Friday, May 31, 2013

Choices and Chains

Today I want to talk about choices. Everything we do from the moment we wake up is a choice. We choose whether to make breakfast or not eat. We make a choice whether or not to brush our teeth (I suggest you do), put on underarm deodorant (please), and to get dressed (might want to to that before you go outside and get the morning paper). We have choices about going to work, cleaning house, or whatever your responsibilities may be. Now, some people say that going to work is not a choice, but that simply isn't true. Will you loose money or possibly get fired if you do not show up? Yes, you might but it is your choice to go. I am not saying that there isn't dire consequences if you do not do your responsibilities, I am simply saying it is a choice to do them.

I read a story the other day that in rural Bali There is a issue with mental illness. Not really a surprise because there is an issue with mental illness everywhere. What I am talking about is the fact that many families take the mentally ill person and chain them. Literally, chain them and place them in shacks. Dirty, disheveled, scared and living in their own waste. Many of these families believe that mental illness is a curse and demons of the soul.

The article:

It saddens me that the monetary flow is so low that this is the way that many mentally ill are treated. It sickens me to know that any one of us could be in that position. These families have no idea how to care for mental illness nor do they have the ability to afford such care. The doctor in this article is a hero. She is doing all she can with the limited resources that she has. On behalf of the mental illness community I would like to thank Dr. Luh Ketut Suryani and all those that strive to make our lives easier and our quality of life better.

How does my earlier comment about choices tie in with the story of being chained in Bali? Simply put, we as the mentally ill are all chained in one fashion or another. Whether our chains are made of steel or made up of words and beliefs. We not only are chained by others but in many cases we chain ourselves.  We do not allow ourselves to dream or hope. We are often times negative about what we think we can accomplish. We choose to accept the lies that we have been spoon fed for so long. That we are incapable of being what we would like to be or incapable of doing what we would like to do. We accept that we are what others perceive us to be and that is unacceptable. We have a better care system for the mentally ill and yet we are fairing no better than the poor souls in this article.We are allowing ourselves to be chained by a belief that we can not be accepted and are not important. It makes no difference if the chains are invisible to the naked eye, they are there and they hold us back. The difference between us and those chained in Bali is that we can choose to break our chains. We can break the chains that bind us. We can choose not to accept the notion that we are unworthy. We can choose to not accept stigma and snide comments. We can choose to believe that we are more than we thought we could be. Because we are more than we thought we could be. We can choose to dream and hope.

I am not sure how we can help those in Bali. I am not even sure how to help the overwhelming issues that are flung at the mental illness community. What I am sure of is that by standing up and being open and honest a tiny piece of stigma will fall away. I am sure that every time we are faced with adversity and discrimination and we stand up for ourselves more stigma falls to the way side. We will not convince everyone but we will convince ourselves and as we do so, we will chip at the stigma piece by piece until nothing is left. By standing up for ourselves we are standing up for those like the mentally ill in Bali. We can change the world but we have to make a choice to do so. [tweet this]. We have to choose. Do we choose to defy stigma today as we get ready to go to lunch? Do we choose to to chip away at stigma tomorrow as we sit at the dinner table with friends? Do we choose to break away the chains that bind us as we hear  negative comments about the mentally ill? I don't know about you but I choose to stand up. I choose to fight not just for myself but also those that are not in the position to do so. I choose to break the chains that have held me down and held me back for so long. I choose to be free. I choose to have dreams and hope  and I  hope that you will choose to do the same.
Neurotic Nelly

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ugh google + sorry for the delay

Ok so my name was contested by google +. It would not have been a big deal except that my blogger is tied in with google+ and google searches. Forcing me to change my name has in fact changed my search name, my comment name, and how people will find me. In short, it sucks and I am not happy. Apparently the 5000 page views of my blog and the 100 followers on twitter were not enough to establish my proof as my name being known by enough people. Also the almost 500 people on google plus that have me in their circles. I am not sure how many I actually needed to keep my name but I do feel singled out. I do feel discriminated against and I am disheartened by it. I Feel that no amount of proof I would have given would have been enough. I am not sure what to think about this situation. I was suspended for two days while they "reviewed" my appeal. I was not able to even look at my blogger page. I then received a message that if google didn't approve of my new name I could be suspended for three months. Now I don't mean to make a huge stink, here but it is not as if my name Twinbuttcheeks  Brown or anything. It was simply Nelly Neurotic. So now I am stuck with Nelly N. I hope you all understand why the change has happened and will continue to read my posts. I have included by Nelly Neurotic on my blog title as a sign of defiance. Because I am Nelly Neurotic and I want to continue to represnt that even if google + doesn't want me to. I also will be signing all of my posts by Neurotic Nelly as I always do. Just know that every time you see the N. it stands for Neurotic. Just know that like the obstacles life throws in your path there is always a way around it. It may stink, you may get dirty or disheartened, it may even seem impossible, but there is always a way out and a way to succeed in whatever you want to do.  I may have to accept that my name has been taken away from me in it's entirety, but you will know and I will know that they can never truly take away my name. I am Neurotic Nelly and I approve this message.
Neurotic Nelly

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

heads up

Just as a heads my surgery is tomorrow so I will not be writing my blog post tomorrow. Hope to be back to writing on Thursday. Please keep me in your thoughts.

I struggled with what to write about today. My mind is is other places and doing other things, apparently without inviting the rest of my body.

So I am going to give myself today off so I can get ready for my surgery and be able to focus and hopefully write a good post on Thursday. Thank you guys so much for reading my posts and thank you for all the amazing comments that I have received. I really appreciate all the support. Just remember having mental illness does no t make you any less important than normal people. You are strong, you are beautiful, your are worthy, and you are magnificent!!! See you guys Thursday!:)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

What It Means To Me

Yesterday was horrible. It started out pretty good until the hospital called to remind me about my outpatient surgery on Wednesday. That call threw me into a tailspin of anxiety and I was doing my best to not have a panic attack. Thankfully I had a nice long conversation with a friend that calmed me down. Well, at least till the phone call ended, anyway. Then I opened my email to see that Google+ doesn't like my name. Apparently Neurotic was tagged as not a real last name. They wanted me to change it or prove that many people know be by this name. I sent them all that I could website wise and I truly hope that it is enough to keep my name.
Kind of a weird post but since there is no text box allowing you to tell them why you want to use the name you have chosen I thought I would write a post about it in letter form. Not that I believe they will read it but more for a personal closure.

Dear Google+,

I understand that the name Nelly Neurotic was tagged as a name that you don't feel is my true name. The truth is it is. Nelly Neurotic is a part of me. A very important part of me that has stayed in the shadows all of my life. I have struggled with mental illness since childhood. This has cost me jobs, friends, relationships, education, and activities that I might have been able to participate in if my mental illness had not gotten in the way. Through blogger I was able to make my voice, which has always been silenced, heard. I found a community and net work of people that are just like me. I joined google + because it was an option for my blogs to be more easily accessed and I fell in love with it. I have found many friends and many acquaintances that have helped me grow not only as a person but a person with mental illness. I have been in terrific communities and even developed the courage to make one of my own.
Mental illness is a very hard thing to discuss with the general public. Many have false preconceived notions and ideas of what mental illness is like. I believe that to change that we have to stand up and talk openly about our issues and erase the stigma that surrounds them. I have written my blog posts and used my twitter accounts under the name Nelly Neurotic because she is every bit the part of me that I have had to hide most of my life. I chose the last name neurotic because had this been an earlier time my diagnoses would have been neurosis. Had this been an earlier time it wouldn't matter what my name was anyway, because the people that suffered from mental illness were not treated as humans most of the time.
It is reported that fifteen people commit suicide because of mental illness every ten minutes. It is reported that  in America alone we loose about twenty two veterans a day due to suicide because of the mental illnesses depression and PTSD. I am not a veteran but I do understand the pain they are going through. The sad part is is that suicide is preventable with the correct treatment and support. Many do not get that treatment or support because of the stigma and shame that surround us. People with mental illness are often ostracized, made fun of, laughed at, bullied, stigmatized, belittled, and shamed. We are often denied the right to be treated as equals. We are cast aside like we are dirty and unworthy. We are told that we can not be productive. That we can not achieve what we dream. That we are second class citizens. Many times there is more funding for things like streetcars and sports stadiums than there is for the help and treatment of mental illness. No one wants to talk about it. Everyone is afraid of it. It makes people uncomfortable.
Many of us who have suffered have had things stripped from us by other's such as a sense of dignity (being placed in restraints), a sense of self worth ( being referred to as crazy or psycho), our freedom ( discriminated against). Not only do we suffer immense pain, despair, frustration, and agony, but we also face the stigma that has been perpetuated in every inch of our lives.
Writing in my blogs and in google+ has changed my life. Where once I was silent, now I stand. It has given me back my self esteem, a feeling of self worth, and my dignity. Everyone that reads my blogs, my tweets, my guest posts, and my google + comments knows me as Nelly Neurotic. They are familiar with me and they know that I am not there to sell them mops, jewelry, or cleaning supplies. They know that when they see my name I am standing up for mental illness and doing my part to erase stigma. If you take away my name or force me to create some other page or use Nelly Neurotic as a nick name you are effectively crippling the work I have painstakingly done for the last five months. You are erasing my integrity as a mental health advocate, and blogger. You are taking away from me more than just a moniker. You are taking away my readers, my search name, and the joy I have from helping others on my pages. Nelly Neurotic in some ways is more important a name to me than then one I was bestowed when I was born. Because I was born with a mental illness. Because I stand up for mental illness. Because I write and blog for those that have yet to stand up and be counted. I spread the word, as so many wonderful mental health and mental illness advocates and bloggers do, of inspiration and acceptance.  I write about learning to love yourself because people that suffer from mental illness have a hard time even looking in the mirror. We are taught that we are less than human and that is unacceptable. Stripping me of something that is so much more than a username or pseudonym is unacceptable. I matter, my words matter, what I am doing matters and the name I choose to use to do it with  matters. I am offering hope. I am offering a sense of awareness. Most of all I am letting those out there afraid to speak up know that they are not alone.
I am not on google+ to sell or buy things. I am not on google+ to meet people I already know or hook up with old friends. I am on google+ as an advocate and a blogger. I am on google+ as a mental illness sufferer. So many of us are there for greater purposes than you realize. We are trying to change the world one post at a time. We are trying to raise awareness and acceptance. Too many people suffer in silence needlessly. Too many people all over the world commit suicide due to lack of treatment, lack of understanding, and the fear of being judged and belittled.
So you see, Nelly Neurotic is more than just a name to me. It is a representation of all that I stand for. If you strip me of that representation than I lose so much more than time and energy and a catchy name. I lose the people that I could have reached out to. I lose my blog name that a good amount of people follow and view. I lose the very part of myself that has been silenced for so long. Losing my name silences me again. It forces me to be something I am not.  Please don't silence me and take away my progress. Please allow me to keep the name that I have used on my blogs, my twitter, my guest posts, and with my google+ friends. Please allow me to keep representing myself as I see myself. My name is Nelly Neurotic and my name matters to me. It matters to my blogs, my readers, my followers, and it matters to my self esteem. There is great power in a name. Please don't take away mine. Thank you.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Therapy and Stigma

