Thursday, February 28, 2013

Letter to a Friend

Dear Friend,
Sometimes in life we falter. Sometimes everything seems to go awry. We are angry, confused, and  afraid. Can we live without this person? Can we function on a daily basis? Can we be anything but broken?
We fall from Grace like broken winged angels no longer able to fly.We are all the walking wounded. We have all been damaged. Damaged by our past, by others, by ourselves. Damaged by our choices, by our environments, by our refusal to accept ourselves. We bump into each other on the sidewalks never looking into each other's faces. Never bothering to see the other person stumbling along beside us. We are sometimes concentrated on our own lives so intently that we forget to see other's suffering. We limp along thinking we are the only one's hurting.
We walk along the lonely road shivering in the cold. Believing that we are not worth the time wasted on us. Believing that we deserve to suffer. Some of us have fought for our country. Some of us have fought only for our souls. Some of us have fought wars in our own minds. All of us have waged war against our beliefs. Against our personal truths. Waged wars in our own lives. Sometimes we loose loved ones. Sometimes the binds that tie us together are broken and we are left shattered on the ground. Sometimes we loose our livelihoods. We are left with nothing but the clothes on our back and no shoes upon our feet. Sometimes we loose ourselves. Leaving a stranger blinking back in the mirror.
I do not know why we suffer so, I am not a great philosopher.  I do believe we suffer to be able to accept joy when it comes. I believe that as the binds that tie us together get severed we are able to form new ones with others. I believe that this life makes us strong.
I can not be where you are. Our lives circle in different paths. That does not mean I do not see you. That does not mean I do not hear you. I have lived in the hell you are visiting for so long I chose the wallpaper. I hope you like blue butterflies and yellow stripes.
We are distrusting. We often feel invisible. We believe that nothing is given to us without expectations or strings attached. Always waiting for the other shoe to drop. To be pulled into something that will hurt us.
This letter to you is my offering. My gift to you. I only have one expectation. That you take my gift of friendship without fear or distrust.  You said once that you didn't think I was put in your life to watch over you. I am sure that is true but why are any of us put in anyone's life? Maybe it is to help you. Maybe it is to help me. Maybe it is to teach us something. I have always believed that people come into your life for a reason. To help, to teach, to befriend, to learn. I can not tell you what to do. What I can do is listen. What I can do be there for you. What I can do is never judge.  What I can  do is text you your positive truths. You are worthy of happiness. You are talented. You are beautiful. What you have to say is important. You are worthy of other's people's time. You are strong. You are a caring and amazing person. You are you and there is no one in the world like you.  You are my friend. The world would be a sadder more bitter place without you.  These are your truths. We are all the walking wounded and I am thankful that I get to stumble along beside you for awhile.
                                      Sincerely, Neurotic Nelly

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Failure is a huge fear for everyone. It plagues our thoughts. It fills our dreams. It prevents us from trying to reach our dreams. Most people's fears of failure is about a promotion, a career, or a relationship. For people with mental illness it can be much smaller things that we are afraid to fail at. For us it can be a simple as failing to be able to leave the house. To go to school. To even get a job because at some point our illness is going to appear at work and make it impossible to work. I used to love school. I was an excellent student. I liked most of my teachers and was respectful to all of them. I stunk at Math but I excelled at Reading and Language Arts. I love books. Their contents are precious. The old musty smell of hundreds of uses before me. I would often check the names of who this book belonged to before me and try to imagine what their lives were like and what they did now. I loved this class so much I wished it was the only one that we had. I was as odd child. I used to and still use big words that the other kids didn't understand. I loved book reports and assignments. Reading was a away to escape myself. In them I could be the hero. I could be tall and beautiful. I could be brave and strong. I could be all the things I was not.
 In high school the anxiety started. I had lots of friends so I wasn't sure why getting out of the car or to the bus stop would scare me. I couldn't breathe. The world would close in on me and the floor seemed to move. Many times I was frozen to the seat and the tears would rain down. I was unable to walk in to the building I so loved. In my freshman year I missed half of the classes most of the time. I was smart enough and my test scores were good enough that I was passed. The school was made aware of what was going on. I tried so hard to go. Often times I failed. After passing sophomore year came. It was the second day of school and I had to miss because I was sick. It wasn't anxiety this time. I was fine to go the next day and so I did. I was doing really well and proud of myself. Maybe I had beat this stupid anxiety. I had my English class second period and although I had only met the teacher once I just knew she was going to be great. This, after all, was my element. I couldn't wait. I had to go to her and give her my absence letter. She took one look at me and in a snarl said,"We aren't going to do this missing school all the time thing  again are we?"
That was it. I don't remember anything else that day. I was crushed. I was devastated. Her unkind words made it impossible to go back. I could not face her again. After I was doing so well she had judged me and found me lacking. Worse she humiliated me in front of my peers. My anxiety was back full force. I had to be home schooled after that. The school agreed to work with me at home. I was fine with that but I had missed out on all the friendships and experiences that I could have had. All because she didn't believe that my illness was real. I felt like a failure.
Working was something that I loved. I love to talk to others. I love being around people.  I excelled at doing what was asked of me.After a month the anxiety was back. I became unable to leave the house. I started to get physically ill. I was fired. Again, I  failed.
It is has gotten to the point that anxiety comes when I have to do something as a schedule. I had a lady last year come visit me. It was every Tuesday. After two months I was trying to hide from her so she would think I was not home. I couldn't even face her to tell her why I could not talk to her anymore. I finally broke down and called her. I thanked her for her time and her compassion. Failure.
That's what I wanted to tell her. That I was a failure and I have failed in everything that everyone else seems to be effortless at. That I am broken to the point that I can not function like I should. That I look like I am normal but inside I am a complete basket case.
It took me years to realize that I am not a failure. That I may have failed at things I have tried, but the difference between a failure and me is that I keep trying. I get back up and try something else. I always try. I can't be like everyone else, because I am not like everyone else, and that is ok. I don't have to be.
If you have anxiety please realize, it is not you. It is not your fault. You are not a failure. You just have a different path to take. And if you are reading this and you know someone that has anxiety do not make them feel bad for not being able to do certain things. We are aware of what we can not do. We know what we have failed at and we don't need you to remind us. We deserve better treatment than to be made fun of or chastised.  We don't need you to do that for us, we do that to ourselves enough already.. Chances are you are not perfect either and you should take time to reflect on that before you judge.
                                                       Neurotic Nelly

