Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Yesterday, a local teenager went to school and shot himself in his home room class. As I write this, he is in critical condition. I have to wonder as heart broken as I am, what is wrong in his life that this seemed like the only option. I don't have to wonder very hard because I have been there at that crossroads before. I think many have. My heart aches for him and his family and friends. I pray that he gets better and the help that he so desperately needs. I sat there watching the news crying, not because I know him, but because I am a mother. Because at one time I was so very close to being just like him. Because there are so many who are like him and feel trapped and alone.

I was asked once why do I write about about mental illness. This is why. I believe that honesty is the only way to help others. I don't just put myself out there because I like to hear myself type, I truly believe that if we stand up and say, "I have mental illness", we are saving others. We are showing them it is ok to suffer from mental illness.That we can have good decent lives. We are not doomed to live in caves or asylums drooling on ourselves and banging our heads on the walls. That we are not dirty, shameful, dangerous creatures. We are like everyone else and we don't have to suffer in silence. There is help. I truly believe that we are doing the best thing that can be done. We are shining our lights on the stigma. We are shining lights on the pain and suffering.  We are guiding those that need us, to an enlightened truth. We are worthy and strong individuals. That there is a possibility of a different tomorrow.
There are so many ways to get help today. There are websites, communities, phone lines, doctors, hospitals, blogs, online references, organizations, and charities. There are movies and t.v. shows. Mental illness is no longer the dirty little secret, because we as those that suffer from it, are not going to allow it to be anymore. There is nothing to be ashamed of. There is nothing to hide from. We are so many and we deserve to be heard.
I was reading on TMZ that a famous actress was going to treatment for bipolar. I scrolled down to the comments and I was flabbergasted.  Out of the twelve comments, only two were negative. The rest were supportive and understanding. I was so proud. Not because I had anything to do with their opinions. None of them have read my blog or even know I exist.  I was proud because through all the hard work of those that suffer from mental illness and their organizations, people have listened and learned. It is a beautiful thing.
So, when I say we can change the world, I mean it. If we all stand up and are honest, people will learn. People suffering will get better.We can offer them hope when they are at the crossroads because we have stood where they stand. We have had to make a choice and we can help them to see the right one. We can offer something that others can not, promise. Promise because we are proof that there is a better path. That the fight is worth fighting. That we can and do live productive and meaningful lives. That we can still be what we want and we can fulfill our dreams. That we matter.
Promise of a future is what we offer to others. Will life be easy? No, but it will be worth the struggle. Will it be everything a person could want? It will be whatever we choose for it to be. Will it be different than normal people's future? Probably, but isn't different an amazingly beautiful thing?
We stand united. We stand for what is right. We stand at the crossroads and we are choosing. We choose for ourselves but also for others. We are going to be the examples of mental illness the world needs. Examples of strength. Examples of wisdom. Examples of kindness and compassion. Most of all, we are examples of honesty and hope.
                          Neurotic Nelly

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Worry Wart

Worry Wart. That was my pet moniker given to me as a child by my mother. Before we knew I had an actual mental illness. I worried about everything, hell I still do. She used to say that I would have a heart attack by the age of ten if I didn't stop worrying about everything. If only it had been that easy to just stop. My life has been riddled with just stop, just stop already. Unfortunately, you can not will OCD away. You can not will away any mental illness.

She used to buy me worry dolls. Tiny dolls with yarn dresses made of paper and string. I loved to play with them. I ended up with about twenty. They were fun to play with but did't help my worrying at all. I am not sure why they didn't ease my thoughts, after all they are called worry dolls. Maybe I didn't have enough? Maybe I didn't use them the right way? Who knows. Actually, I would have needed more than twenty to help. I could have had a box truck full of the brightly colored worry dolls, deposited on my lawn ever day and I still would have been a basket case. The folklore of them is beautiful though. The dolls folklore originate in Guatemala. I would like to have a few nowadays just to look at them.

My mothers next step was to buy me worry stones to get through the day. I liked the feel of the polished stone under my thumb. I would rub my thumb over the little bumps and creases on the stone until the pattern was familiar  It was slightly calming but it didn't really help with my OCD. Still I had a worry stone in my pocket for a long time. It's folklore is also beautiful. The stones folklore originated in Ancient Greece.

I liked both the dolls and stones very much. Although they did not help my mental illness, they do speak to how much my mother tried to ease my pain. At that time children really had no treatment for mental illness that was very helpful.
There was no amount of worry items that would have eased my suffering. There wasn't anything my mother could have given to make my OCD better besides therapy and I was already getting that. I am thankful that she tried.
I continued to be her "little worry wart". I worried about health issues  loosing loved ones, contamination, was I being a good girl, and  did people like me? The list goes on and on. It is a lot of stress for a four year old to go through. I made it through with the help, love, and support of my family. I made it through because although the dolls and stones didn't ease my pain, they proved that my parents cared enough to try anything to help me, no matter how far fetched the ideas were.
I believe that is what helps the mentally ill. Going out of your way to try anything to support the person suffering. Being there for them and holding their hand when life gets out of control and scary. Offering them solace. Offering understanding. It means so much more than you know.
Am I still a worry wart? Yes, but now I have it under control. I may worry, but it does not make it impossible for me to get things done. I am not crying and rocking back in forth in my room. It has taken years of therapy and support from my loved ones to get this way and I am thankful that I am able to function. Besides, there are so many beautiful things in life to let worry take over everything.
Today is a good day because I want it to be. Today I may worry but I will turn up the music and just disintegrate into the lyrics. Today I will not allow OCD to make me a worry wart. I do have a choice: stand or fall, live or suffer, worry or get up and move. Today I am going to get up and go to the store. Maybe I will come across a worry doll or stone and smile.

Friday, April 26, 2013


Toady I read this magnificent post shared by a google + friend. I shared it right away, because it is so truthful and honest. It inspired me on what to write about. It actually correlates with my feelings of events lately as well.

I sometimes feel left out. Sometimes my emotions are so raw I need to check with a dear friend or my mother to see if my emotions are valid or if I am blowing them out of proportion. Apparently, I cannot trust the depth of my emotions anymore. I am so sensitive that something that doesn't bother others can crush me. I tend to self hate. Well, correction my mind self hates and I am left to battle it or pick up the pieces.

The post I read about had said that you shouldn't look at what mental illness has taken away from you but look at what it has given you. I find that quote to be beautiful. After all, having a mental illness is like a trade of sorts. You trade what normal people do for whatever you can do. It usually seems to be in a creative field. Your trade being normal for being stronger as well. It occurred to me that since my mental illness started when I was four, I haven't really ever taken stock in what my mental illness has taken from me. How can I be thankful of what I have left or anything I have gained if I have never realized just how much I have lost?

 I grew up with dreams of driving at sixteen, having tons of friends, being carefree and popular. I dreamed of graduating high school and going to college. I had dreams of having a career that I loved and excelled at. I had dreams that I would settle down, have kids, and do normal things.
I didn't realize that some of things would not be possible for me. I did not realize that my mental illness would get worse.
Mental illness came into my life so early that I never saw the changes I was going through. I never realized how very different I was from other children. I didn't see that it was sucking out my soul one drop at a time until I was so deep into it I was afraid I wold never function again. For me it took years to open my eyes.

I can not say for certain that OCD has stopped me from driving. I also have vision issues that would make driving dangerous.It does play a part in it, so I never got my driver's license. I drove three times and it was always the same, scary and almost wrecked. I can't see well enough over the dashboard to tell where the car is. The voice in my head yelling at me that I am going to crash doesn't help that either.

I had friends. None of them knew I had a mental illness. I certainly wasn't going to tell them over playing Barbie's or at imaginary tea parties that I had bad images in my head. I am sure that would have went over really well with their parents.

I was and have never been carefree. I is impossible for me to be. I have tried, I failed, it doesn't work. That doesn't mean I am not fun, but I am not able to have reckless abandon. Not in my nature I suppose.

I never stood up for myself or gave myself any credit. I despised my issues and the fact that I was not like others around me. That I would never be like others around me.

Mental illness swooped in and created anxiety attacks while going to school. They became so bad I had to stop going. I never graduated. I was unable to go to college. I was an A and B student and I could have gotten a scholarship. It wouldn't have mattered. I would not have been able to walk into the school building or go to class.

I am not able to work. The stress builds up so quickly that I go to a place that scares me. My mental health rapidly declines and my physical health goes with it. I become ill constantly. I can not fight off sickness as if my body is trying to show me how my mind feels. I become anxiety ridden and then utterly depressed.

Today, after years of therapy and working on my issues I can see the things I have lost. I don't have many close friends.  I can count them on one hand. They are dear to me like sisters. My emotions are sometimes over powerful. I cant drive. I am not successful in a job I don't have. I am not anything like I thought I would be when I was a child but then who is?