There is a whole slew of people walking around that feel that therapy is for the weak of mind. It is a totally absurd notion. What I truly feel about these people, is that they are scared. Scared to look at the deep dark recesses of their minds. The parts of ourselves that are scarred, frightening, and down right ugly. Yes, there are parts of us, as a whole, that are not what we wish them to be. It is much easier to place blame on others and point out other's faults than to really search deep into yourself and see yours. It is a scary process and as a person that suffers from mental illness, it is paramount to do so.
Therapy is not for the weak. It is for the strong. Strong people that accept that there are parts of them that are damaged and in need of healing. Secrets keep you sick. Much like an infection of the soul. One who looks deep into the mirror and admits that they have faults, issues, and traumas are the strongest of all. It takes courage to dwell in the dark shadows and stormy clouds that dominate our minds. There is no security there and therefore you must be brave to face it. Quite, like ripping the scabs off of old wounds and watch them as they bleed. It's a trial and a struggle and it is worth every second of it. Real therapy does not always make you feel good. On hard days, it can feel stifling and closed in. On hard days you will shed tears and recall soul shattering pain. Therapy is healing but as such,  it is painful. It is an opportunity to seek better of yourself. It is a chance to shed your old skin and become new. In most cases therapy takes years.

Basically what I am saying is that, even if other's chastise you for seeking help you must do so anyway. You owe it to yourself to truly get to know yourself. To become familiar with the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of yourself. You owe it to yourself to finally learn to let go and heal. As mentally ill people will tell you, stigma is a really big fear. Sometimes, just telling others about the hardships we go through is really scary. We are not weak because we strive to do better, be better, and become better. We are strong because we refuse to stick our heads in the sand and pretend there is nothing wrong. We are strong because we have to be. We are strong because no one needs to or deserves to suffer in silence. We are strong because we recognize that we need help. Our voices are heard only if we speak out. Our shattering of the stigma that surrounds mental illness only happens if we refuse to be stigmatized. [tweet this]. Is is up to us to get better, work harder on ourselves, and be open and honest. We must refuse to lurk in the shadows and bow our heads in shame. We have nothing to be ashamed of.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


I don't know why I read news. It always either depresses me or makes me feel frustrated. I just read a story about a beautiful intelligent nine year old girl asking  Macdonalds to stop tricking kids. Her mother is a health food blogger and I totally respect that. I respect that little girl as well. That's not my problem. My problem is the belief that children should dictate what we do as parents. The notion that the toys make the parents buy the meals is silly. Yes they want the toys but there is always the option to say no. It's a tiny little word that for some reason people have a problem saying. Say it with me people, NO. See it wasn't too hard now was it? If you don't like their food and the calories therein, then don't go to MacDonalds. After all it is your choice to go there, your choice to order the meal, your choice to hand over your money to them, and your choice to feed it to your children. It's your choice. I know that obesity is high. I also know that one burger every month or so is not going to kill your cholesterol. They have made great strides to include fruit options and healthier options in their kids meals. They even changed the oil the fries are cooked in. If it is such a concern then why take your child to any fast food resteraunt at all? It is the parents decision. Maybe we should be less concerned with blaming the companies and put the blame where it lies, the parents that go to these places seven days a week. It is like me asking Little Debbie to stop making those delicious zebra cakes so delicious because I can't control my intake of them. That's not Little Debbie's fault, it's mine. I am an adult and I make the decisions for myself as well as my children. Because I am a responsible adult..... Macdonalds is not my favorite place to eat. They actually had an ad campaign in Boston that depicted a woman covering her eyes depressed like a poster for mental illness and it said you are not alone with thier satisfaction number on it. It looked like a hotline. When they got flack for it, they apologized and took it down. I was not happy. I am still not happy about it. What I have realized that maybe others have not, is sometimes companies do stupid things. They are ,after all, run by humans.

What gets me, is that some would like to stop having Macdonalds offering toys and get rid of Ronald Macdonald. First of all, the toys have been a part of Macdonalds for a very long time. I see no issue with this. If you do, then don't go there. Simple.  As for Ronald Macdonald, he always terrified me as a child. He was creepy, but you know who loves Ronald Macdonald? The families and children who depend on the Ronald Macdonald House for housing and care. These children and their parents aren't demonizing  a fast food chain about their greasy food  because their children have cancer. They have bigger issues to worry about like will mommy and daddy be with me while I go through chemo. Because a lot of these children don't actually live near the hospital they are patients in. Ronald Macdonald House supplies these families with hope. Hope they can be by their children and be present in their care. Macdonalds has charities and portions of the proceeds they make on their meals pay for that. In fact  there is one right beside the Children's hospital downtown in the city I live in. I am willing to bet there is one or more in yours as well. In fact there are Ronald MacDonald Houses in 57 countries. They offer not only help for families affected by their children having cancer but also have built sports centers for disabled children and built sensory rooms for children with cognitive and physical disabilities. They also have built playrooms in children's hospitals and clinics to help the children forget for a few minutes how sick they are.

MacDonalds does not trick children. They advertise to them, and so does almost every other fast food place. It is the sole responsibility of the parent to decide whether they want to eat their food. No one tells you to take your children there. It's a choice, and it's high time we stop blaming companies for our failure to be responsible. We are the parents. Macdonalds does not ask that you eat their food everyday, that's your choice and the blame is and should be placed directly on you. I may not like some of their totally unacceptable marketing campaigns, but I treasure them for what they are doing in our communities. I love them for what they are doing to help children and their families that suffer everyday. It is a shame that many refuse to see through thier judgmental glasses and realize that Macdonalds has made many children's lives better. They not only offer apple slices and cheese burgers. They offer hope to those that wouldn't have been possible  if Macdonalds wasn't there.

And my rant ends. Ugh.

It Doesn't Discriminate

Most people have preconceived notions of what mental illness looks like, sounds like, and acts like. There are images of the old asylums and dirty hospital walls. Moaning drooling people rocking back and forth in filthy tattered hospital gowns. Vintage pictures depicting scary unkempt looking people with malformed sneers and strange far off stares.

These are not accurate depictions of mental illness today. Yes, there are drooling moaning people but most of us are not. Most of us look perfectly normal. This creates issues because a lot of people have a hard time separating the fact that just because we look normal does not meant that we are.

One in four people will suffer from mental illness in their lifetime. One in four. Let that sink in for a second. How many people do you know?  How many groups of four can you come up with? Just because they do not talk about it does not mean that they do not suffer from mental illness. It usually takes a while for us to be comfortable to share that information with people. They may suffer and you may have no idea. You could even be the one person in four.