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I Have A Problem

I have a problem. I am too sensitive. I am too caring. I put other people's needs before mine. I put my family and children before me, as I should, but I also put others before me as well. Strangers, people begging on the streets, the mail man. Always other people. I let them use my good nature, my compassion, my weakness. I do it all the time. I feel so much for others. I give them everything I have. I give them my support, my time, my emotional strength. I forget to protect myself. The result is damage. The result is loosing the sanity I have built up over the years block by block. I get pushed back into feelings of guilt, shame, and feeling inadequate and worthless. I come undone and tear at the seams. I put myself in unhealthy situations. I place myself in situations that can mark me. Always trying to do the right thing. To be the good little girl and share. I almost never stand up for myself. I let others harm me and that is a problem. I let them drain my friendship and support until I am empty. I let them bully me, berate me, undermine my good intentions, and demand from me more of myself than I can give. I let them curse at me, abuse, and steal from me and yet I take it.  I let them take my money, my personal belongings, bits of my soul. Striving to be better each time so they are happy with me. I let these toxic relationships in my life and then wonder why I am so stressed and broken. I am after all a person with mental illness. I put that aside to help others and forget that my mental health is just as important as theirs. I let other people push me around until I am bruised and battered. Then I ask for more. I am not someone who enjoys pain. I am just too afraid that people won't like me or think bad of me if I don't give them what they want. It is unhealthy. The result of this is at some point I will shut down. A brick wall will come down from the heavens and land in front of me. I will not be able to go around it to get to my destination. I will not be able to climb over it because I have been exhausted from giving all that I have to offer. I will not be able to function anymore. It will be a complete end of all that I am trying to accomplish. I will be stuck in that spot and be depressed that I can not do what I was once able to do. I am easily guilt tripped, and maybe I am gullible as well. It is not fair that I have worked so hard to be healthy and others siphon that away from me. Drip by drip until I am depleted.  I will give and give and give. It fractures me. It damages me and I deserve better.  Just because I am a good person it doesn't mean you get to use me. Just because I care to much doesn't mean that you have the right to use it against me. Just because I am a giving loving person doesn't mean that you should hurt me over and over again to entertain yourself. I have other things to think about . I have a family and children but not just that I have a responsibility to be kind to myself. To stand up for me. To stay healthy. To finally put myself and my mental health above people that are not my family or my dear friends. It's time that I define my worth in something other than giving myself away piece by piece to those don't care or realize the gift I am giving them. I can't do this anymore. It's not even that I can't, it is that I don't want to. I deserve friendship. I deserve  respect and most of all I deserve the life I have fought tooth and nail for. It has taken me a long time to realize that I can't heal anyone else but myself. I am not anyone's therapist. I am not anyone's Santa Claus. I can't give everyone magical gifts that will make them happy. I can't give everyone every part of me or I have no me left to give. I am just a woman trying to raise a family and have a life while living with a mental illness. I have to, I need to take back my own life. I need to shut out those people that are toxic and bleeding me dry. I need to say enough is enough and this is killing my soul.  It's going to hurt me to do this but the alternative is, that if I don't, I am killing myself. No one deserves that kind of power over me. No one.

Monday, February 25, 2013


People come in many shapes and sizes. We have different cultures. Different skin tones. Different languages. Different personalities. Different ancestries. The only constant in all of us is our differences. Some of us are well. Some of us are not. Some of us are strong. Some of us are followers. Some of us are funny. Some of us are more serious. All of us deserve respect and understanding. We are all beautiful.
If beauty is just in the eye of the beholder than I must have huge hands. I see beauty in everyone. Pain that makes us struggle is beautiful. It makes us who we are. Strong unbending warriors. Beautiful in our strength.
Compassion is beautiful. It makes us strive to help the broken. To help the fallen. The injured souls.
Anger is beautiful. It makes us stand up and say I will not accept this. I deserve better treatment. Or this other person does not deserve your mistreatment. It inspires us to change the situation. It inspires us to change.
Sadness is beautiful. It makes us hold onto our loved ones more tightly. It makes us search out how to be happy.
Truth is beautiful. It makes us look at ourselves and the world around us and admit that things are not perfect. That life is an imperfect glorious experience.
Beauty is not what we look like or where we come from. Beauty is how we treat others. How we offer a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on. Beauty is standing up for those in need. Beauty is ending the stigma of mental illness. Beauty is a smile. It is a touch. It is comforting words. It is wiping away a child's tears. It is offering a a glass of water to the thirsty. Advice to the masses asking for help. It is accepting that you are who you are for a reason. Beauty is hope. Hope for a better day. Hope for change. Hope for others. Beauty is love. Loving your family. Loving your friends. Loving yourself even as broken as you are. Beauty is falling down to your knees in despair and getting back up. Beauty is in a child's laughter. A old man's poems. A mother's lullabies. Beauty is in a gentle warm breeze. In a moment of silence in the middle of a field. Beauty is in everything that we experience. Beauty is in our differences. Our beliefs. Our reaching out to be better people. In reaching for our dreams. In reaching out to help lift those that need to be lifted. Beauty is the seasons. Beauty is the trees, the water and everything in between. Beauty is in all of us and everything around us. We are all beautiful.
                                             Neurotic Nelly

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Fall is my favorite time of year. The earth calms. The air stills. The leaves turn into glorious shades of red, orange, yellow, and brown. The peach ones are my favorite. The air is warm but the breeze is slightly nippy. I feel one with the universe. I am calm. I get to wear sweaters. As someone who grew up in Texas I never knew the magnificence of sweaters. I also have an affinity for hats and scarves. I really want a Doctor Who scarf. It's three times as long as a normal scarf and it has ugly colors in it that should never go together and yet it is perfect. My nerdiness knows no bounds. I actually squealed when I saw the Doctor Who screw driver at toys r us. Squealed. Like a preteen girl at a One Direction concert. My oldest son was so embarrassed. Sigh. I mean really what does a grown woman need with a plastic toy Dr. Who screwdriver? Where was I? Oh yes, Fall.  Did I mention it lit up and made the sonic screwdriver noises?
Ok. Ok. Seriously back to Fall. Something about Fall makes me feel less out of touch. It makes me feel like I belong. I haven't the faintest idea why. Maybe because like the leaves I am changing. Maybe it's because the trees are shedding their old selves and preparing to grow anew. Maybe it is because the world looks so colorful and I am nothing if I am not colorful. I see hope in Fall. It smells different. It smells of wood burning fireplaces and hot cocoa with tiny marshmallows. It is cold noses and warm flushed cheeks. It is playing in huge piles of leaves and football at the park. It soothes the harsh burns of summer. It heals something inside me and it always has. I feel less lost. Less of an outcast. Less mentally defunct. There are no patterns for my OCD to obsess about. Everything is gloriously unorganized and it is beautiful. It is so beautiful that at times I forget the ugliness inside of me. The ugly mental illness that plagues me. It is abusive to me. It is a damaged, unhealthy,cold, unforgiving cancer that eats away at all that is good in me. It's words are vile. It's words are hurtful. It never let's me forget that I fail at being normal. But Fall's beauty erases all that. It steals my breath away. It quiets the ugliness. It quiets my mind. It heals me. And it helps that I really like hot cocoa with tiny marshmallows.
Neurotic Nelly

