a few minutes late and would be right with me. I tried to respond, but again could not talk.  I handed him the paper Jax had written out.  I tried communicating that I could not talk, but couldn’t get my point across.  I figured if anyone could relate to my struggles, it would be him.  He is deaf and uses an interpreter.  He also uses a very cool dog for help.  That dog makes everything okay at our appointments.  I once told my doc that I didn’t come there to see him, I only came to see his dog.

Humor is so important in my life.

This Doc asked a lot of questions.  Sometimes I could answer, sometimes I struggled with answers, sometimes I could not answer.  He checked out my body, looking for any physical reason for what was happening.  He did notice Parkinson like symptoms.  He said I was shaking a bit.  I couldn’t speak so telling him that I shook all the time was not possible.  I couldn’t get it out.  I like a doctor who knows and admits when he doesn’t have the answer.  Makes them more human like.   He needed some time to look some stuff up.

He asked his dog to sit with me.  I loved this. I love dogs.  At one point the dog put his head on my foot.  Things were still weird for me and I wasn’t sure if this was actually happening.  After asking the interpreter “Did I say that?” numerous times, I asked if the dog did in fact have his head on my foot.  He did.  This was important because of what happened later.  I told her I tried using the few signs I knew in the ER when my voice failed me.  No one understood what I was doing so it didn’t make a difference.

Communication has become very important to me.

When my doctor was done with his research, he gave me his diagnosis.  He decided that a medication I take for OCD was reacting with one I take for heart burn.  It didn’t matter that his diagnosis was different from the doctors at the hospital.  I was willing to do whatever I had to do to feel better.  If that meant decreasing a medication and a recurrence of OCD, I would deal with that.  Obsessing over some numbers and recurring intrusive thoughts was nothing compared to not being able to wipe my own bum.

Wednesday was Mom’s Day again.  I needed a ride to see Joan.  Joan is my therapist.  I had called her earlier in the week and left her a message.  “Look up conversion disorder and become an expert by Wednesday. Hope you have a nice day.”  I figured if the doctors couldn’t fix me maybe she could. I had never heard of conversion disorder before so I figured I’d give her the heads up just in case it was new to her as well.  When I first saw her I asked if she had read my file from the day before.  She had not.  It would have been good if she had as I really didn’t want to have to repeat myself again.  I wasn’t even sure I could.

Anyway when I first got in her office she told me she had looked up conversion disorder.  The site she read stated that it was caused by trauma.  I was told it was caused by severe anxiety.  I have no trauma so I am going with anxiety as the cause. Looking back, I realized a nurse at the original ER had asked me if I thought this could be anxiety. I thought about how the anxiety I had been experiencing had been gone for over a week. I said, “No. It is not anxiety.”

I always need to sign a form when I get to therapy.  I took one look at it and told Joan I was having trouble doing stuff like writing, but I would do my best.  It took me 20 minutes, but I did it.  This is important.  Even a little progress was very important to me. I cannot expect perfection.  Every little step I took was important.  I did my best to tell Joan what was going on.  It was a struggle, but with a lot of patience on her part, I got it all out. I was talking better than the day before.  Still not great, but better.  Progress.

Thursday was New Year’s Day.  Jax worked in the morning.  Mom and I made tentative plans for lunch, but I wasn’t up for it.  I spent the day doing the best I could.  I still wasn’t sure when I talked.  I couldn’t quite hear myself speak.  Simple tasks were getting easier.  I still had trouble believing I was doing what I thought I was doing, but I was doing it.  My body and brain seemed disconnected somehow.  I take supplements.  I could open the bottle and pour the pills, but needed Jax to tell me how many I had in my hand.  Eating was hard, but I did it.  I still couldn’t feel my throat.  I quickly learned to chew very well.  I couldn’t feel myself chew and was afraid I would choke. Today, even though all symptoms have subsided, I still find myself concentrating on chewing.

I never really thought about chewing before, now I do.

Friday I became more confidant.  I had spent plenty of days asking for reassurance that I was actually doing what I thought I was doing.  Today was going to be my day of just doing.  I felt good.  I felt like I could get things done.  It had been over 3 weeks since symptoms began.  Exactly one week since I became concerned that something was wrong.  I was given two diagnoses.  Conversion disorder and medication interaction.  I did not know who was right.  I did not care.  I was getting better.  I would listen to all the doctors and do what they all said.

I continued to feel better. Each day I was able to do a bit more.  I shuddered to think it might happen again.  If it was the medication, problem solved.  If it was anxiety, I could work on that.  Anxiety can be tricky.  Ever since my depression got better, I noticed an increase in anxiety.  Almost like I woke up and bang, FEAR.  A lot of fear.  I was more aware of feeling anxious and was getting more practice dealing with it.  Here too I was looking for progress, not perfection.  Despite feeling anxious, I would still do things.  I would not let anxiety stop me from doing what I had to do.  I figured everyone felt anxious at times.  I may feel it a bit more, or a tad stronger, but that shouldn’t matter.  I could walk through my fears.  I thought this was dealing with anxiety.  I was able to overcome the anxiety, but never realized I was still feeling a tremendous amount of it.

I was in the middle of making a major life decision.  I was feeling very stressed about this decision. Finally after weighing all options, the decision was made.  The stress was gone.  There was no more anxiety. The knot in my stomach had disappeared. I felt relief.  I almost felt manic.  Manic-like is the only way to describe how I was feeling. Maybe ecstatic is a better word.  I didn’t know at the time, but the anxiety I had been feeling was turning into a monster.  A monster I never saw coming.  I didn’t know that within a week that anxiety would take over. Completely take over.

I have learned a lot from my experience.  Yes, I learned how powerful anxiety can become, but I have learned so much more.  I know how important it is to be able to do the little things.  I can talk.  I can walk.  I can see.  I can drive.  I can write my own name.  I know how easily all of this can be taken away. It was all taken away from me slowly.  It was given back even more slowly. Today, I do more.  I talk more.  I feel more.  I believe more.  The bottom line is I feel gratitude every time I pee by myself.

There isn’t a lot of information about conversion disorder.  I read numerous descriptions of what it was.  Differing ideas on how it’s caused.  I’ve learned it is not as uncommon as one would think.  The one thing I couldn’t find was how to fix it.  Mine went away.  It took time, but it went.  I had a lot of family support.  I would not have gotten through this without them.  I am afraid it may return.  If this whole experience was medication related I have no fear. The problem is solved.  If it was all caused by anxiety, I worry.  I am now very aware always of how my fingers feel at all times.  I think about whether I can feel myself swallow or not.  I had a brief experience where I felt disconnected from my body. I immediately realized I was feeling anxious.

I  took a deep breath, said  “LIFE, it happens” and went on with my day.

I almost forgot.  The dog putting his head on my foot was important to my beagle.  When I got home that day all he cared about was the fact that my foot didn’t smell like it should.  It is the little things in life that really matter.  Ask a dog.