Saturday, June 29, 2013

I Am Managing

My family has more mental illness in it than you could shake a stick at. It was a virtual russian roulette game which one I would end up with. We are kind, good, strong people but my family tree has mental illness running through it's veins. There is poison in it's sap and it has leeched out onto to every branch on the way down. Would I be bipolar, depressed, have OCD, or addiction problems? Would I have suicidal tendencies like so many of my kin? So many have tried to end their own lives in my family that it seems like a family curse. My Great Uncle succumbed to that curse. It is not something that my family used to discuss except in hushed tones and with deep grief etched on their faces. It's was a thinly veiled secret and secrets keep you sick. It's a sad history full of amazing people who were tortured by their own minds, and I am no different. I am tortured by my own mind as well. It's a family legacy for us.
That being said, I do not feel as though I am hopeless or that I can't live a peaceful happy life. The only good thing about having so much mental illness in my family is that I know I am not alone, even if some of them won't talk about it. I also have learned to accept my condition and view it as not being doomed to suffer. I can be happy and productive, it just takes more work to be so than the average person. Thankfully another family trait is persistence, strength, stubbornness, and a wicked sense of humor.

My post today is about the power of words. I would like to discuss two words that I personally do not use when talking about my mental illness or the mental illness that runs through my family. No doubt some will disagree with me, but this is my opinion and I have a right to have one.

RECOVERY. I have heard many people say they are recovering from mental illness. They are very adamant about that word and I totally support them on that. It is a good word. It is a word that promotes hope and hope is an amazing thing. I can see that they are recovering and I think it is wonderful. However, I do not like that word nor do I like the implications of it. Or rather, what that word implies to me, personally. Now, before droves of my angry mentally ill brethren show up at my door with burning torches and sharpened pitchforks, hear me out. I don't like that word because to me, recovery means returning to some semblance of normalcy. I have never been normal nor will I ever be. It also implies to me that I some how have "gotten better" with my symptoms. I have not, I have just learned to manage them. It speaks to me of regaining something I have lost and that I am no longer suffering. I am suffering. I have gained self respect, self worth, and self esteem but I did not regain them, I never had them to before my mental illness came into my life. I gained them with treatment. However, in no way do I believe that I will recover. I believe that I will mange. That I will fight kicking, clawing, and screaming. That I will overcome obstacles. I do not believe the word recovery applies to me as no amount of medication or therapy takes away any of my symptoms. They do help me to manage them. Another reason that I don't like the word recovery, or feel it applies to me, is that recovery implies that I have gotten to a higher place and that if I am not careful I could fall back into my mental illness issues. It does not apply to me because I have nowhere left to fall. I have never climbed above my OCD. It has always been with me and it is carried by me everywhere I go. If you look at the word recovery for addicts you will see that that that means they still feel the pull to use but have remained sober/clean. I not only feel the pull of mental illness but I am cloaked in it. I am clean and sober because I am not an addict but I have not ever been clean/sober from my mental illness. To imply that means that if I were to have a really bad episode that somehow I fell off the bandwagon. That some how I have failed myself. That I have relapsed which is impossible since I never stopped being mentally ill in the first place. It sets me up for failure and guilt if I can not remain the way I am now. I am not willing to be put in a place where I know I will fail because I may improve but I will never be truly recovered. I have always had it and I always will.  No one in my family has ever recovered from mental illness, like me they have just learned how to manage it. We manage. We overcome. We strive to be happy and productive but we have never recovered. We are still all mentally ill. It is not a depressing or damning fact, it is simply the truth and we are accepting of that. I believe the word recovery is used to offer hope that one can improve, and we can improve. I believe that the word is used as a beacon of hope for not just the mentally ill but also to make normal people less scared of us. My truth is that I will never recover but I will manage and improve. I will improve on some things but I will never be free of my mental illness. It is important to me that I accept that fact.  I prefer the word manage. I prefer it because for me it much more accurate of what I go through daily. I manage to get up, to talk to others, to advocate,to have meaningful relationships in my life, to not cry when I am hounded by intrusive images, to not be shamed because I am not normal. I manage, but I am not recovering. I am living the best way I can.

The other word I have heard thrown around is CURE. This word to me is damaging. It is a loaded word and I do not accept it. There is no cure for mental illness and to suggest otherwise is hurtful. There are treatments and therapies. There are ways to learn to live with mental illness. There is no magical pill, no pixie dust encrusted  shot, no special dragon scale oil curing therapy that removes all traces of mental illness. That is the stuff sold by snake oil salesmen and con artists. One article I read the other day was asking why we do not use the word cure when we get better. Seemed pretty simple to figure out for me. The author was a psychologist which scared me a little bit. To say that we can be cured, at this point, when there is no actual cure makes those that are ignorant on the subject falsely believe that we don't want to be cured. It suggests that we want to remain sick. Let me be clear, no one would choose to live like this. It isn't a choice. It is not something we like to have or want to be. I was flabbergasted that this "doctor" would ask such a loaded question. To say that I am cured would be a lie. I am not cured. I have my mental illness in a place where I can have good days. I have my mental illness in a place where I am able to function. It is still there. The voice still talks to me. The images still play through my mind like a twisted horror movie. I still have OCD even after therapy and medications. I am not going to call myself something that is a lie to make others feel better about my dysfunction. Accept it or get out of the way because I am not going to play pretend to make others more comfortable around me. I have mental illness. If I can deal with it on a daily basis then so can you.

If you use the word recovery then I support you for your decision. I back you up and I stand up for you. I do ask that you not ask me to use that word. I do not believe it applies to me. Not that I am not hopeful because I am everyday. It's just that I choose to use a different word that I am more comfortable with. Same meaning just different vocabulary.

There is no cure for mental illness at this time. That doesn't mean that some point one won't be developed. But for now, it hasn't and I am not going to be part of a lie that will only hurt people like me. I don't care what reasoning is behind it. I am not cured but I am managing my life with mental illness. I am living the best way I can.  I live for my children, for my husband, for my friends and family. I live for my uncle who could no longer live in the hell his mental illness had created for him. I live for myself because I am proof that it can be done. We can live. We can be happy. We can fight and struggle and still find footing on the ground. Words are so very important. They are what keeps us grounded. I choose my vocabulary very carefully. I want my words to uplift and help. So please forgive me if I do not use certain words in regards to mental illness. It is not that I do not care, it is that I care to much.

Neurotic Nelly

Friday, June 28, 2013

Exposed and Vulnerable

I am dizzy. The world turns on it side and my palms start to burn and become sweaty. My mind races but my thoughts are disjointed. Nothing makes sense. I taste the faint flavor of copper in my mouth and I realize I have been biting my bottom lip until it is swollen and bleeding. Noises, a pen tapping, pencil chewing, conversations, bird's chirping, car horns beeping in the distance, the the mechanical humming of the air conditioner, the television blaring all mingle into a glorious background noise. I see people in the room with me stare with concern on their faces. Their mouths are moving but all I can hear is a soft mumbling falling from their lips. My heart races. I only hear it's rapid beat and my shallow breathing becoming more and more labored. I feel like I am running but I can see my arms and legs as I remain stationary. The world is closing in on me threatening to swallow me whole and I feel as if I am drowning. Something warm and wet runs down my face and neck and pools at my throat. It cools as the collar of my shirt becomes soggy and uncomfortable. I feel puzzled because I can not seem to mentally connect with what is running down my face until I reach up and touch it and realize I am silently weeping. Then a haunting noise comes to the forefront of the mumbling background. It grows louder as I try to concentrate on it over my heart pounding and loud breathing. It sounds like a wounded animal whimpering in pain. I try to pick it out of the jumble of noise. I need to find out where the hurt animal sound is coming from. I need to find out what is making that noise. Then the realization hits me full force. The sound is coming from me. I am whimpering. I am making that noise.

I am having a panic attack.

When people hear the word panic attack they tend to roll there eyes. How bad could a panic attack possible be, they may wonder. It is hard to describe the uncontrollable fear that swallows you up and threatens to leave you lying broken on the floor. It's terrifying. It's a realization that you can no longer control anything. Not your surroundings, not your situation, and certainly not your emotions. You lose the capacity to think, the capacity to grasp what is being said or done, and worse still the capacity to function while you are in the middle of one. Usually there is no warning before you are fighting to regain composure. For me panic attacks are like walking around with a gaping weeping wound that is trying to heal. When a panic attack comes it is as if the scab is ripped away and my pain is bleeding onto to the floor. My dysfunction is laid out for all of the world to see. They can see my fear, my despair, and my agony. Instead of being able to keep these parts of me private I am displayed in public like a freak of nature. Like an emotional wreck of nerves and tears. Like a bad low budget horror film where the acting is par at best and the special effects are crappy. I feel exposed and embarrassed. Embarrassed that I can not control the fear inside of me before it pours out of me like a broken water dish. It splashes onto all facets of my life and I am usually angry after it does. Angry with my mental illness. Angry with myself for not being able to do what for others seems to be so simple. Angry that I exposed my inner worst fears again, in front of not just strangers but also the ones I love. There are some things even I would like to keep to myself and my blubbering,  snotting, and agony is one of those things. That being said, I realize that I have an anxiety disorder and panic attacks unfortunately come with that diagnoses. It is a fact that I will suffer from these occasionally and if put in a situation that I find to be very anxiety producing there is a good possibility that I will experience one. I can not change how others perceive me when I have a panic attack. It is not my job to make them understand. It is my job to work through the panic attack as best as I can and move on to better things. Learning to not be embarrassed by them is a little harder but I am working on it. Having a panic attack is not a sign of weakness. It is, however, a sign that I suffer from a mental illness and like everything else that goes with that, I just have to learn to accept that I may have moments were I am more vulnerable than I would like to be. I may have moments when I am not as composed as I wish I were. It happens.  All I can do is try to limit the amount of stress I am under. All I can do is realize that some situations I can not change and if a panic attack happens I will be okay after it passes. I just need to breathe. Breathe and let it all come out. Only then can I pick up the broken shards of myself I have let fall to the ground and start to glue them back together.

