Sunday, March 31, 2013

Thursday, March 28, 2013


Recently I was reading a post by a woman who suffers from OCD.  As a fellow sufferer I felt her pain and anguish. I was reading through the comments left on her page. I was, at first, really comforted by the support she was receiving until I started to read posts referring to her diet and vitamin intake. I was horrified and angry. Neither of these posters were doctors or dietitians.  In fact, one of them said they had never known anyone with OCD. I am going to take a second to say that some mental illness is vastly improved by diet. There are some forms of autism that have had great success with a change of diet and supplements  That being said not all metal illness can be cured by salads and gluten free pasta. It would be like thinking that one antibiotic cures all infections. It is not so and it does not work  People need to stop it. Just stop. Stop sitting on your high horse and judging everyone. Stop telling people that have no idea what OCD is or people that have just been diagnosed that diet change can cure them. It gives them false promises that can not be fulfilled. It makes them think that they can cure themselves with special salads with extra tomatoes. It victimizes us. Gives us false hopes. When we fail to cure our disease with these ridiculous notions we are left feeling like failures. We are left feeling hopeless and ashamed. Are you going to be there to pick up the pieces left behind from your "helpful" advice. No you are not. Diets help some mental illness but it does not change OCD. OCD  is a genetic mental illness. It is a hereditary disease. Do not tell me that if my grandmother had stayed away from fried chicken or ice cream that I would not suffer from OCD. That's silly. People unfamiliar with how OCD works, that believe this tripe will then start to judge us. They will get the idea that if we eat differently or change our habits that we could tame our OCD. That we are somehow responsible for our own disorder. That we can change the severity. That we want to suffer. This is simply not true. It is damaging. It is hurtful.
All of my life I have suffered from OCD. It has been a hard struggle. I don't need some holier than thou person who heard that their second cousin's best friend's sister once had OCD and cured it with vitamins. It is ridiculous. If you are not a doctor, dietitian  or OCD sufferer do not tell people that they should try dietary supplements or diets to change their symptoms. Stop harming them with your unproven and  highly inaccurate advice. You are wrong and are spreading the myth that we must like to suffer or we would change our eating habits. If I had an extra toe because my family all had extra toes and it passed on to me would you suggest that I take a vitamin or eat differently so it would disappear? Of course not. That would be silly. That would be dumb. OCD was passed down to me. I don't like it , but I have to accept it. If your advice actually worked, don't you think OCD would be extinct? No one wants to suffer like this. No one wants to be told that their suffering is because they didn't try hard enough or eat well enough. You can not cure OCD. There is no magical pill, special vitamin, or phantom diet that will change that. It is something that we will live with for the rest of our lives. We make it better with therapy and medication. We make it better by talking about it and being honest with ourselves and each other. We do not make it better by spouting off things we have no idea about. We do not make it better by saying that we can cure ourselves by diets and vitamins. Please before you make comments about how you think diets will cure everything, research the disorder you are talking about. Please educate yourself. If you do not your advice may be doing much more harm than good.
                                                                    Neurotic Nelly

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Broken Ballerinas

As a child I used to take my candy money and go to a small junk store. This store sold antique gas signs, hubcaps, and various junk. The store was a dark disheveled mess that smelled slightly of motor oil and grease. The man ,whom I secretly believed was a magnificent collector of all things thrown away, would pull out a cardboard box for me. It's contents were my precious treasures. Broken ballerinas that had been separated from their jewelry boxes. Beautiful ballerinas that were no longer destined to dance and stand. They could be played with and collected. They could be bunched together as to never live a lonely existence again. I loved them with their different paint colors and hair styles. My little plastic delights. I spent everyday there until I had finally purchased every last one he had saved for me. I kept them in my generic eighties music box with pink satin interior that played Rain Drops Are Falling On My Head. I would spend large amounts of my childhood playing with them and making them twirl to the sounds of my music box. It was a comfort. I kept them always and when I grew older instead of playing with them I would occasionally take them out and look at them. My little treasures. They were like me, broken but beautiful, strong but small, colorful and different. Some were newer and some were antiques but I loved them all equally.
 At sixteen I moved back down to Texas. We were living in a one room house beside my grandmother and grandfather till we could get back on our feet. All of our belongings were stored in a big shed next to our tiny home. Not long after moving we had a drought. The grass had turned to yellow tufts. The ground had such deep cracks in it that one would imagine they reached straight to the depths of Hell. There had been declared a state wide burn ban. No one was allowed to burn fields or garbage. Cigarettes were supposed to be snuffed out in ashtrays or in water. No fireworks were going to be allowed on the fourth of July if this continued. That day was hot and windy. My mother, grandmother, and I went to go get bbq. My grandfather, who had a heart condition stayed home. There were tall grey black clouds in the sky. Darker than I had ever seen and I felt uneasy every time I looked at them. Something was wrong but I had no idea what. On our way home we were stopped by a road block. The main street was closed and we had to take an alternate path back to the house.We saw fields with fire blowing across the street and many brave farmers and volunteer firefighters trying to put it out. It was still far enough from our home to not be a worry. The acrid smell of smoke was thick in the air and hung like a wet blanket. Not unusual for Texas in the dead of Summer. As we reached home we ate and watched the news. Some moron had decided the burn ban was not anything to listen to and had burned some garbage in a barrel. The wind had blew the barrel over and the fire had spread over two whole counties. Right then, there was pounding at our door. The fire had finally made it to our street and the volunteer firefighters were trying to get everyone out in time. We loaded up into our vehicles. My grandmother went first in her van. My mother and I got into our car and waited for my grandfather to get the insurance papers and get into his van. It took him a little longer than he expected and we were getting worried. Then as he got into the van, like any good slasher film the stupid thing refused to start. By this time the fire had climbed the trees snapping and crackling. It was a hungry beast that devoured everything in it's path.  The earth had turned into a sweltering sea of orange, red, and black. The fire had now become a forty foot wall of flames bearing down on us and grandpa's stupid van was not cooperating. I believed that we were going to be roasted to the spot. I believed that we were going to die. The van finally jumped to life and we drove like bats out of hell. At the safe point people were staring at us. I couldn't figure out at what until I went to go to the bathroom. The restaurant was full and everyone was gawking at me because I was covered head to toe in thick soot. Our street was closed for three days. Our crazy brave neighbor had managed to save our houses by watering them down with the water hose and leaving it running on the butane tank. If he had not done this, the tank would have exploded like everyone else's had on the other side of our property. Because of him we were the last house on the street to still be standing. He could not, however, save the shed. The next few weeks were filled with grieving the losses. Many had lost pets, belongings, and homes. Many were not near as lucky as we were and we were thankful. My grandfather mourned his golf clubs, my mother mourned her couch and other furniture. I mourned my childhood that had turned to ash. My first teddy bear, my clothes, my awards and yearbooks, letters from friends and family, and most of all my broken ballerinas. They were now an ugly kaleidoscope of blackened glass, melted plastic, and warped metal. There was no trace of what these items had been beforehand. The were all black chunks of char. I never collected them again. There was no point in trying to relive the past. The beautiful ballerinas were left like I felt, melted. I loved them because like me the were broken. Like me they were unique and different. Like me they were lonely until I found them. Now they were gone. I was lucky to have still had a home. I was blessed to have had a few extra years with my grandfather. This event taught me that things are not really as important as you might think. I miss the ballerinas, but I don't need to have them.  I do think of them often. I wonder if any little girls collect things like that anymore.  And still anytime I walk past a music box in the store I always take a second to carefully wind it and see if it plays Rain Drops Are Falling On My Head.
                                              Neurotic Nelly