But I have traded for other things. Better things. Things that I am proud to say I have accomplished.
 I have found the love of my life and had two beautiful children. I have become an outspoken person who stands up for myself. I have given up the school and a job , but I discovered that I could write. Had I not been forced to look for something to fill my spare time I may have never discovered it.  I found that I could be a mental health advocate. That I could be honest and still be accepted. In fact, the other day I told a family member that I was a mental health blogger. I felt this amazing feeling swell up inside me and I was beaming. What he hell was this emotion? Oh yeah, it was pride.  I had never felt pride in myself before. It is a wonderful sensation. Maybe I should tell more people? I could get addicted to the feeling of pride.

So it is a trade off. I have gained many things that I otherwise may not have had I been normal. Would my life have been easier? Sure. Would that normal life be anymore important than then one I have now? No. I am the way I am supposed to be doing what I am meant to do. I believe that what I do and say matters. That I can promote others to realize that what they say and do matters as well. That I can raise two amazing kids. That I don't have to drive or be a successful business woman to fill my life with joy or understanding. I can do that just the way I am. Did mental illness take somethings in life away from me? Yes, but I am so thankful I am able to have the things in my life that I have been given.

                                     Neurotic Nelly

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Sometimes I feel like my mind is an old dried out decrepit tree. It's branches gnarled and crooked. Dredging it's knuckles on the sidewalk till they are raw. Twisted bark and knotted limbs. Rotted roots and decaying leaves. I am gnarled. My mind is gnarled. My emotions are gnarled. My broken finger is gnarled.

I forget that as leaves fall and decay new ones will form. I forget that new roots can grow. I forget that wounds can heal and my heart will too. I forget that my branches can grow stronger and taller. I can shade the yard. I can shade others from the rain and harsh burning sun. I forget a lot of things lately.
It's not that I don't believe in myself. Sometimes I just forget to listen to myself first. I need to listen to my own needs as well. Remember to sit down before I fall down. Remember to not only protect others but myself as well. Remember that if I don't I will become gnarled in a knot of guilt, shame, frustration, and doubt. Mental illness is good at making one feel unworthy. I need to realize that if I refuse to take care of myself both physically and mentally, I am not in a position to help anyone else , no matter how much I would like to.
I need to remember to get enough sleep. Sleep and rest really help me to combat the voice in head. I can block it out better. However, at night sleep seems like a cruel joke. The voice and images are loud and obnoxious. My body is exhausted but my mind is wide awake. I plan things for the next day. I read. I watch t.v. I do whatever I can do to make my mind shut up and rest. I wish that plugging my my ears with my fingers would make the constant chatter of the intrusive thoughts go away. Unfortunately, my fingers cant reach far enough into my brain to plug out the noise. I don't actually hear it with my ears. Try explaining that you hear a voice but not with your ears and see the weird looks people give you. 

I heard this ridiculous notion once, that time heals all wounds. No, time heals most wounds. Some wounds are so jagged, deep, and weeping that infection sets in. These wounds require a shot of antibiotics. You need to go to a doctor. Mental illness is too deep and jagged for time to heal on it's own. You can't heal mental illness with warm tea and time. You need professional help to heal. You need support to heal. Time does not wear a white coat and scrubs. Time is a clock with hands on it. It doesn't recognize your ailments or talk to you about your problems. It just gives you some insight, wrinkles, and grey hair. Time is a beautiful thing but it is not a healer of all damage done to your life. Getting the proper help you need is what heals the mind.

Sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves. Sometimes we place ourselves on the bottom of our priorities. This is a very unhealthy habit that we need to break. We have to take care of our needs as well. We have to seek help. We need to stand up for ourselves. We need to be as healthy mentally wise as we can be. 

Some days I feel crappy. Some days I feel great. Some days I just hold on to all the things I learned in therapy. It will get better. It is a long process. It takes time, patience, support, and help. I will be the best person I can be. I will not allow my mental illness to steal away the things I love in my life. I will not bow down and let it trample my dreams. 

                                                  Neurotic Nelly

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lunacy At It's Finest

Lunatic. That is what I would be called if this were a past time. Neurotic. I would also be called neurotic because I am a nervous individual. Insane might also be applied.

I am none of those things. You are none of these things. They are old defunct terms used to describe those that suffered mental illness before there were names for our afflictions. Most likely had I been born before the seventies I would have ended up in an asylum. Many of us would have been admitted. Not that we were a danger to anyone but because the mental health system was a complete failure. Mentally ill people were looked at as a burden, crazy, and possibly dangerous.There were no real treatments. There were no real therapies.

There were many types of mania listed on the old asylum charts from the late 1800's. Chronic mania, furious mania, raving mania are some of the diagnoses. Basically just about anything was termed a mania of some sort. These were the times you could be locked away and never heard from again.

Originally insane asylums were huge cathedral like buildings designed to help the patients recover. They felt that the beauty and three meals a day would help the mentally ill get well. They were under the impression crazy was caused from the environment that the patients lived in or it was a genetic problem.
At some point the asylums were receiving more patients than the walls could hold. Asylums were turned into more of a medical  atmosphere. White coats and straight jackets. White washed walls and sterile needles. It all seriously creeps me out. I do believe that many people thought they were helping. Sadly, some were abusive to the mentally ill patients. Overlooked, ignored, starved, and left to sit in their own waste. Images of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest comes to mind. It is a shameful part of our past.

I can not help but feel sad for the patients that had to endure the torture of asylums. Screams of the ignored and unheard. The pain and experimental procedures preformed on them like guinea pigs is disturbing. It could have been me. It could have been you. It could have been any of us. The thought that boring a whole in someone's brain and damaging the brain matter so the patient will be easier to take care of is insanity at it's finest. Treating people like animals locked in a dingy cage is insanity. To be forced to vomit to expel the demons or bled to drain out in lunacy seems quite insane to me. Being placed in a box with wholes in it and drowned but then revived to stop mental illness seems absolutely crazy. The tranquilizer chair, a restraint chair with a box over your head and forcibly tied down and unable to move is absolute lunacy. Seems to me like the mentally ill were better off being sick at that time rather than tortured by the people that were supposed to help them. And they called  the patients crazy?
 And yet, all of us with mental illness are secretly terrified by the thought of being involuntarily admitted to a psych ward or mental hospital. There are no asylums left, at least not ones run like they once did. Most of them are abandoned and left like ruined tombstones designated for all that have come before us and the horrors they were subjected to. We are no longer butchered and maimed to create the perfect "cure" of our illness. There are rules and regulations. Still, the images we have seen and stories we have heard play in our minds. It is not hard to see why the thought of a mental institution is scary.
I was admitted to a mental ward around the age of ten. It was a fraudulent doctor that scared my parents with lies on my disorder so he could gain insurance money. I had very bad experiences at this place. I have only started recently talking about it because I had repressed the memories, for obvious reasons. I do believe that there are hospitals out there that help us. I believe that many get the help they need in these wards. I also believe that some are run by monsters, like mine was. I have no real point in this post except that we must be vigilant in our own care. We must research the hospitals and wards we go to. We must never forget how the mentally ill were treated before us. We must never allow this to happen again. And if we do find a place that uses the patients as medical guinea pigs, we must stand up and report them. We must stand united and shut these places down. It is hard enough to be mentally ill, we don't need to be abused or experimented on  along with it.
                                                 Neurotic Nelly

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

OCD Is The New Black

OCD is the new black. It is fashionable. It is the excuse for being particular and quirky. It is a simple explanation for being unwavering in their desire to be perfect. It is crap. As I mentioned before these people know not what they are talking about or admitting what they have. They are not OCD. I guess I should be proud or happy that I have something that is popular or fashionable finally, and yet I am not. I can not feel good about something that actually promotes false understanding and misinformation.

Somehow, in allowing these people to use our mental illness as an excuse, we have traded the stigma of having it for something much more sinister. We have traded stigma for the false belief that OCD can not hurt you. This is simply not true. Somehow, we have garnered the reputation that OCD is not a serious as other mental disorders. Now, I don't believe that OCD is worse than other mental illnesses but I do believe it is equal to them. After all, pain is pain and no one pain is greater than others. The pain from OCD is just as serious and excruciating as pain from other mental illnesses. We have been left out of some mental health sites. OCD is not listed on some of them. Some of them say do not write OCD write anxiety disorder. Why, because OCD isn't important enough to have a name? There is so much power in a name. Before I was diagnosed I thought I was crazy. Crazy was the only name I had for it. It hurt me so much. Then after being diagnosed I found that my crazy had a name. I was no longer alone. I was no longer crazy. I was a person with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The name should not be used jokingly or in fun. There is power in this name and powerful pain in it's disorder.