Saturday, February 23, 2013


Growing up is hard. People growing up with mental illness makes it even more complicated. Self worth issues are always there lurking in the shadows. We are constantly convinced that we are somehow unworthy of love. While other children are playing with paper dolls and plastic army soldiers we are busy building walls with wooden play blocks. Walls to protect us from the projected thoughts of others. Walls that keep out the hurt. As we grow into adults the wooden blocks are replaced by stone ones. Wooden blocks can be broken and tumble down. Stone is much harder to break. Each time our walls have been breached, we inspect it and build it stronger. No one is allowed in. To allow them in is to folly. We will be judged. We will be hurt. We will suffer. We have gotten so good at crafting walls around ourselves that we have made the simple walls of our childhood into indestructible fortresses. There is not a catapult or cannon that can breach these walls.We have even placed ugly gargoyles at the posts just to ward you off. We could be construction workers and architects and do no better. These walls are unbreakable and fortified. They are solid. We live our lives in seclusion. There are people around us but we have barricaded ourselves away in our hearts. We tend not to share our deepest darkest feelings or thoughts. We are the dirty, bearded, disheveled hermits of our own soul.  We are afraid.
And yet, we so dearly want to be free. We so desperately want to feel. We want to be surrounded by others and truly fit in. We yearn to be accepted. To step out of the shadows. To breathe the fresh air and feel whole. To interact with others outside the walls we have constructed.  I feel that feeling the pain of letting others in has to be better than not feeling anything at all. I have torn down my own walls for fear of my own insanity. I felt like I was going stark raving mad by my own seclusion. I can't live like that anymore. I am tired of being shut away like I am guilty of something so horrible, so wretched that I should be locked away in the highest tower. Resigned to have paper airplanes and glass baubles as my only company. My only form of entertainment. Locked in my own hell. Frozen because stone is so cold to the touch. Passing my time watching my own frozen breath fall from my lips.Trapped in the winters of my mind. Alone.
I want to run bare footed through the wheat fields glistening in the sun. I want to feel the warmth and drink it down.Savor the taste of something other than the cold. Swallow the warm water and let it sooth my parched lips. I want to be anything other than numb.  I want to be angry. I want to be happy and silly. To  laugh so deep it hurts my stomach. I want to swim in the waters and dry off in the sand. I want to work my fingers to the bone. I want to be lazy and gluttonous on all that life can offer. I want to taste. I want to touch. I want to make friends. I want to live a real life, because life is not made of paper and glass.

Friday, February 22, 2013


I struggled with what to write about today. Sometimes the words just don't want to fall from my lips onto the keyboard like I would like them too. Sometimes I feel alone and fragile. Sometimes I am afraid what I have to say isn't worthy enough of other people's time. After all,  what could I possibly have to say that would change anything?  I am a firm believer that one person can change the world a little at a time. I am not sure that I can change the world but I can change myself. I can change the way I look at things. The way I treat others around me. As I sit in front of this computer drinking reheated coffee with too much creamer in it, I stare at the blinking line, mocking me. It flashes at me waiting for some prophetic words.

I am fragmented. There are parts of me that believe in what I do and who I am. Then there are small unorganized nibs floating around in my brain that linger with doubt. Who are you to make such comments? They ask in their accusatory tone. Just who do you think you are?              I am not always sure who I am. I mean truly, deeply who I am. I have changed over the years as I grew into a woman. I am not the same person I was when I was ten. I am not even the same as I was a year ago. I know that I am a kind person. That I care too much on occasion. That I am protective of those that I love. That I would give anything for a few minutes more with those that I have lost in this world. I know that I second guess myself. I feel guilty for hurting or offending others with my words real or imagined. It keeps me awake at night. I am overly sentimental. I feel too deeply and give too much. I know that I am often afraid. Afraid that I am not as strong as I see myself. Afraid that I have not been good enough or left any trace of where I have been in my life. That my legacy is just paper lanterns blowing in the breeze. Beautiful to look at but fragile to the touch. I know that I am a good person but is that enough? Is it enough to be good, too care so much for others that it hurts me in the process? That what others say marks me? That how other people feel about me cuts me so deep I could swear the scars are visible? Am I enough?
I have no idea. What I do know, or rather choose to believe, is that I am not all I want to be but I am just enough. Enough of a friend to be loyal, hold your hand and listen to your troubles. Enough of a daughter that I call my mother every day just to see how her day was. Enough of a mother to hold and kiss my children every chance I get and give them everything I have. Enough of a wife that I love my husband with every once of my being. That I will stand by his side, rooted to the ground, till the end of my life. Enough of a person that I will help you if you fall. That I will cry with you. That I will offer whatever I can. Because to not would go against everything that lives inside my soul. Enough of a writer that I keep typing away, even though I have no idea what the worth of my writing is. I am just enough of everything that I need to be.  Having an mental illness has not made me less of a person but it has changed me. Not for the better or for the worse. It has fragmented me.  It has made me just enough.
                                                                     Neurotic Nelly
                                                                                                I do not own this image.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Slippery Slope