Panic attack symptoms for everyone are different. The only common symptom in almost all panic attacks is a rapid heartbeat and the feeling of not being able to catch your breath. If you happen to be around someone experiencing a panic attack, please do not judge them. They are not weak. They are dealing with something that is so frightening to them that their body reacts without warning. You need to take a second and realize that you have no idea what that person has gone through in their lives. That you have no idea what it feels like to drown from fear in a room full of air. You have no idea how scary it is when everything is happening to you but you are unable to process it. It is happening to you not with you and that is terrifying. So, take their hand and be there for them. Grab a cold washcloth and hold it to their forehead. Give kindness instead of ridicule. It is not easy to sit there exposed and emotionally eviscerated in front of everyone and know that some will laugh and mock you afterwards. That some will judge you after they have seen you at your most vulnerable. Be kind and considerate because you don't realize how strong someone has to be to still fight to have a life knowing that this will happen again and again when they least expect it to. It is not easy being the center of attention when you just wanted to go to the grocery store and get some milk, to the doctor's to get your check up, or your daughter's fifth birthday party in the backyard. We don't choose to have panic attacks but we do choose to live our lives in spite of them. That is possibly the greatest courage one could possess. That is possibly the largest display of strength ever shown.

Neurotic Nelly

Thursday, June 27, 2013

It's All In Your Head

I can't tell you how many times I have read stories or heard stories about the treatment of physical illness being overlooked because the patient has metal illness. It is often met with questions like,"Are you sure you are not just having a panic attack?" or " Are you sure it's pain or are you just upset?". Basically asking us if it is all in our heads.

I have a dear friend who lost her mother, because her mother had OCD. When she kept complaining of severe pain in her abdomen she was treated with kid gloves. No real x-rays or treatments were applied to see what was going on to cause such pain. Instead they gave her a nice pat on the head, threw some pain pills at her, and sent her home. They believed she was over exaggerating because she had mental illness. Six months of pain and hospital visits had the same equation over and over. When the medicine seemed not to help, her daughters both took time off to drive their mother two and half hours to a different hospital where much the same treatment was applied on and off  for five months.Until she became septic. You see, my friends mother had gallbladder stones. The hospitals were not aware because they refused to look. Her gallbladder became infected. She developed a fatty liver due to the medications they gave her. She lost weight until her face no longer was recognizable. Her skin became yellow. Her eyes became yellow. She was weak and having a hard time breathing. She became unable to walk. Her organs started to shut down. She finally got a surgeon who cared and did everything she could to save my friend's mother but it was too late. The emergency room doctors had repeatedly dropped the ball so much that nothing could be done to repair the damage they had done.  She became septic and all she needed to prevent this was to have a gall bladder removal. Because the hospital had decided that my friend's mother was faking it and not worth their time they sent her home in agony over and over again, killing her with the pain medications they decided would solve all of her problems, because obviously she was a mental case and was just out for attention. She died of renal failure with both of her daughters , her husband, and her grandchildren by her side. She was 45.

She did everything right. She went to the doctor. She went to the hospital. She told them what symptoms she was having. She told them of her medical history and she did what responsible people do, she told them the truth about her mental illness. She told them she had OCD and after that the doctors and nurses ceased to see anything else. They judged her a mental case and their judgment killed a mother, a sister, a wife, and a grandmother. She was a kind woman. She had been a teacher. She loved children. She taught Sunday school. Her life was unimportant to them because she had mental illness. That is unacceptable. Because of their actions my 25 year old friend and her 22 year old sister are motherless. They had no one to hold their hands when they got married. No one to tell stories of their birth on their birthdays. No one to call when they are sick and they just want to hear their Momma's voice. That was denied them because their mother had had mental illness and was treated differently because of it.

Now Nelly you say, that is one very sad story but surely this is a one time incident. No, sadly it is not.

I have experienced the discrimination myself with my first surgery. I had a stint put in my bile duct. I had a nurse who I could tell was not really happy to have me as a patient. I could not figure out why. I am a fairly nice person. I am not a difficult patient.

After my surgery my surgeon left the country for vacation so I was left to the mercy of the hospital. I started to have severe pain where my liver is located. I pushed my nurse button and told them I was feeling pain. The nurse at the desk said my nurse would be there in a minute. Fifteen minutes later and my pain was making it hard for me to breathe and still no nurse. I pushed the button again and told them the pain was much worse and I needed to see the nurse. I was scolded for pushing the button a second time and was told my nurse was with another patient and she would get there when she got there. By this time the pain was so bad I was crying. My husband had called to check on me and hearing my uncontrollable crying he decided to drive to the hospital and see if I was okay. He got to my room after a  fifteen minute drive and still no nurse. I was frantic and doubled over in pain. Finally my nurse strolls in with an angry expression on her face and doles out some morphine in my IV. The morphine did nothing for the pain and made me feel like I was going to vomit. Still in pain she decided what I need to "snap out of it" is to be wrenched out of my bed and walked down the hallway. I made it ten steps and doubled over. I couldn't breathe. She dragged me back to my room and called the cats-scan people to have me looked at. My wheelchair arrived pushed by another lady and I was wheeled down to the x-ray room. My wheel chair was run into every trash can, every wall, every cart in the hallway, and every door. I was bumped into the elevator doors so many times I had to actually reach out in my pain and pull myself in.
After my cat-scan was done I was told it was because they blow air in you bile duct to be able to see in there during surgery. I was still in pain and by the time the wheelchair lady got me back to my room I was still in a lot of pain. My nurse was waiting for me. She looked at me with disgust and said in the most ugliest and snarky tone,'"Is she still crying?". It scared me knowing that until her shift was over I was going to be left alone with this woman as my only source of care. She never once came back into my room. I could hear her talking about me and laughing with others in the hallway. On my chart it says I have OCD because I am honest and it is a real illness.  I want others to know because they are taking care of me and it is important that they do know. I do however, feel that if my mental illness wasn't on my chart that she would not have treated me like I was faking it to get attention. I have a hard time believing she would have ever treated a normal person with such discrimination and thinly veiled disgust. I believe that she thought I was trying to get attention and therefore treated me like I was a burden and someone to mock to her friends.

And I am not the only one who has been treated like this by medical staff. It is apparent to me that when faced with mental illness written on your medical chart, some doctors and nurses tend to feel you are just having a panic attack or you are just complaining to complain. Often times your medical needs are overlooked because they can not see past your mental illness diagnoses. Because they believe it is a possibility it is all just in our heads and we are just fine physically.

I have heard of people having head injuries and being asked if they are sure they are not just having a panic attack. I have had people wrongly assume that my physical pain was just me getting upset. I have seen medical staff leave mental illness sufferers in their hospital beds and not check on them their whole shifts because they don't want to "deal" with whatever complaints the person may have. After all, it's not like they are real people that deserve real care. Who would believe them if we made a formal complaint anyway, they are crazy.

This has to change. People are being judged by the one group of people that are supposed to be caring for us. Hospitals are supposed to give you care not leave you to suffer and send you home with pills or violently push you down the hallway because they think you are just trying to be difficult. How many people have gotten very sick or died because the medical field tends to not take us seriously? How many people have suffered because they deem us to be undesirable or unworthy of their time? I have had great nurses and doctors but I have also stared in the face of discrimination and been punished for a mental illness I didn't ask for in the first place. It's wrong and something needs to change. People are being mistreated and on a more scary scale people are dying just because they are being overlooked because of the words mental illness written on their medical charts. No one would put up with this if it was a racial discrimination. Racial discrimination is wrong and disgusting. No one would sit by and accept it if it was a religious discrimination. There are laws against such unacceptable behavior. Why would it even be conceivable that it is acceptable to discriminate against the mentally ill?  And if you can figure this out, please let me know so I can let my friend know why it was acceptable to have to watch her mother suffer needlessly and  die from something that could have been easily treated, I can explain to my children who were in the room with me why I was crying and my nurse was yelling at me and pushing me around, and I can tell all the others who have been swept aside, overlooked, and punished why we are supposed to be treated like this. I really would like to know.

Neurotic Nelly

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Devil's In The Details.....

After midnight I spent an hour or so laying my head on the bathtub edge, my feet under me in an angle, wrapped in a blanket, with the air on, in the dark,with the door shut, next to my toilet. I had a severe migraine, again. When I sit up I am in danger of redecorating my furniture with the items I last ate and when I lie down my nausea is gone but my head feels like hot pokers are being shoved into my eye sockets. My migraines are debilitating and I try not to cry because crying only makes the pain worse. So I lay there in the quiet, dark, cold room and will my pain medication to wash over my body and relieve me of this hell.

I have been not medicated for almost two years now. I am not a doctor and I do not suggest going off your medications without the help of your doctor. Medications can be life saving in my case when I started taking this one it actually, I believe, saved me from myself. I had been on several other medications for my OCD since the age of fourteen. After I experienced my postpartum OCD  I was told by my psychiatrist that he wanted to put me on an anti-psychotic medication which I was appalled at and told him I would rather try something else I had heard had great reviews. I wanted to try Celexa. I had no bad side effects to report,in fact I thought this drug was amazing. For me it literally got me over the postpartum OCD and greatly helped with my regular OCD. Gone were the days of severe anxiety. Gone were the times of sitting and crying curled up in a ball from my intrusive thoughts. I felt, for the first time in my life, stable. This must be what normal people feel like, was all that ran through my mind.