Some people are born with mental illness. Looking back in my long line of family members, I only can name two or three that did not suffer from mental illness. Both my siblings and I suffer from different mental illness. My oldest uncle , my mother, and my aunt suffer from mental illness or suffered from it.  My grandmother and grandfather, my great grandmothers on both sides and my grandfather's father. There are too many of them to count. It is no wonder that I am the way I am. We grew up in a house that was slightly cracked. Our homes which seemed normal to the outside world had slight or sometimes major signs of mental illness.
Some people develop mental illness from genetics and some develop mental illness from trauma. Some are rich, some are poor, some educated, some not, some are raised in abusive homes, some had normal healthy childhoods. It doesn't matter what race you are, your upbringing, your social status or monetary value, your gender, your sexual preference, your religion or views, mental illness does not discriminate. It is not prideful or judgmental. It is an illness and as such it will not care how much money you make a year or how much your outfits cost. It is not selective.

Some people have mental illness in their family history and yet are perfectly fine. Some do not have a family history and are sufferers. There really is no way at this time to gauge why it affects some people and not others.

What is certain is that no matter what we do in life, if we are sufferers we have to stand up and be counted. We have to erase the notion that we are dirty, unkempt, frightening or scary. We need to show our faces and show the world that we are the faces of mental illness. We need to show the world that we are what mental illness looks like. That we do not look like vintage pictures. We look like normal people. I believe that these out dated notions promote stigma. They help to create false notions of what it is to suffer from mental illness. We have to talk openly about not only what we go through but about the negative connotations that help promote stigma. We can not stay silent and expect anything to change.  We have to be able to enlighten the people that do not understand. We have to promote the truth and tear down the images and preconceived ideas about who we are, how we act, and what we look like. We have to remove stigma and we have to start by being honest. Mental illness does not discriminate and we need to show that by unveiling the truth. We need to stop acting like it only affects the poor, the uneducated, the fringe of society. Mental illness can and does affect all classes, all genders,all races, and all ages. [tweet this].

 I am one of the four that suffer from mental illness. I am one of the many faces of mental illness. This is what mental illness looks like.

I am not a scary, filthy, drooling, sneering, unkempt, person that stares off into space and drools. I am just a person trying to live my life as best as I can. I don't want your pity or your condemnation. I want your respect and your understanding.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Letting Go

I overheard a quote once that said "Hate is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die."

I always liked that quote and still I drank my poison down. It tasted bitter like whiskey and cigarettes, burned match tops and rancid pool water. It choked me and set up residence in my bloodstream. Like any aggressive infection it spread into other parts of my life. It leaked into my relationships, my dreams, my self esteem. It haunted me like an ancestor's ghost. Stalked me like a dark shadow waiting to pounce. Stifled my other emotions. Raged like the angry waves after a storm and ravished my every thought and notion.
It was a fever I could not break. A wall I could not tear down. A memory I could not shatter no matter how hard I tried.  I felt like hollowed  bones buried in hallowed ground. I was unable to be free of the rage and anger and it made me hate.

I was angry because I was afflicted. I raged because I could not be normal. I denied my issues and tried to stuff them back down. Mental illness does not go away just because you refuse to accept that you have one. I learned this the hard way and as such I hated it, hated my life, and worse yet hated myself for not being like everyone else. Accusatory glances were thrown in my direction and they all came from the mirror. I self hated so much it became a habit. I would blame myself for things that I had no part of. I would say derogatory things to myself. I put myself down on a daily basis. I was so angry that finally I was unable to function anymore. Anger and rage are exhausting. It takes a lot of energy to keep up the rage and hatred. Like a child that falls asleep after throwing a huge fit complete with screaming, kicking, and crying. The energy is drained and you no longer are able to sustain. My anger and hatred were for all intensive purposes  me throwing a major fit. Raging against the machine of my mind, raging against the ocean of negative thoughts, raging against the fact I would never be normal.

It was a blow to my psyche. I had to accept the inevitable. I am altered. I am different. I am sometimes broken. It took me a long time to be able to accept what so blatantly was staring me in the face. Once the hate, anger, and rage subsided I was able to have a moment of clarity. Clarity is always a good friend.

What I know about life is limited. Limited by the fact that I do not and am not able to see the world through rose colored glasses. I see things in a different way because my mind is different. What isn't limited is that I feel things in a more sensitive way. I am sensitive to other's pain and suffering. Sensitive to praise and acceptance. Sensitive to all the emotions around me. I not only see things differently but I feel them differently. I feel them more intensely.  That doesn't mean that I am stupid or weak.

It took me years to realize that having a mental illness does not mean that I am weak. [tweet this]. It does not mean that I am ugly. It does not make me stupid, crazy, or unlovable. It simply sets me apart from the rest of society. It makes me different. It makes me unable to do some things but at the same time it has made me try things I never would have otherwise.

If I had never had mental illness, I would not be exactly where I am today. I would not have the passion to reach out to others that suffer from mental illness. I would not be blogging about mental illness or creating google groups for it. I would not read about it's issues and what is going on the mental illness community. I am sure I would have a passion for something else, but right now because of my past issues, I have this passion. It's a beautiful thing to struggle and come out on the other side. Once I put down the anger, hatred, and self blame I realized that although my life may not be what I had envisioned, it could still be good. It could be better than good, it could be remarkable. My life is remarkable to me. I don't have to be like anyone else or think like anyone else to be happy. I can be happy just being me. I still have hard days. My mental illness will never go away. It is always going to be with me. I can sometimes feel broken, but I realize that I am not as fragile as I once was. I realize that I am exactly where I am supposed to be and doing exactly what I am supposed to do.  I let go of my anger and I gained something much more important back, I gained myself back. I gained my life back. I gained an understanding of my mental illness and an acceptance of it. As I learned to let go I learned to accept. Accept not just what I have but accept who I am as a person, a mother, a friend, and a woman who suffers from mental illness.
                          Neurotic Nelly

Monday, May 20, 2013

Blog For Mental Health 2013

In order to raise awareness and stop the stigmas attached to mental health join me and...

1. Take the pledge by copying and pasting the following into a post featuring "Blog For Mental Health 2013"

I pledge my commitment to the Blog For Mental Health 2013 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.

2. Link back to the person who pledged you.

3. Write a short biography of your mental health, and what this means to you.

I have moderate to severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I have been dealing with my mental illness for thirty years, since my first symptoms appeared when I was four years old. It took many doctors through out my life and the love and support from my family to get to where I am today. Now, I strive to blog about mental illness in hopes that my words can inspire others to realize that it not our fault that we have mental illness, and also to promote better self esteem, a sense of belonging, and hope. If I can do it, anyone can. I also hope to spread the word that we matter, our feelings are valid, and what we have to say is not only important but it is our right to say how we feel and not be judged for doing so. Our opinions are just as valid as everyone else's.

4. Pledge five others, and be sure to let them know!

Jennifer Clark

Martin Stephenson

Kat Kerr
5. Leave a comment on "A Canvas Of The Minds" Blog For Mental Health 2013 post and be added to their official blogroll.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

It Has A Name

Ok, I am here again writing in my blog on my day off of writing in my blog, but I just read something that has angered me and I feel I have to vent.

It is an article from the UK news called The Gaurdian. The article can be found here:

Does Mental Illness really exist?

 Is the title.......breathe........breathe.......I am trying to calm down here......give me a second......

There is some debate between the American and UK definitions on whether a child's shyness, bereavement form a loved one's death, and internet addiction can be classified as a mental disorder. I am not so worried about that in the article because I believe that if there are ongoing other issues it could be a symptom of mental illness. In itself these things are not mental illness or at least classified as one. I am not comfortable delving into areas where I have no experience or training. What I am concerned about is some of the other issues they are debating over and I am ticked.

"And now, in a significant new attack, the very nature of disorders identified by psychiatry has been thrown into question. In an unprecedented move for a professional body, the Division of ClinicalPsychology (DCP), which represents more than 10,000 practitioners and is part of the distinguished British Psychological Society, will tomorrow publish a statement calling for the abandonment of psychiatric diagnosis and the development of alternatives which do not use the language of "illness" or "disorder".

My first problem is right there. I have an illness, a mental illness. It is not a choice to be the way I am. I didn't wake up one morning and say," You know I just don't have enough stress in my life, I think I will just start having psychiatric issues and make things more complicated and stressful for myself. I don't really need all these friends I have or this great job that I love,". It is an illness that runs in my family. It is called mental illness for a reason. It is important to me that it is called what it is. I don't want to beat around the bush. It is a devastating, complicated misfiring of neurons in my brain. I have a physical illness in my brain, like the flu but chronic and located inside my head. In my case it is hereditary.

"The statement isn't just an account of the many problems of psychiatric diagnosis and the lack of evidence to support it," she said. "It's a call for a completely different way of thinking about mental health problems, away from the idea that they are illnesses with primarily biological causes."
Psychiatrists say that such claims have been made many times before and ignore mountains of peer-reviewed papers about the importance that biological factors play in determining mental health, including significant work in the field of genetics. It also, they say, misrepresents psychiatry's position by ignoring its emphasis on the impact of the social environment on mental health."