I want to be James Bond. Well maybe a replication in girl form. I want to be able to think that fast when presented with dangerous situations. I would like to be able to charm people into believing that I am perfect and that I can keep them safe. Would like to have a cool accent and impeccable hair. Ok, I can not tell a lie, I would absolutely love to have his Aston Martin. Sigh, gorgeous car. When presented with the less cool; real me, I have to accept that I fool almost no one. I have instincts but none of them tell me how to karate chop an assailant  with any kind of precision. I can barley keep myself safe as clumsy as I am, let alone keep anyone else safe. I have a southern accent but only if I forget to reel it in. It's not cool to have a Texan accent while living in Ohio...Trust me. My hair is as far from impeccable as one could be. It spends most of it's time knotted into a makeshift bun at the nape of my neck. I can't drive so it wouldn't matter what car I owned. It would be a two ton paper weight.
It's a slippery slope back to reality. It's not that I don't accept myself, it is that I refuse to be boring. I want to be the cool mom. The one that is smart and fun but doesn't wear the elastic waistband pants. I want to be the rock-star chick with glasses like Lisa Loeb. Ugh love her. I don't wear glasses and I can't play the guitar. I am a singer but I haven't sung in front of anyone but my four cats in over two years. I am good and they really love my rendition of  Gangnam style. I swear one day I am going to turn around and they are going to be holding up lighters and begging for an encore.
Reality again, I am an a excellent singer  but I have no business singing this song. I also should refrain from dancing. I do it around the house just to watch my oldest child cringe and ask if I have a seizure disorder. He can never say growing up with me as a mom was boring.
I would like to  the best cook in the world. I am a good cook most of the time. Once I managed to burn the bacon so bad it was black and charred. It actually crumbled to dust when I bit into it. My husband said it dissolved when he put it on his tongue.
I have accepted that being a chef, a rock-star, or a super secret spy is not my life's path. As fun as it sounds. My path is this one. It's a slippery slope back to my reality. I am a mom. A great mom. I am a wife. A great wife. I am a person with a mental illness. I am not sure that it stops me from being a rock-star or a chef but I am pretty sure you should not be a super spy with OCD. "Let me capture the world's most secret information and take it back to MI6. Oh, is that a biochemical weapon? I am not going anywhere near that thing! Did you wash your hands? " Certainly not my idea of super spy.
I guess what I am trying to say is that I am ok with that. I don't need to be anything but what I am. I am cool. Maybe not mainstream cool, but my kind of cool. My kids think I am cool, for now anyway. I will drink that in and savor it. At some point they will find me highly embarrassing.  Moral of the story is, I am ok. Having OCD is ok. Being a complete oddball is ok. You can pretend to be something  you are not but it is a slippery slope back to reality, my friend. And why not just accept yourself the way you are? I am pretty sure you are worth it.
                                                        Neurotic Nelly

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


 I have stood where you are standing. You are many things but you are never alone. I too, have been naked in front of the crowd. The harsh words and judgments have been hurled in my direction. The abrasive insults have cut me to my core and left my skin red, angry, and raw. I have felt my skin flushing from the shame. Felt the burn of the labels I have been branded with. I have shivered in my fear. Left cold and hypothermic. I have been outside the window looking in. My dirty hands traced heart shapes on the glass leaving smudged proof that I was there. My suit of armor has fallen away like filthy rags, unraveling string by string. I am a two thousand year old mummy with all of my wrappings torn off until I am nothing but dirt and dust and bone. I have scratched and clawed across this ice cold marble floor for so long that it is nothing but weathered stone beneath my knees. I have spilled my thoughts and emotions like a dank, stale, red wine onto my tattered white satin gown.We all at some point become more than ourselves.We are all vulnerable. We all are unraveled at certain points in our lives. We loose our ability to hold onto the life raft. We fall from grace. We all have dropped our confidence and our courage at some point. We have all stood neck deep in the ice cold waters of truth. We have all been judged and found ourselves lacking for some reason or another. We are battle weary knights riding in on exhausted horses. Our armor has rusted and we have dropped our swords. We have all broken our shields. I don't pretend to know everything, but if we should meet on on this frigid stone floor I will sit with you for awhile. I will speak kind words for I am exposed to the elements as well. Today we might not have the strength to stand. Today we might feel defeated, but tomorrow has yet to be written. We can sit and tell stories. We can tell each other of the great adventures that we will have. We can play cowboys and indians and hide and seek. We can laugh at the melancholy of it all and cry at the happiness. We can help each other up from the floor. It is easier to stand up with someone else pulling you. So when you have lost your compass, when you have been stripped bare of all you hold dear, look around you. There are many of us who have been unraveled.We have been there and know the floor well. We have felt every crack and crevice. We have scars on our knees from kneeling and crawling on it for years. We can lend advice and understanding.We can offer a shoulder to cry on. Most of all we live as proof that there is always another tomorrow. There is always hope. We are all unraveled.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I love the rain. The thick heady smell of damp earth. The feeling of the warm soil on my hands. The urge to grow something new. To plant a seed. The sound of it pelting my roof lulls me to sleeps. The angry thunder roars at my indifference and bangs about in the sky like a cantankerous old man throwing a fit. In the morning the rain has washed everything clean. The ground is shiny and new. The sins of the day before are erased and we start over again.
I have no need to parachute from a bridge to feel a rush of adrenaline  I can get that by going to my mailbox or the doctor's office. What I have need for is comfort. I seek it out like a bloodhound. I just want a place to rest my weary head and feel safe. For people with mental illness comfort is a huge desire. We are often uncomfortable with everything else in out lives. Going to the grocery store can seem like a carnival ride to hell. Being in a packed room full of people can be a religious experience that you are certain you will not survive from. Some find it impossible to leave their homes. It would be like asking them to climb the world's tallest mountain with only two popsicle sticks and a pack of dental floss. We are constantly searching for comfort. Broken down vagabonds searching for the one place that gives us a moments peace. Carrying our carpet bags full of dirty clothes and broken promises.
For me my comfort is my home. The people that I love. I surround myself with things that give me peace. Books, my children's stick figure drawings, letters from long dead relatives. I cling to their handwriting as proof that they were once tangible presences in my life. They were here and they loved me. Pictures of family line my walls.Pictures of other people's happier times,younger times,more naive times. People starting relationships. People starting families. Cheerful smiles. Hopeful faces beaming with the notion that life is what you make it. Sometimes the smiles are true smiles and sometimes they are baked on paper masks hiding what lies beneath.
My home is my salvation. My routines are holy. Mornings are filled with terrific sameness of it all. Hearing my husband putter down the stairs and clink the cups as he makes us coffee. I sometimes lay there and listen to his footsteps. Comforted by the repetitiveness, the safeness. The glorious aroma of fresh coffee will curl it's tendrils of scent to my nose and I know I can no longer lay there pretending to be asleep. This is the time he and I play like adults. We discuss bills, the latest news, silly unimportant things that make us laugh. His smile is my comfort. The soft snoring of my children tucked tightly in their beds. The pitter-patter of their little feet as they get ready for school. I know that at this moment no unforeseeable force is out to get me. I am safe. I can rest my weary head here with these people that love me. They are my comfort. This broken down vagabond has finally found her place of peace. I am blessed and I am firmly aware of it. I revel in the comfort that I spent most of my life seeking. I need the warm balm of comfort soothing my scraped and bruised soul. This place is sacred. This place is holy. This place heals my broken spirit. It washes my soul and makes it anew. Here I can wait for the rain. Here I can put down my bags. I can wash my soiled clothes and repair my broken promises. Here I can love. Here I can just be.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A break

