Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Shit or Get off the Pot

I have to get this out somewhere and I imagine there would be a lot of upset or angry people if I put it where I want to. I belong to quite a few groups on Facebook that are related to mental illness. I suffer from OCD, anxiety, agoraphobia, and some depression.

That being said, I might make excuses for myself, but bottom line...I know what I have to do to get better. There's no denying that it's painful and excrutiatingly difficult to face your demons, but essentially that's the only way to defeat them - especially when it comes to OCD. When you deal with obsessive compulsive disorder literally the way to overcome it is to do the opposite of what it's telling you.

I'm sure that I have chemical imbalances and hormonal issues that either cause or contribute to my mental illnesses, but I still make a choice every day to give in to the compulsions. I do what it takes to avoid the anxiety that facing my obsessions would cause. I fight my battles without medication at this time, but still I choose to wash my hands or re-trace my steps.

I give in.

I let OCD win.

But I still know what it takes to beat it.

The point of the post is that there are many people in various groups that constantly post, seek reassurance, ask the same questions over and over, and...


You would think that I'd be more sensitive. I guess to a point I try to be. I offer them suggestions, advice, things they could try to beat their OCD, anxiety, depression, agoraphobia, whatever. And so do many other people. And yet there they are the very next day, multiple times, asking the same shit yet again.


What's the point of being in a support group if you have no intention of taking the advice given? Yes, it's great to be part of a group and feel less alone, but is that enough? I joined the groups for the purpose of recovery. I've taken little steps forward and giant leaps back. And yes, I understand that everybody is at a different point on their recovery road, but fuck. Come on! At some point you have to realize you're causing at least part of your own situation and it's up to you to change it.

Shit or get off the pot, right?

And of course there are always the same people that coddle and hand hold, bark at anybody that tries to remotely call them out, and generally impede progress. Hand holding is fine, I'm all for reassurance, especially in the midst of panic. But excessive reassurance is horrible in the long run, especially for people that suffer from OCD. The whole point is to learn to live with the uncertainty, the doubt. How can you do that when people in support groups are constantly reassuring you?

Somewhere along the line I must have grabbed onto the idea that mental illness supercedes everything else and I'm being reminded daily that is incredibly false. People with OCD or anxiety or whatever can still be assholes, whiners, or any number of things that generally piss me off.

Maybe I'm insensitive?

Struggling With Intrusive Thoughts

I hate that there are people that think OCD is trendy.

"I washed my hands twice, I'm so OCD!"


Just because you like things clean, in a specific order, or wash your hands doesn't mean you have OCD. It means you like things the way you like them. And by the way OCD isn't something you are - it's something you have.

Now when things aren't your way and it causes you distress or anxiety, that's when it might be OCD.

I see memes online and I used to get extremely angry at them, but I don't have the energy to devote to that anymore so I shake my head and move on.

My OCD is all consuming and has lead to three and a half years of being almost 100% homebound. I suffer from a subset of OCD called magical thinking. In a nutshell, it means that my OCD brain - whom is named Pam by the way - thinks that thoughts or actions can affect outcomes in life. An example of a ritual for somebody with magical thinking might be: "I have to wash my hands while counting to ten or something bad might happen to [insert person, animal, item here]." My magical thinking revolves around my own mortality, that's as far as I'm able to explain it at this point, but that's why I need to start facing my OCD. I have "bad" words and phrases that I avoid at all times.

In an effort to work on my own OCD, I'm making a list of my obsessions and compulsions so that I can use them to make a hierarchy or fear ladder and work on ERP - exposure response prevention.

See/hear "bad" word(s) or phrase(s) on computer or television = wash hands

Think "bad" word(s) or phrase(s) = wash hands and repeat whatever I was doing including walking     in/out of rooms, standing up/sitting back down, or pretty much any activity. If I'm holding food or drink and I see/hear/think "bad" word(s) or phrase(s) I'll wash my hands depending on what it was or throw the food/drink out.

Washing hands ritual = must wash hands and wrists, usually more than once, but number depends on the "day's number". I have a mantra that I think or say while I'm washing my hands, though it might take awhile for me to be able to share that.

Numbers = I break numbers down to a single digit by adding them together. Each day has a number, for instance today is the 25 therefore 2 + 5 = 7. Today's number is 7. Whenever I do something including washing my hands, it can never be or add up to be the next day's number. My "good" and "bad" numbers change often.

Walking into rooms, up or down stairs = must start on right foot.

Lights = right hand turns on, left hand turns off.