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Your Personal Normal

In watching a movie last night I was smacked in the face with a realization. Everyone lives in their own personal state of normal. The people that really smell no longer smell the stench because they are used to it. It has become their normal. While others are horrified of how they stink, they are unable to smell anything out of place. The people that live in houses full of hoard are able to deny how bad it is not due just to denial but because it has become what they are accustomed too. It is their own personal normal. The woman that has an alcoholic husband most likely has had an alcoholic parent making her life with the dysfunction seem normal. That doesn't mean it isn't painful or damaging. It just means we turn a blind eye to it. We become hardened by it. It becomes our version of normal.
Why are we so surprised when the many of the kids in the inner cities get in trouble or become gang members? If all they have seen day after day is drug addicted parents or gang violence does it not become their version of normal. It would horrify most of us the things these children have seen or lived through but then that is not something we have experienced on a daily basis. It damages and hardens them, it is sadly their normal. Until someone shows them a different path to a different normal. Sometimes it is hard to see that the things we do or live with may not in fact be normal to others. They may even be harmful. Humans have an uncanny way to adapt. As such we conform to our surroundings. Our habits change and if not brought to our attention can become common place. Case in point at some point I have picked up the mouth of a sailor. I curse way too much. I am not talking about dropping something on your foot or stepping on a leggo in the middle of the night while trying to get to the bathroom. I curse in almost every conversation. I don't even realize I do it. It has become my normal. There is nothing really wrong with cursing except I really don't want my children to grow up not being able to hold a conversation without dropping the f bomb every few sentences. I can just see their first job interview.

Hi, Mr. Brown, thanks for @&$&@ seeing me today. I am really @&$@&$ excited to work for your @$&&@$&@$@ company.....

If normal for me is to curse all the time it becomes normal for my children to hear it and eventually repeat it. If normal for you is to live in an abusive situation it will be normal for your children to repeat it or live with it as adults. Our normal becomes their normal and the cycle goes on. Maybe the best option is to take a deep breath. Close our eyes, count to three and really look at what we as adults are doing and saying. Is this what we want to pass on to our children? Is this something we need to change? Is this an acceptable normal that will make them happy for the rest of their lives? Words are powerful. They promote change, prevent riots, start wars, calm fears, spread love and understanding. What words should we be giving others as tools in their lives? Actions are powerful. They are what compels us to do what we do? Are we doing what we should? Are we giving what we need too? Are we being the role models we wish we had as children?
Is our own personal normal damaged or healthy? Helpful or harmful? If it is bad shouldn't we try to change that? Don't we owe it to not only ourselves but those that come after us to at least attempt to change our personal normal to something greater. I don't want to be hardened at the pain I have endured. That would make it impossible to empathize with those who are hurting. I don't want to turn a blind eye to suffering. That would make it impossible for me to reach out and help others. I don't want to live in abuse because my children would be more likely to do so as well. I don't want to be oblivious and comfortable to everything around me because then I would no longer see it and be able to change it for the better. I am changing my own personal normal. To be happy, to be stronger, to be a positive role model, to learn to be patient, to try to not curse as much,and to not be hardened by things around me. I need to really look at myself and what I am giving the world. what am I offering to others? A clear representation of who I am? A helpful caring person? An advocate? A poddy mouth? I am going to be all that I can be. This will be my normal from now on. What will be yours?
                                                           Neurotic Nelly

Friday, March 22, 2013


I have been readmitted to the hospital due to some complications. I would truly appreciate your prayers and good thoughts. Hope to be home by tomorrow at the earliest. Had to have another surgery earlier so hoping that it will fix my issues. Not sure when I will blogging again but hope to be by this Sunday or Monday. Thanks to my readers for being so patient and terrific.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

