Thursday, December 15, 2016

I Dwell There No Longer...

I have dwelled in the shadows for so long I can accurately describe the taste of darkness.

Musty dampness with a hint of mothballs.

I have lived in the recesses of my mind to the point where I know ever mark on the walls, every dent, every scratch, every happenstance pen mark.

I have treaded what seems to me like oceans of guilt and shame. I have drunken so much water while trying to keep my head above it's waves that the salt content has etched into my esophagus like finely frosted glass panes .

Surely that is why when my anxiety flows away from me, I am unable to speak. It is why I do not utter a sound lest my glass throat shatter.

I have absorbed those oceans through my skin and that is why my tears are salty and why there is so many of them able to fall in one setting.

That must be why.

I know what it is to live but be lifeless. To exhale but not be really breathing. I know how badly soap stings when  it seeps into the dried hardened cracks of overly washed hands.

I know what it is like to be so exhausted just breathing seems like a monumental task. To be so tried that one can not sleep. To pray to dream about something other than what is going on in my life. To dream of being someone else. Someone more whole.

But I also know what the sun feels like on my face. I know what warmth feels like. Like a hundred million tiny glimpses of light beaming on me from the clouds. I know how little condensation drips when the light of life thaws your soul.

I know what it feels like to laugh. Like the coziest fuzziest hairs on your favorite blanket touching naked skin. The prickles of glee penetrating my consciousness.

I know what happiness is and I cling to those moments like a buoy to a person in the act of drowning.

I know what life can be and what it will be. It will be hard. I will always tread water. I will cry myself to sleep some days. But other days I will laugh too. I will hold on. I will keep going. I will overcome. I may lose battles with this mental illness but I will not lose myself.

I am no longer bothered by other people's stigma. They have not lived as I. They do not understand me and that is okay. I no longer allow other people's judgments bother me. Stigma can only control you if you have fear of it and I am not afraid.

For I dwell there no longer....

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Kindness Week...

I wanted to do something kind in honor of this being national kindness week but that is kind of hard to do when I haven't left my home since three days before Thanksgiving. I can't very well open doors for anyone or compliment people as I sit on my couch watching mind numbingly boring television. It's hard to be kind to others when you are shut in. I mean, I am kind but I am kind of like a hermit too.

I was thinking about kindness week last night and I thought about all of those times all I needed to hang on or to make my day less shitty was one kind word. And just how powerful one kind word can really be. My act of kindness will have to come from my blog this week and I wanted to share something I really believe in.

 Be kind to yourself. With all the negative self talk, all of the stigma that surrounds our diagnoses, with all of the self doubt, be kind. Say something kind about yourself once a day. It doesn't have to be prophetic. It doesn't have to be deep. It can be a simple as," Well, I have decent hair today."

One kind word to ourselves can mean a lot. Especially, since many of us go weeks, months, sometimes even years without hearing one nice thing.

Kindness week doesn't have to mean only being kind to others. We need to also remember to also be kind to ourselves. We deserve it too.

So be kind to others, try to lift them up. Be helpful if you can and also be kind to you too.  I know it isn't easy. We can sometimes be our worst enemy. We tend to be harder on ourselves than others are on us. We tend to judge ourselves way too harshly. So, be kind.

Tell yourself how worthy you are, how beautiful, how unique. Tell yourself how you are loved. How you are heard. Tell yourself how strong you are, how intelligent, how remarkable. Tell yourself these things even if you don't yet believe them. Just because you can't see it doesn't make it any less true.

Tell yourself what a good person you are. Because you are  good person. Be proud of all of your accomplishments even if they seem small to you. Celebrate your wins. Be kind to yourself.

I think of how strong all us are, how amazing, how determined. I think about how different and yet supportive we all are. How brave. I think of us as magnificent in spite of our challenges.

And although today hasn't been stellar and I feel kinda crappy, I am going to be kind to myself this week too. Even if it means I have to tell myself that I am beautiful whilst sitting in my bathrobe with coffee stains on it. Because I need to hear I am beautiful sometimes just as all people do.