I realized that celexa took away the details. It numbed me to them, which is what helped my OCD. You see, for me the devil is in the details. I am distracted by textures, smells, dirt I see that no one else notices. It made me numb towards them. No longer did I try to clean grout with a toothbrush and bleach for hours. I simply ceased to care. I ceased to feel a lot of things. It wasn't unpleasant that finally I was able to be more functional.

That being said ten years later I was having an issue with my insurance. I knew that I was going to loose it and have to fight for it so I started to wean myself off my medication. I don't suggest that other people do this without a doctors permission. I was off of them for six months when my insurance was approved and then I started slowly back on them. After taking 5 mg a day for a week my husband saw a post from the UK that my medicine had killed people due to a rare arrhythmia.  People would be walking have no idea something was wrong and just drop dead. No warnings that they were aware of. I promptly took my medication and flushed it down the toilet. I did this because the UK paper said any dose over 20mgs was dangerous. After much research I found the the American dosage over 40mgs was dangerous. I was on, are you ready for this, 80mgs. I had been on 80mgs for ten years.

Now, some of this is my fault. I was given 80 mgs by my psychiatrist and after about two years I stopped going to him and went to my regular doctor and she would prescribe the dosage since I had a script. My folly was not realizing that a general practitioner may not know when the dosage rules for mental medications change. So I had no idea I was possibly poisoning myself. I had an EKG done and I do not have an arrhythmia.

However, after two years of not being medicated I am back to the older OCD me. I occasionally have panic attacks and I suffer anxiety. I have mood swings because I can become more easily aggravated. I have through therapy done rather well maintaining my OCD. It's not perfect, but what is? I am as functional as I can be right now and I happy with my progress. If I thought otherwise I would seek attention immediately.

The details are back and I believe that although they can bother me, I am happy to be able to "feel" my emotions. Although, I do miss the "stable" feeling that I was getting used to.  I do have some major issues since I have stopped the celexa and I believe that taking the medication may have altered something in my brain. I am not a doctor so I can not be positive but the only thing that has changed drastically in my life, is stopping my meds.

 I do not remember withdraw symptoms. I think I sweated a lot. No pains or aches. No being sick to my stomach. I really do not remember any adverse reactions. However, even after two years I have migraines. Earth shattering migraines that make me unable to function. Before I stopped celexa I have never had a migraine. Ever.

I spend much more time on my bathroom floor pleading for mercy. I now, have migraines once every three to six months. I have no idea what triggers them, just that they happen randomly and when they do I will suffer like I have never suffered before. I have no advance warning. I have no reason why. The migraines usually last twenty four hours and then mysteriously fade away. It is a living hell when they arrive and continues to be a living hell until they leave.

My other issue is that I cry. Not when I am sad or stressed. I have some inappropriate emotional response to things that make me cry. Not tear up, mind you, cry like a baby. Commercials, something nice said to me, a kind gesture can all make me cry. My husband now will watch me when we are watching a movie and see if I am going to wipe tears away. It chokes me up when talking and I find it highly embarrassing. I have always been a sensitive person but this is ridiculous, even for me. It is not a wanted emotion and it makes no commons sense what I am crying about. I once cried about a commercial that was a little boy reading a book. It wasn't sad. There was no sob story background. It was a commercial about reading and I had a waterfall coming out of my eyes and my voice cracked as I tried to talk.  It happens quite often and so I avoid sad facebook stories, sad movies, stories, or try to limit anything overly emotional  looking to when I am alone. That way I feel less embarrassed. This also started when I stopped taking celexa and had never happened before.

I am grateful that I took celexa when I needed it most. I really think it saved my life at that time, but in turn it could have killed me. I am grateful that I am no longer on it and that I still can maintain a semi-normal life. All I can offer is to please research your medications and keep track of what is being said about the safe doses. I do not know if the crying and migraines will every go away. It has been two years and they are still present in my life. I guess I will have to wait and see. The devil is in the details and I am afraid that I didn't pay enough attention to the details and may now always suffer for it. I can live with the migraines and the crying, but it could have been much worse. It could have been the arrhythmia and I might not have lived at all.

I'm not warning against taking celexa, in my case it was the only medication that ever truly worked for me. I am not saying you should take it either. I am saying that you need to be aware of all medications and their side effects. That you need to keep up with your doctor and make sure they know the current information. Research and educate and never stop updating yourself. Stay safe.

Neurotic Nelly

Saturday, June 22, 2013

OCD It's A Big Deal

Often times I have run across issues with how people view OCD. Apparently some people view this as only a character flaw. I have been called lazy or attention seeking. I have been shown pictures of chip bags opened the wrong way or lines in the street that are crooked and asked jokingly if it bother's my OCD. The answer is yes it bothers me  but what about the many others that it has no affect on. Because so many falsely assume that OCD is all about keeping things orderly people often times overlook the reality that OCD is an anxiety disorder and some of us have no problems with crooked pictures and straight lines. Some of us have other issues that do not revolve around keeping things orderly.

Many times people are desensitized to OCD by pictures, t-shirts, comments, and posters that wrongly describe OCD symptoms. Making light of the daily torture we go through seems to be the "in" thing. They get the impression that OCD is not a mental illness but rather a personality issue. They have been taught that OCD is not serious and no one really suffers with it, they just get mildly upset by it.

Some say such ignorant things like,"She washes her hands, big deal".

Washing your hands a few times a day when they are dirty is not a big deal. However, when you wash your hands so many times that they are raw, cracked, and bleeding then it is a big deal. When you are washing your hands twenty to thirty times a day, it's a big deal. When you are thinking of nothing else but washing your hands and the possibility of not washing them gives you soul shattering anxiety it is a big deal. How would you like to stay at home constantly because at least at home you know you haven't contaminated yourself by outside unseen forces that may make you sick? It's a big deal when you start missing out on life because you have become unable to do certain things.

Some say things like, " You are just worrying too much about nothing. Just calm down, it's not a big deal".

Actually because OCD is an anxiety disorder than yes, we will obsess over things. We are unable to let go of the emotions and fears. The end result is worrying to the point of making ourselves sick, loosing the ability to think about anything else, and being unable to function is a big a deal.

Some say things like," Your are not fat or ugly get over it. Your scar isn't that noticable or your nose isn't that big. It's not a big deal that you feel that way."

The thing that a lot of people don't get is that the main issue that all OCD sufferers have is intrusive thoughts and intrusive images that tell us bad things. They tell us we are ugly, stupid, unlovable, bad, and worthless. We are constantly fighting to feel better about ourselves. We are constantly trying to ignore the voices and images. When you are avoiding time with family and friends or places that you love because you are afraid of the intrusive thoughts then it is a big deal, a very big deal. When you hate your appearance because the voice in your head shows you something that is not there, it's a big deal. Do you know how many people end up scarring themselves because they feel a part or parts of them are wrong and ugly? Do you know how many people starve them selves to death because they "feel" they are fat when in actuality they are skin and bones? Because BDD and Anorexia and bulimia fall under the class of OCD. It's a big deal to hate yourself. It's a big deal when you hurt this deeply. It's a big deal that people are scarring themselves and dying.

Some say things like," Of course that mole on your leg is not cancer, or of course your hair is not falling out. Stop worrying it's not a big deal."

Actually those of us that suffer from health OCD  issues have serious gut wrenching worries. Most of the time our fears turn out to be nothing, but in no way does that affect the deep agony we suffer while we are going through the fears. It in no way makes what we feel any less. It's a big deal when you cant go out because you are afraid that you are dying. It's a big deal when you are not able to go to bed because we are so upset by the fear of what illness we think we might have that we are balled up in the corner rocking back and forth crying.

Having OCD is a big deal. [tweet this].It is a debilitating illness that does not allow you to function the way a normal person does. It is not being lazy. It is not attention seeking behavior. It is not about lining things up and opening bags the correct way. It is a true mental illness and it is every bit as debilitating as any other mental illness.  It is every bit as deadly and it is every bit as painful. OCD is not just something that all people suffer from. It is not something that we wished upon ourselves. It's pain and frustration. It's being judged and mocked. It's fears and phobias. It's having others act like you are just trying to be funny. It is agony and despair and the feeling that no one understands how you feel. OCD is a chronic mental disorder and those that suffer from it need you to spread the word that we are suffering and every time someone thinks it's cute to mock someone with OCD it hurts. It hurts not just that person but all of us by making it acceptable to others to do the same.

Neurotic Nelly

Friday, June 21, 2013

Wear Your Scars Like Badges of Honor

My sister a few years ago gave me a piece of advice that has resonated with me in a great way. She once told me to wear my scars as badges of honor. They are the proof that you have gone through hard trials and made it through the other side.

  This makes total sense because scars are what is left after the wound has healed. This saying goes well for both physical scars and emotional scars. Be proud.

I have a scar that no matter how hard I try I feel self conscious about. Seven years ago I was taking out the trash and tripped over my own feet. I landed on top of a dried up shrub that was now just very sharp sticks that my landlord had yet to dig up and get rid of. I had never really thought about it until one of the sticks impaled my shin.

 XXX warning graphic wound description XXX

It didn't bleed very much but it had gone so deep into my leg that it went through all of my layers of skin and went into my subcutaneous fat tissue. I know this because little yellow balls of subcutaneous fat were falling out of it. When I stood up the stick fell out and I had a neighbor call the ambulance. Where I lived at the time, the ambulance was not very efficient. They gave me some gauze and told me to wash it under my sink and go to my doctor some time that week.  My old retired nun neighbor sat with me as I attempted to wash a gaping whole in my leg and was so nice not to be bothered by the stream of extremities that flowed out of my mouth faster than the water came out of my faucet. I knew that my wound was more serious than just a doctors appointment and my neighbor agreed to take me to the emergency room.