On Days Like This

On days like this I find it hard to be upbeat. On days like this my mental illness is showing again. On days like this I collect all of my imperfections in a glass jar and drink them down. They taste dirty and bitter. I drink them over and over until I feel like throwing them back up. On days like this I don't want to get out of bed. I would rather dream. But I have things to do, places to go, and people to see. People that want to tear off bits and pieces of me like I am a coveted loaf of bread. Maybe a stale loaf of bread but they are hungry so it doesn't really matter. On days like this I listen to music. Happy or moving tunes to get me out of this whole I have dug for myself, one shovel of dirt and gravel at a time. On days like this I am spilled red wine on my grandmother's white linen table cloth. On days like this I have no philosophy.  I am too tired to ask questions, too exhausted to seek answers, and too damned weary to know the difference. I just keep plugging along. On days like this I cry myself to sleep. Salty tears are my nighttime beverage. I don't need to be shattered from the inside. I am already broken. I am the derelict toy car that now only goes in circles. I am the rag doll with the missing eye. The teddy bear with bald patches of fur.The favorite sweater with the missing button. I am dried out marker tips and melted crayons. I am the stamp collection that has gotten warped and damp. On days like this I am the lost bird calling from the cliffs. I search and search for my location. On days like this I am ashes in the wind. I scatter with the slightest of breezes. I am frightened. I am unsure. I am complicated. On days like this my stomach growls but nothing seems appetizing. I will probably fill my stomach with too much coffee and cigarette smoke. I am weary but I am trying to turn this day around. On days like this I am haunted by my own fears. My own accusations. My own desperation. On days like this I am quiet and contemplative. I will drop everything that falls into my hands. I will forget to check the mail. I will probably burn dinner. I will definitely not sleep well. That's ok. I am not too worried. There is always tomorrow and you never know what tomorrow has in store for you. Maybe tomorrow I will feel like the queen of Sheba. Maybe I will feel like superman. Maybe I will feel like me again. As long as tomorrow is not another day like this.....
                                                                                 Neurotic Nelly

Monday, March 18, 2013


Whole. Hollow. Hollowed out like a dead tree in the middle of a lush forest. There is not enough food in the world to feed it. No amount of concrete or brick dust can fill it. Never enough drugs or booze to make me forget. No amount of jewels or shiny baubles can make it pretty again.
This gaping whole where my soul should be. Where my center of gravity should be.This whole can never be filled by gifts or words. It can never be filled by promises or lies. I am starving. Ravenous. I need to fill the hollowness and I am unable to. I am unable to be completely whole no matter what I do or say. My mental illness has slowly eaten away at me. Left like a moth bitten fabric blowing in the breeze. Some wholes are tiny and some are big enough to poke your fingers through. I tried to patch them but they just keep tearing at the seams. Like trying to cover your black eye with bad makeup. Still I wish that my scars were on the outside rather than inside my mind. That way it would be a visible representation of my mental illness. No one would wonder how I can look normal and perfectly fine and not be. I just want to scream "Don't you see my scars? Can't you see the wholes inside me? Can't you see the hollowness?"
It frustrates them because they do not understand and it frustrates me because I can not make them. My hollowness can only be filled by working on myself. By believing in myself and believing that I am important and worthy. Day after day.
I wish people could see my mental illness. My life would be so much easier if everyone would be able to see me as I really am. A scarred, empty vessel, hollow log, broken glass, burnt paper, grasping at smoke, ashes in the wind mental case. Instead I look normal and therefore if I just try a little bit harder I can do things like everyone else. I can be like everyone else. Because I look fine then I must be fine. Because I look healthy then I must be healthy. Looks can be deceiving  I am a good person. A great mom. A loyal friend, but I am not fine, healthy, or normal. I can accept that but can others? Always the fight between seeing is believing and believing in things that you can not see. It would be easier for me to be normal. It would be easier for me to be fine. It would be easier for me to be mentally healthy, but I am not. Nothing about me is easy and neither is my life. I can change my appearance, my hair styles, my clothing. I can change my routines, my sleeping habits, my expressions. What I can not change is the the fact I live every day tethered to my mental illness. I can not change into normal. It doesn't work that way. I am trying my hardest to be what I am supposed to be. I am trying to fill the hollowness inside of me. It takes time and patience. It takes tears, prayers, and practice. It takes what ever else I throw at it to plug the wound , to fill this sink whole that is seeping down into the earth. Because I want so desperately to be whole. I wont be normal. Not ever, but I can be a better me. I can be less hollow. I only hope that it is enough.
                                          Neurotic Nelly

Saturday, March 16, 2013


Stress is a constant in our lives. It is sweaty palms and feeling faint. Tightness is your chest and shortness of breath. The world spinning around and feeling drunk. Nausea and physical pain. It is panic attacks and depression. It is falling down the rabbit hole head first and ending up in wonderland. Except instead of happy bunnies and mad hatters drinking tea you are met with mad bill collectors and cranky telephone salesmen demanding information and explanations. Instead of potions that make you small and cupcakes to make you big, you are left with bills that make your wallet small and cupcakes you can't afford. Stress is the red queen and she wants to lop off your head. She wants your time, your money, and your fear. She revels in being sadistic and mean. She wants to harass and badger you to death. She sucks. I am really tired of stress.
Sitting here watching bad reality t.v. like Operation Repo, I have decided that I would like to repossess some of my sanity. Not all of it mind you, as I never had all of my sanity. Just the amount I used to have before I started to know stress at such a familiar level. I would like to lighten the load a bit. I have no idea how to do this as of yet. I am just trying to stay positive. Sometimes I find being positive almost impossible but I keep trying. I try because I want to be anything but sad and depressed. I try because I want to set a positive role model for my children. I try because I truly believe it will get better in time and with a lot of work. In a world of Alice's and red queens, we owe to ourselves to keep trying. To keep getting up in the morning and face the day no matter how stressed out we are. It's hard. It stinks, but it is necessary. Whether, it is stress because of bills, medical concerns, worries, family issues, or all of the above we can prevail. We can take back some of our sanity one grain at a time.
 So my blog today is a message to the stressed. We can do this. We can get up and face the day.Hard as it may be. We are worth it.

And on a side note I would like to wish George ST. Pierre good luck in his fight tonight. I do not know him personally but he is my favorite MMA fighter.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Rant, Rant, Rant

In the last few years a couple of really good movies about mental illness have been successful  They had all the things in them that made them interesting. They were a love story of sorts. I really appreciate the awareness and those that made these movies great. A Beautiful Mind was about schizophrenia. Silver Linings Playbook is about Bi-Polar. I haven't gotten to see the Silver Linings one yet so don't tell me how it ends...
As Good As It Gets was a brilliant movie about OCD. I always liked the t.v. show Monk as well. Both of these has put OCD more in the fore front than it has been before and yet I am dissatisfied. It seems that OCD is viewed as funny and stereotyped. If you were someone that had never come across a person with OCD you might make some generalizations just from these two shows. I would like to take a minute to enlighten you If you permit me.