  So in honor of kindness week : I am unique and all of you are unique too. I am strong just like all of you are strong. We are worthy. We are important. We matter. And if I am beautiful than you are all beautiful even in your coffee stained robes on a not so stellar day when you feel like crap.

Be safe, and be kind, and have a great weekend my friends.
Neurotic Nelly

Sunday, November 20, 2016


  Next Thursday is Thanksgiving so I thought I would write today. Mostly because I am going to be spending time with my family and because I am going to be cooking for two days straight.

There will be a lot of preparing food, possibly some burning of fingers, most likely a few tears shed from the sheer amount of baking. I may never be the same. I may not make it guys.

All joking aside, I truly hope that all of you have a wonderful day of family and friends, of good food and good thoughts.  And even if you happen to find yourself alone on Thanksgiving I hope that you have a peaceful and relaxing day. I am thankful for all of you. Because even if you don't know it, you are magnificent. You are fantastic. You are worth so much. Many of you have helped me feel less alone, less odd, and less damaged. I hope that in some small way, my words will reach those that need it the most and do the same for them. Because unity is power. If you feel like you have nothing else to be thankful for, be thankful for each other.

So, thank you all for reading, and being there for me, for leaving comments, for being supportive, for being the strong fantastic people you are. Thank you all for being you.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
See you Thursday after next and until then, walk with your heads held high. You are magnificent, marvelous people and I appreciate you all.

Neurotic Nelly

Saturday, November 5, 2016

I Struggle.....

I struggle daily with my OCD.

There, I said it.

I struggle with the thoughts and the obsessions. I struggle with the feeling of not being good enough. I struggle with the anxiety. I struggle in public and I struggle in private.

I struggle with people assuming I am fine because I appear to be a healthy, functional adult.

I struggle with stress and lack of sleep making my OCD worse.

I struggle that my child has inherited my mental illness and I struggle not to blame myself for it because he got it from my poisoned genes.

I struggle with not being able to drive and doing or going places that I would like to.

I struggle to have to depend on others more than I would like to.

I struggle with my children' homeschooling that makes me terrified that I am somehow failing them if I can't do everything for them correctly.

I struggle.....believe me.....I struggle.

But I am hopeful.

I can not just sit in the misery of my own making and punish myself for something I can not control. I have to force myself to remember how important we all are to this universe. I have to remember that I have people in my life who love me, depend on me, care for me. I have to remember that I have made it through thirty three years of OCD and I am still living, fighting, breathing. Yes, I struggle but that is no different today as it was yesterday, last week, or sixteen years ago. There are hard days, hard weeks, and hard months but I am hopeful.

I know there is no magical cure. I know that this will be what it is. I know that I am different because of my disorder but I also know that I am stronger than most people. That I am brave. I know that I am not someone who ever backs down. I know who I am as a person.

I remain hopeful.

And if my blog does anything for anyone, I would hope that it has helped other people feel hopeful. I would hope that it helps them feel less alone, less scared. I would hope that it would make people realize that even if they struggle how important they are, how worthy, how magnificent. I would hope that they could hear how brave and strong they are in my words and take that to heart. To know what badasses they are in their own struggles even if it is hard for them to see it themselves.

Life is full of struggles be it mental illness or not, be it stress induced panic or not, be it hard scrabble days where you fight tooth and nail just to get out of bed in the morning or a nice crisp day with nothing to worry about at all. There is always something to overcome, over throw, or override. Always......and we are pretty good at overcoming things.

So this weekend, my wish for you is to have a great week but in case you don't, I hope that you can remain hopeful....because you are important. You are worthy. You are good enough. People care.

See you all on Thursday with a new post. Hang in there.
Neurotic Nelly

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Truth and Perceptions....

I have a new hobby and it is taking over my life.

I have spent countless hours refinishing old furniture, lately. Some people would complain but I like that it has made me obsessive or rather that my obsessive disorder is triggered on it because if I am sanding and staining and scrubbing things beautiful, I am not obsessing about getting some rare cancer from inhaling Scandinavian sheep farts.