My second issue is the fact that they are overlooking the hereditary implications. They are apparently going on the premise that all mental illness is environmental. I had a a terrific loving home and no trauma befell me before I started having my mental illness symptoms at the age of four. It runs throughout my family history. I suppose that we all just were traumatized and we don't know it? There are some mental illnesses that are caused by trauma but there are also those that are caused by genetics. That is like ignoring that there is a cancer gene and just stating that everyone with cancer got it as a result of environmental causes. Ridiculous assumptions being made by those that are here to defend and treat us!!! I guess we should just stick our heads in the sand and pretend that genes of mental illness don't exist. That tactic worked oh so well with cancer genes, didn't it? No one ever got cancer from hereditary means right?

"But now the DCP has transformed the debate about diagnosis by claiming that it is not only unscientific but unhelpful and unnecessary.

"Strange though it may sound, you do not need a diagnosis to treat people with mental health problems," said Dr Lucy Johnstone, a consultant clinical psychologist who helped to draw up the DCP's statement."

................Are you............flipping............serious???!!...........breathe, I'm breathing....................and shaking with uncontrollable anger.............................

If I had not been given a diagnoses, I would not be writing this blog, because I would be dead. I would have killed myself years ago. You can take that any way you like, but it is the God's honest truth and I own that truth.

Let me tell you a little story. When I was fourteen my mental illness had come back in full force. I was hearing the voice in my mind. I had intrusive thoughts and images. I secretly thought I had gone totally insane and because I was so terrified of voicing what was going on, I suffered in silence for a month. A month of praying, crying and isolating myself from the outside world and the people I loved. I was terrified of their reactions if I was honest with what was going on in my head. Terrified. When I got the courage to finally tell my mother she took me to a psychiatrist and he gave me a diagnosis. He literally saved my life. The beast had a name and it was OCD. That diagnoses saved me. It saved me because I could research it. I could find out what my treatment options were, how it affected the people that suffered from it, and that I was not alone. Most importantly that I was not alone. Because when you think you are going crazy, your biggest fear is that there is no one else on the face of the planet that is going through what you are going through. I have OCD. It is a real diagnoses for a real mental illness and it defines me. Some people say that mental illness does not define them, and that is perfectly acceptable for them. I don't believe that in my case. OCD is part of everything in my life. It has made me who I am. It has shaped my decisions, my life's path, helped form my personality, and has created the passion I have to help other's that suffer from mental illness. I am more than my diagnoses but it has and does define me in ways that I am not able to quite understand myself. I don't look at it as a bad thing, I look at it as this is my life and I will go on. I will struggle but I will persevere. My name is Nelly and I have a mental illness. I have OCD and as such I am a representation of it.

Doctor's don't say, "Well, this is just too much so now instead of diagnosing diseases, we are just going to treat you for them and not tell you what you have. It's isn't important to know that. Just sit down and take these pills like a good little girl."      That would be ridiculous. The problem that all mental illness sufferers have is that mental illness is almost never treated the same way a physical illness is. Cancer has a diagnoses, AIDS has a diagnoses, Diabetes has a diagnoses. You wouldn't tell the sufferers of these that they needed to be treated without a name for their afflictions. Why would it even be conceivable to do that with those that suffer from mental illness? Do you know many people suffer day to day, homelessness, unemployed, and wandering the streets because they have never been diagnosed and therefore lived their lives untreated? Are we trying to add more to that list? Is that acceptable to you? Because it sure as hell is not acceptable to me. Yes, there are misdiagnoses. That happens in every field. You don't stop diagnosing physical illnesses because of it. You work to find the right one and go from there.

Taking away such words as illness harms us more than you think. Mental Illness is important because it proves that it is a real issue. Not something that we made up. Not something that we do to get attention. It is proof that there is something physically wrong with our brains. To take that away from us is to encourage more stigma. My brain is sick and it is not my fault or my choice for it to be so.

Taking away diagnoses smacks to me of the early years of psychiatry. White washed walls and sterilized floor tiles. White lab coats and restraints. Treating people with unknown medications and faulty reasoning. It speaks to me of the time when there was no diagnoses and all generalizations. Words, hurtful and misunderstood words, were thrown around. Words like lunatic, madness, crazy, insane, melancholy, mania, and neurosis. What will they call us if they take away our diagnoses? Because they will have to call it something. I don't know about you, but I am not willing to go back in time a hundred years, fifty years, or even ten years ago and treat mental illness sufferers the shameful and disgusting way they used to. I am not willing to be stripped of my right's as a mental illness sufferer and be swept aside or overlooked. I will not be locked away, confined, or called generic names that do not represent me just to suit the doctors. Doctors who are supposed to be practicing what is in our best interest. Doctor's who take an oath to first do no harm. By taking away our diagnoses and the words mental illness and disorders there will be a much more tough time trying to enlighten others on our suffering and ending stigma. Now we wont be seen as ill or sick but faking it, over exaggerating, or attention seeking. How will we explain to others what we go through if the words we use to explain with are taken away from us? How do we enlighten others with no terms to use? Words are so very important. Taking them away will not only hurt our efforts to end stigma but be catastrophic to our self esteems and self worth. How can we bond with the world if we are muted? How can we unite and learn if we are silenced?

My name is Neurotic Nelly and I suffer from mental illness. My mental illness has a name and it is OCD. I will not accept being told that my diagnoses and my suffering is not important enough to be recognized by it's name. It has a name for reason and I want you to use it. I want you to recognize it. I want you to believe in it's reality. Because it is real. Because it is painful. Because I will suffer from it for the rest of my life and if I can handle and accept that, then you have no right not to recognize and accept it for what it really is. It has a name, use it.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Mental Illness Feels Like...

Many of my posts have humorous undertones. It is not lost on me that I write with funny antidotes  There is a reason I do that. I write that way because laughter tends to make others more comfortable. I am more likely to get my point across and gain more understanding about what the mentally ill go through, if I make the person I am trying to explain it to more comfortable and less afraid. It is common for those that do not understand mental illness to be afraid because they have been conditioned to react that way. They have been taught to fear us. It is our job to teach them how not to be afraid of us. It is our job to enlighten them to the truth. So when I am being funny, it is not because I am not experiencing great pain or sadness. It is just to present myself in a way that shows my good humor and hopefully make others comfortable enough around me to ask questions that I will gladly answer. Questions that can teach them how to understand mental illness and how to break the stigma of mental illness.

Mental Illness is like......

Feeling foggy and confused. Hollowed out like an empty melon. Tired body and over active thought process. Exhaustion and the loss of concentration. Gut wrenching unbearable pain in the center of your soul. Shame bestowed on us that is not ours to carry. Perception alterations and overwhelming fear of judgement.

Mental Illness is like.....

Wearing clothes three sizes too small. We feel constricted in our movements and are unable to concentrate on anything else. We feel ugly, broken and out of place. We know that something isn't right and that there is something different about us and we are unlike other people around us. We are afraid that we stick out  from the crowd and for all the wrong reasons.We are terrified that not only will others notice but that they will judge us because of it.

Mental Illness is like....

Having a chronic flu, but in your mind. It's a illness, people. It is not something that just clears up on it's own. It is not something that can be cured with a shot or some good ol' antibiotics. You would not say that someone who develops something like M.S. is their fault, don't treat our mental illness as something we have done to ourselves. We didn't choose this and we don't want it. It is what it is, and it is a chronic life long disorder.

Mental Illness is like....

A broken computer. Your brain is basically an electrical pulse powered computer. As all computers there is risk of things misfiring and getting stuck in a boot loop, your mind can too. Neurons are misfiring and looping in a mental illness sufferer's brain. Our computers hard drive has become flawed. We have no way to run a defrag program or a Norton's virus scan. It is just something that we have to live with. Because everyone is different,  much like different operating systems on computers, we do not all have the same symptoms and the same treatments. A Mac can't run the same exact programs as a Windows. You have to treat them differently and what works for one may not work for the other.

Mental Illness is like.....

Loosing your favorite item, only what you have lost is a part of yourself. You are not sure where to look for it or if you will ever truly find that part of you again. Even if you are able to find the old part of you, how will it fit in to the new you. The new person we have to learn to become to overcome the obstacles that mental illness has placed in our path. We feel lost. We feel broken. We grieve our old lives and the people we were before. We have lost something greater than a cell phone or car keys. We have lost friends, dreams, self esteem, and the perceptions of who we thought we would become before our mental illness. We have to relearn our worth in society and sometimes society is very cruel. We have to relearn new dreams and make new friends. We have to reorganize our new lives. The old path is no longer a path we can tread. We now, have to find a new path.