 Not everyone with OCD is a clean freak. Hoarders are also sufferers of OCD.
Not everyone with OCD have a fear of germs. Every fear or phobia is specific and just as people are different their fears are different. Many of us are clean freaks and germ-a-phobes but there are a lot of people with OCD that are not.
For some reason with the exception of the OCD t.v. series the mentally ill are played by male actors. Mommy Dearest was about Joan Crawford and is so far the only female role that I have found about OCD. She was quite harsh and I am fairly certain she had much more than just OCD.

So the generalizations we are left with are that only older men in their fifties have this disorder. That we are rigid and angry people. That we can not communicate efficiently with others. That we are all clean freaks and are terrified of germs. That we are hateful and resentful. That we are terrified of everything in our environment  That we are to be laughed at. That we can not have real relationships. That we are damaged and sad. That we can't be beautiful or sexy.  That we can not have beautiful romantic love stories written about us.That we are old curmudgeons shuffling around. That people with OCD are violent (American Psycho) or abusive (Mommy Dearest). That we are incapable of living full and happy lives. That we don't deserve to have more realistic movies written about us because it is not sell able or interesting.

This is not accurate at all. OCD people are most often kind and extra sensitive. We worry about not being accepted and loved. All of us have OCD traits but we have different personalities. Some are more pessimistic and some of us are optimistic. We are all different and should be represented in that fashion. Frankly, we deserve better and more accurate depictions.
I would like a movie with a beautiful actress like Jennifer Aniston playing a real depiction of OCD. Instead of being afraid of something small like outdated milk she could have real phobias. That would be nice. Yes the milk the thing is funny but not all of our phobias are. They are real and they are terrifying  We laugh at some of our issues but it is not all fun and games. OCD is a debilitating mental illness. Her love interest could be some one like Gerard Butler. They could be in a diner and she could say" I have intrusive thoughts. I am so terrified of the images and voice in my head that I have hidden all the knives in my house and I only cut things when the house is empty just to avoid the fear. I am not violent but I am afraid I will stab someone."

Gerard,"That's ok. We can just order out all the time."

Jennifer," I am afraid to take elevators. They make me feel like I am suffocating.I have anxiety attacks in them"

Gerard," No problem. We can always take the stairs."

Jennifer," I pull out my own hair until I have bald patches and I can't stop or I pick my skin till it bleeds. I have scars.'

Gerard," You are the most beautiful woman in the world."

Jennifer,"I had to give up driving. Every few blocks I have this terrifying fear that I have hit someone. I know I have not but the doubt and fear is so real I have to get out and check.'

Gerard," I would happily drive you anywhere you need to go."

Jennifer," I touch things several times until it feels right and it makes me late all of the time. My friends are embarrassed to be seen with me but I can not stop the urge."

Gerard," I don't care, I love you."

Jennifer," I know I have a lot of issues, but I promise you that no one will love you as much as I do. No one will ever be as loyal or good to you as me. Because I care on levels most aren't capable of."

Then they could pan to her room when the stress has gotten to her and they could show what it's really like for us. They could show him holding her as she rocks back and forth crying the corner. They could show how she feels like a failure and how she is devastated. How she is terrified of having children because she could pass it on to them.They could also show her being productive with her life. They could show the ups and downs of finding medications that work. They could show the terrible side affects that come with these trials. They could show how she goes to a therapist and gets help. Because that is much more accurate than being afraid of milk or stepping on a crack in the pavement. Because OCD is not a joke. Because OCD is much more than an hour long movie played by a cranky middle age man who hates dogs or likes cleanliness.

Hollywood if you are going to crack open the door of mental illness then lets be real for change. Let's break open the door frame and release the truth of mental illness.  Let's represent how it really is for people that have OCD. Don't sugar coat it. Don't make it your personal joke. Don't make us all men living alone in a dank apartment or house. Show us as beautiful men and women because that is what we are. We are not just crazy lunatics locked in the attic. We are everyone. We are many. We are  contributing to our communities and taking part in our own lives. Show our humor but also show our pain. Show our  capacity to love and learn. Show how we overcome our difficulties. Show us as real identifiable people. We are not Jack Nicholson. We are not Faye Dunaway or Christian Bale. We are strong and we are loyal and loving. We are just like you. Represent us fully and see how many of us come out of the shadows and stand up and say I have OCD. Help the world to really understand us. Help us to accept our own illness and for once not be ashamed.
                                    Neurotic Nelly

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


We as people are in love with the thought of being in love. That is why we read romance novels. That is why we adore love stories. That is why love ballads are popular. Why there are hundreds of videos on youtube showing our favorites kiss scenes form movies and tv shows. We as individuals live to love. We long to be loved. Love is amazing and makes you feel slightly insane with the joy of it. When it is good it is terrific and when it is bad it is awful.
Finding love is simple enough. Finding the right love is much harder. Loving can only be real love if you love yourself. Loving yourself enough to know that if it's a bad relationship you need to let it go. Loving yourself enough to know that you deserve respect and honesty.
To be treated well you have to first realize that you are worthy to be treated well. Most of us have no idea that what we accept in relationships is how we feel we should be treated. My first marriage was a disaster  I felt I deserved the crap that he pushed on me. I deserved to be talked down too. I deserved to be told I was nothing. I was too fat and then too skinny. I was too dumb but used to many big words. I deserved to be cheated on and lied too. And I believed him.
After the divorce I realized the crap I put up with. I realized I had never learned to love myself and so I let others treat me the way I saw myself. I wasn't in love I was just in love with the thought of love.
I do not let others treat me that way anymore. I have real love now. I am thankful for the experience that showed me what I was doing to myself. What I allowed others to do to me.
I love me. I accept me. I don't need anyone to validate that. I don't need anyone to tell me what to think or how I should feel. I expect to be treated with the dignity and respect I deserve. I will not waste my time on those that can not or will not take the time to see me for who I am. I am not their mother's and I do not have time to teach them how to behave. I choose who I spend my time with. I choose who I talk to. I get to choose because it is my life and I am in control of myself. It is very freeing to realize that.
Abuse is invisible at first. It slowly creeps up on you until you are in the middle of it. You get so tangled up in it that you do not realize that is the life you are living. Your self esteem is washed away and you begin to doubt yourself and hate yourself at the same time. Real love is many things but it is never abusive. No one deserves to be treated that way.
                                        Neurotic Nelly