I will not be able to post anything for a couple of days. I will be having surgery. I should be back by Monday. Please keep me in your thoughts.  Hope to share my posts with you soon.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

This Is Me

Fear has been my constant companion. He has been my imaginary friend. He has cloaked me in his shroud of guilt. I have shared imaginary cookies and tea with him at my childhood tea parties. He has tucked me in at bedtime. Brushed back my hair as I slept fitfully through the night. He has borrowed my favorite crayons while we drew stick figures in my coloring books. He has played paper dolls with me. Fear has kissed my cheek and patted me on my head and told me what a good little girl I am. He has watched me as I grew. Always there. Always lingering in the shadows. He fills my heart and clenches it tight. He guides many of my decisions. He is always trying to rule my life. We have a love and hate relationship. I hate him and he loves me. He is jealous of my more reclusive friend Happiness. Happiness has some commitment issues and runs away when Fear stops by for a visit.  Happiness is a fair-weather friend. He never sticks up for me. Happiness really needs some therapy. Fear is an unwanted guest that refuses to leave and sits on my couch eating everything in the house and watches my t.v. Fear needs to get a job and pay rent or move out.
Fear has kept me from being who I could be. He utters false assurances that he can not back up. You will be ok but just don't do this or you can't do that what will people think? He refuses to let me be.
When I started this blog, I wanted to be open and honest. I wanted to shed light on my OCD and how I live with it. OCD is shrouded in fear. I was hoping my words could help others and maybe soothe my agitated soul. That it would heal me in ways I have not been able to on my own. Yet again, Fear has stepped in. He wanted me to hide behind the curtain like the wizard and say my truths as long as I hid my face. Mental illness has stigma and Fear eats stigma for breakfast. The truth of the matter is, I am afraid. Afraid that once I put my face on my blogs that I have owned them and all that are in them. That I knowingly own my own pain. That I knowingly come out of the shadows I have dwelled in all of my life and stand unprotected and vulnerable. That I can not escape my truth of being who I am. It's is absolutely terrifying.
But, I decided something last night as Fear tucked me into bed as he always does.I can not write about standing up for others and ending stigma if I am too afraid to own my own words. If I can not step out of the shadows long enough to show my face, how can I expect anyone else to? How can I talk about accepting myself and hide behind the curtain like a scared little girl? How can anyone take what I say seriously if I can not even put my face on it? Something that I believe with all of my heart has a purpose in my life and I am afraid of what that means.So this long winded and redundant post is me grabbing my more elusive friend Courage and and taking a step towards what I want to be in life. I want to be something I have never been before. I want to be proud of myself. I want my kids to be proud of their mom. I want my family to be proud that for once I didn't let fear turn me back from something I want and I need to do.I want to live a life not shrouded in fear. I want to step up and say this is me.  And, if the people that I didn't want to know, find out my deepest darkest secrets that I have hidden all of my life, then I am going to be ok. I can do this. I can be beautiful and whole and me at the same time. And, Fear I want my crayons back.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Light houses were erected to light the way for ships to safely pass. On foggy and dark nights the light guides the ships away from the rocks and cliffs providing a safe harbor. Without them the ships would be doomed to the ravages of the night and the dangers of the sea. Their light protects and guides. Their light saves.

For all of us living with mental illness the struggle to get up every morning is a battle. The harder we strive to hold on, the harder we squeeze. When we open our hands our hopes and dreams crumble and slip through our fingers like sand. There is always this maddening desire to be something we feel we can never achieve. We learn to hate ourselves for our shortcomings. We not only believe the hurtful things we have heard from others but we hurt ourselves even more with our own words. We are more self deprecating than others are. So eager to point out to ourselves how we don't measure up. How we have failed.
Imagine if we were to be light houses for others. If we could be a beacon of hope for other people with mental illness. So many of us are lost in the night. The fog of our predicament has made us unable to see what lies ahead. So many of us can not see the rocks or cliffs that lies in wait . We are inadvertently heading towards our own doom. We feel so alone.
Many of us have never received comfort. Many have never heard a kind word or been offered understanding. We have lived a life without acceptance or anything that resembles love. Wounded souls sailing without a map or a compass.
What would it be like if everyone one of us stood up to be a light in other's lives. A beacon of hope for the broken. Offering words they should have heard. Words that should have been said many times. You are beautiful. You are worthy of acceptance. You matter. You are not a failure. You are lovable. You are worth other people's time. What you have to say is important. You are heard. You don't have to be perfect to be treasured. You are never alone. You are accepted the way you are. I am here to share your pain. I understand you.
The more it is said the more it will be accepted as truth. Instead of the negative voices we are so used to believing we can change to what we should believe.That we are just as good as everyone else.That we are strong. That we can face anything that comes our way. If every person with a mental illness offers understanding to another person with a mental illness we can build an army of hope. We can be a wall of tiny light houses. On dark and stormy nights we can light up the sky and show the way to the lost.We can offer a safe passage. Give them a safe harbor. Each word we offer can shine down and offer them hope. Hope for a better day. Hope that there is a better path. Hope that there is a chance that tomorrow can be different.
As we offer that hope we can learn to hope for ourselves. As we help them to reach their dreams we can start to reach for our own. As we say the words they needed to hear for so long, we can begin to believe them and realize we needed to hear them too. As we teach them to forgive themselves for not being what they want to be, we can learn to forgive ourselves for not being perfect. We can not only be a beacon of hope for them but a beacon of hope for ourselves as well. Maybe by helping them rebuild we can finally feel something other than broken.
                                                         Neurotic Nelly