 I was really excited to watch the lifetime movie about mental illness this weekend. It was a beautiful and truthful portrayal of living with certain mental illnesses. I was left saddened that OCD was not one of those portrayed. I felt left out, again. It seems as we loose stigma we have become the redheaded step child jumping up and down to get attention and calling out not to be overlooked. We are desperate to be accepted not only with the general population but even more so to be recognized in the mental health community as equals.We are in some instances way overlooked. It is frustrating to be ignored or passed over, after all, our suffering is just as great as bipolar, PTSD, schizophrenia, and depression, we are all the same. We all suffer from the same pain. Maybe it was too hard to represent us in away that people would not find funny. A lot of sitcoms have OCD traits in their characters and we laugh. Maybe they weren't sure how to show OCD without making fun of it. I hope that is why, because the alternative is that they didn't consider it to be enough of a serious illness and that would be a travesty.

People that suffer from OCD live most of their lives pretending to be normal. We spend so much time trying to appear to be like everyone else. We are terrific actors. We are able to be chameleons and blend in. We are able to seem perfectly normal, but we are not normal. Eventually when we go home at night we know that. We don't have to hide from ourselves and we know just how much pain we are in. Sure, we have friends but deep down there is always this voice that reminds us these friends don't know the truth. The real you, you keep hidden for fear of judgement or ridicule. Some of us have become masters of our own images. No one has any idea the hell we put up with on a daily basis. It is so very exhausting. To spread yourself so thin so that you can be accepted by normal people and yet accepted by the mental illness community and taken seriously. I have even had a few people with OCD tell me that at least OCD wasn't as bad as some of the other illnesses. Somehow, we bought into our own propaganda.  We act fine and therefore are fine. If we buy into this propaganda, these lies we tell ourselves, we are going to loose fellow sufferers through the cracks. We can not afford to loose good people because we didn't want to admit that our mental illness is just as deadly as the others.

In 2009 it was reported that depression among those with OCD is particularly alarming because their risk of suicide is high; more than 50 percent of patients experience suicidal tendencies, and 15 percent have attempted suicide. Individuals with OCD have also been found to be affected by delayed sleep phase syndrome at a substantially higher rate than the general public.

If you do not like wikipedia there are other sites that list very similar statistics.

I am going to let you in on a little not so secret, secret. I am one of the 50%.  I was suicidal and it was all because of my OCD. I was alone, depressed, unable to work, isolated, and of course the voice in head was telling me what a loser I was. The shame, guilt, and pain was almost too much to bare. I was able to get help. I am now much better but I still suffer pain, guilt, and shame. I will always suffer from OCD. I can live that, but please do not ignore or lessen my mental illness. Please realize that all pain is the same. It should all be recognized. It should all be included on websites and movies about mental illness. It should be allowed to have it's name represented. We have to stop denying that OCD is a serious mental illness because people are dying or at least wanting to. We have to stop minimizing the pain because we are loosing people that can be helped because they think that what is wrong with them doesn't require help. We have to wake up and be honest. I will always suffer pain from my mental illness and just because uneducated people want to objectify my mental illness does not mean it is any less of a killer. Just because they make OCD seem funny or amusing does not mean that it can not hurt you. It can, it will and it does. OCD is the new black. Black armbands that represent those that no longer could take the pain and shame and were misled into believing that it was not serious enough to get help. Black armbands that show that some were allowed to suffer needlessly because others refused and stood by while this mental illness took over their lives, relationships, work, social interactions, and self esteem. Black arm bands because the media and television show it as a funny and quirky and not something that wounds your soul and challenges everything you believe in. Please represent us. Please stick up for us. Please do not allow us to be the ignored redheaded step child. Please accept us and put our illness on your mental health sites if you have not already. Please put OCD in mental health movies in a non funny way, the way it really is to live with it. Please help us spread the word that Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is just as serious and important as other mental illnesses. [tweet this].
                                              Neurotic Nelly

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Misconceptions of the Mentally Ill

I think I am loosing my pea picking mind. As my son pointed out, you can't loose anything you never had, Mom. Sigh, sarcasm that kid, I don't know where he gets it.

A couple of days ago I was told by someone that everyone had a little OCD. Eye roll.....My reaction was one of anger and frustration. I wanted to punch something. I can't punch anything because my middle finger has been broken and is in the process of healing. Albeit, it is kind of gnarled and crooked still.

Then I realized I can not be angry by this person's slip up. It is not their fault they have been misguided or led  to wrong conclusions. There is still misinformation out there. I feel like my posts can be redundant and repetitive on this subject, but apparently I need to keep talking about it.

I have never met anyone that is proud to have OCD. We are too busy sitting in a back room somewhere knitting ourselves a sweater out of our tears and guilt. We are proud that we are learning to live our lives with  this disorder, but certainly no one is proud to have this pain in our lives.

One would never say everyone is a little bipolar or everyone is a little schizophrenic. If they do, I have never heard of such. It really burns my butt. Seriously, it irritates me. I try very hard to put out the correct information out there without being snarky. Sometimes it is an up hill battle.

So  I am going to list some common misconceptions, bare with me.

 Anal retentive or quirky people. Some people are anal retentive and quirky. This does not mean they suffer from OCD. OCD is an anxiety disorder that may or may not have symptoms of being organizational or liking things in a certain way. If there is no identifiable anxiety then it is not OCD. If there is no intrusive thoughts or obsessions then it is not OCD. Some people just like to be orderly. There is nothing wrong with that and it does not mean that there is mental illness involved. Everyone has quirks not OCD. It is not called, Quirky compulsive disorder, after all.

Awkward people. There are a lot of people that are awkward in social situations. They are awkward in their clothing choices, body movements, and awkward in their own skin. Awkwardness is not mental illness. There is nothing that says being odd means you are mentally ill. It might mean there are self esteem issues that might require therapy. Therapy is not for just people with mental illness. Self esteem issues, in itself, is not a mental illness. Although, most of us with mental illness struggle with self esteem issues. Some awkward people do have mental illness but not all and therefore we can not just assume that they do. Some people are just awkward and there is nothing wrong with that.

Angry people. Some people have anger issues. Anger issues is generally a learned response. There are always exceptions to the rule. It is good to have therapy if you suffer from anger management problems. Anger ,in itself, does not mean that you have mental illness. We can not assume that if you have an anger problem that you have a mental illness unless you have been diagnosed with one. Not all angry people are mentally ill.

Manipulative Asswholes.  Some people are manipulative, self serving, selfish, asswholes. This is their personality. They want what they want when they want it. This is a personality flaw and not mental illness. They can be users and emotional vampires. They are predators of the weak and nice. They take and take and take. Yes, there could be a mental illness in some of them, but guess what? Some people are just jerks. We can not assume that because they are rude, mean, narcissistic, or manipulative that they are that way because they are mentally ill. Some people are just asshats.

 Bat (expletive for poop) crazy. Some people are so far gone in their illness or lives, they have lost the will to feel to the point they are bat (expletive for poop) crazy. They most likely have had some form of mental illness but have lost the will to be treated. They no longer have normal human emotions. They do not care of consequences or feel any empathy towards others.These people are the most damaging to the normal mentally ill. The media jumps on the mental illness diagnosis band wagon, when bat (expletive for poop) crazy people become violent and do horrible things. None of these, by the way have been diagnosed with a particular mental illness. If they have, it has not been released to the public. There have been rumors and these are damaging as well. It promotes false fear and stigmatizes us in the mental illness community. People become unfairly afraid of us. Most mentally ill people are NOT bat (expletive for poop) crazy.

Just because there are times that you come across someone whose awkwardness or quirkiness makes you uncomfortable, does not not mean that they are mentally ill. There is a problem with labeling actions that we don't understand as mental illness. There is many personality flaws that can be misconstrued as mental disorders. That does not make them so. Just because someone upsets you with their anger management issues or tries to manipulate you, does not mean that they are mentally ill. They could be in need of therapy or just have that kind of personality. Mental illness has to be diagnosed by a psychiatrist. If you are not a psychiatrist then please do the mental illness community a favor and not try to diagnose anyone. It is hurtful and down right annoying. Be aware that people with mental illness are mostly caring, sensitive, and creative people. [tweet this]. That we are working on a daily basis to be better and deal with the hell that mental illness causes in our lives. We are trying and we ask you to do the same. Thank you.
                                              Neurotic Nelly

Friday, April 19, 2013

Dust In My Mouth

Sometimes I feel completely alone. Like I am walking in some deserted desert with the hot sand burning my heels and the sun baking my flesh. Like I could call out and the dunes would soak up my voice and filter it out. Separating it from the sounds the rest of the world makes. It is silly to feel that way, we are never truly alone.

Sometimes, my mind feels like ancient artifacts placed on some dust covered shelf located somewhere in a museum display case in the recesses of my brain. My memories are carefully tucked and sealed in old canopic jars. Memories I have sealed to protect myself from my own thoughts. Each time I unseal one, the memories flood through my mind like a raging body of water, threatening to wash away the life I carved out for myself. Carved out like those that carved the blocks of the pyramids and stacked them ever so neatly just as the pharaohs demanded. And we know just how I like to keep things neatly stacked. Somehow I have forgotten the contents of my jars. My mental illness is showing again. My words are inscribed on brittle papyrus that crumbles from my mouth. Mute. I feel mute. Maybe someone will bury them underneath the Sphinx for later excavation. Maybe I can rinse the dust from my mouth. Maybe I can find some cool water to soothe my blistered tongue. Maybe then my words will have sound.