At some point I developed a tiny bit of scrupulosity. I apologize when people say "God", "Jesus Christ" or "Jesus" alone or in a phrase. By the way, this is exposure. I generally avoid typing/saying/thinking those words if at all possible. Go me. If it's in person, I say whatever they said substituting "gosh", "cheese and rice", or "jeez" with their "wrong" counterparts and then add that they're sorry. I then say it for myself and that I'm sorry. If it's on tv, I do the same thing. If it's in a movie, I say the word or phrase ten times replacing them with "non-offending" words. So it would be something to this affect, if somebody says "Oh my God", in my head I then say "Oh my gosh, she/he's sorry" and "Oh my gosh, I'm sorry".

I have an intense fear of being drugged so I often pick at my food, separating any parts that look different in any way. I also do this with toilet paper, because that's a good place to put drugs, right?

The past two years or so I've also dealt with intrusive thoughts. These are generally geared around my "bad" words and phrases and literally pop into my head with no warning. There are no rituals that ease this type.

LOL ~ I do understand how laughable all this might seem, but when you're stuck in an OCD loop it's definitely hard.

I might be missing some things, but I think this is a pretty good list of my obsessions and compulsions. I hope to use it so that I can start focusing on doing my own exposures and beating this painful shit that has me trapped in my home.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Burned Bacon

I made breakfast for dinner including bacon, scrambled eggs and hashbrowns with cheese. I always used to make bacon on the stove or griddle, but it was so time consuming to watch it and messy. I started putting it in the oven instead and never looked back. I should have looked back today though as I burned half of it. I ate the middle out of a few of those pieces, but the rest was still good so I shared that with R. For some strange reason, J doesn't much care for bacon. I know. He must be alien. It was super hot in the kitchen while I was cooking and I ended up dripping sweat by the time it was ready to eat.

Still no sign of Little Man. I'm convinced he's in the basement ceiling, but I'm having trouble bringing myself to find out. There's only so far back I can see even with zooming in my camera. I still feel awful and keep checking on my remaining animals to make sure they're ok.

OCD is kicking my ass as always. It's so much fun to be afraid all day of every day! I get brief relief on some days when it isn't so bad. The other days it's all consuming. I haven't been outside today at all. I probably should get the dogs out at least. I did do some dishes though and then made dinner so I've accomplished a little. Oh and I wrote a post for a blogger to earn a little money.

I want to start my small goals again tomorrow: four glasses of water and my multivitamin, body weight exercises four times a week, and dancing or walking for at least 15 minutes three times.

We'll see what happens.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Where are you my Little Man?

My cat Little Man celebrated his 7th birthday on July 3rd. I sang to him, gave him cuddles and pets. I'm pretty sure I saw him after that, but I can't remember which day. He was sitting on my desk and of course I gave him some love. Since then? I haven't seen him. I fear the worst. I honestly think something happened, he got sick or hurt and crawled into the basement ceilnig where the ducts and vents are. It's hard to see too far back there. I'm positive there's no way he could have gotten out though. I feel awful.

He always sort of did his own thing, I'd find him in a window or in random places, but I never made a point to make sure I saw him everyday. And I should have. Maybe he'd still be here if I had. He showed no signs of sick, though I do know they have ear mites. I feel so horrible. I should have made sure they were all ok, every single day. I have four cats. I started the year with six. I could understand if he were old or sick, but he was neither. I keep crying. Should I have called somebody?

We were living on City View when Jake and I saw some people standing in the neighbor's driveway looking under a tree. We went over there and they were looking at adorable kittens that had been born to a stray. We tried feeding them, but they were skittish though it seemed like their Mom didn't want them. Eventually Jake "caught" one of the kittens and brought him in. He chased Brutus and Roman around and we toyed with naming him Little Terrorist. The neighbor had called him Pumpkin, but we ended up with Little Man or Littles.

He was a very strange cat, orange with a white chest and that part was so soft. He never learned how to use his claws very well and was constantly getting them stuck into things and I'd have to unstick them. He had the most unique call, he would trill late at night. I always meant to get it on video. He peed on me more times than I can count, especially a few times when I was using the bathroom. I assumed it was his way of telling me he loved me. When he was hungry, he would pull pieces of my hair out of my ponytail and chew on them, that meant feed me!

He would stand on my chest to pluff me, that's what we call kneading, and he would drool, it was adorable. I miss him so much and it's only been a few days. I feel like a dagger has been stabbed deep into my heart and I don't know how the wound will ever heal.