Monday, February 11, 2013


I have many OCD conditions. Today I am going to discuss one of my major and debilitating ones. I have contamination fears. This has made it impossible to work and go into certain situations.
I don't like the term contaminated. It seems too nice of a word for what I experience. I use the term tainted. From as long as I can remember I have felt certain things were dirty. It's not just an emotional reaction I can physically feel it. It would feel like my hands were coated in warm wax but I could see there was nothing on them. Going into a place my mind has deemed tainted makes me feel like I am cloaked with a warm moist towel. It smothers my pores and I can feel my skin suffocating. It becomes hard to breathe and I feel like I can't escape the situation. I have trigger places and trigger people. Big trigger places for me are the doctor's office and the hospital. Signing in with their pen is torture for me. I will hesitate a good two minutes before I can talk myself into picking it up. My palms get sweaty and it's hard to breathe. Then I have to antibacterial gel my hands several times. I can feel the germs on it. In these places I am a reverse mime. Instead of not talking and using my hands, I keep my hands in my pockets and do nothing but talk. Certain people,even a couple that I love in my family,are unclean to me. It's nothing that they have done and yet I am unable to change my feeling on them. Other clean people can live with them and not make me feel dirty. I realize that they share the same germs and yet I have no problem with them touching me. My brother, that I love dearly,is a trigger person. He thinks I react that way to everyone. He jokes and purposely does my triggers to upset me. He thinks my reaction is funny. I haven't the heart to tell him the truth because it would hurt his feelings and I would never want to do that. His favorite trigger is to touch my face. It totally flips me out and disgusts me. Sometimes when he leaves he will give me a peck on the cheek. As soon as he leaves I will run to the sink and scrub that spot with soap and water until it is angry and raw. I can still feel where his lips were. My cheek is tainted. I feel so guilty to have this reaction but I can do nothing to change it. I have tried. How sad is it that I can not hold hands with my brother or kiss his cheek? I can only hug him if our skin doesn't touch. It's torture not just because of the tainted feeling but because I so desperately want to be able to do normal things with him like everyone else does with their siblings.
Smells can also be triggers. I can not be around the smell of pine sol. When I was a child I would visit family in a old folks home. It reeked of pine cleaner. It was so strong I could taste it. It got to where if I went there I could not swallow my own saliva. My spit was tainted. I would have to spit it in the collar of my shirt. If I smell pine cleaner then it is tainted and I can not be around it.
This physical feeling of dirtiness can last for hours. It can make you wash your hands until they are cracked and bleeding. If touched by something "dirty" you can still feel it hours later. You can shower several times a day. Many carry antibacterial gel with them wherever they go. You may be unable to touch surfaces or people. You may be unable to go to certain places.
Imagine living your life avoiding the most normal of interactions and places. Not out of choice but out of necessity. To prevent the torture. To prevent the overwhelming feeling of suffocation. To avoid the disgust and feeling of being dirty. It is not a joke. It is a painful and isolating experience. It is a heart breaking and guilt ridden illness. If you know someone with contamination fears please don't laugh at them. Please don't trigger them for your entertainment. Just try to imagine what life would be like if you had to walk in their shoes.
Neurotic Nelly

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Pandora's box

Two days ago I was watching my local news. It said that to kill most of the germs on your hands you need to use soap and water. You have to wash them long enough to sing happy birthday twice. As a person with OCD I really did not need to know this. Now that the news has inadvertently given me a new compulsion I am going to make it fun. When I sing happy birthday twice I am going to do in the style of Marilyn Monroe.....

Everyone with mental illness has had that moment. The moment when we have had to reach out for help. It's terrifying. The fear is so palpable we can taste the coppery flavor of It. Not just a stigma but a stigmata of our pain bleeding onto the floor. We have been shamed and therefore are ashamed. We don't want to face the dark recesses in our mind. We are so afraid that what lurks beneath the darkness is something so twisted, so dark and unholy that it should never be directly looked at. Going through our mind is like opening Pandora's box and nothing good could come from it. We are convinced that lies we have heard all of our lives are true. We are fearful that we are unacceptable, unlovable, failures. We long to be held, loved, accepted, and healed. We have no idea how to reach what comes so naturally to others. We are so afraid of what others will say. Afraid to be locked in cage and sneered at like the elephant man. Terrified that we could be the next sideshow carnival attraction. Shoved in a booth somewhere in between the bearded lady and the sword swallower. Free popcorn would be passed out as long as the kids don't poke the world's "craziest" person too much with a stick to see what he would do. So we keep silent. For us silence isn't golden. It is a locked rusty gate that prevents us from living the life we want. It blocks out not just the bad things but the also the good. It cages us more than anything others could do to us. It keeps us broken. Silence kills us. We are the wilted flower starving for water. Our lips are chapped and cracked from the thirst. Our throats are dry from the lack of speaking. Speak. Say it out loud for the whole world. Open Pandora's box. There are others who are just like us. We are not alone. They suffer from the same pain. They can accept us. We have to share. Release this sickness of fear and silence. We are here to hold your hand. We can be healed. We have nothing to be ashamed of. We can break down that locked gate of silence by reaching out to each other. When this world chews us up and spits us out we can be there to catch one another. This can be our salvation. Speak.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Sink or Swim

I believe that life is like sailing a ship on the open sea. Each of our journeys are different. It makes no difference how we get to our destinations as long as we eventually reach it. Some of our ships have been bashed upon the rocks and repaired but  if we keep sailing then we are doing just what we need to survive. Mental illness can make the waters even more unpredictable. Good days are full of the gentle lapping of waves on your boat. The smell of fresh air and the soul filling warmth of the sun. There are days of gentle breezes in your face and calming winds in your hair. These days are the best.These days you sail farther and faster. Emotions are like storms that blow in on the sea. They can tear your sails, drench your body, make it impossible to see through their waves of destruction. Emotions can be so strong that you can feel, smell, and taste them. They taste like blood, saltwater and tears. They batter your ship and toss it from side to side. It can be hard to know what you are supposed to hang on to to keep from falling overboard and drowning in them. Theses storms are anger, despair, fear, and pain. This too shall pass.. When the rage of the sea has left you are left cold and shivering in the aftermath. The saltwater waves have drenched your soul and found every cut and wound you have. The salt stings the cuts and bruises. It burns the open wounds. We are forced to look at the damage and make a choice. Keep sailing or stop for repairs. These bruises and cuts are the judgments and pain that others have inflected on you. The wounds are the pain you have inflicted on yourself. These wounds and cuts will eventually scar. Your knees burn from the scrapes that you have gotten from falling to your knees and begging for mercy. Sometimes it just seems like you can not take one more moment of pain.This too shall pass... Again you sail to your next port. Maybe you will find like-wise battered and bruised people. People you can unload your stories, secrets, and fears too. People just like you. You can stay there for a little while but eventually it is your turn to sail out again. Sail out to the unknown. Sometimes you are surrounded by other ships and you can communicate with them. There is safety in numbers. Storms seem less scary with people on both sides of you holding you up. People that can help block the angry waves.
Eventually, when you wake you find yourself alone once more. There is more determination to get to your next port. Sailing towards the sun. We want to be warm. We long to be whole. We need to be healed. Here comes the waves again. They slap and rage at you. They are angry words and thoughts. You are not good enough! You are worthless! You are never going to be anything to anyone! These waves are particularly painful. These waves have lies in them. You are so familiar with these lies that they seem like old family friends. This too shall pass...
These waves are the devastators of ships. These waves are the killers of men. You have to take stock of your ship. Jump or stay, sink or swim, sail or repair....these are our choices. I have been battered against the rocks. I have been scarred and repaired. I am ready for the next storm. I don't mind my wounds burning from the salt, it cleanses me. It lets me know that I am alive. I will weather this storm. I will not sit idle in the middle of the open sea. I am going to let the wind fill my tattered and broken sails and head toward the sun. . Faced with sink or swim I am always going to choose to swim. Faced with jump or stay I will always choose stay.I never give up. This ship isn't pretty but she is strong and she can take it. If I should meet your ship on the way there I will gladly help protect you from your storms. I will sail beside you and offer you words of encouragement and hope. Just keep sailing.
                                                                         Neurotic Nelly