You should read history books about how violent and vile people were to each other in past times and they have the nerve to call me crazy?

Having mental illness does mean that you are crazy. [tweet this].

Growing up with mental illness rendered me mute to my condition for most of my life. It was a struggle to be able to speak about my hell. I could never be open and honest like I am now. Finding my voice was a challenge that I only achieved through this blog. It has given me confidence to be who I am and stop hiding behind smiles that never fully reached my eyes. When you read this, know that it is my voice speaking these words. My voice that has been mute for so long. I grow as my blog grows. I accept more as my posts are accepted. I have learned to be proud of myself for the first time in my journey with mental illness. Proud that I am not alone. Proud that I can be open with the world. It's a beautiful thing that there are so many others just like me. It's a beautiful thing, to finally be validated. It's a beautiful thing to finally be heard.
                                                         Neurotic Nelly

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Be A Good Girl

Growing up with OCD was very hard. I have the kind of OCD that makes me strive to be good. As a child I was overly well behaved. Some of that is due to my southern upbringing. Yes Mam/Sir and no Mam/Sir when being told to do something. I never talked back. As I like to say, my face would have been slapped off if I did. It was not a strict upbringing, but being raised southern means RESPECT, is always in order. You do not disrespect you elders. You do not yell or curse at them, not unless you enjoy being back handed. As a result I am still a very respectful person. Any spankings or "picking a switch" were well deserved, although usually if I received one it was due to something my brother put me up to. Picking a switch to those unfamiliar with the practice,it's a country thing, is having to go pick a branch on a tree and giving it to the person who is gong to spank you. There are rules to picking a switch. It can not be a twig. Never get a very green stick. It would be limber and feel like a whip on your butt. It may seem archaic to some people that did not grow up like this, but it did teach me to be responsible. You come back with a twig and see what happens. Usually, the picking the switch was actually the punishment. The dread of being spanked and having to pick responsibly was more than any spanking could do.  On the rare occasions I was spanked, it was with a belt. I was never beat. I was never smacked in anger. There was always a lecture before and after. There was always I love you's and this hurts me more than you. They loved me very much and I was never spanked without warnings first. Every time I was spanked it was for something that could have hurt or killed me.When you live in the country there are things that can be very dangerous. It was never because they just were in a bad mood. I had terrific, loving, responsible parents. I grew up in a time that you could be spanked or paddled in school. You could spank your child in front of God and everybody and unless you got out of hand, absolutely no one said anything to you about it.
There was also a lot of standing in the corner. Standing in the corner was usually the form of punishment I received. It worked well for me.
My OCD is also the reason I was so well behaved. I was always afraid that I was doing bad or being bad. Maybe because of the intrusive thoughts and images I became obsessed with being good. I needed to be a good girl. I ,on a number of occasions' put myself in the corner. My parents would come in and ask why I was standing in the corner and tell me that I did nothing wrong. Adults always liked me because unlike their children, I always did what I was told and strived to make them happy with me. I always felt guilty and not good enough. I searched for praise and acceptance from others. It made me become a people pleaser. I have had to have therapy to learn to tell others no when I don't want to do something, or if something makes me uncomfortable. I was always able to say no to illegal things and things that were dangerous because I did not want to be bad. I would ,however, give all I had or allow myself to be taken advantage of. It was like I had a huge moral complex.  I needed to please everyone but also do the right thing. My life is full of some bad decisions and the guilt that I was not perfect.
I have had to have therapy to get over my guilt complex. It is a struggle to this day to deal with my overwhelming guilt. I never make fun of people or start arguments, because I want to be a good person. I avoid bad situations so I can be a good person. My life is always a battle to be a good girl. In retrospect, I do try to be decent to everyone. I give people  the benefit of the doubt. I give all I have to help others. Being a good person is my personality.  It can come back to bite me in the butt. Still I strive to be the better person in arguments or the one gives to others. I can not lie, steal, or cheat. I do not cheat at games. I am always as honest as I can possibly be. To lie or steal is wrong and I am terrified of being seen as bad. I have heard all of my life that I am sweet. That I am caring. I feel so much for others. I am not sure if I would be that way if it weren't for my OCD. I always need to be the good little girl. As I grew I became the good little girl trapped in a woman's body. I must be good. So, I am.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

To keep or not to keep

On a non related and yet related note, I am having a brilliant day. Why you ask? I bought new cleaners and disinfectant sprays last night. Sigh, nothing improves my mood more than knowing I am killing millions of germs with the touch of my hands. Muhahahahaha......

Today I would like to take a brief glimpse into some of my overlapping OCD symptoms. Strange as it is, I am a clean freak and yet I have a very small hint of hoarding  I am not one of those people on buried alive, but I do have my moments. I find it especially hard to let go of things that certain people give me. It doesn't matter how old the item is or if it is broken. To me that object is a representation of the love I feel for that person. I also am a hoarder of books.
I love books. I love the musty smell of the pages, the feel of the paper on my fingertips, the knowledge and stories contained within. To me they are little treasure chests that hold any life I want to escape into for a few hours. I don't read them , I consume them. Page by page. I managed to speed read and finish the last Harry Potter book in twenty four hours.
Three summers ago my husband asked me to get rid of some of my books. Mind you, I had a whole book shelf full and the others were piled up like in-tables on the sides of the sofa. I didn't want to. I wanted to keep them and was terrified of what would happen to my books if I gave them away. Throwing them away was totally out of the question. I found out that my local library sold used books to fund their summer reading program for kids. I was thrilled because if someone bought my books they were less likely to use them for kindling in their fireplace or something horrible like that. I did what the responsible person would do, I cried. I had severe anxiety but I really needed to purge these books. I didn't realize the huge problem I had until I went down to the basement where I located three more boxes filled with books. I added those to the library pile. Then I went into the kitchen to start dinner and upon opening the base cabinet, I found more stacks of books. Oh my God, I had a problem. I also found the same thing in my bathroom cabinets. In every room there books stashed and placed in places and somehow I would walk by them and not realize they were there. In all, I donated three boxes and three trash bags full of books. I had been storing books like a squirrel stores acorns and I had no idea that I was doing it. To end the possibility that I go back to my old ways, I have a kindle. I do not like the kindle. I also have a library card, that way the books are loaned to me and I have to give them back. It has been a struggle but I am aware of the problem , so I am able to keep it under control.
My best friend, whom I love dearly, and I rarely give each other gifts. We don't need to. We have been friends for over twenty years. Occasionally we go to stores together and buy things. We once went to a store closing sale and she bought me a votive candle surrounded a glass tube. At some point the glass had broken and I had the hardest time throwing it away. She would have been unhappy if she knew I had kept it even though it was broken. I could not stand to part with it. Finally I had to throw it away , and my anxiety was unbelievable. I cried and felt horribly guilty. I knew she would be proud. I did what I needed to. I purged and threw it away.
Somehow, certain objects given to me have become a symbol of the feelings I have for people. I am not aware when this started, but I am aware I have this issue.
I am a clean freak so my house is very clean and orderly. That is what I am told, anyway, because I feel that it is never clean enough. It is so clean you would never know that my closets are filled with disarray and junk. Apparently, I am just a clean freak in the obvious places you see on a daily basis. My dresser drawers and base cabinets are totally unorganized. It doesn't bother me because I can not see it when I walk into the room. So I am a clean freak and on a tiny level an almost hoarder. I have to work at it ,so as to not fall into habits that could make my love of keeping things, a problem.
OCD has so many symptoms. Many of us have several overlapping issues.
I understand the urge to hoard. To hold on to something or many things because they give you a feeling of safety. Because they give you a feeling of closeness to somebody that you dearly love. Because they fill a whole in your soul. It is not about being dirty or unkempt.  It is about trying to fill an emptiness that can never be filled with objects.
I now have a rule in place to keep me from my urge to hoard. If it has been out of my sight for two years and I haven't said where is this blah blah blah, then I don't need it and I throw it away. It is my own way of purging the things I do not need and do not want to clutter up my home. I just have to remember I may want it but I do not need it.

There is help. There is always help for our issues. I just feel that we have to be as honest as we can. We have to get the truth out there and spread awareness and understanding of why we are the way we are and why we do the things we do. There is nothing shameful in having a mental illness. [tweet this]. We have nothing to feel guilty about.
                                                Neurotic Nelly

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


I am turning away from my usual talk about mental illness and mental health because I am too distracted from the events of yesterday to write about anything else. First of all my prayers and heart go out to Boston. A beautiful place I would love to someday visit.

Today there will be pictures and witness accounts. Soon they will release pictures and names of those that were murdered while trying to watch their family members finish a marathon that was in honor of the tragic shooting that happened December. A shooting that murdered children and their teachers.
I don't know how to feel anymore. Many are angry and no doubt will comment on other sites that it is the fault of the president, gun control laws, mentally ill people with no help, or political parties. There will be blame thrown around on religion and ethnicity. Blame will be placed everywhere and on everything.