Mental illness is a hard thing to understand for some people. It's a hard thing to live with. Not only do we live the issues that arise from our suffering, we are then subjected to other people's judgments and lack of insight. We are subjected to rude comments and shifty looks in our direction. Soft mumbling of negative connotations that are preconceived and just plain wrong. Discrimination is ugly, whether is is discrimination against race, gender, religion, sexual preference, or mental illness. It has no place and it does no good. It promotes hurtful and hateful depictions. There have been a great many sufferers of mental illness that have become inspiring defining people in our societies. We are everywhere. We are presidents, scientists, composers, musicians, comedians, actors, actresses, authors, writers, kings and queens, philosophers, inventors, politicians, activists, and teachers. People like us have changed the world. They have stood up and created greatness, not just in spite of their mental illness but because of it. What would this world be like if they had believed that they were stupid, ugly, unlovable, incapable, and broken? What would this world be like if they had been told they could not achieve simply because their minds were altered from the norm? Would we have all that we have today if their minds were not altered? Didn't they see things differently because they were? What if Beethoven had not suffered from mental illness? Could he have composed music with such deep emotional feeling without knowing what it was like to be depressed? Would Winston Churchill have been the great prime minster that he was if he did not have the insight he gained from living with mental illness that not only affected his family members but him as well? Would Van Gogh have been able to paint such hauntingly beautiful paintings? Would Shakespear's stories had been so prolific if many of his characters did not suffer from madness, visions, or melancholy?  Would Edgar Allen Poe's works had been so dark and disturbingly addictive? Would Abraham Lincoln been so hell bent on ending slavery if he had not known from his own episodes of depression of how devastating oppression and mistreatment of human beings can be, of how sadness and despair can devastate your soul? I don't know the answers to that, what I do know is that had these great people been ostracized and locked away we would have never had the amazing creativity and direction that these people left as their legacies. These people changed and shaped the world we have today so that we can change and shape the world we leave to our children. We have to stop discriminating and stigmatizing those that suffer from mental illness. It's is not fair and it is certainly not right. As such, we that suffer have to stop allowing ourselves to be discriminated against and stigmatized. We have to stop buying in to the propaganda that we are incapable of amazing feats or not important enough to be heard. We have to stop telling ourselves that we are too broken to be great, too damaged to be functional, and too screwed up to create and inspire. We are capable of anything we want to be and anything that we want to achieve. [tweet this]. After all, so many great people of our past did not allow their mental illness to prevent them from creating the legacies we have today. We can create our own legacies of greatness and we can start by believing in ourselves first.
                     Neurotic Nelly

Friday, May 17, 2013

Too Much Information

As a sufferer of OCD I have problems pertaining to too much information. Really, I do. I don't mean information on stock prices or general information. I mean like stuff that I would have been just fine living my life without knowing.

He who increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow and knowledge is pain are good quotes.

The sorrow is that because of my mental illness I can't process things like normal people. What is a conversation that they can erase from their minds is a jail cell for me. There are some things I rather not know.

Hold on to your hats girls cause here we go, welcome to the insanity that is my life.

Lettuce. I had a conversation with my father about lettuce. Apparently there is some disease that is passed by mice through their poop as they poop on your lettuce in the fields and barns. The problem is that the people that wash the lettuce before they send it to restaurants or fast food joints may not wash it properly. The disease can affect humans. Now, I am pretty sure that I could have done without that little tid bit. I have not had lettuce on my food when I go out to eat for over a year. What he sees as a simple conversation has made a jail cell for me. I only eat lettuce when I buy it from the store and I wash it myself. Sadly, I don't even know if I am washing it correctly either but I at least know it was washed fairly well.

Surgery. My last surgery went well but I had coffee with creamer a few hours before. My anesthesiologist was less than pleased. Apparently I was not supposed to drink anything and they had left that part out of the instructions. She was very mad because they now had to put me out in a more difficult way. Seriously she had daggers for eyes she was so mad. Then she felt the need to tell me that anything on the stomach could make me vomit and breathe it in with the breathing tube. I could aspirate and die.......Thanks I feel much better about the surgery now. I realize that I had made a mistake. I realize that she was angry. I also realize that surgery has risks. I do not think I needed to know that particular one in that great of detail. Mostly, because I have anxiety issues and I was already very nervous about the procedure. To top that I have another one coming up in two weeks. Now, I have more anxiety and fears than I previously had. Lovely.

Flying. I am terrified of planes. I have been in them. I hate them. I don't feel I really need an excuse as to why but I will go ahead and tell you. The are big, metal, heavy, flying cars. Do you know how often cars have issues and break down? Exactly. One faulty rusted screw and there are huge problems when you are thousands of feet in the air. My friend always tells me I am more likely to be struck by lightening twice than be in an airplane accident. I am not sure of the variables in that statement. More likely to be struck by lightening twice while I am sitting on my couch watching reruns of M.A.S.H. or more likely to be struck twice standing in my yard during a thunderstorm wearing a full suit of armor and flying a kite with keys taped to it? I really would like an answer to this, because you can't be spouting of statistics if there hasn't been any good research done. I need to know the ratio of lightening strikes and what variables are used to make an informed desicion.
She also has said I am more likely to have a car accident than be in a plane crash and she is right, because I am not getting on that plane. It's not that I believe that they are totally unsafe. My biggest problem is that the person that drives my car is someone I know. I know what he ate for breakfast (he doesn't like breakfast), what movies he likes (Tombstone), his favorite color (purple), his pet peeves, how much sleep he got the night before, his education, what his first car was, what color his socks are (because I washed them). I trust him. He knows that if he goes over sixty miles an hour that I get the shifting eyeballs and start tapping the imaginary breaks. I have some nerve since I do not drive. All I know about the pilot is that he is licensed and that he looks spiffy in his pilot hat. Again, most of this wouldn't matter to me if I had not watched a show about plane crashes and screws that break off.

So I guess what I am not so discreetly trying to imply is, there are things a person should know and things that a person doesn't really need to hear. At least this person. Hearing things like that is hard for me to digest because most of it is forgotten with normal people. For me it becomes a very real fear and something to avoid. If I am not careful I could end up avoiding so much that I miss out on everything. Avoiding things causes pain and isolation. It's not your fault that I avoid because of my mental illness and it is not my fault that I cant handle certain information without anxiety either. It just is too much information that I don't need. So if you know about things like rat poop diseases, plane screws, and surgery aspirations, or anything else scary  please for the love of all things holy; keep it to yourself or wait till I walk out of the room. Thanks, I appreciate it.
                                                  Neurotic Nelly

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Symptoms of Control

I have been trying to deal with some of my OCD issues lately. My house never seems clean enough. I see dirt and grime in places that others do not seem to notice and it drives me crazy. I would seriously like to wash the inside of my house with a fire hose. I know that is bad for walls and floors but I can picture in my head and when I do I see cleanliness. I have struggled with OCD since childhood. My house is my castle and this castle could use some maids. Like forty of them. It is actually clean, very clean even, but never clean enough for me. I also am sensitive to smells and sounds. Apparently I was a dog in a past life. I can not take stinky. I must root out the stench as fast as possible. I will walk around the house sniffing like a blood hound until I find what is making the offending odor and dispose of it. I must use a certain cat litter because perfume or over flowery smells bother me. I also have a problem with certain textures. Oily, greasy, rough, textures can seem dirty to me. Smooth is always best for my OCD.

I can't say exactly why I am like this, except OCD is about control. Controlling one's emotions, one's fears, one's anxiety, and most of all the things around us. We can not control our environments that are outside so we tend to try to control our homes. If one can not control their homes or environments they have a predispostion to become anorexic or bulimic. If unable to have control anywhere OCD people may control the one thing they have power over, their weight. Anorexia and bulimia is all about control of one self. Control of what you eat, how you expel it, and how you keep to a lower size. It is dangerous, it is painful, and it is all about control.

I have the need to control my anxiety. Everyone with OCD does. I clean not because I like a clean house, which I do, but because it keeps the anxiety at bay. It makes me feel less on edge and more comfortable. The only issue with this is it is never clean enough. Quiet like a person suffering from anorexia or bulimia feels never skinny enough. There is something wrong with the way we perceive our selves and our environments. What we see in the mirror or on the floor is not a true representation. Our minds have shown us a circus mirror. Our perceptions are false.

I was almost anorexic. Almost anorexic you ask? What is almost anorexic? I stopped being able to be the clean freak that I am. I lived in an place that was unable to maintain clean. I also was living in someone else's home. Therefore, my cleaning schedule became interrupted. I had been healthily loosing weight and it turned into much more when circus mirror entered my life. At 5'6" I was dropping weight much to fast and I did it by not eating. I would look in the mirror and see fat. I finally got down to 125 lbs which made my dress size a six. Now for some this may not seem very small but for my frame, my ribs were sticking out. You could see them through my clothing. What used to be a cleaning schedule became an exercise schedule. I was doing three hundred stomach crunches three times a day, walking in the summer heat for three miles a day, riding a bicycle three miles a day, and tybo. I was a machine but not eating with it made me a machine with no fuel. My face started to become gaunt. My hair lost it's shine. I was plummeting down a rabbit hole into hell. Looking in the mirror became agony for me. All saw was layers of fat that did not exist. Weighing myself four or five times a day was torture. If I ate anything and my weight was up a pound I became hysterical. The in laws and ex husband didn't seem to notice. I often wonder how stupid they must have been to not notice that I had completely went nuts with my eating and dropped over thirty pounds in two months. Three bites a meal seemed normal to them? My psychiatrist remarked that I had an eating disorder and I thought he was crazy. Looking back, he was absolutely right and I was teetering on being very ill.