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Most people with mental illness are non violent. Research reveals that one in five people in the US alone have suffered from some sort of mental illness. If we were all violent it would obvious. The news and media have made accusations and assumptions about mental illness. They tend to demonize us and twist stories to make us out to be monsters.This is not fair. They would not be able to discriminate openly about a person's appearance but it is perfectly acceptable, expected even, to do so about a mental issue. I have no idea what makes some people hurt others but I am certain that the painting with the wide brush of stigma isn't helping anyone. We are not monsters.
My first memory is of me as a little girl dancing in the sunshine. We were on a driving trip. I can still smell the sweet warm wheat smell emanating off of the wheat field next to where we parked. The memory is hazy with the sunlight. I can still feel the heat warming my back and face. I scrunched up my nose and laughed as I danced. Swirling in circles until I fell down. I was an untamed, unstoppable force of joy and happiness.Does that sound like someone that is violent?
At seven years old we had track and field day at school. We had to end the day early. A girl that was in a wheel chair in my class didn't get to do her race. She was crying and I thought it wasn't fair. She wanted a ribbon like everyone else. I went up to her and gave her mine. Does that sound like someone who doesn't feel empathy?
When I was a teenager and my mom would have shaking spells in public I would make her laugh. Once during a meal at a fast food place she was shaking so hard a fry flew out of her hand. I said if we are throwing fries now then I have to accept the challenge. I threw my fry on the ground so people would think it was on purpose and it would not be uncomfortable for my mom. Does that sound like someone who doesn't care about what other people feel emotionally?
When I found a mouse at my mom's house I took it outside. It looked scared and I just couldn't bare to harm it. It was so small and helpless. Does that sound like someone who is capable of hurting others?
Last year a dog attacked my neighbor's mother. She is just a tiny older woman who was walking her tiny dog. This dog killed her puppy and bit her three times by the time I saw her. As everyone around stood there and watched this dog maul this woman. I ran out there and protected her. I hit the dog with a broom till he let her go. Then I got her to my house and stayed with her until the ambulance came. Does that sound like someone that is incapable of emotions to you? People that have no mental illness stood and watched this whole event and did nothing.They didn't want to be "involved". In fact the only person that called the police was my ten year old. He is very brave. I am so proud of him.
If I was a monster would I do everything in my power to raise my children in a healthy and happy home? Would I give everything I have to make them happy? Would I be so hell bent on making sure they have everything they need to become good people? Would I do all I can to preserve their innocence? Seems like the media's logic about mental illness is flawed.
America's mental health system is broken. It is broken because of lack of funding, lack of good detailed research, and most of all it is broken because of the misinformation,fear, and stigma the media has placed on mental illness. Mental illness has become a dirty word. I don't know about you but I am not a dirty word. I am the face of mental illness and yet I can not put my own face on my profile because I have to protect my children from judgement. I have to protect them from what other people will say and do if they know that their mommy isn't "normal". I don't want my children to be shamed because their peers didn't take time to educate themselves. I am not ashamed of having a mental illness. I could not help having a mental illness anymore than I could help how tall I was going to grow. It was not my choice but it is my life and I have to accept that. You can not paint mental illness with a broad brush like that and it make sense. I could say all dogs are evil because one attacked my neighbor's mother. It doesn't make it true. I can not judge all dogs from the actions of the few. Mental illness covers many conditions. Many of these conditions are non violent. I am many things. I am a mother. I am a wife. I am a sensitive, kind, and good person. I am a woman with OCD. I am a person with mental illness.  I am not and never have been violent or dangerous. I cry at sad commercials for God's sake. I am not a monster. I have made it my life's goal to be an untamed, unstoppable force of positivity. I am not going to accept being pigeon holed into a dark corner because that's what the media wants people to believe. Because fear sells and acceptance doesn't. I am still that little girl dancing in the sunshine and I am going to dance. I am not a monster because I have a mental illness and neither are you.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Lions, Tigers, and Bears, Oh My....