I don't know who to blame. I don't believe it is anyone's fault but those that committed this horrid crime.
Mostly, I am heartbroken, for the victims and their family and friends. Heartbroken for my country and the events that have occurred in the last ten years. Heartbroken that my children will never know what is like to go to the movies, go shopping at a mall, go to a marathon, or even something as mundane as going to school, and not have to worry if something bad will happen to them.
I am old, and therefore, remember being able to do these things freely and without any fear. I remember an America that was not perfect but certainly not as scary. I remember hours spent at the mall with my friends and going to the movies with them. I remember loving school. I never had the fear of being gunned down in my classroom or bombs blowing up beside me. Yes, we as a country will come together. We will improve our security measures to try and prevent something this horribly tragic from happening again.

Having children in this time and age is so hard. We have so many images and videos we have to look out for. It is the information age and all information is accessible from one click of a button. We have to be diligent on what our children are watching and hearing. Then carnage is displayed on our t.v.s, computers, and smart phones. Our kids get scared. We get scared. I am scared. They ask questions that there are no answers too. Why? Who would do something like that? Why do some people want to hurt us? Are we safe?
 We have no real idea. We assure them even though we are not really assured ourselves. We don't, unfortunately, have a crystal ball. We can not look into the future, and our parent's didn't have to answer these kinds of questions.

How do we answer these questions? It's not about what political party you are affiliated with or what laws you would like to see passed. It's not even which president we have or who the speaker of the house is. It is all about living our lives, safely. It's about the innocence our country has lost every time one of the acts are carried out.. That we now have to consider the fact that we could be blown up or shot when we go to an outing. It's all about not feeling safe. Americans, whether you agree with our policies or not are not bad people. We are not in charge of what wars our country decides to wage. We are shop keepers, moms, dads, children. We are postal workers and pilots. Teachers and doctors. We are just people. We have such capacity to love. Maybe that gets lost in all the media attention and political jargon.
These people that were harmed and murdered yesterday were real people with families and friends. They were real people with thoughts, memories, and ideas. Just like, other tragedies the media will forget them as soon as the next big thing comes along. They shouldn't be forgotten and neither should all of the others that have been harmed in the shootings, and bombings that America or any other country has endured.

I don't have any answers. I wish I did. I wish I knew how to show my children how I grew up. I wish I knew how to calm their very real fears. I wish that we could find a way to prevent things like this from happening again. I don't know how so, I am left with a extremely heavy heart. All I can say is that we support the people of Boston, Massachusetts [tweet this]. We stand by you and even if it is scary , we will not allow terrorism domestic or otherwise, to keep us from living our lives.
                                                           Neurotic Nelly

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Nature Of The Beast

Many people are unsure of how OCD works. I thought I would dedicate this post to explain how OCD controls a persons life. It is after all a beast that lives inside your mind. It sounds crazy, but for me OCD is like a separate entity that lives inside my head. It has no moral values, it tells me and shows me things I find disturbing and is totally against my personality.
Many people with OCD are aware that there is a spectrum of severity. Some people only have obsessions. That would be the dwelling of issues or intrusive thoughts and images. Many only have compulsions  That is the physical things we do to prevent or lessen the anxiety that comes with being obsessive compulsive. And then many of us have both the obsessions and compulsions. Much like bipolar disorder where some are only manic, some are only depressive, and some have both symptoms.
There are things we just don't talk about. They sound crazy and in most cases it is the taboo subject that we sweep under the rug. If we don't admit it than no one has to know just how "crazy" we are.
The real reason we compulse is to keep the anxiety at bay. No one thinks to ask what the anxiety comes from, but if they did most of us would not tell you anyway. I believe in total honesty, so I am going to explain it to you. The anxiety comes from the intrusive thoughts. It tell us such things as if you don't touch the doorknob twelve times you are going to die in an explosion...ect. The real problem with this is, although you know it is not true, doubt creeps up in your mind. If I only have to do this I can be safe or my loved ones will be safe. Then you do it. Now, OCD says wait you didn't touch it right, do it again. You can do it over and over again, never finding relief.
If you do find relief it is fleeting and you will have to touch something else, or wash something else, or count something else. Whatever your compulsions are you will do them. Therapists and Psychiatrists tend to call these compulsions, rituals.To a great affect they are rituals. We do them almost lovingly to get them right the first time, that way we do not have to keep repeating them over and over. It seems silly to be so careful with them because we will have to do them again anyway.
Compulsions are like drugs. A drug addict will do the first set of drugs to forget whatever causes them to use. To find relief. Compulsions work much the same way. As the drug wears of the addict is consumed with ways to feel the relief again. They will find ways to get more drugs to forget. They eventually, end up as full blown addicts that only think about their next fix and will do anything to get it. Compulsions like the drugs are fleeting. The feeling of safety will wear off and we must compulse again and again. It is a never ending cycle. Soon your life revolves around your compulsions. Leaving the house becomes impossible. Your days consist of letting your OCD control your every move.
It is very painful and humiliating. When your OCD is in control of your life, you cease to exist in the way you want to. You are no longer able to make appointments on time, you are no longer able to do what you want to do. It is all to feed the beast in your mind. It preys on your fear. Every time we compulse it is feeding the OCD.
At some point in my childhood my compulsions stopped. I became more obsessional rather than compulsive. I am not sure why. I don't really remember my obsessions back then, but my mother has stated I was morbid and was constantly talking about death. Then I was compulsive again at the age of fourteen. Again, I am not sure what made my OCD change symptoms, but it did and now I was faced with how to hide the compulsions from friends so I didn't look crazy or weird.
Unfortunately at this time there was not a lot of CBT programs around and certainly not anywhere near where I lived. I ended up getting the workbook and learning to do CBT on my own. With hard work I have stopped the compulsions. I am now back to the obsessions and I mostly ignore them. I have my own personal way of talking back to them in my head. I do occasionally slip up. I am doing my best not to give in. It is my personal belief that anytime you give in to the compulsions or obsessions you are feeding the beast, and I am not willing to give OCD anymore of my life. [tweet this]. It has taken too much already. There is hope for people like us. Take the anger of having OCD and turn it into fighting the disorder. There are therapies and programs that can help us deal with our issues.
It is the nature of the beast to take and take and take. It is our mission not to give anymore to it. I can do it. You can do it. We can do it.
                                                    Neurotic Nelly

Friday, April 12, 2013

Did I Turn It Off?

The coffee pot was my nemesis today. I was excited to go to my kid's school to see my oldest perform in an earth day play.(Yes I know it is not earth day today, but I am not in charge of the schedule.) I was made up and ready to go. My dad came over and picked me up. I couldn't wait to see how the play was going to be, and then it hit me. Did I turn off the coffee pot? The anxiety rose. I could feel the bile in my throat. I wanted to scream. I do not remember turning the coffee pot on but I usually do every morning. I did not remember turning it off. I don't even think I had coffee this morning. It really didn't matter whether I had remembered or not because the OCD was blatantly waving it's ugly head in my face and I was sunk.  I knew that if I didn't check I would not be able to enjoy the school play. Thankfully my dad is awesome and turned the car around so I could check.We were already half way to the school. He looked at me and said "OCD?" and I said yes. Although he was magnificent about it, I still felt the over whelming embarrassment and guilt that I had to have him turn the car around.
 Yes, I checked and I admit it. I usually don't give in to my OCD but I do have a simple coffee pot that does not turn itself off. I could just envision the liquid boiling out, the glass breaking and fire spewing out of the top of the coffee pot. I was afraid of burning my house down. I got out of the car, walked up the steps, battled my neighbors cat who believes he lives in my house but dislikes my actual cats, and unlocked the door only to find that I never had turned on the coffee pot in the first place.UGH!
So yes today, I lost the battle of checking. I feel like I let myself down a little bit. I usually don't even entertain my OCD thoughts. I guess one time in the last five years is acceptable. Oh well, the play was terrific and adorable as all school plays with your kids in them are. I was able to relax after I unplugged the coffee pot that wasn't on. I had a great time. My kid was great as all the other children were great too. I guess that is all I have to blab about today.
I know that sometimes I might falter in my battle with OCD. Occasionally I may slip up and do a compulsion. I will try my damnedest not to do it again. Sigh. Stupid coffee pots.
                                                 Neurotic Nelly

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Betrayal of the Mind

I wasn't going to write this post. I have been avoiding it for a few weeks. I don't like to rant too much but after a story I just read on google + I just feel it's time.
I have had OCD since I was four years old. I am not a doctor or therapist but I have almost thirty years of experience of this disorder.
I get really tired of people saying after they clean out their car ,"I am so OCD". Ugh. You don't see people walking around after an argument saying,"I am so bipolar" in a conversation. Mainly, because bipolar is considered to be a serious  mental disorder. There is nothing funny about bipolar disorder. Apparently, OCD has a comical view or thought to be a less invasive disorder.
I just read that someone almost got hit by a car and the driver's excuse was that they were OCD.......
Stop it. Just stop it.
 Now we are using OCD as an excuse for not paying attention or a reason some people like to clean? Things like this really tick me off. It promotes misunderstanding of our disorder. It makes it seem small and irrelevant.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is not fodder for you not wanting to take responsibility for your actions. If you clean a lot then you are a clean person. Unless you have been diagnosed with OCD  do not, I repeat do not, say you are so OCD. You ,quite possibly, have no idea what you are talking about. Not all OCD people are clean freaks. Most likely you just like cleanliness. Good for you.
If you had driving OCD you would not have almost hit someone. Why? Because you would have already stopped three times making sure you had not hit someone before you got around the block. You would be hyper-vigilant in your driving.
OCD has many symptoms but we all share some commons issues.