Now, this is where my saving grace happened. I moved into my own place. It was a place where walking three miles a day would have become impossible and the best part was that I was able to start cleaning again. All the stress that had formed from not being able to do my "rituals" was able to be released by doing them again. The almost anorexia stopped. Instead of weighing myself I could put all of that focus on controlling the cleanliness of my environment.  I was also still seeing my doctor to monitor the situation just in case

So I believe that I was not totally anorexic in the medical sense, in my case it was the only thing I could control at the time. Once I garnered my regular control back, I stopped. This is not the case for most people who suffer from anorexia and bulimia. Most of these people need  proper help and treatment. I can say that because of this incident that I understand what they going through on a very real level. I know the hell they dwell in and the feeling of loss of control on the world around you.

Anorexia and bulimia are forms of OCD. As all sufferers of OCD will tell you, this mental illness is about control. We obsess to control our anxiety, we compulse to control our anxiety, we starve or gag ourselves to control the anxiety, we clean or hoard to control the anxiety, and we pick our skin or pull out our hair just to control the anxiety. Everything related to this illness is how to control our fears, the breathlessness, the false perceptions we place on ourselves, the sadness, and the pain.
Being anorexic or bulimic is no different than being a germ-a-phobe or clean freak except that you can clearly see their symptoms of control. Having trichotillomania or dermatillomania is no different than being a hoarder except that their symptoms to control are made clear on sight. We all do what we do to control our OCD. We all have our own compulsions or obsessions. We all have our own symptoms. Some of us have several of these symptoms rolled into one. The pain is the same. The false perceptions are the same. Whether the circus mirror is showing you fat that doesn't exist, dirt that isn't there, or blemishes that are invisible, we all have the same false perceptions. We ,in short, believe the circus mirror. And how can you not when the circus mirror is in your brain? The circus mirror is in your eyes. The circus mirror is in your flesh. Showing you things that are wrong. Telling you that things are bad. Making you feel that things are dirty.
False perceptions, people, is what OCD is all about. Anxiety is what OCD is all about. Pain and sufferering is what OCD is all about.

There is hope. There are treatment centers and doctors. There are medications and therapies. I would just like for people to see that although our symptoms may be different, that all sufferers of OCD are fundamentally the same, going through the same hell, feeling the same misery, and dealing with the same anxiety. That no matter what we do to control, we all do something to control. OCD is not a pleasure cruise or a fun time. It is a painful perception altering mental illness that hurts. It can maim. It can kill. The more we stop minimizing it's effects the more chance we have to save others from going down the paths we have had to go down.
                                                 Neurotic Nelly

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


On my new eight pill a day regimen I feel like I am stuck in Wonderland. If you mean by one pill makes you smaller and one makes you tall, you mean one pill makes you bloated and one makes you choke for fifteen minutes searching for enough fluid to wash it down then just call me Alice. Hopefully this surgery will put an end to the Alice in Wonderland issues. Where's my top hat? It is not really all that bad, it's just my perception.

Today I would like to discuss perceptions an how we wield it upon others, and we do wield it. Like a double edged freshly sharpened ax with a mace attached to the back, a scythe  strapped onto the handle, nun chucks dangling off the sides, and katanas taped to the bottom. Just to make sure our perceptions are heard loud and clear.

Yesterday, my neighbor asked why I was dressed so fancy and if I was going somewhere. I looked at myself and to my horror, I realized that the only reason he thought I looked fancy was because I was actually wearing a tank top and shorts. My usual garb has been a night shirt with jeans and a jacket over it so you can not tell that I have a night shirt on and that I lost the battle of trying to put on the over the shoulder bolder holder. My look has gone from a- la- causal to more a-la-bag lady and I wasn't aware.  I only dress to the point of not embarrassing my kids at the bus stop. It never fails that on days that I do dress up no one I know is anywhere near me to see what I look like on a good day. Not that I don't care what I look like but as someone who almost never leaves the house, I have become more why try if no one really sees me attitude. Apparently I am seen more than I previously thought and I really need to appear decent more often to avoid more embarrassing questions later.

Perceptions can come back to bite you in the hiney.

In high school I had a rat faced, beady eyed, Spanish teacher. I hated his class because I am mildly dyslexic and he would always call on me when I was struggling with something. I couldn't read clocks and he would use a cardboard clock and move the hands and you were supposed to say what time it was in Spanish. I would always shrink down in my seat and silently pray, don't pick me, don't pick me.....He always picked me. I would take too long and get it wrong. There would be jeers from the class and laughs. Their perception was that I was an idiot. The truth as that I was dyslexic and didn't learn how to read a clock until I was in my early twenties.

Perceptions of others can be hurtful to their self esteem.

This class was also the only D- I ever received on my report card. I once was called on to read my homework where I mistakenly said I talked to my television. Another round of laughter and comments on how dumb I was. What the kids and teacher did not know was that at home my mother had become very ill. She was unable to get out of bed and the house smelled like the sickly sweet smell that only permeates the house when someone is very ill. That every night I was washing the dishes, cleaning the house, making dinner, doing laundry, making sure she was eating, doing all of my homework with no help including the stupid Spanish homework that this completely sadistic teacher gave us. That I got little to no sleep listening to make sure she was still breathing. The perception that I just didn't care about my studies was totally false, I just had no time to give to them.

Perceptions are really just one sided judgments.

I often heard that people on welfare shouldn't have kids. They shouldn't get assistance, they are all lazy and uneducated. I would have to bite my tongue. My mother who not only had major mental illnesses of her own managed to raise me, a woman with severe OCD, and hold down two jobs, until she was struck down by Lupus at the age of thirty five. She always paid her taxes and gave what little we had left to charities. We were never late on our bills or utilities.  Their perception that we were on welfare would of been that my mother just didn't want to work and wanted a free hand out. No one really gets the shame of going from being employed to standing in the food stamp office begging for mercy because you have to feed your child because you are very ill, unless they have been through it. It truly is heartbreaking. Do some people take advantage of the system, yes but not everyone does. We didn't and thankfully we were able to get back on our feet a few years later.

Perceptions can be based in reality and also in fantasy.

Because of us falling from grace, if you will, a newspaper printed our story on how my mother got sick and we needed help. Unfortunately this kid I went to school with had read it. He was obviously an alien from planet Douchebag and so I forced to listen to such douchebaggery as " Hey, Nelly where is the silver platter you were born with? Oh, Yea you can't afford to buy one. Maybe you sold it so you could eat.".........Lovely right? Like I didn't have enough problems in high school I had to listen to this little chump. Maybe he hated poor people, maybe he was angry because he was shorter than everyone even me, maybe he had angry little man syndrome. I have no idea why this kid wanted to be such a douche, but alas he was and I endured.
His perception that we were some how less of people because of our financial status was a bunch of crap. I was and am just as important as anyone else regardless of the amount of money I make.

Perceptions can hold you back.

 I could have perceived myself as unworthy because I have mental illness or because I was poor growing up. I could have perceived that I am not as important as everyone else because occasionally I do not feel up to dressing up just to be seen at the bus stop or on my porch. I could perceive a lot of things about myself but I don't.  I am the way I am for many reasons. Does that mean I don't need to improve somethings? I absolutely need to try to improve on a lot of things. I am not however, required to please everyone. I am not required to be someone I am not. There are many people sharing mental and health issues. We should maybe stop wielding our perceptions against them and see that more may be going on behind the scenes in their lives. There may be reasons that person is acting the way they are, dressing the way they do, and doing the things they are doing. Like dreams perceptions can be just a one sided blurry version of the truth. So, my post is really about understanding that many perceptions we have about people are true and many of them are not. Wouldn't it be great if we took the time to get to know someone before we judge their circumstances? Wouldn't it be great if our perceptions were wrapped in compassion instead of judgment? Perceptions can hold you back. You can miss out on a terrific friend or a moment that could change your life. So maybe next time when we feel like beating someone down with our preconceived notions and perceptions of them we could walk in their shoes first and then make an informed decision instead.
                                                           Neurotic Nelly

Monday, May 13, 2013

I Named Him Jonathan

I usually do not write on Sundays and Mondays. My husband is off work and I try to spend as much time with him and my children on on those days, but today in my google plus group we are discussing agoraphobia. I was agoraphobic for about three months and I would like to write about it but my story is too long for a comment and too much pain is held within that I thought I would just make a post.

It was January sixth, my grandmother's birthday. My ex husband and I had been married for around four months. We had rented a trailer in a tiny town that consisted of a post office and feed store located in the same building. January sixth is the day I stopped teetering on the cliff of insanity and plunged head first into to it. I stepped off of the cliff and was unable to stop my decent. It was the day I became insane.

The day started of fine enough until night time. It started. I had extreme abdominal pains and bleeding. I had been three days late for my period and this was more than just cramps. I was sweaty and weak. The pains came in intervals like contractions. I knew something was really wrong. I am not going to go into extreme detail here; those that have experienced this, know exactly how this works. This was the night I lost my child.