First I had X-rays. Not uncommon. Then my emergency doctor came in to take a look. First he looked at the X-rays and decided that we should numb it. Unfortunately you can hurt yourself so deep that totally numbing the wound is impossible. He then decided to stick a pair of tweezers down into my wound to make sure that no pieces of stick were hiding inside my leg. That hurt pretty bad but I tried my darnedest not to scream. He wasn't satisfied with the tong excavation and decided to use his finger. Sadistic Bastard. He was able to shove his finger into my leg wound all the way to his knuckle. I screamed but I refused to cry in front of him. I was going to show him that I was not some wilting shrinking violet.  After "Dr. Pokes A Lot" left the room I broke down and cried like a baby. I shook, I snotted, I wailed. That had to be one of the most painful situations I have ever endured. He was really upset that the ambulance paramedics had given me such poor advice because sticks tend to splinter and if I had waited too long with a splinter in my leg it would have become infected and I would have possibly lost my leg or become septic. So in truth he wasn't sadistic but very thorough. Painful but thorough. Then after they cleaned my wound with frigid ice water he came back and stitched it up. Good as new, except that I have an inch long scar that at it's widest point is 1/2 an inch wide. It is in a half moon shape and resembles what a shark bite looks like.

Now, I realize that it isn't the biggest scar ever. I know that in many cases my scar is less than other people's scars. I am not saying my scar is worse or causes me more self esteem issues than others. However, I can not hide it unless I wear pants. I also have nerve damage that makes it burn and itch off and on. I usually stamp my leg like an agitated horse until it goes away. It makes me feel like I have ugly legs, and I admit that I am self conscious about it. Because it is an indented scar I can not cover it with make up. The scar tissue has no pigment therefore I can not cover it with tanning lotion. It is a stark white scar that stay that color no matter what I try, so I have stopped trying to tan my legs because it makes the scar more visible. Now I feel bad because I blind the neighbors with the paleness of my legs when I wear shorts on my porch. I have had comments about me "lighting the way" with my legs if we are somehow plunged into darkness. Hardee Harr harr.....

I have wrestled with how to wear it like a badge of honor but what do I have to be proud of? That I survived being viciously attacked by a stationary one foot tall shrub that had died two summers previous? That the zombie bush only took a chunk of my leg and didn't go for my brain?

It makes me uncomfortable to look at so I do not look at my legs much. At least I try not to.

Scars are a part of life. They make you unique. Not only do I have a scar on my leg and other places from other incidents but I also suffer from emotional scars. I wrestle with trying to wear them as badges of honor as well. I was abandoned by my real father, I have severe to moderate OCD that has plagued my whole life, I have anxiety issues and phobias. I have suffered from low self esteem and I sometimes am vulnerable to other's comments. I am over sensitive and over compassionate to where some people in my life have taken advantage of that fact. How do I learn to wear my trials as badges of honor? How do I become proud of my scars? I am not sure but I am working on it. Day by day I struggle to be proud of myself. No one is proud to have mental illness, that would be absurd, but I am proud of what I have been able to achieve despite what my mind is telling me. I am proud that I have finally found the courage to speak up and educate others on mental illness and stigma. I am proud that I am able to gt up each morning and look forward to what the day holds, knowing that it may trigger some OCD issues but that I am strong enough to deal with it, if it rears it's ugly head up at me.

As time goes by I have become less ashamed of my scars emotional, mental,or otherwise. I have become more accepting of my issues. I have learned to be less self conscious of my leg, my being over sensitive, and my OCD. I am learning to wear my scars maybe not as badges of honor yet, but as badges of strength. Badges of truth. Badges that I am healing even when I feel raw and bruised. I am hoping that one day I can wear my scars as badges of honor as well. It's a daily effort but I believe I can do it.

Neurotic Nelly

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Congratulations To My Dear Friend

Today I am discussing something a little different. Today I want to extend my warm wishes to my friend Noel who is getting married tomorrow.

Noel is my dear friend who has become like a sister to me. Her children are my nieces and nephew. Her sister is like my other sister. She has supported me in my darkest hours and been my sounding board for all  my "crazy" issues. She was the one who I first asked about writing a mental illness blog and her excitement for me to do so helped give me the courage to step out of my comfort zone and try something new. So really because of her support I am able to write. This blog is because of the support of loved ones and very much because of her. She is a supportive, sweet, funny, terrific person and I am so blessed to have her in my life.

We live in different states. I am not able to go to her wedding tomorrow. We live over 1500 miles away from each other but talk on the phone two to three times a day. We are always there for each other. We talk about life, our kids, movies, books that we have read, our husbands, our mental illnesses, and just about anything in general. Believe it or not she and I have only physically met once. I am her family and she is mine. You see, she lost her mother recently. I was there for her on the phone and we have laughed together, cried together, and shared the hardest of times together. We make time for each other to show that we are a patchwork family but a strong and loving family none the less.  Her sister usually reads the Christmas Story to her kids on Christmas Eve. They always put me on speaker phone so I can hear her read and hear the kid's excited reactions. Last year I had company over at the time they usually read it. I was bummed because it is part of what makes us feel like a family. So they went and made me cry  because they decided to record and put it on you tube for me  just so I didn't miss out. This is the kind of wonderful caring people that I have in my life and I am so thankful.

And with that I want to take a moment to tell my dear friend how much I love her. How she means the world to me. How without her my life would have less happiness and less laughter. Tomorrow is going to be wonderful. Everything is going to exactly as planned. She is going to be the beautiful bride that I know she is. Her husband to be is very lucky to have such a caring amazing woman in his life. And even though I can not be there I am there in spirit. I also know she will be missing her mother on her big day. There are somethings in life that a daughter really wants to share with her mother. Picking out wedding dresses, picking out the flours and cake, being there to help you get ready before you walk down the isle and being there as you say your vows. I believe that her mother will be there. I actually believe her mother has been with her on every step of the way. I believe that she has always been there. Every breeze is your mother's well wishes. Every sprinkle of rain is your mother's tears of joy. Every bird singing is a sign that your mother is with you standing right beside you. Walking beside you and holding your hand.

I will be standing beside you in my heart and I wish you joy and happiness in your marriage. I pray that you and husband are not just lovers, partners, and parents but also the best of friends. I pray that you have a long and happy life together not as two people separately but together as one. I am so proud of you and I am terribly excited for your new journey in life. May you have many years of joy, support, understanding, love, strength, laughter, and happiness.

With all my love.
Neurotic Nelly

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Dreams and Reality

Around six years old I watched the movie Mask. Not to be confused with Jim Carrey's The Mask, it was a movie about a boy who was born with a face deformity and it stared Eric Stolz and Cher. I absolutely love that movie and I had become obsessed with Cher. I thought that she was more than just an actress and singer. To me she was an ethereal being. She was a black leather and metal stud wearing, lip gloss slathered, tall and sinewy, butterfly tattooed on her derriere angel. I believed she was the most beautiful woman to ever walk the face of the earth.
 I drew detailed pictures of her (stick figures with black scribbles as hair) on notebook paper and taped them all over my wall next to my bed. I even believed that one day I could grow to be a 5'8" tan woman with glossy jet black hair and smoldering brown eyes. I not only believed it but I was convinced. Much to my mother's chagrin of my constant idolization of her and all of her talents.  My mother just wanted me to be happy with who I was. It never occurred to my six year old brain that as a strawberry blonde, dark blue eyed, freckled face, girl that no amount of plastic surgery or money could even make me resemble Cher in the least. She has beautiful blemish free tan skin. My skin is the bleached out white color after a wet band-aid is removed. She has the most amazing black hair and I was just sure that black hair would eventually sprout from my scalp and all of my red hair would fall away in jealousy.  That obviously didn't happen. I felt that she was the take no crap from anyone kind of woman and yet if you fell and scraped your knee she'd stop to help you.  I loved her and I guess I still do but not in the drawing pictures of her and taping them on my bedroom  wall kind of way. At thirty four years old that would be odd and slightly creepy.

You have to admit at sixty six Cher is still rocking it out like the cool chick she is.

Now, what in Sam Hill does Cher have to do with my mental illness blog? Hmmmmm......well I really just wanted to share my childhood obsession with Cher. I do believe that it was the first star I ever really liked. I also believe it might have been my first obsessional thinking from my OCD on a person. Not in the creepy "I am a stalker" kind of obsession but just thinking about her and what her amazing house must look like kind of obsession. I was six, people. I still believed in unicorns for God's sake. Stop Judging me......

What Cher has to do with my mental illness is, I realize that even early on in my life I had a way out of control imagination and a ton of impractical dreams. After all, becoming a fairy princess pirate wearing pink tutus and ruling over the land of dreams while riding flying magical horses never came to pass. I never married Atreyu from Never Ending Story (the first one) as I was so sure I would. When mental illness came to be a huge factor in my life I was unable to do even the simplest of dreams. I was unable to complete high school due to huge anxiety attacks. Therefore my dream of being a college graduate also fell to the way side. That doesn't mean that I can never get my GED and go to college. I can when I feel well enough. I had to realize that some of my dreams, right now, are unreachable. Some of them are impractical at this moment. That does not mean that I can't ever accomplish them. It just means that I may have to wait ,at this time, for some of them. I also learned that the obstacles that mental illness has placed in my life has made me create new dreams that so far, I have been achieving. I may not be a swashbuckling pirate but I am a mental illness advocate, which contains verbal swashbuckling. I may not be a princess that rules over dream land but I am a mother who teaches her children that they can rule over their lives and be whatever they wish to be. I never married Atreyu but I married a wonderful supportive man that loves me "crazy" or not. I may not look like Cher but I am beautiful and talented even though I do not have a butterfly tattooed on my behind. I am sure my mother is relieved by that. My dreams are more practical now, but they are still worth achieving and I always feel a sense of accomplishment when I do.Sometimes my dreams are to write in my blog. Sometimes they are to reach out to those that suffer like I do. Sometimes they are just to have the will to get out of the bed in the morning. My dreams don't have to be out of this world to be good dreams. They don't have to be about fame for me to appreciate the life I have right now.