 We are unsure of ourselves, unsure of what ever we are doing and unsure of the world around us. We are unsure of our thoughts and our actions. Since we are so unsure we are much more detail oriented. We tend to be extremely cautious individuals.

We always feel guilty. Guilty for our thoughts. Guilty for our compulsions. Guilty for you, for me, for the pope. We feel guilty for everyone and everything. We are guilty, guilty, guilty. We feel responsible for everything and we carry the world's guilt on our shoulders.

We are betrayed by our minds every second of everyday. When people use the OCD term for an excuse or as a comment about their habits, it really stigmatizes us in a way we are not happy with. Yes, I am a clean freak but using that as a sign of OCD is wrong. It is one of my symptoms of OCD,  but it gives the impression that if you are not a clean freak you do not have OCD. I have no more OCD than a hoarder does. We are both suffering from the same disorder.
It is not about being socially accepted. I want people with OCD to be socially accepted , but only if it is a true representation of our disorder. It is a painful existence and it is just as serious as every other mental illness.
I would like you to take a second and really think before you speak. Having OCD is not easy, not funny, and certainly not a good time.
How would you like to be so riddled with guilt that you avoid the smallest of things, so as not to hear the voice or have the bad images? How would you like to avoid cutting things in your house because you have images in your mind of you stabbing someone you love. It can be so strong that it feels like an urge. It scares the hell out of you. You throw down the knife and avoid cutting anything unless you are alone in your house. The guilt is so overwhelming that you sob and shake. You know it is not normal and you feel like a horrible person.Why can't you just be normal? Why do you have these images and thoughts? Doesn't that sound fun?

How would like to not be able to get out of the car without touching the door six times? The voice in your head says that if you don't do it right your whole family will die in a terrible accident. You know that won't happen but the anxiety is so high you can taste it. People stare at you and make fun of you. You have to keep touching it until it "feels right".  The guilt rains down again. Why can't you just be normal? Why can't you just get out of the car without drawing attention to yourself? Sounds like a walk in the park right?
Speaking of park.
How would like to go to the park and touch something with gum on it? You have now contaminated yourself and have to leave. Your hands feel soiled and you must wash. You must get out of the situation.  You are terrified you have gotten a disease or a sickness. You go home and wash till your skin is raw and angry. You may even have to wash a certain number of times, because we OCD people just looove our numbers. Ask one, we all have a number. Trust me, (fake cough, mine is three.) Now you might find a blister on your hand. Great, now we get to go google the symptoms and find a million things that it could be and they are all horrid. It is not any of them but we are convinced it is one or all of them and we get to dance with the anxiety. Yay, sarcasm. Our night is full of crying, apprehension, and doubt. Doesn't that sound wonderful?
No, are you sure? Because when you say you are so OCD, that is what you are saying you do. When you use the term OCD be damn well sure what you are admitting to. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is not a cleaning disorder. [tweet this].It is not an excuse for not paying attention. Cleaning is a symptom of the disorder like a fever is a symptom of an illness. Not everyone has a fever when they are sick and as such not everyone who has OCD cleans. Please educate yourself and realize what you are saying hurts us. If you have not experienced the betrayal of your mind, stop talking about having OCD. If you do not have the guilt and doubt and intrusive thoughts then shut up already. We do not appreciate your mockery or misinformation that you are spreading. Thanks.
                                               Sincerely, One ticked off OCD lady,
                                                                Neurotic Nelly

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


The winds calm me. The cool breeze and the warm temperatures. The rain will come soon and dampen the earth. The musky smell of rain will permeate the air and wash everything clean. Spring is amazing. I always get the urge to sink my hands deep into the earth and plant something new.
Having a mental illness is a lot like spring. Our minds rain down emotions. Our illness pounds our world with angry hail and strong winds. The thunder roars in our heads and the debris of our emotional break downs spill out into the world around us. It  threatens to make our loved ones and friends casualties of our anger, sadness, and confusion. We have tiny tornadoes of emotions swirling around in our minds.
These are the storms in our heads. These are the storms of our lives. We can not stop these storms but we can learn to harness their energy and use it positively. We do not have to suffer these storms alone.
 Having a mental illness is a hard thing to live with, but we are not doomed. Life can get better. Life is hard and living with mental illness seems to make it even more difficult at times. It is hard to discuss how we feel. What we go through. How we handle issues that arise. We rise. Through the broken debris and crushed deflated emotions. We rise through the difficulties and fears because we have to. There is no other option but to get up and try again. Some people can not or will not accept that we can not 'just get over it' or just "be happy". Mental illness doesn't work that way. Talking about it is the hardest thing to do. Being honest is scary and difficult. We have to be open and talk about it. How can we expect the way others view mental illness to change if we stay silent? I believe that we are advocates of our own illness. We are the advocates of our own treatment. Talking about our struggles make us stronger and braver than we ever thought we could be. Whether we were born with our mental illness or it came later. Whether it is something that came about because of trauma or genetics, it really doesn't matter. We have to recognize our emotional storms and talk about them. Only then can we change public opinion and begin to heal. We need to accept that we are different but stand up for our rights as individuals. It is not ok to make fun of someone with a mental illness. It is not ok to put labels on us. It is not ok to discriminate or judge us. It is not ok to place the blame of  violent people or sadistic people and turn around and say all mentally ill people are dangerous. It is not ok. 
We have to be the teachers of the rest of the world. We have to teach them acceptance and understanding. We have to teach them the reality of living with mental illness. We have to stand up for ourselves and others like us. We need to reclaim our sense of self and our self esteem. We are not broken shards of china. We are people and we deserve happy lives. We need to be honest. We need to lift ourselves up, and most of all we need to be the advocates we want to represent us.. [tweet this]. 
                                                       Neurotic Nelly

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Commitment issues

Commitment issues. I am the poster child for commitment issues. Not relationship wise but with other things. I love people with tattoos. I think they are very creative and beautiful. I especially love the tattoo sleeves. I could never do that. I could never commit to something that permanent.
  I was always called the goody two shoes growing up. It is not that I don't like fun. I am not a fan of risk. It is because of my OCD. It has kept me safe as a child a teenager. Whispering things to me to prevent me from doing dangerous things. No car surfing or touching light sockets for me. I have always been to sensitive to hurt others or do something that would upset others. I never stole or lied. I never went out past my curfew. I never snuck out of the house. That would upset my mother and I would never purposely do that. It was because I respect her but it was on a greater level my OCD. I was always made fun of because of my hesitation to do things other children or teenagers would do. My OCD has always had it's input in my actions. So much so, that I avoided things in my life that I might have had a great time doing. They were deemed dangerous to my brain and so I always said no. I don't regret it, but sometimes I wonder if I come off as a flake or boring.
I would love to have full sleeves of tattoos but I know that it is not my personality. I would love to wear my hair in a Betty Page style but I would never try. It would be something I would probably end up hating and might not look good on me.  Then I would be stuck looking stupid until it grew back. I can't commit to it.
I march to the beat of my own drum , but I have major respect for those that go further. They are amazing to me. They are something I have never been. They are not afraid of rejection or judgment. They just walk down the street like a colorful bauble admist the grey. They stand out and they are brave and beautiful. I always wanted to be the bad ass chick everyone respected. Instead I am the straight laced quiet girl that loves vintage clothes and shoes. I am a nerdy, funny, woman who never steps out of her bounds. Fear is a palpable motivator.
If my mind were a visible thing. I think it would be tattoos and designs. It would be colorful and wispy. It would be loud music and crazy fashions. It would be rock posters and country western boots. It would be Dr. Who scarves and crazy big hats. It would be shiny baubles and rusted keys. It would show all that I am and all that I would like to be.\

We all think about things we wish we could do or be. It is only natural to wonder what it is like being someone else. When I walk down the street and walk past someone, I always wonder what their life is like. Is their family good to them? What do they do for fun? What is dinner like at their dinner table? Do all the kids  run to the table and discuss their days with each other? What music do they listen to? What are their opinions and beliefs? I guess I am weird.
I am a thinker. I think way more than I should. I over analyze everything. I am always running through things in my mind. 
I think different is beautiful. [tweet this]. I think odd is magnificent. I don't want to be like everyone else. Unique is a magical thing. It is freeing. I love that people can be themselves and be unafraid of others reactions. I am not totally able to feel that way. I am working on it, though.