I had not known I was pregnant although I had been desperately trying to become pregnant for almost six months. I was only about a month along. An E.R. visit was vague. I was given a catheter and tests. I was told that I was not pregnant but my gyno had stated that it was a miscarriage and that often times the hospital will lie to you. They can not stop a miscarriage and protocol is usually to say it was a bad period so as not to traumatize the woman. Too late. I already knew. There are things that are different than a regular period and I was aware of what was going on.

My issues were compounded by the fact that my ex had convinced me that I didn't need medication or a psychiatrist for my OCD. That I should just take St. John's Wort. I was unmedicated, away from my family, and not receiving any treatment for my mental illness. All I needed was a push to come undone and this was it.

I was devastated, full of grief, and angry. The anger had seeped so deep into my soul that I could feel it in my bones. It was bad enough that my mind had left me when I was a child but my body betraying me as well was too much to handle. My ex was not affected by the loss of our child. He was indifferent and told me that it didn't bother him. I began to hate. I hated him for not caring, myself for loosing the one thing I wanted so desperately  and hated the world for allowing things like this to happen. I specifically, hated  my body whom I deemed the ultimate betrayer. I hated and hated, and hated. I was slowly going through the motions of life. Flowers had lost their heavenly scent. Food had lost taste. Music had lost the ability to touch my soul. I was unable to feel anything but rage, hatred, and pain so deep and raw I could feel the whole where my heart used to be. The final blow was my ex's father telling me I didn't need a child anyway. Something inside me snapped. I actually heard it snap in my head. I felt it snap inside my body. I had completely become broken.

I found a stuffed baby toy in the store and I bought it. I had picked it up and was unable to put it down. It was like I had something to represent what I had lost. It was all I had to show for what my body had flushed away. I held it while I cried hysterically.  I held it when I sat in the dark letting the numb overcome my senses. I held it while I slept fitfully. I held it when my ex took me to the mental ward and tried to have me committed. The  lady processing my mental state tried to touch it and  I flinched away from her. I had been institutionalized before and anyone familiar with the system knows what key words to use to get in and what words to avoid to stay out. I heard the large metallic lock click behind me and I started to panic. I talked my way out of being admitted. I was convincing and told her I just wanted to go home and think about it. I never went back. The mental ward of my childhood still terrifies me and I was unable to take being put back in a ward.
  I became agoraphobic. Leaving the house was impossible. It got so bad that him leaving to go to work would trigger me into a panic. I would clutch him and beg him not to leave me alone. I would cry and beg. Scream and beg, and sometimes I wouldn't even acknowledge him leaving. My innocence had been ripped away form me and I now realized that the people you love or the things that you want could be torn from you. Outside was evil and dangerous. To try to go anywhere was sweaty palms and choking breaths. Panic and the world swirling around me until I felt dizzy and sick to my stomach.

There was a wedding coming up. My ex's cousin was marrying his eight months pregnant fiance. I could not go. I couldn't leave and even if I could leave I could not fathom seeing her with her belly so full of life and mine so utterly empty. I hated life. I hated her happiness and my despair.

The only time I have ever been violent was when in my numbness he started arguing with me. I took a large glass of water and threw it at his feet. When it shattered in a million pieces I felt satisfied that finally something could break like I had. That something could shatter like I had shattered. He was unharmed, mostly. The only pain I inflicted on him was that he was now scared of me. Sweet little Nelly was no longer just sweet. I was possessed by my own demons and they were running the show now. He became so frightened of what I would do that he took his guns and put them in his trunk to prevent me from shooting myself while he was at work. Little did he know that the pain had rendered me unable to lift my arms let alone load a gun and hold it. The anger had made me unable to kill myself because all I wanted to do was reflect on the world and how much I hated everything about it. I was not suicidal and yet, I wished all the world would fall away from me like leaves in the Fall. I held my baby toy and prayed, cried, wished, hated and tasted my own tears and drank down my own shame. I named my lost child Jonathan after a ceramic angel I had as a child. I gave him a name because my ex wouldn't. Because he didn't care and it was all I cared about. It was a few cells but they were my baby and I was grieving him. I felt that it was a boy. No way to know because there is no funeral for miscarriages. There are no tombstones to visit and quietly reflect. There are no places to lay flowers and grieve. There is no closure or kind words to say. Just emptiness and grief.

Finally my ex had decided that I needed to see a psychiatrist and we went and I was given meds and someone to talk to. Finally there was a glimmer of hope. I might be able to heal and leave the house. The agoraphobia left me as quickly as it came. The pain of loosing Jonathan took many years. I missed him even after my marriage ended. I missed him until I was blessed with my first child. Finally I got this one right. The pain eased and ebbed away. I still think of him. I always will I suppose. Now, I can think of him and not feel like the scab has been ripped away from a festering wound. My wounds with the help I needed no longer fester with the infection of anger, pain, and grief. They have healed into scars. Scars that will be with me for the rest of my life. I had agoraphobia and made it through. I have OCD, and am making it through. I lost my baby when I was twenty years old and I have made it through. I named him Jonathan and he is never forgotten.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


Many of those who have never suffered from mental illness might not be certain what stigma is or if they are placing stigma on others. I do not blame them, for they know not what they do. It really isn't their fault either. The media has deemed all things mentally ill to be bad, dangerous, and something to fear. With the images and stories portrayed about us how could normal people really understand what we go through on a day to day basis? In a world where people want to feel safe and secure it is easier to blame mental illness for the cause of all evil doings because to not have a scapegoat, would make them realize that normal people can do bad things, and do them much more often than mentally ill people do.

I would like to take a second and ask a question. If you or someone you knew had the flu would you blame them for getting it or being sick? Then why would you blame someone for having a sickness in their brain?

I believe that stigma exists only because people allow it to. They make judgments because they are afraid of what they do not understand. They may not realize they are perpetuating it. That the things they say are discriminative and hurtful. They may not understand stigma when they see it.

A few common stigma phrases are:

You can just get over it.

There is nothing wrong with you physically, you are faking it.

You are just being difficult because you want attention.

You are crazy.You are dangerous. You are scary.

We hear these things everyday. If we do not hear them we can sense the changes in other's body language towards us. We can tell that they do not understand and it is crushing. I can not change the reactions of individuals if I choose to grace them with the knowledge that I suffer from mental illness. What I can do is explain it in a way that, if they are willing to listen, will help put their mind at ease.

That being said there are a few key words normal people respond to in negative ways.
Words like psychosis, schizophrenia, and personality disorder. These three words strike fear in people. Mostly because the media has placed very negative connotations on these three specific disorders. They are scared because they have never been taught to not be.
Psychosis, schizophrenia, and personality disorders do not make a person a crazy ax murderer. They do not make you a serial killer or someone who blows up train stations. They are mental illnesses that can be treated and the people that suffer from them can lead productive happy lives with medication and therapy. You do not need to run screaming to hills when you meet someone with these disorders. It makes them embarrassed and it makes you look like an ass.

Another form of stigma is getting the illnesses mixed up and backwards. If a person has mental illness it does not automatically make them psychotic. I have been called that by misinformed individuals. Psychosis is a mental illness that makes it impossible for the suffer to understand what is real and what is just in their minds. I suffer from OCD. OCD is an anxiety disorder. I am firmly aware of what is real and not real. I am scared of everything, I am not unsure of reality. I know that the things I do seem off, I am unable to stop doing them. I am also not crazy, delusional, or inept. I can function, just maybe not the way a normal person would.

Stigma is also presented in the form of shame. Being told or hinted at that mental illness is a sign of weakness or somehow our fault. Mental illness like OCD and bipolar have been thought to run in families. They may have genetic components. Illnesses like PTSD are caused by environmental developments. They are caused by damage inflicted upon you from things like abuse, war, and traumatic events. Some illnesses you are born with and some just pop out of nowhere. This is not our fault and the shame does not belong to us nor should it be fashioned into a crown and be placed on our heads. We did not want this and we sure as hell did not choose it.

Stigma is also is bullying. Laughing at someone because they are different. They do odd things. Most of us know our outward symptoms and are embarrassed enough, we don't need them to be pointed out to us and laughed at. It's cruel.

Telling someone that their phobia is stupid is a form of stigma. I can tell you up front that my phobia of rabbits is bizarre. I am aware that it is not going to hurt me. However, it does nothing to stop the overwhelming panic when I am faced with one. It does not make my phobia any less. Your judgment on what is scary and what is not does not help my fears at all. Thank you for your input now shut up. Phobias are real and trying to minimize them because you deem them to be silly is hurtful and wrong. I do not tell you what to be afraid of, do not try to tell me that my phobias are silly or not real. They are real to me and that is all that matters.

Stigma is displayed when telling a depressed person to perk up. Yeah, like that idea never occurred to them. Don't you think that if there was a choice of happy go lucky and soul shattering despair they would choose to be happy?

Stigma is punishment. [tweet this]. Stigma is hurting those that need support and understanding the most. Stigma is an uneducated response to a complicated problem. Stigma is hurtful and devastating. It needs to be identified and rooted out. It can only be stopped when we no longer are willing to accept it and all of it's misconceptions. It can only be stopped by educating the public that mental illness does not make you anymore dangerous than the average person. We have to educate people on what they are so dearly ignorant of. That we are people, good people just like everyone else. We just need a little understanding and respect.