I have dreams and I have hopes. Mental illness can not take those away form me. [tweet this]. I may not have the same dreams I did growing up  but I have the dreams and goals I set up for myself everyday. Every time I get up out of bed and and will myself to do my daily routine I have accomplished a dream. A dream where today I will be who I want to be. A strong person who stares in the face of my mental illness and says,"You can't have today. Today is mine for the taking and I am getting out of bed and facing it. Because I deserve to be happy. I deserve to be functional. I deserve to be me and all that entails".  So my blathering about Cher actually is a good lesson for me. I don't have to be famous to be worthy. I don't have to be rich to be happy. I don't have to look like someone else to be beautiful. I am more than just a dream. I am reality and I rock.
And you know what? So do you.
Neurotic Nelly

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

What Does Mental Illness Look Like?

Russel Brand was once quoted as saying,"My personalty just doesn't work without fame. Without fame, this haircut looks like mental illness."

Now, that probably should have been insulting to me , but instead it made me chuckle. In his defense he has struggled reportedly with bulimia, self injuring, and drug addiction. He is now sober and clean.

What it did make me ponder is what do people think when they hear the words Mental Illness? What images go through their minds? What do they think we look like?

Maybe they think of us as scary or creepy. Maybe images of dirty homeless  people with sour expressions play through their minds. Although, there are a lot of homeless that have mental illness not all mentally ill people are homeless. Most of us appear to be perfectly normal and you would have no idea that we have mental illness issues if we have not told you.

I am not scary looking, well let me correct that. I am not scary looking after I have had my first cup of coffee and have brushed my teeth and combed out my fiery red medusa-esque hair. After I have been groomed I look just like everyone else. I am not dirty or disheveled. I am as normal looking as one can get. In fact, almost all of the mentally ill individuals I have come across look perfectly normal.

What does it mean to look mentally ill?

I have had some serious reservations about what people think mental illness looks like. We have been bombarded with negative images of scary looking people. Angry people with mean sneers. Vintage photographs of people in asylums mumbling to them selves or banging their heads on the walls. I am not saying that this never happens but I am saying that when properly treated, people are less likely to mumble and bang their heads. It is all about proper treatment. The reason these old images are they way they are is when they were taken the people were not receiving proper care or even decent care that you would provide for any human being. I think that should go a long way to understand that mental illness is not something that can be picked out just by looking at someone. Most of us would never seem to have mental illness issues by the naked eye.

I have had mental illness since childhood and I have never met someone who told me that they knew I was sick just by looking at me. In fact, most people thought that I was somehow going to be snob. Then they tell me they were pleasantly surprised when they realized I wasn't snobbish at all. I have no idea why they think I would be a snob but I have been working on not appearing that way. I don't want people to find me unapproachable because they feel I am going to judge them. I never judge others. I have made mistakes and screwed up things as well, I have no soap box to stand on or high horse to ride off on. I am just like everyone else in that manner.

Now, growing up in the eighties I have made some questionable fashion choices. Brightly colored leg warmers, corduroy pants, and sideways pony tails were all the rage and I participated. Raccoon eyes make up and colorful shoestrings. I admit it. I was guilty of crimes of fashion but then again we all dressed like that including shoulder pads to make us look more like football players rather than normal girls/women. It happened. I am so glad that there are not many pictures of me floating around wearing such horrid attire. Some might think that these outfits were what mental illness looks like but if that were true we would all be guilty of being mentally ill.

Then I wore some of the nineties fashion. I wore the New Kids On The Block merchandise.....headdesk....headdesk...headdesk. I apologize to anyone that saw me wearing these items. Ugh. I am thankful that my mother refused for me to get the Lisa Stansfield hairstyle that I thought would look so great on me. You know, the one where it was buzz cut but there were little sloops of hair that were gelled and stuck to her face.....Thank you mom. Thank you.  We can not forget the evolution of parachute pants. I never got to wear these but I did have a "cool" science teacher that did. He had neon ones, multicolored ones, shiny ones. I often imagined him having a whole closet full of nothing but M.C. Hammer pants. It's kinda disturbing to look back at that whole fashion design back then. It is possible that this would be the look of mental illness? It may seem that we might have all been crazy to like this ugly, with a capital U, look but in reality fashion usually makes no sense.

So despite what outfits or haircuts that we may have, in no way does that represent the actuality of mental illness. It could be that we just really have bad taste. It could be that we are following the trends of fashion. Or it could be that we just really like balloon pants and shoulder pads. You can not, I repeat can not look at someone and know for sure if they are suffering from mental illness. It is not something that we wear on our clothes like "crazy badges" or "mental illness belt buckles". One in four people suffer from mental illness. Look around, how many of them seem nuts? How many of them can you just tell by looking at them that they are suffering?  We need to stop this ridiculous notion that the mentally ill are all dirty and scary. We need to stop feeding the fears of the general population that those that suffer from mental illness are creepy.
You know what's creepy? Taking a bath and relaxing with your eyes closed, hearing a noise and turning to look and seeing three of your cats sitting side by side a foot away from you staring you down. That's creepy. I would much rather sit beside someone with bipolar or depression than to know if my cats are secretly planning ways to off me. I have said this before but I am going to reiterate, mentally ill people are more likely to be a victim of violence rather than commit a violent act. Mentally ill people are not anything to be afraid of. If anything we might need to be more afraid of fashion fads that scar us for life or worse yet, plotting cats that stare at you in the bath.

Neurotic Nelly

Saturday, June 15, 2013

What Lies Beneath

What lies beneath my smile and decent mood, lately has been an obsession that I have dealt with for the last year or so. It stems from my childhood and research that I have been trying to do for the last five years.  I am left feeling lost, bitter, and angry. It is all directed at one person.

Thirty four years ago I was born to a twenty one year old amazing abuse survivor on her birthday. We are very close and she has always been as honest with me as possible. To say my mother and I are best friends is an understatement.  She was abused by her father, a preacher only to marry a physically abusive and mentally abusive man who not only beat her but cheated on her constantly. He was a monster. In this time she had begun to work at a fruit stand in Greenville, Texas. It was run by Barbara and Nick Nicholson. She had met their son Monty. My mother became very close with these people and they were the only friends that she had. She fell in love with their son who was, for lack of a better word a womanizer.

Before I was conceived another woman that had been in a relationship with Monty had told him that he had gotten her pregnant. He has admitted this to me on the rare occasions that we have spoken. Barbara couldn't believe it and was angry so the woman left with her son to California. The only information I could get was that his name was Patrick.

Not to long after that I was conceived. My mother was told by Nick not to tell Barbara that Monty was my father because not only would she not believe it but it could ruin the great relationship my mom had developed with Barbara. I would not be able to see them and be a part of their lives. So my mother stayed quiet. However my mother did name me after her.

I grew up playing in the fruit stand for a few years in the summer. Barbara would pick me up and coddle me. Nick would let me play and he was very good to me. Monty, I have less memories of. He was around sometimes and I have been told he would take me out with him places, but I do not remember that.  My mother left her abusive husband and met and married the man who raised me. Time changes and with it relationships can fall to the way side. We moved several times and I never saw Nick and Barbara again.

As a child I had been told that Monty was my father. I grew up feeling adopted. Hours spent looking at my face and wondering if I looked like the Nicholson family. Were they like me? Did we like the same things? Did they have my eyes or my button nose? I always had an emptiness inside of me of the not knowing. Why was I not good enough for him to want to be a part of my life still? Why would they not want to claim me to others? Why couldn't Barbara be told that I was her granddaughter?

Nick had often told my mother that I looked like his side of the family. I always held onto this hope that I was somehow like them. An empty whole that could never be filled by anything else except knowing why I was cast aside and forgotten. Was I such a bad girl that they could no longer love me? What part of me is my mom's side and what part of me is them? Looking in the mirror created more questions than answers. You see, there are physical traits that I have that no one else on my mom's side has. She would tell me I had a long neck like Barbara and I would try to lift my head higher to see it and imagine that maybe somehow I was like her. Grasping at any straws that I could grasp. How would I ever know myself without knowing what makes me, me? I have no information on my ancestry on that side. I have no medical information on that side. I have nothing but a gaping empty place where my soul should be. A wound that has never quite fully healed.

Fast forward to my first pregnancy at age twenty three. I had met my wonderful husband and we decided to have a child. Going to the doctor's was scary but pretty common until they started asking me questions about my family history. Questions I had no answers for. So I had decided that for my child I would stand up and stop allowing myself to be a dirty little secret to my biological father. I was no longer going to be silent. I found his parent's phone number which thankfully had not ever changed. I called Barbara and I told her the truth. She remembered me and we talked. Apparently, at that time Monty was staying with them and when pushed he admitted I was his daughter. I got some medical information and for the next five years Barbara and I became quite close. I would call her every two weeks and I sent her pictures of my children once a month along with a letter. I even talked to Monty. Not realizing that he was trying to get back with my mother who refuted him. All was going pretty well and part of me started to heal. Then Barbara and Nick went to a nursing home. Nick had health issues and Monty would not tell me what nursing home they moved into. I was afraid that because Nick's health was bad that maybe I should back off. About two months later I was told he had died. I was told by my mother because Monty had emailed her to tell her. He didn't call me or email me. It was a slap in the face. I called him to give him my sympathy and ask about how Barbara was. He was stand offish and when I asked if I could talk to my grandmother (she is after all my grandmother) he told me she had Alzheimer's and did not remember me. After five years of talking  she just forgot me. That quickly I was extracted from the family I had fought so hard to connect with. Again.