I kid, but the reality of my dysfunction can be literally exhausting. I am afraid of every pain, every ache, every fleeting moment. I am terrified of things getting contaminated or tainted. I am frightened of every day life. My brain makes me worry. If my side hurts I may have liver cancer. If my head hurts it could be a tumor. A rash could mean something nefarious and scary.  The gum under the table could give me Hepatitis. And even though I know this is all bullshit my mind makes up, it changes nothing for my anxiety.

And as much as I would love to, I can not turn it off. I can't stop thinking about it. The only thing I can do is distract myself when that same old broken record with the same old shitty song starts replaying in my head over and over and over again.

Being me can be so very tiring.

Days, weeks, months are filled with excessive worry. People see me as someone who has her shit together. I try so very hard to present myself that way but the truth and perception are two very different things.

The truth is that I have battled this mental illness for thirty three years. I know nothing else. It has stolen so much of my time and resources. It has ruined relationships. It has made my life hell.

But I refuse to be macabre and morose about it. I refuse to stay silent in the shadows and be ashamed. It is not me being brave it is me trying desperately to survive under it's clutches. And I will survive because I am not someone who gives up. I can't afford to be or this illness would take everything from me and I am not going down like that.

Which leads me to my point of this post:

Last weekend someone threw this table out to be picked up by the garbage truck. It was rough, dirty, and damp. It looked like it had went through hell and back and possibly a house fire and a war zone with angry bat wielding leprechauns. Someone had felt that it's ugliness meant that nothing beautiful was underneath the years of it's mistreatment and bad style choices. They overlooked it. They counted it to be less than. But I could see it for what it really was. Something that just needed some tlc. It just needed someone to see it for what it truly was, strong underneath all of it's ugly.

I saw myself in that piece of furniture. A little warped, some ugly bits on the outside, thought of as less than what I am worth at first glance because not everything about me is pretty to behold or easy to deal with. But under all of that distraction and dysfunction I am sturdy. I am more beautiful and strong than I ever thought possible.

Under the layers of paint and pain I am still me, still real, still a solid force to deal with. Maybe that is why this table, so casually discarded, moved me so much. Because I could see, even if no one else could, that this table was way more than just trash.

Refinishing this table delighted me. It healed me with every scrape of the paint chisel, with every piece of sandpaper, with every brush stroke of stain. Every moment of saving this table felt like me saving myself. Weird, I know.

 A little sanding, a little stain, and a little bit of soapy water and viola.....

How could something so beautiful and sturdy as this be considered as garbage?

So, I am going to keep at it and keep refinishing the furniture I find  discarded because of perceived flaws. I will make them beautiful again. And every time I bring something back to it's original beauty I will be reminded that deep down we are all beautiful underneath too. Despite our flaws and in spite of our supposed "ugly". Flaws don't make you weak, hideous, nor does it make you expendable. We are beautiful.

Truth and perceptions, people....truth and perceptions.

Neurotic Nelly

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Hang In There....

        You are not broken. Maybe, there are some chips on the surface. Maybe, you are a bit tattered around the edges. Maybe, you lean a bit to the side. Maybe right now, it feels like your life is a raging inferno of garbage and it is all falling  down around your head. Maybe, the debris field of all of the things you think you have lost is all you can see.You might be different, unique, unwell, depressed, repressed, upset, scared, or complicated but you are not broken. Hang in there.

Being us is never easy. We know this. The people that love us know this. Life is complicated. Mental illness is complicated. We can be complicated. Hang in there.

I know that sometimes we get exhausted. The fall into bed face first, fully clothed, and reeking of last night's dinner and disappointment kind of exhausted. It happens. People have shitty days, shitty weeks, shitty months. I once had a whole shitty year. Things can always get better. Hang in there.