Here is a great video with the mental illness advocate/comedian Ruby Wax explaining mental illness and stigma. For those of you can see the video the link is Have a great weekend all and thanks for reading.

                                                               Neurotic Nelly

Friday, May 10, 2013


In third or fourth grade I had a chorus teacher that my mom affectionately dubbed the fire breathing dragon lady. She was tall and slender and kind of resembled Skeletor. She had bright red hair cut in a style only acceptable for the late eighties and early nineties. She had this insanely gross habit of talking to class while dipping her contacts in her coffee, placing them in her mouth, sucking on them, and then putting them back on her eye balls. She was strict and quiet frankly mean. I have no idea why she is so firmly ingrained in my mind, except that later that year I was placed in a mental hospital. I don't remember her after that year, though I am sure she was still teacher there. I may have some things in that year blocked out still. I am not really sure because repressed memories are well, repressed. I was not abused but apparently the trauma of the being ripped away from my parents and institutionalized can cause damage to your psyche. Especially, if you do not need to be hospitalized and your doctor is a fraud and terrifying and lying to your parents so he can use their love for you to get insurance money. May he burn in hell.
I have a fragmented mind. I have missing memories. It irritates me because as someone with OCD I can recall memories from before the age of two, but I can not remember things when I was around ten. I didn't even realize that I hadn't told my husband of almost twelve years that I had been in the mental hospital until I wrote a post on it a few months back. I also had not told my friends. In fact I never talked about it. Never. I never even discussed it with my mother, whom I tell everything.
So what I am left with is odd fragmented visions of that time. I remember now the hospital and all that happened there, but almost nothing about when I got out. It is frustrating when I have always prided myself on remembering my childhood in a detailed degree. Almost the whole year is gone. Why can't I remember? Why?
It speaks to me that not only was I born with a genetic mental illness but I was then punished by this doctor for having one. Then he caused more damage to my already fragile mind by removing me from the people that supported and loved me.
Sometimes we are born with the illness and sometimes it is inflicted upon us. A whole year gone so he could live in a nicer house and drive a fancy car.
The repercussions of what he did to me is catastrophic. I can not go to a place with locking doors that slam and lock behind you. My palms get sweaty and I start to have trouble catching my breath. When I was admitted to the hospital twice this year for surgery I freaked. It was the all confining I can't leave feeling. I had panic attacks, which I never have. Now before surgery I also have them, because I can't get up and leave. I can't take the feeling of being not allowed to leave.
I can not do routines of doing something I am supposed to over and over again. It  is like when we had to do their schedule. Basically I was in a lightly decorated prison. We were inmates but with nicer rooms. I have no idea if the medication they gave all of us has caused any health issues. We were never told what we were taking. They never even told my parents that I was taking medication.
What does that mean for me today?
It means that I no longer allow myself to be confined in a stigma that I do not own. [tweet this]. I have mental illness but I am not a fault and I refused to be punished for it again. I refuse to be taken advantage of again. If someone is uncomfortable with the fact I have issues than they don't have to be around me. I am not going to apologize for being sick. No one apologizes for having the flu, why should I because my brain is sick. Maybe just maybe, had that doctor not been so damned worried abut a paycheck and deceiving others, I could have gotten the help I needed at that time. Instead of making me feel guilty because I had OCD maybe he could have actually given me therapy or sent me to someone who actually treated OCD. Now, I have become the voice for those that were unfairly committed for insurance money. I have decided that my illness is part of my life and I refuse to be shamed. I refuse to be put down. I refuse to be confined. I will not accept being treated like I am not a worthy individual. I lost one year of my life because of one unfit doctor and his goonies. The only memory of that year is the chorus teacher that I didn't even like? It is not fair and it is not right. I will not give anymore of my life to those who are manipulative or negative because of my illness. You either take me as I am or leave me be. Your choice, my decision. I no longer am accepting applications for fair weather friends.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

No More Apologizing

 It has come to my attention that many people that suffer from mental illness feel inferior. We often apologize for our feelings and beliefs. We apologize for possibly offending someone when we disagree with something said or done. Why do we do that? I want you to really take a second and ruminate on that question. Why do we feel our opinions and beliefs are something to apologize for? Do you see normal people going around apologizing for having an opinion? No. They don't. They don't because they have self confidence and we tend to lack in that department. We tend to feel not good enough and it's crap. Stinky smelly crap. There I said it.
I used to apologize or feel guilty because I had a different opinion or belief on something. I do not allow that anymore because I realized that it is my right to think and feel the way I do. I feel the way I do because of the things I have gone through in my life and I am predisposed to feeling that way. And you know what? I don't feel bad or guilty about it.
If you burned your hand on the burner of a stove , do you forget you burned yourself? Not likely. Afterwards you will always be cognizant that the stove can hurt you. You will always be careful to not touch the stove when it is hot. You will always make sure that you will not get burned get again.
Mental illness is the same way. If someone has hurt you or you have been hurt by something, you are not likely going to  trust easily. You will always doubt that everything is as it seems. Since mental illness hurts us, we doubt our emotions and our opinions. We are unsure of our worth and our validity. So let me just say this, we are valid. Our opinions are ours and we have nothing to feel guilty about. We do not have to agree with everyone else. We should stop apologizing for our feelings. They are ours and we have every right to feel them. We should stop minimizing our opinions. We think this way because of the things we have been through. It is our right to feel,think and believe the way we do. Our thoughts and opinions are valid. They are worthy to be heard. They do not need to be followed by "I'm sorry" or "I apologize". We do not need to apologize for what we believe.
The difference of opinions are what make us look at our lives in a different light. It makes us think about things in a way that we may never have thought of before. Different is glorious. I am not saying we don't have to listen to others opinions, I am saying that we have to have ours heard as well. We have to speak up and stop being sorry.
When we put down the niceties and window dressings we have nothing left but honesty. When we stop playing dress up with lies, we become our own true self. We stand, we are counted, and we matter.
The best friendships I have had in my life are the ones that are based on honesty. If I look like something the cat dragged in, they would tell me. If we disagree on a point, we talk it out. Neither of us may change our opinion but we respect each other's view. That is because we respect each other. My wish is that we start to believe that what we think is important. Because it is important. My wish is that we start feeling like our opinions are valid. Because they are. My wish is that we all understand that it is perfectly acceptable to be who we are, right now at this moment in time. Because we are just as worthy as everyone else. My wish is that we stop apologizing for our beliefs when we think we are not good enough to have any or talk about the ones we have. Because our beliefs are ours and they are just as valid as anyone else's. My wish is that we stop worrying about offending and insulting others and realize that when we minimize our feelings or apologize for our opinions we are offending and insulting ourselves. [tweet this]. That we are saying that they don't mean anything. And they mean absolutely everything. They are a representation of who you are and what you stand for as a mental illness sufferer, as an individual  and as a person. You have the right to believe and think and have opinions. You are valid and what your feel is valid. You have the right to feel the way you do and not be sorry or scared that what you have to say is wrong or not good enough to be said. It is good enough. It matters. It is perfectly ok to agree, disagree, or be undecided. So let's put down the window dressing and get real. Let's start to believe in ourselves and our words. Let's stop putting ourselves down for being different and start accepting that what we have to say is necessary for us to say and necessary for others to hear. Words are powerful and we need to stop apologizing for using them.
I would like to ask you to please take a moment and watch this video. A few posts back I wrote about wishing there was a more accurate film depicting OCD and I have found it. I think that it represents not only some of  the common compulsions of OCD but more importantly the pain that is living with this illness. When I see shirts and memes making light of my mental illness, I tend to get upset. Because OCD is so not funny. Because OCD is a debilitating disorder of the mind that can, if allowed to, take over your whole life. I have not seen this movie. I have not seen it because I am afraid I will see to much of myself in it. That I may pick up compulsions again and I do not want to live that way. Not that watching a movie can make me start to compulse again, but I am scared of the possibility. I think I might just rent the movie later when I have time to watch it alone. I may cry if I watch it, because I feel like it is somehow a mirror to some of the things I have lived. The excerpt of the film is good enough for me right now. The pain is so readily available in this clip that I just felt I had to share it. I feel that maybe , finally some people will get just how devastating OCD really is to your ability to function, your relationships, and your life. OCD is not obsessive coffee disorder or obsessive corgi disorder as some shirts make light of. OCD has a broad spectrum of symptoms as this clip shows. From being a complete clean freak to a hoarder type. If untreated OCD can become a living hell. If untreated it can turn from carrying soap in your pocket to well, peeing in jugs, No one wants that. I certainly don't want that. What is so upsetting is had Howard Hughes been alive in this time, his life could have been less painful. There is help now and unfortunately in his time there was nothing to be done. He suffered needlessly and was taken over by his illness/my illness to the point of him living like a hermit alone and  It makes me sad.
For those of you who can not see the video the link is