I was devastated and so I found the online guest book of the obituary of Nick. It mentioned his sons and his family. It talked about his grandchildren from his other son. My name was not mentioned. I was refuted again. I became angry. I began to hate Monty. I realized that he was talking to me only to get to my mother. I realized that when he apologized for not being there for me, he was just trying to feel better about himself because I forgave him. I realized that he had never told any of his family that he had a daughter. I was still his dirty little secret. Nothing had ever changed. I still was not important to him and my existence was never going to mean anything to him. He never loved me or even cared.

He changed his number and stopped replying to my emails. He moved away and never told me where. He even took Barbara with him. What I know is that not only had he sabotaged me having her as a grandmother the first time but he took her away from me again. Twice he has done this to me. I tried to wrestle with pain and frustration. I tried to fill the whole that was left inside of me. Again.

So knowing that I would never fill the abandonment of him. I tried to be the best person I can be. As I grew up I made sure I never turned my back on anyone like he has done to me over and over again. I strived to be better than Monty. Better than lies and half truths. I strived to be a person he could accept and then I strived to do the one thing he never could or would. I strived to love myself, because I deserve so much better than that.

I had been thinking about my brother Patrick. Maybe I can find a missing part of myself if I could reach out and find my brother. Maybe I could have a meaningful relationship with him. Maybe we could heal together. The only issue with that is that I would have to rely on Monty for information. I found him on face book. He added me back but he wouldn't answer my questions.Typical to do what he wants but not give me the one thing I have ever asked for. The one thing I really feel I need at this point. So I waited and after two weeks of crying and checking to see if he would answer me. After two weeks of feeling all of the pain and anger that I stuffed down for thirty four years the feelings started to come back up. I decided to message his wife.

I knew she probably did not know he had a daughter but I tried anyway. I told her the honest truth. That Monty was never in my life. That he told me about a brother and I just needed my brother's  mother's name and his whole name and birth date. I didn't want to start trouble but I had been asking this man for a while. That he never gives me the time of day. That I have this whole inside of me that he created and I needed just one thing from a man who has never given me anything and I didn't think it was too much to ask. I asked if she knew what it was like to look at pictures on face book or google+ with the name I have and try and see if you look like these people. Does he have my eyes? Does he look like me? I asked her if she knew what it is like knowing you have a brother out there and not know what he looks like. If he is alive or dead. If you have walked by him the grocery store and not ever known it. That I don't think I can heal unless I can at least see a picture of him. That I have questions and I just need to know.

She responded and made him message me. She is a terrific person for doing that for a stranger. She had no idea he had a son either....shocking.(sarcasm)

His message was just as I expected. " His name is Patrick. I have never seen or talked to him. I don't think it would be wise for you to contact him. Wish I could help more."

Really. Yes, I can see that helping me has always been top on your list. Ugh. What really pisses me off on this whole thing is not only did he avoid telling me anything of use, but the " not wise to contact him" statement. I think in the thirty four years of Monty's decisions on who I can talk to or communicate with that I should be allowed to make up my own mind. People that are MY family that I was hidden from. People that I have missed out on because he didn't want anyone to know. Not only did he do this to me but he also did this to MY brother whom he feels is unwise to contact. Why because he is afraid that it will hurt me? Hurt Patrick? Why should he be concerned with our feelings now that we are in our thirties when he didn't give a damn when we were kids?
So, I guess my issue is how do I learn to heal this rawness? How do I stop feeling the pain of loss for people who refuse to help me find the one thing I want more than anything. How do I stop looking at myself in the mirror and feel like pieces are missing? Bits of my soul are broken. It's not enough that I deal with mental illness but I am also dealing with devastation that somewhere there is a piece of me walking around that does not know that I exist. And worse yet, I have no way of finding him and telling him. I could handle him not caring or wanting to talk to me. But shouldn't that be our choice? For once can't that be something that WE decide? I would just really like just once to have the option to try. I would just like to see his face, a picture, whatever. Am I asking too much? Am I really? Because we have only one life and Monty has taken so much from mine already, why does he choose to take away the right to know about my brother?

So if there is just a tiny chance that someone somewhere knows of a Patrick over the age of thirty four that was born in Greenville Texas and then moved to California please have him read this.  If there is a Patrick whose father is Monty G Nicholson born in 1955 in Greenville Texas know that there is someone on that unbelievably selfish, self-centered family that is looking for you. That there is someone that cares. You are not a dirty little secret. I am not a dirty little secret. We matter and I want so desperately to finally know what you look like. I want so desperately for you  to know that I exist and I care. What lies beneath all of these lies and falsehoods is us. We are beneath the lies he has told and fed us at every point and I am trying to climb out from under the weight of it and find you.
Neurotic Nelly

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Waiting for Someone to Save You

My advice on waiting for someone to save you from yourself or love you like you are unable to love yourself is, don't. Don't do it.

In our history there are always fairy tales that give the impression that we should wait and our prince/princess will come and rescue us. Our knights in shining armor on white horses slaying the beasts that imprison us. It's a reoccurring subject matter force fed to us since the time that we are able to walk and form words. Pretty little stories spoken to us in hushed tones at bedtime by our parents. Snow white, Cinderella, and Rapunzel there are so many stories and so little time to list them. Now, I love fairy tales but they are just that tales of fairies, gnomes, witches, and  magic. Dragons and flying carpets, fantasy and falsehoods.

Relationships are hard enough as a normal individual. When you throw something into the relationship like mental illness you have other issues. It becomes less about flying carpets and more about will the prince/princess stick by me as I try a new medication and  bloat up sixty pounds? Will they be able to deal with the nights of crying and despair? Will they be able to handle my not being able to work or go out places with them? How will they feel about the fact that I will have emotional breakdowns and psychiatrist appointments? Can they take the fact that I have anxiety or I hear voices? Will they be there if I need to be admitted to the mental hospital? Will they hold my hand when I am scared to get out of the bed in the morning or if I am depressed and haven't showered for three weeks?

It is hard enough to have a relationship as a healthy person. It is much harder to be tied to someone that has self esteem issues and self negative notions. Not to mention that the stigma of having mental illness is not just an umbrella of shame that hangs over your head but it also overhangs your partners life as well. Because he/she is connected to you not only do they deal with your issues but they also will be judged by others for being with you. It is a hard thing to tackle.

I am not saying that you should not have relationships when you have mental illness. I have been married for twelve years and we are still going strong. What I am saying is that you have to learn to love and accept yourself first. If you do not, the first person that professes love becomes your safety net and that is really not a power you should be giving anyone over you. The knight and shining armor riding in on his/her white horse may really be a loser wrapped in tin foil with a wooden sword riding in on a broken unicycle with a flat tire. We especially as a younger person feel this perverse need to share cohabitation with someone and have a relationship like The Notebook. Not realizing that The Notebook relationship can actually be a Silence of The Lambs relationship.

Manipulation and lies, sadness and despair, anger, and pain can erupt. If you can't like yourself or accept yourself then you have low a self esteem. You are unable to stand up for yourself. This causes a huge issue as you now believe wrongly that your opinions do not matter. Imagine a relationship where you can not say no when you don't want something or like something. Imagine having your feelings over looked and ignored. Imagine being manipulated and lied too. Does that sound like a romantic relationship to you? It is a slippery slope that leads directly into a dark, dank, smelly pit of hell. Trust me, I have been there. You are not a welcome mat, don't let people walk on you or use you to wipe their feet on. No one deserves that.

Another issue that we come across is that in wanting to be saved from ourselves we do not realize that we are allowing our partner to make decisions for us. We do not realize the power that goes with making a decision for ourselves. We have lost the ability to know our true selves and now we are allowing others to decide for us what we want, like, and have to do. We are letting them tell us who we are rather than finding out ourselves. What if you really are not who this person wants you to be? They can whittle you down and force you to become something you are not happy with. You are not a block of balsa wood. You do not need to whittled away until you the fit the mold of what someone else wants. Become whatever and whoever you choose to be.

Getting into a relationship when you are unstable is like a really bad chemistry experiment that is likely to go horribly wrong and blow up in your face. No one wants to walk around with singed off eyebrows smelling like sulfur. You know what fire and brimstone smells like? Sulfur( see dark, dank, smelly pit of hell above).

You need to give yourself some time. You need to get to know who you are and learn to stick up for yourself and your beliefs. Get help for your mental illness and learn to stand by yourself first. Then and only then can you safely meet your Mr./Miss Right. You have a better chance of falling in love with Noah Calhoun rather than falling for Hannibal Lecter. Oh, he probably won't cook a piece of your brain and feed it to you, but it may feel like he has. Do you really want to take that chance? This could be my OCD talking here, but I would rather be safe than sorry. Most likely he/she would just suck out your soul and everything good out of you. He/she would leave you a dried husk of what once was you laying on the ground. You are worth much more than that.