Sunday, April 7, 2013


Warning! Trigger! Warning! Trigger! Warning! Trigger! Warning! Trigger!

This is a descriptive post about a family members suicide and suicidal thoughts that run in my family If you are squeamish or have trigger problems stop now!

Warning! Trigger! Warning! Trigger! Warning! Trigger! Warning! Trigger!

In reading an article on flipboard yesterday I was devastated to read of a twenty eight year old preacher's son that committed suicide. I do not know this preacher or his written works. I had never met his son and yet I was devastated  Sounds odd, I know. His son committed suicide, it was reported, because he could no longer deal with his mental illness. It was vague on exactly what this poor man suffered from except to say maybe depression.
There is a failure in the system. Not just here in America but everywhere around the world. There is a failure not only in how we treat mental illness but also in how we view those that suffer from it. For every famous person that has a relative or they themselves that commit suicide there are many more that do it unnoticed by the media. I can't help but feel like we have failed these people somehow. It tears me up to see that people so young are feeling this lost and feel they have no other option but to end it. I am frustrated that I have no idea how to help them.
We live in a world where most psychiatrist's offer a slew of medications and send you on your way.It can be confusing on which ones to choose. Many of them are not totally sure of your ailment but are willing to throw medicine at it. Sometimes it works and sometimes it does not. Therapists are also a great tool but you have to find one that your insurance covers and one that not only makes you comfortable but also knows about your specific mental illness. There are hotlines to call which is a terrific thing. There are hospitals to go to if you feel like harming yourself. There are blogs and websites to get information and support. There are books on how to get help. Still some of these people fall through the cracks and it makes me sick to my stomach. These people are good people. These people are members of the mental illness community. These people are us.
It bothers me on such a deep level because I have suicide and suicidal tendencies in my family.

My great uncle was by all reports a terrific man. He was kind and had a way with the ladies. He was funny and worked hard all of his life. He bought my grandma her favorite candies and taught her to ride a bike. He was her favorite uncle. He was a real person with emotions, memories, and faults. We really have no idea why he did it. There is speculation that he was ill and the doctors could find nothing wrong with him. There was no mention of mental illness but most likely my family would not have admitted or even talked about such things at that time. One day he decided to end it all. He went into his trailer, laid on a quilt my great grandmother had made for him, took a shotgun and blew his brains out. It was 1982 and he was sixty nine years old. I was three. I have only one vague fuzzy memory of him smiling at me. That quilt was washed and pressed and given to my mother because it meant so much to him that no one had the heart to throw it away. It was later used as  my blanket growing up as a child. Seems a little creepy but it was a beautiful quilt. We kept it until it started to fall apart and later burned in the fire that engulfed our shed. It was never hidden from me that he killed himself. We all admitted it but in hushed tones and with heavy hearts. There were not as many tests and mental health information like there is now, so maybe he could have been helped. We will never know the answer to that question. What we do know is that he suffered. That he shot himself while my great grandparents were mowing the lawn. That he left no note. That my great grandfather had to break in and find his younger brother's dead body. That my great grandmother had to clean his blood and brains off the floor. That it was not romantic or beautiful. It was an ugly end to an amazingly beautiful man. That it scarred them in ways I can not imagine and that it in turn scarred the rest of us. Suicide is sometimes described with beautiful imagery or memes of stick figures shooting themselves. There are memes that jokingly say if you have this tattoo or have done this kill yourself. A fact I find highly disturbing  There are many ways to do it but they are all ugly, and all terribly sad. I ache for him and my great grandparents. There was no real help and they suffered needlessly. These are the kind of memories that you can not block out or wash away. These stick with you for the rest of your life.
My mother attempted suicide when I was nine or ten. Thankfully the bottle of pills she took were not the kind that could kill you and after pumping her stomach she got the help that she needed. She suffers from mental illness as well. She has PTSD, bipolar, and clinical depression.
And then there is me. Years before I had my children or met my current husband I was suicidal. I thought about it constantly. I was in the planning stages of how to figure it out. How I could do it the best and easiest way. Thankfully my OCD did me a favor for which I am so very great full  It would not let me find a plan that worked. It was against anything messy or painful. It reminded me of my clumsiness and how I might not do it correctly and end up suffering even more for the rest of my life. It then showed me images of my family having to find my body and what it would do to them. That I would scar them like my great uncle scarred my great grandparents. I couldn't do it. I went and got the help I so dearly needed. I am no longer suicidal and have not been for many years.
I can't help but feel we are missing something. That we are failing these people somehow. I am not sure how to fix it. I know that people tend to roll their eyes and judge people that say they want to die or they want to kill themselves. People tend to think that these people are just saying that because they want attention. Do you really want to take that chance? Suicide is a very real thing. It is a very scary thing and unfortunately it is something that some people do. It has to stop. I know we can get better. I know that we can get help. We can. The real pain of suicide is not just the fact that you lose someone you love. It is that they chose to leave you, willingly. The pain, sorrow, and anger that follows. And there is so much anger. The devastation that is left behind and the questions. Always the questions, that sadly there is no answers to.The pain of going on without them and all the things in your life that you can no longer share with them. There is nothing romantic or amusing about suicide. There is only pain. My heart aches for the families that have gone through this. My heart aches for the people that feel suicidal. My heart aches for my family and what they have gone through.
If you know someone that is talking about suicide, please get them help. Please do not ignore their pleas. Call someone. Take them to the hospital. Call the hotlines and reach out. Be there for them and be there to get them the help that they need.
                                                         Neurotic Nelly
There are many sites that offer help. Please check out the ones in your area or country for more information.
Here is just one useful site that might offer some help:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
No matter what problems you are dealing with, we want to help you find a reason to keep living. By calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

They Are My Sisters and Brothers

In a world that is terrified of mental illness, we are trying to get through our lives as peaceful and happily as possible. It is no easy feat. We are surrounded by dark shadows everywhere. Shadows that threaten to swallow us whole and make us invisible. These shadows are not like the ones from the sunlight bouncing off of buildings. These shadows are devoid of light, devoid of warmth, devoid of anything good life can offer. These are the shadows of nightmares and horror stories. Black swirling ravenous masses of matter. They reach for us in our darkest moments. Whispering our fears deep into our souls. These shadows leave your skin cold to the touch and your breath frosted. These are killers of dreams and hopes. These are the lies we tell ourselves. These shadows are stalking our every move. These are the shadows of us. We are surrounded by a thick fog that threatens to cloud our minds and make us forgetful. Forgetful that there is a life to be lived outside of our mental illness. This fog gags and chokes us. It blinds our eyes and suffocates our senses. There is suffering. There is loneliness. There is silence.

These people are my sisters and my brothers. They are more me than anyone one on a magazine cover or a news broadcast. We may all have different disorders but we are all dealing with the same issues. Stigma, fear, feeling lost, betrayed by our minds, frustration, confusion, sadness.
We all have scars we can talk about. We all have tattered souls and shredded emotions.  We are all terrified of the same things.

I read once that schizophrenia is like living with a rat in your brain gnawing away. I do not have schizophrenia but I totally understand this reference  If a rat in your brain is what schizophrenia is like than I would say OCD is like having a very loud pissed off drill sergeant in your head. He yells in your ears and makes sure to spit in your face as he does. He is a demanding, angry, little man. Always demanding or wanting something and nothing ever pleases him. To not please him means anxiety and fears. More unwanted images and thoughts. More yelling in your head. More compulsions. More doubts.

We are all, no matter our mental illness, brothers and sisters. Who understands what this is like besides us? I don't have to have a rat in my brain to totally understand how that feels. I don't have to balance on a high wire with no net underneath to understand the fear of falling. I get it on a better level than a normal person. I experience the same emotions. I have had the same fears. We, the mentally ill, know what it is like for others to suffer the same issues. We are sisters and brothers. We are the same.
We are all afraid of the shadows. We have all fallen to our knees and begged for mercy at some point or another. We are all like broken winged birds, hopping around, looking for safety under the treetops. We have all been afraid of something, whether it be time lost, pain, fear of loosing the ones we love. Fear of judgment and rejection. Fear that we are not good enough. Fear that we are irreparably damaged. We all want to be held.  We all want to be protected. We all want to be whole. We all want to be able to fly like the rest of the little birds.
We are sisters and brothers in our affliction. We are all exactly the same in our differences. Different from the rest of the world. Different from what we think is normal. Different from what we believe we could be. I understand the people with mental illness because I am one of them. I understand their pain because I have lived it. I understand what is like to be betrayed by your mind. I can not trust mine either. What I can trust in, is that I am not alone. I am not going to be sucked up by the evil shadows that stalk me. I can trust in the fact that I have support. That I am worthy. That I am a good person. I can trust that I am equal to everyone else. I can trust that we all deserve better treatment options and positive representation. I can trust that I am here reading comments and blog posts because that's what siblings do. We support each other. I support the mentally ill. They are many, they are strong and courageous, they are just as important as everyone else, they are my sisters and brothers.We are all the same.We are all the same [tweet this].
                                              Neurotic Nelly

Friday, April 5, 2013

What is Ocd?