On some days we feel completely alone. It can feel like not another soul on the face of this planet understands how you feel. 
It can feel like no one gets you, knows your struggles, or can comprehend the pain you are in. You are never alone. We all feel this way on occasion and we do understand you. Hang in there.

People care about you. They do, even if you are unable to see it. Sometimes our illness can block out all of the good things in our lives or can skew our perceptions and view of life making us unable to see the good. Sometimes we can not see the love other people have for us or we mistake it for pity. Sometimes we convince ourselves the blatant lie, that they would be better off without us because we are a burden. There are people in your life that look up to you, that love you, that care more for you then you would ever guess and they do not see you as anything but the person they care for. They do not consider you a burden and they don't want to lose you. You are loved. Hang in there. 

Hang in there, the world is a vast place and you have an important role in it. You are important. You are worthy. You are unique. You are loved.  So, please hang in there because you matter. 

You matter to all of us. We are all in the same boat and by boat I may mean a shitty, moss covered pirate ship with torn sails, marooned on a sand dune full of rotten coconuts with no elected captain and no real sense of direction but we are making the best of it. We stand up for each other. We know how you feel. So, hang in there.

You are worth it.

Neurotic Nelly

Friday, September 30, 2016

Porch Opossums, Flower Pots, and Mental Illness......Oh My

I have an inside/outside cat. We have, on occasion, put out cat food for him. Problem being that we have discovered that he doesn't actually eat the outside food. The food bowl would empty but the cat would not be the one emptying it. It was like a bizarre magical trick until a few days ago. That is when we saw it.

We have an opossum. 

Smallish but getting bigger everyday. It has taken over our porch at night. It has become fearless. It doesn't really care if you see it, as long as you don't get too close. Last night, that bastard broke one of my flower pots and stood there defiantly licking his fur on my outside bench.  Clearly, it is not afraid of me or my outside cat, or my flower pots.

It made me think about mental illness, which is probably some sort of mental problem in itself, actually. How it takes what it wants. Slowly it feeds off of your fears or stress, especially in the night. How it becomes brazen in it's symptoms. How fearless it is when stealing little bit of your life away. How it has no issues knocking over your flower post and watching you whole world turn upside down. It isn't afraid. It is defiant. It is a little bastard and before you know it, it makes claims on your porch without your permission or knowledge.

And what do we do? Usually, we blame ourselves for something we did not ask for. We get scared. We worry about stigma and sometimes that worry gets in the way of the help that we need. We keep it secret a lot of the time. We struggle with sense of self worth.  We hurt.

But, I think what we need to realize is that just like the porch opossum, we are not responsible for mental illness befalling us. It is just something that happens. It is not our fault nor does it say anything about who we are as people. It does not label us. I t does not lessen our worth.

There is no need to blame ourselves for something we have no control over. And there are many things to help people with mental illness. There are therapies, medications, groups, and treatments that have been helpful for most mental illnesses. There are people that understand. there are people that know what living under the stigma of mental illness is like and there are people who care. 

Honestly, mental illnesses aren't even that rare. Much like finding an opossum eating out of your garbage can, lots of people have encountered it. The current statistics prove that 1 in 5 people in the US will have some sort of mental illness in their lifetimes. That isn't a small number. In fact, you probably know someone affected by mental illness right now. So, there is nothing to be ashamed about when you break down the sheer amount of people that suffer with you. Why we treat it like some majestic rarity is really beyond me. Clearly it is neither majestic nor a rarity at all.

That is the Point that I am making, I think. Mental illness should not be seen as a weakness or weirdness. It should be treated and looked upon the same way as any physical illness is. And until it is, we should keep fighting the stigma, keep helping ourselves, and keep being proud of how much we have been able to accomplish.  Because having a mental illness is hard and we should be proud of every single time we win against it. No matter how small that win may be. It is still a win.

I am strong. You are strong and we can do this. We can tell the mental illness opossums of the world that flower pots be damned we are not afraid to fight back and get help. That we are worth it. That we matter. Because we do and our minds and porches are not something we are just going to give over without a fight.

Neurotic Nelly