So take it form an older more wiser woman who has been in this situation. Please don't rush into something you want but are so not ready for. Save yourself the heartache and scars. Be the knight and shining armor for yourself. Don't wait for someone else to heal you or love you. Heal and love yourself. Save yourself from drowning. Save yourself from falling. Save yourself from these ridiculous notions that we have to be saved by  mythical royalty to begin with. This is your life, seize it and take no prisoners. Accept only what you deserve and want. Leave the Hannibal Lecters of the relationship world to themselves.

with fava beans and a nice chianti.....
Neurotic Nelly

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Confident in Spite of Me

I have often been asked how do I have such confidence in myself with everything that is going on with me.....Kind of an insulting question if you think about just what that implies,but it is a fair one. I have mental illness and scars from my childhood abandonment. I have scars from my fraudulent and unfair institutionalization at the age of ten. I have scars from my first marriage and the toxic relationship that was us. I have many scars and many issues. How do I have confidence in myself?
I think the better question is if I don't who will? If I can't believe in myself how do I expect anyone else too? If I can't like myself how can I ever let anyone else love me. I am a work in progress. I am always striving to do better to be better. It takes small steps. It takes years but it is possible. I don't buy into the ridiculous notion that you can change your opinion on life over night. For me that wasn't case.
It wasn't easy and there had to be some really deep soul searching. I had to look at the ugly parts of me and learn to accept them.What I found is that no matter what comes my direction I am a good person. I am a kind person. I am a compassionate person. I feel, I hurt, I love, I fear, and I cry. I am like no one else and yet I am like everyone else.
I am satisfied with my personality, torn as it may be. I am strong and I can handle anything after looking in the blackness that is my mental illness. I take strength in the fact that I am my grandmother's granddaughter because like her I am stubborn and persistent. I take comfort in the fact that I am like my mother in her capacity to adapt when change comes and slaps me in the face. I am not perfect but I am beautiful. I am different but I am also unique. I am an enigma wrapped up in a mystery, wrapped in complication. I am not easy to deal with on a daily basis but I am so worth your time..
I have confidence because I choose to love myself and I choose to love the world. It can hurt me but it also can give me such support, such love, and such beauty.

This not just true for me but it is true for all of us. There is hope. There is always hope even at your weakest point, even at your darkest moment. There is always another day and another struggle. There is always a chance for victory. Victory over your pain. Victory over your grief. Victory over stigma. You have to become the change you want to see in the world.

I don't like the quote when life gives you lemons make lemonade. What if you don't like lemonade? I think it is good but I much more prefer tea. Tea is calming. Tea is good both cold and hot. Tea is adaptable to just about every situation. So my quote is when life gives you tea leaves grind them up and put a kettle on the fire. When life gives you obstacles don't just go around them, know that you have conquered them.

My biggest accomplishment of having confidence is really the people around me that have supported me. Sure, there are those that have been harmful and rude. There have been those that have turned their backs on me. There have been those that walked away. But I am still here and really the truth is that they are the one's missing out.  So for those of you that have been abandoned, for those that have never been told that they are important, for those that have been abused and neglected, I would like to tell you something I hope you can grasp.
It is wrong that no one has ever told you that you are beautiful. It wrong that no one has ever stood by you. You are not dirty. You are not bad. You are not guilty or shameful. You are not an embarrassment. You are strong. You are brave. You are courageous in the face of things that most people would run away from. You are worthy. You are important. You matter. You are the director of your life's journey. It is up to you and no one else. Let no one put you down or make you feel less than you are. You are magnificent. Believe in your truths. Believe in your strength and most of all believe in yourself. I believe that you can do it. I believe that you can be whatever you choose to become and I believe in you.
Neurotic Nelly

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Scarred and Alone

In life there is pain. In life there are struggles. In life there is immense sorrow. I am not going to sit here and blow smoke and tell you life is all about rainbows and unicorn farts. Obviously that is not the case. But there is beauty. There is love. There is acceptance, hopes and dreams. Life is hard but it is everything that we have. It is in fact all that we have. This life and what we choose to do with it.

We are all afraid of something. We are all scarred and broken in places. There are tiny cracks in our swords. Small chips in our in our chain mail. Chinks in our armor. Places where life has thrown something at us that we deflected but not quickly enough to avoid all damage. We have splinters and they fester. We are the walking wounded each and everyone of us.

We all at some, point have felt alone. In today's world having mental illness is deemed as being unworthy, unemployable, and unsafe. Mental illness is a now dirty word and all of us diagnosed with one are looked upon as being somehow less of an individual. We are thought to be overacting, attention seeking, and over dramatic. We are seen as the cause of our own issues.

The result is people being untruthful with us. Walking on eggshells or not walking with us at all. Avoidance and secrets are not helpful and if anything it makes us feel even more alone. We feel alone always. Even if placed in a crowded room full of family and friends. There is always a feeling of difference between us and them that makes it hard to feel like part of the crowd. Especially, if we have self esteem issues or are awkward in our movements, speech patterns, and thought processes.

Imagine being at a pool party with everyone you know. Everyone is dancing and swimming around in their swim suits and having an amazing time. You want to join in but under your clothes you have long, deep, red scars that you feel embarrassed about. You feel ugly. You feel unacceptable. You feel like you are hiding something. And so instead of being there to have a good time and socialize you sit in the back and watch others with all of your clothes on even though it's hot. Even though your sweaty. You are too afraid of what other people will say if they see your scars. If they see the real you. You miss out and even though you know these people are your friends they have no idea who the real you is. The complicated you. The scarred you in all it's glory. The you that is not just a pretty face or a silly smile.  They don't know your secrets or your feelings on the matter. They only know what is easy for them to process. And so you sit out because you always sit out.  You do not reveal the real you.

Are you in a crowded place? Yes, but you still feel so very alone. Imagine this being everyday of your life only the pool party is the office or your dinner table. Your clothes hide no scars but your smiles do. Your scars are inside your mind. There are broken bits in your soul. You can be with the people you love the most and yet you feel totally lost and alone. They are not like you. They are not scarred in the way you are.

When we are honest we tend run across four types of people. The first is the fair weather friend. They avoid and walk away. Let them go. Grieve the loss and walk away with your head held high. They are not worth the time and effort. Do you deserve half assed friends with half assed attempts to support you or understand your pain? No, you deserve the kind of friends that are there for you like you are there for them. If they don't make the grade cut them away like the cancer they are. No one needs fair weather friends.No one.

The second group is a little more complicated. They are the egg shell walkers. They are aware of your issues and are unsure of how to proceed around you. They don't want to bother you with stress or issues that may rise. They fail to include you in decision making. They try to make everything seem perfectly fine when in truth the walls of your life are on fire and falling down around you. Now, these people are not like the fair weather friends. These people care and want to be there for you but they are misguided into believing that somehow your mental illness has turned you into a child incapable of dealing with life and all it holds with in. These people just need to be educated and you can do that by simply sitting them down and explaining it to them. They may have to be monitored and reminded from time to time that they are falling back into old habits. We have mental illness, we are not stupid, ignorant, and most of us can take the truth as it is given to us. After all don't you think we know what we can and can't handle better than you? I mean we tend to be more familiar with truth than the average person.

The third type is the dearly loved ones that are the bad advice givers. Ugh God, really these ideas are so crazy sometimes I wonder who the one with mental illness is. These people love you. They want to make it better but since they have never been mentally ill they give you advice like you have never experienced mental illness either. Forgive them for they do not know what they are doing, seriously. They have no idea that their advice is ridiculous and obvious. As if something simple is something we had not thought of before and that doing it will automatically make us well. They try and although their advice can be slightly insulting and laughable with sarcasm, at least they have decided to help the best way they know how. You can either try to educate them, warning these types tend not to understand what you are broadcasting, or you can let it go and just feel good that they love you enough to keep trying. They are practical and offer only practical advice. As mental illness sufferers our minds might be practical but our emotions are anything but. Telling me that my fear of germs is irrational because we have millions of bacteria on our bodies and they are helpful, doesn't make me any less scared of germs. If anything I feel like I now have to wash myself with bleach and a s.o.s. pad. I do appreciate that you love me enough to give me your time and advice.

The fourth type is what I affectionately call the crazy cousin. It is as if mental illness and bizarre circumstances had children and they are a product of that weird dysfunctional relationship. They either suffer from mental illness or have had so many in their family that they get you in a way that no one else does. They can be relatives, internet friends, coworkers, or neighbors. These people are the kind that would wake up at three a.m. to discuss why you should not be afraid that you have accidentally poisoned yourself by the shampoo dripping into your eyes. They are the people that will drive through a foot of snow to come over and have tea with you when you are lonely. They are the kind that would send you an email from work just to check up on you. They make it possible to laugh at not only how screwed up you are but how screwed up they are in turn. They support you wholeheartedly. They are there for you at your best and there to hold your hand at your worst. They are crazy. They are beautiful and if you find one of these do not take them for granted. They make it possible to go to a pool party and take off your shirt and swim because they are equally scarred and they will dive head first in with you. They don't care how scarred you are they love you not just in spite of them but because of them.

So whether you have fair weather friends, egg shell walkers, bad advice givers, or crazy cousins there is no reason to feel lonely. I can assure you are not alone. There are so many of us that suffer. So many of us that are scared to reveal our true selves. We have no reason to be ashamed of our scars. We have no reason to hide in the back of the room and not participate. We are not alone. You are not alone.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Hatred Of Sounds

Today I would like to discuss something a little different from my usual diatribe. Today I would like to discuss my other mental dysfunction misophonia. It is more common that you think.

For people with a condition that some scientists call misophonia, mealtime can be torture. The sounds of other people eating — chewing, chomping, slurping, gurgling — can send them into an instantaneous, blood-boiling rage. Many people can be driven to distraction by certain small sounds that do not seem to bother others — gum chewing, footsteps, humming. But sufferers of misophonia, a newly recognized condition that remains little studied and poorly understood, take the problem to a higher level. -

I have had it since childhood. My first memory of it was telling my best friend  that if she smacked her ice cream cone one more time I was going to literally shove it up her nose. She laughed, I laughed, and I envisioned it still as I laughed.  It is not enough that I have OCD and have a problem with smells and textures. I also have a problem with certain sounds. A big problem.

I have a hatred of sounds. I am not talking about a mild annoyance. I am talking about a knee jerk violent reaction that makes me want to scream and punch the offender. I do not act upon it because I am a non violent person. I do however think about it really hard. Hearing my trigger sounds make my jaw tighten, my blood pump, and my rage explode. I can usually only manage a strangled voice through clenched teeth, "Do it again and I will hurt you....I" That has been my mantra for over thirty years. Now, I have never followed through on that threat but I do threaten and mostly people laugh. Sometimes they make my trigger noises just to watch me spin my head around like the exorcist and shoot them a nasty look.