What is life like with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder? Glad you asked. There have been several "funny" signs and  amusing memes about OCD that I have run across. Things like Obsessive Coffee Disorder or Obsessive Cat Disorder... Maybe I am overtly sensitive but these signs really irk me.
Ocd is so much more than being a clean freak or organizing the closet. It is hoarding, cleaning, being a germ-a-phobe, phobias, fears, guilt. It is crying in the corner and rocking back in forth. Convincing yourself that you have a deadly disorder then googling the symptoms. Then after googling the symptoms you convince yourself you have three other disorders as well. It is worry, desperation, and disgust. It is unwanted intrusive thoughts that are violent, sexual, or blasphemous in nature. It is washing your hands till they bleed or touching the door knob until it "feels" right. It is feeling worthless and ridiculous. It is trichotilliomania and body dysmorphic disorder. It is anxiety and panic attacks. It is being afraid of contamination. It is Tourette's syndrome. It is avoiding situations that make you feel out of control or uncomfortable. So much so that you can loose years of your life avoiding things that could make you happy or avoiding loved ones. It is being afraid to admit that you are in a constant battle with your mind. It is fear of judgment and rejection. It is bulimia and anorexia. It is your mind telling you that you like something that you don't or you did something you know you have not. It is counting steps and cracks in the pavement. It is being obsessed with a number or everything has to be even. It is Checking to see if you locked your door for the sixth time and knowing that you will have to check just one more time, even though you can clearly see that the latch is locked. It is time consuming exhaustion. It is having the need to confess. Confess everything that you have done or said because maybe,just maybe you might have done or said something wrong and you need to be absolved. It is feeling like you are a bad person. It is anger and frustration. It is being terrified to speak out because you are terrified that you are crazy and no one will understand.  It is self judgement and self rejection. It is pain and hell and everything in between. It is not a joke or about how much you like coffee or cats. It is not a term to be thrown around because you like to have your desk tidy. It is a real mental illness and it sucks.  No one wants to admit that we have these issues. No one wants to say that they have intrusive thoughts. It is scary and we try so hard to appear normal. I have them and so do many others. We don't like to talk about our OCD because unlike some other illness we are perfectly aware that what we do is abnormal. We know it looks or sounds crazy.  No one likes to feel out of control or nuts. We know that it is a problem. 
I have been told that I am brave. I don't know how true that is. Truth is, I am terrified.  I am terrified every time I write something because I am knowingly opening myself up for rejection and negative judgment. I do this because  know there are others out there like me. If just one of  my posts are able to make them feel less lost or alone then it is worth it. I can take it. It is not as if I have not heard all of the negative comments before. In fact I have said them to myself many times before I got healthier.  There are many faucets to OCD. [tweet this].
These are just some of them. Many of us have several symptoms and not just one or the other. So this is what is like to have OCD. This is what it is like to live with it. Does that seem funny or amusing to you?
                                                     Neurotic Nelly

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Taking Back My Life

I would like to thank my friend  for giving me the inspiration for this post. He is a kind soul and we have endured eerily similar experiences. Thank you Martin for your bravery and inspiration...

When you are first diagnosed with a mental illness, two things happen. Relief that you are not going crazy and there is a name for your affliction. Then there is the soul shattering realization that you are going to have this mental illness for the rest of you life. It is upsetting and sad. We feel broken.
It forces us to relearn how to live. We have to relearn how to walk one step at a time. We have to find our footing again, as a person with mental illness. We have to learn to go around our obstacles to be able to do the things we need or want to do. In essence we have to learn to take our lives back from the anger, sadness, and shame. We have to learn to take back our moments, our emotions, and our desires.
There are banners, conventions, and parades for many things. There are no pretty floats and flags for mental illness. I like to think that the more we admit loudly about our mental illness we are waving our own banners and holding our own personal conventions. We are walking in our own parades. The more we stand up the more we are fighting for the cause of the mentally ill everywhere. The more we openly speak out the more we are eradicating misinformation and fear. That we are doing our part not only to end the stigma that cloaks us but also erasing the shame that goes with it. We are taking our lives back one sentence at a time.

Maybe it is because my grandmother's stubbornness was passed down to me, but I refuse to be hiding in the shadows and lower my head in shame.
I will not be ashamed. I will not live my life broken.  I will not feel guilty.I will not be a victim of this damn disease. It will not win. It will not take what is rightfully mine away from me. We can be what we want. We can be loud. We do not have to hide. We are strong.

Every time we speak out, we are taking back our lives one day at a time. One post at a time. One word at a time. We are worth so much more than what we give ourselves credit for. There is nothing that says we can not live happy good lives. We are able to be who we want to be. We can lift ourselves up from the depths we have dwelled in for so long. We are the creators of our own destiny. We don't need to be normal to accept the fact that we are here, we are present, and we are worthy.

I refuse to accept the notion handed to me that because I am mentally ill I am somehow less important than my garbage man or the CEO of a fortune 500 company. I am here and what I have to say is important. I refuse to listen to the negative connotations that the media has placed on my head that mentally ill means I am dangerous or insane. I am not insane. I am altered chemically in my brain. So what. I don't need to be like everyone else to prove that I am a master of my own life, no matter what lies my mental illness tells me. I refuse to believe that we are not worthy to be accepted or given understanding. In fact I demand understanding because no one deserves to live in fear or shame. So I am here. We are here and we are not going away. We are here and we taking our lives back from our disorders.
I will not check. I will not bow down to my issues. I will not be afraid of how others perceive me. I will not hide in the dark. I refuse to be ashamed of who I am. I will not accept being ignored or shut away. I am taking back my life from my mental illness. One step at a time, one compulsion at a time, One day at a time.
 We are all worthy of what ever it is what we want. We deserve it and it's damn well time we realized it. We can take back our lives and we will. Because we are strong. We are honest.We are magnificent and we matter. [tweet this]. We can do this.
                                                          Neurotic Nelly

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


I don't like roller coasters. I hate them with a passion. I hate the speed, the turns, the going up and over. I loath being out of control.  That is exactly what living with OCD is like. The ups and downs. The speed rushing through day after day of unwanted images and thoughts. The feeling of falling over the edge. The being upside down and seeing how far you have to fall. The fear of crashing into the earth at break neck speed and the loss of control to stop it. The image of my feet dangling hundreds of feet above the ground. The roller coaster of life where most people scream with joy and throw their hands up in the air. I sit there grinding my teeth and holding on with a white knuckle grip. I hold on so tight that my hands cramp and my nails have gauged my palms.
I hate the loss of control. Control of my surroundings but mostly the control of myself.
I don't feel the need to control others but I must always be in control of myself. I do not drink. I am not fond of the taste, but worse yet, I detest being drunk because I am not capable of being in total control. I am a self control freak.  I hate pain medication. It makes me feel groggy and not in total control of myself. I only take it if I can not stand the pain. I would rather be in physical pain than feel out of control. I like plans and lists.They comfort me. I do, however, like to be spontaneous. It doesn't bother me to not do things in the plan or lists. I still like to write them though. I would love having a maid. However, if she cleaned my house it would be wrong. Wrong because it wasn't done the way I do it in the order I would do it in. I would love to be the parent that can let the children decorate the Christmas tree. Oh, I let them put the bulbs on but as soon as the leave the room I have to rearrange them. OCD has taken away the easiest things a parent can do from me. I have been dubbed the Christmas tree Nazi. Not a pleasant name. It is sadly not untrue. I can not look at it unless it is perfect. My husband usually puts the tree up and ushers the children away from me because I can easily get cranky until it is perfect. I would love to be the parent that lets them throw tinsel everywhere( I have banned tinsel from my home), put up paper rings(reminds me of nursing homes), and place the bulbs all willy-nilly. I also must have white lights, no multi-colored lights please. This is satisfying to me to have it perfect but it hurts me when I realize that I can not share it with my kids. This coming Christmas I am going to get  another tree and let them decorate theirs while I decorate mine. That way I can have them participate with me. That's what living with OCD is all about. Finding ways around our illness so that we can still participate with others in a meaningful way.
Slowly I have learned to loosen the grip of the roller coaster. I have learned to let some things go. Others that I can not let go of I find ways around them. Like the Christmas tree thing. It is possible to find ways around my disorder. It just takes a little more creativity. A little more gumption to come up with ideas on how to do what I want without being held back by my OCD and all that comes with it. So, although I still hate roller coasters maybe I can find a way to be less scared of them. I can maybe learn to accept less control of myself. It is a work in progress.
Life is always a work in progress and I am ok with that. [tweet this].
                                     Neurotic Nelly