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Just be

 My mind is like a cavern with many rooms. Most of them are full of old junk, old memories, painful and stinging  The walls of each room are made of stone and plaster. Wood posts keep the thatched ceiling from falling in. Sitting in the dark listening to the quietness. It wraps me like a warm blanket and muffles out the world. I hear the dripping faucet and my heart beats in time with it. Learning to just be. Learning to shut out the world for a few minutes. Learning to just listen.
Learning to love yourself is like water dripping from a faucet. One drip at a time. One day at a time. One week at a time. One month at a time.
I have been sitting in this dark room for too long. I have started to get antsy and restless. I feel an itch and I need to scratch it. I have started picking at the edges of the wall paper to occupy my hands. I have torn off bits of myself a piece at a time. I am just trying to discover what is underneath. I am trying to learn what my purpose is. Trying to figure out what my worth is. We all go through this. We all hurt and want to staunch the pain. I don't want to just treat the pain I want to know the reason. I want to scream at the walls and force them to give me an answer. I want to peel off the wallpaper and see what holds up these walls? These walls inside my head. I want to break them down and touch the beams. I want to expose the dark secrets and recesses that keep me sick. I want to seek them out and make them pay. I want to learn to be still. I want to learn to be patient. I need to learn to just be.
 I have learned to accept many things. I have learned to love myself. I have learned to accept my mental illness. I have learned to always stand up and be counted. I am a fighter. I have yet to figure out how to stop remodeling in my brain. I always feel the need to take out the old supports and build new ones. Maybe that is healthy. Maybe that is what keeps me gong. Maybe tearing down the dark rooms in my mind heal me. I have no idea. I just know that right now I am in the mood to break something and savor the sound of it crashing to the floor. My rage notwithstanding, today I am going to build something pretty inside my head and tear down something ugly. I am going to tear down a room that is full of bad memories and pain and set them free. Stacked up like broken old suitcases thrown in there half-hazardly and forgotten or locked away so I could force myself to forget. I need to do some spring cleaning. I need to empty these rooms and clean them. I need to just be.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


When I was twelve we moved to a tiny town in Indiana. Maybe it was my red hair. Maybe it was my strange southern accent. Maybe it was because I was dirt poor. I have no real idea. None of these things made me unlovable. None of these things made me dirty or bad. All of these things made me odd and therefore acceptable for others at my new school to hurt me. And they did everyday. It started with stares and names. It slowly progressed to kick me signs and kicks. I was pushed into walls and laughed at. Tripped on the stairs. Threatened. Hair pulled. Called curse names and ostracized.  I sat alone at the lunch table. If I tried to sit at a table with students they would all get up and leave me there. My mother was horrified and tried to get the principal to do something. He never did. The school therapist would yell at me. Many teachers ignored it. I had one teacher proclaim in class that if everyone hated you it must be something about you that made them. Maybe they hated that I wore sweat clothes to school with patches sewed on them. Maybe they hated me because I lived in a trailer. Maybe they hated me because I wasn't from there. I had things stolen from me. And I tried so very hard to be liked.
I had one friend. She could only be my friend outside of school. To talk to me or even look at me in school would have made the abuse turn onto her and I was unwilling to let anyone else suffer like I did. I had two teachers that saved me. Small things they did that made me feel less unworthy. A female teacher started to sit with me during lunch. When kids would make fun of my mother's ten year old  fur coat that I had to wear because we had no money to buy me a decent coat, she would say she had one just like it. The gym teacher on the last day of school was getting hugs from all of the girls. He said that he was surprised to be hugged by so many beautiful girls. I told him I wasn't very beautiful but I would give him a hug anyway. He got very upset and told me never to say I was not beautiful. I had no idea what he meant. Obviously I was not beautiful or talented. I was what everyone had said I was. Why else would they punish me so? At night I would leave my bedroom window slightly ajar. I hoped that Peter Pan was real and he would whisk me away to some place where I was accepted and loved. Peter Pan, by the way does not exist.
I lived in that hell for two years. I stood up for myself just once. The boy bullying me got mad at me and punched me as hard as he could in the stomach. Day in and day out knowing that I was going to suffer. That I was going to cry. That pain would be my constant companion. It was hard. It was wrong. I made a promise to myself to never treat anyone like that. I moved and found a better school and better friends. My mother got a decent job and I never had to wear patched up sweat clothes again. We didn't have much but it was much more than I had before.
What did I learn from this lesson? I learned that people can be so very cruel. That people can hurt you very deeply. I learned that the saying, sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me , is a lie. Words can be devastating.  I learned that it was not me it was their closed minded mentality that I was not one of them. I learned to talk to the person sitting alone at the lunch table. I made many friends doing that. I learned that being poor is not a reason to be bullied.  I learned that I am talented and that my gym teacher was right. I am beautiful. I also learned that I never have seen any of those horrid people since I have moved. That whatever they grew up to be they are not important to me. That I was more beautiful than they were and I still am. Beauty is in the way you treat others and I will never treat anyone like that. I teach my children to never make fun. I teach them to not only stand up for themselves but to also stand up for others. I teach them to sit with the lonely kid at the lunch table.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Story of US