My trigger sounds are licking, smacking, sucking sounds, clicking things on your teeth, whistling sounds from your nose, gulping, and some loud breathing sounds.

I am often told by my grandmother to get a dining room table. I would love to but I will not be able to eat at it. I can hear the swishing sounds inside of people's mouths when the eat and I have to get up and leave. Thanksgiving dinner is hell. Pure hell. I have to choose where I am gong to sit carefully because SOME of my more distant family members eat like farm animals complete with talking with their mouth full and saying it while spraying it. Ugh.

The worst offender in my house out of my two children, my husband, and my four cats is my twenty two pound orange cat Hobbs. Just so you know I got him that big. He and I have a running problem with his rude behavior. He is a licker. He licks constantly. I know it is sign that he is happy but out of the four bedrooms in my house why does he choose to go right next to me to do it? Like there is no place else he can go? I usually snap my fingers at him. He looks at me, I look at him. We have a staring contest. I stare, he stares. I squint my eyes , he winks at me mid lick and then goes back to cleaning himself. I think he is secretly trying to drive me insane. Well, more insane than I already admit to being.

When I here these noises I have a fight or flight response. I can't handle them. I always flee because for some reason punching random people in the throat is frowned upon in our society. I have even pushed someone walking too slow out of my way because a man in the clothing store was walking behind me while clicking a peppermint on his teeth....sorry Mom. She was cool with it and all but I probably should have just went around her instead of body checking her into a rack of clothes like a hockey player....again my apologies.

When confronted with these noises  I have often dug my finger nails into my palms until they bled. Just to concentrate on the pain rather than the sound. It doesn't really work that well but that has been all I have in situations where I could not flee. The sounds are amplified in my brain. I can't concentrate on anything else or hear anything else. It is a horrid experience.  I seem to get more trigger sounds as I age. I also have to have the t.v. up when my cats eat or drink. The noises are unbearable.  I mean why can't they drink from a glass like everyone else? Not having thumbs is not a good excuse.  I mean is it my fault that they don't have lips? Well, is it??!!??

All kidding aside, it is very hard to be around noises that are almost painful. It is torture. There is no known cure at this time and I would love for them to find one. I would love to be able to sit at a table with my family and friends and not be like a crazed caged animal looking for a way out. I would love to be able to not have to drown out noises with music or t.v. so I can remain calm. I would love to join in things that right now I avoid due to the rage that isn't really my personality at all. Do you have misophonia as well? If so I feel your pain but I am glad I don't hear it.

Friday, June 7, 2013


Nature is strong, beautiful, delicate, and complicated. It can be calm and soothing like the gentle patter of rain drops on the earth. Quenching the parched grounds and giving life to the yellowed grass. It can calm your soul and create a feeling of peace. Then she can come back around and knock you on your butt. Huge storms, strong winds, lightening crashing to the trees and rooftops. She is definitely a force of change.

Change is scary. It is hard. The unknown can be very uncomfortable. The stress of doing something different, living somewhere different. The thought that the future is uncertain. It doesn't mean that what has yet to come is bad. It is just different. And what do we do with that knowledge? Do we run and hide or do we go out to face it with the sun shining in our face? Do we face the storms of rolling uncertainty or do we jump ship and abandon all notions of waiting to find out?

There are stories for each and every one of us. Dreams and hopes, pain and strength. Every one of us has overcome adversity or struggles. Each one of us has had good times and bad times. We all have beliefs and opinions. We are all books that have yet to be finished. We write our own lives on our own pages.
When we encounter change we decide how it plays out. How we deal or don't deal with it. We are all so different and yet so very alike.

I have often wondered what life is like  for the normal person. What is their struggle? What do they do when they go home at the end of a very long hard day? Do they sit in their favorite chair and put their feet up? Do they watch t.v. or snuggle down with a good book?

I am guilty of believing that my issues are harder than theirs. I am guilty of thinking that their lives are somehow easier than mine. On reflection, I realize I have no right to believe that. Everyone has their own hurdles. Their own vices. I am not any better or any worse. My life is not harder just different issues to deal with. And as I come to understand this I realize that I have done a disservice to both them and myself. I get so wrapped up in my own suffering that I have failed to see that they may be suffering as well.  I have failed to see that everyone has something that has caused them pain. Everyone has a story and their story is equally important.

I want to educate the public. I want to reach out to the masses and show them that mental illness is not scary or dangerous. In that I have to realize that I also have to show them that we all share the same pain. A normal person isn't having a better life. They are having a different one. I am not having more pain than a normal person, my pain just is more evident because I can not hide it the way a normal person does.
Maybe if I can reach out to them I can get them to see that we are not so different. That we feel the same pain when we experience loss or anger. That we feel the same despair when something is totally going wrong. The only difference is that we are not able to turn off the emotional faucet. It just continues to run until it overflows everything in our lives.

We may hear voices, we may have anxiety, we may have depression, we may be manic or hyper. All of these things do not only belong to us. They are human emotions and therefore we as humans all suffer from them. We are not so different, we are just honest about it. If you took the time to really search yourself you might find that you have had these experiences too. You might find that you are a little less scared of us. That you are a little more understanding of what our daily lives are alike. You might find new words to write on your pages. Instead of crazy write illness. Instead of fear write acceptance. Instead of discrimination write love. Instead of weakness write strength. Write beautiful. Write same. Because we are all different but yet very much the same.

Neurotic Nelly

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Reading Between The Lines

I read. I read a lot. I devour information. I drink in books and articles. I am a person who loves to learn.
Often times, I read about mental illness. I feel it is my duty to keep up with such things. Obviously, it is important to know what I am facing everyday as I get up and get my first cup of coffee. I sit there and listen to the birds chirping happily away. I take a deep breath and read what others are saying about mental illness. I see what others are saying about me because when they talk about mental illness, they are in essence talking about me.

I have read a couple of articles relating to government and stigma. I don't read just about America's government because what happens in other countries affects us all. We are a global community of sufferers.

I understand that many people are afraid of the mentally ill. How could they not be when the images promoted are so negative? We are trying to change that but it is a slow process. For many years being mentally ill was an excuse for committing horrible crimes and it was easier for others to use it as a scapegoat so they could sleep a little better at night. Let's stop playing dumb and read between the lines shall we?

As a member of the mental illness community I get rather tired of being blamed for all the wrongs of the world. Yes, I said me because when you use a general term you include everyone of us in it. I am tired of being shamed because I have nothing to be ashamed of. I am tired of being told that I am dangerous or scary. Am I really? I am afraid of rabbits, people. How on earth could that personally be scary to you? The issue is to read between the lines. People are scared of nameless creatures that lurk around in the dark and go bump in the night. Somehow, we have become the scary shadows that prey on the sleeping. It's ridiculous. I am not a shadow or a monster. I am not going to hurt you but statistics say that you as a normal individual are three times more likely to hurt me. Who should be scared of whom?

If I were to have a psychotic break(I have OCD so that would be extremely unlikely) but if I did, what would happen? I would be arrested and hog tied most likely. Maybe tazered. I could be maced. Or even worse I could be shot. It is reported that out of the 375-500 people shot by police each year half of them suffer from mental illness. If captured without incident then I would be held in a cage cell, there are some departments that have cells for the mentally ill that resemble large dog cages. Or I could be placed in the restraint chair. Then I would be transferred to a hospital which would restrain me and sedate me. All of these are potentially lethal. I could suffocate. I could choke. The meds could be wrong and stop my heart. I could be bruised and battered. I could be blinded and electrocuted.

And yet you are afraid of me?

It is reported that federal prison population of the mentally ill has quadrupled. People that could be getting help and be productive were denied the proper care when they needed it an now are pouring out of the prisons. They are not truly getting the help they need in prison either.

And yet we are accused of hurting the normal people?

The mentally ill are far more likely to victims of violent crime rather than commit one.We are far more likely to be victims. What does that say about the normal people? 92 -96 percent of mentally ill patients are non violent and never have been.

And yet the media acts as if we are the sole reason that violent crimes occur. Fear us because the t.v. and newspapers say too. Fear us because it is far more convenient to believe that than to take a look at what else might be going on.

I am not saying that some of the mentally ill have never committed crimes or murder. I am saying that 3-5 percent of them have. What about the 97-95 percent? Why are we being stigmatized and put down?

Read between the lines. Discrimination and stigma are unfair and hurtful. It does no one any good to smudge truths to sell papers or to get ratings. It does no one any good to promote lies and negative connotations. We need people to be honest and stand up for us. Maybe it is the "tree hugger" in me but I would really appreciate factual knowledge being spread rather than false fear.

I keep my feet on the ground. I broadcast my honesty. I refuse to be placed in a box and be lied about. I am not dangerous. I am not scary. I am not bad. I am not ugly. I am not broken. I should be more afraid of you than you are of me and yet I refuse to be. I will not be shamed and I will not accept anything less than being treated like everyone else. I will not be afraid of you. I have a right to live my life and not be judged on what I have but who I am as a person. [tweet this]. What I have done personally. What I choose to do in my life and with my life. I choose to be positive. I choose to be strong. I choose to be kind and considerate. I choose to be me.

Stereo types are inaccurate and wrong. Read between the lines and stop being the mindless sheep the media wants you to be.

Not all Blondes are dumb.
(I have met a great many who are absolutely brilliant)

 Not all .Red Heads have bad tempers.
(A great many of us are cool tempered)

Not all Men are handy men.
(Some have no idea how to use a wrench or fix a car)

Not all mentally ill people are dangerous.
(Most of us are not)

We are not out to get you. We are too busy trying to keep our own lives together and trying to hold our heads up in the face of lies, stigma, and bad representations.

Read between the lines and find the truth. We are far less dangerous than you and your judgments are.
Neurotic Nelly