This is My truth. So this is your truth and this is the story of us.You were always two years older than me. Smarter than me, stronger than me, better than me, you always had it all figured out. And I always looked up to you. I learned from you.You had the prettier darker red hair. The first to get a perm. To drive. To wear makeup. To get boyfriends. The first to become a woman. And I always looked up to you. I learned from you.
We used to dance in circles singing silly songs. Dresses blowing in the breeze and our pony tails coming undone. Secret whispers in each others ears. Jumping in rain puddles and climbing trees. Playing dolls and coloring in coloring books. Sunburns and cold vinegar baths. Eating pickles and drinking the juice till our stomachs turned sour. Dreams, hopes, and secrets we shared. I wish we could go back to before the ground crumbled beneath our feet and we tumbled down to the earth like discarded rag dolls. Before we grew up. Before damage was brought upon us and we faltered. Before you flirted with the demon that plagues you. Before the sporadic phone calls with you taking a hit and talking rapidly hoping for me to judge so you could have a reason to turn away from me. But I never judged. I refuse to judge you. I have made mistakes too even if I never went down the road you did. And I always looked up to you. I learned from you.
I always wonder if my face is yours still. Maybe our eyes are still the same. Maybe today you will answer my phone call or texts. Maybe today I can feel whole again like when we were kids. Like when we sisters and not strangers. I can still see us dressing up in Mom's closet. Trying so hard to be adults. What did we trade being a kid for? Months worrying if you are ok. Are you still clean? Are you hungry? Has the demon come back to finally claim you? One more false promise of a few hours to forget your pain.
I never know where you are so I dream of us when time was kind and we were each other's everything. We were two halves of a whole. Now what am I? Doomed to walk around like I have lost something that I can not find. I have somehow lost you, and I never meant too. I have misplaced you and left you on the dresser like a painted knick-knack somewhere. Or maybe you have misplaced me. Maybe we have misplaced each other. It doesn't matter.
What matters is that one day the demons will come to claim you if you flirt with them anymore. That all of my understanding and non judgments can not change that. That you are trapped in a prison of your past and you are living in your own hell. You live so very far away and even if you were standing beside me you would still be to far to reach.That one day I will get the call from someone I don't know, and be told  that you have gone forever. That a gaping hollow whole will open up and I will never be able to fill it. I will never be the same. That I will never get over loosing you. That I will hear your voice when I talk and be unable to speak again. Because we have always sounded the same. I will never be able to face the mirror again. Because we have always been so similar. Because I didn't have the courage to beg you to stop loudly enough. Because I was afraid you would turn me away. Because I want to yell at you and beg you not to leave me alone. Not like this. Because I am trying to be you and be strong. Because I am trying to be you and be smart and better. Because I always looked up to you. I learned from you. Because I love you. Because I miss you. Because I will have no one to share a sister's secrets with. Because all I have left are fragile bits of memories. That I clutch them so tight I risk breaking them.They are fragile shards of glass and they cut me every time I look at them. The pain cuts me and I weep. And I always looked up to you. I always learned from you. And I always loved you.
                                          Neurotic Nelly

Thursday, March 7, 2013


I think I am a pretty intelligent person. I am not a college educated person. I didn't graduate high school. I was an A B student until my mental illness became a problem with going to school. I am not stupid either. I try to learn something new everyday. You can never learn too much. Today I am trying to learn to be brave. I have had small moments of bravery in my life. Nothing heroic or anything to really write about. Things that took courage to admit or do. I need a cold hard hit of bravery. I need some courage because, frankly,  I am in short supply.
I do genealogy  I love to find what set of circumstances and people made it possible for me to be here in this moment. I was thrilled to go back hundreds of years. I discovered warriors and kings. None of their riches passed down to me. I am starting to believe that the bravery also failed to pass as well. Today going to my doctors office, we had to go up four floors on the elevator. No big deal. That is until five people walked in the elevator with me... I had to close my eyes and breathe. I could feel the lady touching my shoulder with her arm. It felt like we were sardines packed in a tin and I wanted to scream. Deep breaths. Then on the second floor some guy was going to get in. Thankfully the doors were shutting and he thought better of it. I actually said aloud,"No, go away." Not my proudest moment.
I realize that if you dropped an elevator on the ground next to my warrior ancestors they would be scared of it too. However, this is not 1300 a.d. and everyone here has used an elevator at some point.
I am terrified of rabbits. They creep me out like nothing I have ever come across.Rabbits. That's right, I said it. I realize it is stupid and silly. How many people have you heard of that have been mauled to death by a rabbit? None.
Last Fall I went outside on my porch. Something caught the corner of my eye. As I turned to look at it I saw that it was a rabbit  My mouth got dry and sweat started to form on my forehead. I quickly turned and squeezed my eyes shut. I tried desperately to will it away, When I opened one eye the cursed thing was still there chomping his evil jaws at me. Ok, he was probably just happily munching on a dandelion but still he obviously, doesn't posses the ability to be mentally willed away. I bet he was wondering what the crazy red haired lady was doing freaking out on her porch.
I can just see my ancestors going to protect their land from invaders and charging. Swords ready for battle and their kilts swaying as the run. Then as they get to the battle field they stop and look down. "Oh My God a rabbit! Fall back men! Fall back!" And then run back home with horror on their faces.
 I obviously do not posses the warrior gene. If there is such a thing.
So maybe I am not tough as nails. Maybe I am not a conqueror of great lands. I am a different kind of warrior. I am a verbal warrior. I battle for mental health. I conquer my fears everyday. I fight for the end of stigma. I fight for acceptance and understanding. I am not brave in the warrior sense, but I am brave in writing my truths. I am brave in that I am honest. That I am a warrior for my mental illness. I am brave every time I get up out of bed and face the day. I am brave every time I sit down and type my dysfunction to the world. I am brave that I accept that there will people that will judge me. That there are people that will tell me I am stupid or wimpy. It takes courage to tell the world that I am a mentally ill person. It takes courage to admit that to myself. It takes courage to be abnormal. It takes courage to truly look at yourself and accept what you are. I am brave in that I am still here. When it seemed to be an easier option to opt out, I chose to live. I chose to endure. I am brave that I will not be put in the shadows and ignored. It is brave that I stand up and say I am here. I have a mental illness and I am not going away because it makes you feel more comfortable.  So maybe I am a warrior after all. Maybe I have the right amount of courage. Maybe I am brave. Just be on the look out for rabbits for me.
                                                                         Neurotic Nelly


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

My Stained Life

Wash, Rinse, Dry, Repeat.
Life is like a load of our favorite laundry. We spend an enormous amount of time washing it. We sort it by colors and fabric type. We sort it by underwear and socks, towels and sheets, jeans and shirts. Some of it has to be hand washed and fluff dried. Most of it we throw in the machine without a second thought and are surprised when we come out with pink socks. Then it's off to the dryer. Too hot and the sweaters will shrink. Too cool and it will covered in mildew and be damp.  Then it is folding time and putting it in the proper places. We spend our time trying to wash away the dirt and stains. Some of us wash and clean. Some of us would rather air out their dirty laundry to others. Some of us are color coordinated and some of us are color blind. In which case pink socks are not a big deal.
As my husband will tell you, I hate doing laundry. I feel like I am being sent down to the cave like basement to be punished by toiling away all of my time to wash, rinse, dry, and repeat.
Laundry is necessary. We all have to do it or we would look dirty and smell badly. Not really what most people strive to achieve. If life is like laundry then mentally ill people are forever in the laundry room. We deem ourselves dirty and stained. We are constantly trying to wash it away. We just want to be cleansed. We scrub the stains till our hands crack and bleed. They never come out despite the hours of elbow grease and specail soaps we apply. We just can't get the desired effect. It is time consuming and upsetting to work and work and never achieve what we are certain one more good scrub could eradicate.  I have decided that too much of my time is wasted by trying to scrub and wash away my mental illness. It is what it is. I want to jump in the mud puddles and play in the dirt. I don't really care if my clothes get dirty. I don't care if I have to wear the dreaded pink sock. I don't care if you see my stains. Getting dirty is a life well lived. It means you didn't stand on the side lines watching everyone else play jacks and marbles. It means you made mud pies and built sand castles. It means you allowed yourself to have fun. To live life. I am not saying I never need to do laundry again, but I'll wash it when my clothes are caked in the glorious aftermaths of  having a really fun and hard working day. I will wash them when I am good and ready. I will not bother to try to erase the stains I have been given. They are part of me and make me who I am. They are a timeline of how hard I participated in my own life, and proof that I was active. It is my story written by one stain at a time. The grass stains are from me crawling until I could stand. The mud stains are from me falling and getting back up. The  blood stains are from the scrapes I got when I forgot to be careful and had to learn my lesson the hard way. The food stains are from good meals shared with family and friends. The paint stains are from reinventing and rebuilding my life, which is always under construction. I will wear this garment until it is  worn and thread bare. I will dot it until it is marbled with the stains of my well lived life.I will stretch it out until it becomes ill fitting and uneven. And then and only then will I wash, rinse, dry, and repeat.
                         Neurotic Nelly

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

It hurts

This week was bad. The pain has gotten better but depression has crept up on me. It has washed over me like a wave of fire licking at my wounds. Cauterizing and burning them. I am angry, frustrated, hurt, and devastated. It is not because of any mental issues. It is because I have been in so much physical pain. The pains before the surgery, after surgery, the fall, the bruises and broken finger, and another very painful problem that I am not going to go into. It is not just one thing after another. The pain has been overlapping the situations. I have been in agony. My nights consisted of pain pills and crying myself to sleep. It is frustrating to my family to watch me be in so much pain. It is unacceptable to me to make them miserable. I am frustrated that I can not do the things I used to do everyday. Pain has stolen away the only things I can do.Things that make me feel useful and important. Pain has stolen what little my mental illness hasn't taken away. Pain has entered my sanctuary and devastated it. I am angry that I am helpless. If I could curl up in the fetal position and cry I would, but I can't even manage to do that. I am a positive person. I believe that I am tested and that I learn from pain. I ,however, have no idea what this is supposed to be teaching me. I feel stupid and I am annoyed. I have to have help doing the simplest tasks and it irritates me. I hate the feeling of being weak and vulnerable. I am so tired. I have listened to my music to help but it fails to lift my spirits. The only thing that has helped is knowing that none of these things are permanent and it is just a temporary situation. I told my husband yesterday the only thing that keeps me from yelling out in pain is I am afraid I will never be able to stop. I have cried and have not been able to stop. Why should yelling be any different. I can't remeber what it was like a month ago when I had no pain. I know it existed but I can't really remember it in detail. I have stopped talking to my friends. It is too much to listen to their lives and not be annoyed. It is too much to concentrate. I am just trying to hold onto the walls and prepare to go down the rabbit whole again. I am thankful that these pains are temporary but now I have an understanding of how life is with chronic pain. I now get how depression affects those that suffer from it. I now see.  Now that the pain is getting much better I am dealing with the blah feeling. I am sure the depression will lessen but I am hoping it will go away quickly. I am not a depressed person regularly. I am just going to fake it until I make it. I am going to force myself to sing loudly with the music. I am going to call my friends and tell them what has been going on. They are my friends ,after all, and I have always been there for them. They have always been there for me.I don't know why I feel this need to suffer and not talk to them. It's silly. And they would be pissed if they knew that I was hurting and didn't tell them. I have amazing friends. I also have an amazing husband. He has been helping me out and been there for me. I know it must be hard and frustrating. I am so thankful for him. I am thankful for my family and my friends. I am thankful for my blog readers who read my blog. I am thankful that my pain is less and temporary. I am thankful for my life even though I am currently feeling less than productive. This too shall pass and I am going to be back to my nerdy, crazy, regular self in no time.
                                                         Neurotic  Nelly

Monday, March 4, 2013


Walking alone like a one man army. Ready to deal with whatever heads my way. Full of my own bravado that I have created to fool others. That I am not easily flustered. I am not easily frightened. I am not easily broken. It's a paper mâché  mask in the likeness of  steel armor. From a distance I look ready for battle. From a distance I seem like an imposing presence. From a distance I seem strong.
I am a great illusionist. You see only what I want you to see. I could give David Copperfield a run for his money if I owned a helicopter and had his beautiful assistants running around. I could make the helicopter disappear. After all, I can make myself disappear. You only see the real me if I let you. Otherwise you see the person I want you to see. It's not that I want to be someone I am not, it's that I am wary of my weaknesses being assessed and used against me. I am not paranoid. I am just very aware that not everyone has your best interest at heart. I keep people at a distance until I am sure of their motives. We all walk through life wearing one mask or another. Some people's masks are pretty. Some of them have fake smiles and cracked teeth. These masks are the scariest. They welcome you and offer false words of  acceptance.  These people are almost always hiding something.The people behind these masks are dangerous. Some masks are withered and battle scarred. These masks mirror my own. The people who wear these masks are usually very much like me. Aware that masks are important. Aware that friendship is glorious but careful to whom they offer it to.  Some masks are painted and decorated. These are the masks of artists of men. Some masks are winged. They belong to the advocates, doctors, nurses, volunteers, teachers, social workers, clergy that do not abuse others, people that live their lives giving unselfishly to others. There are many people and therefore many masks. It seems silly to wear paper masks as adults like we are stuck in an ever evolving Halloween party.  Yet we all do it at one time or another. To hide our sadness, our fears, our truths; whatever they may be. The trick is to figure out which mask it is you wear. What illusion you want to present to the world until you are ready to share who you really are. Wouldn't it be great if we all took off our masks and were just honest? If we just stopped being afraid to be who we are faults and all? If we could just admit that we are not always strong, not always happy, not always sure of what we are doing or where we are going?  Since I have been writing in this blog I have been chipping away at my mask bit by bit. I have been breaking it post after post. It has been so long since I have faced the world without it that I am no longer sure what lies beneath. I am sure, however, that I want to try.
                                     Neurotic Nelly

Saturday, March 2, 2013


Yesterday, I fell down my flight of stairs. The result being that as I fell my hand got caught between the railing and the wall. I broke my right middle finger along with bruising my left elbow and side pretty severely. I currently resemble someone who has been attacked by angry, bat wielding leprechauns.  The downside being that I now have to see my local hand surgeon to make sure it will heal properly and the fact that it hurts unlike anything I have ever felt before nor care to again. The only upside, and I do mean only upside, is that I no longer have to express my feelings to people I am angry with because I now am inadvertently flipping everyone off when I wear the splint.( If you are wondering how I am typing this I am slowly stabbing at the keyboard with my left index finger.) Like most people who are right handed it has been difficult for me to function. I am now unable to zip up my coat, buckle my own seat belt, and open things. Having to have my husband do these things for me makes feel like I am five years old and  I hate it. What is worse is that I have now realized how important my right hand is to me. I am blind in my right eye. I was born that way. It looks like it works but the vision is so bad that my brain purposely ignores the vision from it when my left eye is open. My brain has adapted so that I can see well enough from my left eye to function. I have little to no depth perception. I can not drive. I am always falling or running into things. I can not see things when it starts to get dark. My right eye is only good for peripheral vision. And it sucks at that too.I hated being forced to play sports in school because as the balls would be kicked or thrown into the sky I would cover my face and not look up. I could not tell where the ball would come down at and I was terrified that it would hit me in the face. You only have to be hit in the face once with a ball to gain a healthy fear of it happening again. When I was six, an eye doctor instructed my parents to have me wear an eye patch over my left eye to force my brain to use the right eye.I remember that it was Summer and hot. The patch itched and was sweaty. I was even more clumsy than usual. I hated it and spent the whole summer feeling like a defunct nerdy pirate. Other than making me miserable wearing the patch did nothing to help my eyesight. I now realize that I adapted by using my right hand to "see" for me. That I use it to feel my way around. I clutch things tighter so not to drop them if I bump into anything, I put out that hand in front of me in the dark to find the walls so I don't run into them, I use my right hand to be my eyes. And for the next few weeks I am going to have to adapt and use my left hand to not only open and close things but to also "see" for me. Keep in mind that it took me five minutes to open the milk jug with it last night. I am a little worried I am going to become more familiar with the walls than I'd like to be. All of this came to me last night as I laid there trying to figure out the best way to prop up my hand to quell the throbbing  People with mental illness have an amazing ability to adapt. Now, that may sound crazy to some people, but it is the truth. Many of us with mental illness have had to learn to adapt to live. We adapt to be able to work, to go to school, to leave the house. Some of are not able to do those things but  adapt to living house bound. In a world that terrifies us we have made our home a sanctuary. Which is an adaptation of sorts. Many people with mental illness have adapted to become creative people. We not only suffer for our art but our art is so good because of our understanding of our suffering. Many of the most famous writers, poets, and artists of our time suffered from mental illness. Ernest Hemingway was a prolific writer that suffered from severe depression. Sylvia Plath was an amazing poet who suffered from severe depression also, Vincent Van Gogh is rumored to have suffered anxiety and depression although there is no proof of exactly which mental illness's besides depression he suffered from. I think we can all agree that if you cut off your own earlobe something is not quite right in your mind. These people adapted by creating some of the most famous and amazing works of art. Sadly, until twenty years ago mental illness mostly misunderstood and not treated properly. Had it had been, these amazing people might have gone on to create even more amazing works. They might have been able to manage their illness to the point that they could have lived out their lives with a lot less pain and despair.We that live with mental illness, have learned to adapt to our situations and be able to function. It may not be the way the other part of the world functions, but it is unique to us. It works for us.We adapt and learn to live. We all have talents and are passionate about them. Whether we are advocates, teachers, writers, poets, photographers, painters, or musicians we are using our adaptions for art. We are adapting our pain into beauty, understanding, and honesty. We see the world from a different view and that is exceptional. And as we keep adapting, we help the world to understand us. We are changing the world one song at a time. One book at a time. One picture at a time. One poem at a time. We are changing the world one post at a time.