Having OCD means dealing with a lot of fear and worry. It is stupid and needless and yet you can not stop. Fear is a very addictive drug. I have put off writing about this until today for fear that putting it on paper makes it a reality and I didn't want to admit it to myself yet that it was real. I was on a drug to help my OCD. It was the only one that ever worked for me. I loved this drug. It was my savior. Then it became my hell. My drug was killing people. There was no headline on the news to stop taking it. There was no headline to save "crazy" people's lives. There should have been. If it had been killing dolphins or poisoning cats there would be plenty of news on it. If it is for mental illness patients then it is just not that important.This is absolutely unacceptable. We have the right to know what we are taking and what the risks are. We have the right to be informed when our medications are dangerous.
 I researched this drug meticulously before I asked to be put on it.There was minimal side effects.There was nothing about Torsade de pointes or QT prolongation. Constipation and rapid heart beat that goes away maybe but nothing deadly or I would have never taken it. There was talk about it being a miracle drug for people with severe OCD. I started on twenty milligrams. Before I knew it I was on eighty milligrams a day. Finally I was "normal" or as close to normal as I could get. It had been recommended not to take over sixty milligrams two years ago. I was never informed. Last year a UK newspaper had a headline about it and was put on flipboard. It was causing a heart arrhythmia. It was causing sudden death. Anything over twenty milligrams was deemed dangerous in the UK. I had heard nothing about this.I had to hear it from another country's newspaper. I had been taking way more than was safe. I had to spend over an hour on the internet to find something that said  what the US was recommending. The US said anything over forty milligrams was dangerous. Over twenty milligrams for people sixty and over was dangerous. I had been taking eighty milligrams for nine years! I was already off of the medication due to my insurance stopping and restarting. I was waiting to be put back on it. I have been off of this drug for a little over a year. Thinking I was safe I did not go to my doctor to be checked out. Until I read more about what the FDA now says about Celexa. I had the false belief that if it had caused me to have an arrhythmia that it would correct itself on its own now that I was free of the medication. I was wrong. I was terrified. What if I have this and I don't know. What if I fall a seep and never wake up? What would that do to my husband? My kids? What did I do to myself just to be "normal"? There was a time I really needed this drug. I know that many need medication to cope. I was one of those people. I am not anymore. The one thing that had "cured" me could have killed me. I had an EKG today. Ridiculous at thirty three that I have to have an EKG. That for two weeks I have had to worry about what my family is going to do with out me. I had to lay in bed terrified to go to sleep. I had to worry about dropping dead in front of my children. Thankfully, my EKG was normal. Somehow I had dodged a huge bullet. I am not going to do this anymore. I am not medicating. I am not suicidal and right now I am a good place in my life. There are many that are not where I am at. I have no medical advice except please, please, research your medications carefully. If you are on Celexa talk to your doctor and see what your choices are. If you are on any medication read the FDA reports. Talk to your doctor and make sure he or she knows what the are prescribing. Make sure the dosage is safe and that the regulations have not changed. Keep up with your medication information. Don't do what I did. Don't assume that your doctor knows everything. I have OCD but I would have rather be afraid of something I have no way of getting than be faced with the reality that what I did to make myself better was capable of killing me. All of my worries and fears are like the scene in The Wizard of OZ. My family and I will just skip down the yellow brick road and sing lions, tigers, and bears, oh my. They can not really hurt me, but what I do to get rid of them can. I think I  will just stick with Dorothy. I will make the best of it. Why not? It's just my whole life and in life you don't get a mulligan.
                                                        Neurotic Nelly

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Broken Lullabies...

Sleep. Sleep. Ugh go to Sleep. Shhhhhh. SHHHH. Ugh.
Sleeping is a luxury that I am too poor to afford. Ocd is a crowded room. There are a million people with their own agendas stuck in a tiny place in your brain. Each one wants to squeeze through the tiny door of your conscious.They push and shove and leave you with half processed thoughts and broken sentences. All the people are very annoying. All of these people look the same and sound like you. All the people are you. They are your thoughts, hopes, dreams, and worries. They want to all wake up and harass you while you are trying to slumber. Good luck with that. Please God don't leave me alone in a quiet house. A quiet house is a loud mind. I have insomnia. Not your usual can't sleep because I don't feel tired insomnia. I have," Omg would you just shut up in there," insomnia. I am exhausted...a lot. When I was doing construction on our house I would relive everything we wanted to do in detail. It played like a movie and I could see every inch of what I wanted. It was a highly detailed list of my desires with our home. I would repeat this list over and over again until I drifted to sleep. That is how OCD works anyway. It is mind-numbingly repetitive. Why not let it work for me?  At some point it must of gotten wise to what I was doing. It doesn't like that, apparently. I could no longer silence the fears and thoughts of my day. I would have my movie of the paint color I wanted on the walls and BAM! Do you think that you have somehow contracted Ebola? Ok it probably wasn't Ebola but you get the gist of my ordeal.  Next I tried music. I looove music. It's like my thing. I had the slight problem of singing it. I am not sure how many people can sing and sleep at the same time but I do not possess that particular talent. Classical music you say? That would be great if I didn't have the overwhelming urge to play the mad conductor and wave my arms around with the music. Not something you really want to see in the middle of the night...Trust me it's creepy. The sound to silence out my brain talking to me has to be loud enough that it drowns out every little thought. Otherwise, what would be the point. I am pretty sure that singing as loud as you can at three in the morning is some kind of spousal abuse, when your husband has to get up at six.....Music was out. Either that or I need to go "sleep" in the car. Next up was fans. I like the loud construction worker fan. It blows the hairs right of your head and it hums like a jet engine in your living room. I really like that fan. However, in the middle of winter it becomes a health risk. Not to mention, I really don't think the three people and the four cats in my house really appreciate the jet engine sound like I do. So, what to do? I can't be walking around in the dark like a zombie. It's scary to small children and the quieter I try to be, it seems the louder I actually am. Noise machines annoy me. I can't do the waves. My mother potty trained me by running the sink. Any water sounds make me have to go to the bathroom. It is so bad I do not dare stand by the fountain at the mall. I will have to urinate and why go find the bathroom if I just avoid the food court all together. Waves would mean going up and down the stairs twenty times a night. I just as well stay up.Thanks Mom.
 Reading is great. I love to read but I get so engrossed in the book that after reading by nightlight I look up at the clock and it is already six.... Not really conducive for sleep, now is it?
Now what? Well, glad you asked. I was fiddleling around on my phone and found a police scanner app. Sounds ridiculous but I figured, seriously what do I have to loose. It is interesting to the point I want to listen to what happens next. At the same time the pauses in the talking lull me to sleep. I use head phones because I highly doubt my husband wants to hear "Adam 12 respond. Adam 12 disregard " along with this buzzing sound that I find quiet calming. I listen to it for about ten minutes and I am drifting away. What is this holy thing called police scanners? Thank you. Thank you cell phone. Thank you police department. I have no idea what you are broadcasting half the time and I am so thankful. Adam 12 you are awesome! No more pushing in my mind. No more half spoken thoughts or broken lullabies. I will take what I can get when sleep is concerned. I will take my scanner and be happy. I love you scanner.                                              
                                                                                     Neurotic Nelly

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Beauty

Having a mental illness takes up so much time. It literally is like an old ex boyfriend that won't stop calling or showing up at your door. The harder you run the faster it finds you. It is a stalker in the shadows. It can be hard to pay attention to other things in life. Part of the curse of  having mental illness is the never being able to forget that you have one. Either it won't let you or other people throw it in your face, whether meaning to or not. We often forget to take the time to see the beauty in the everyday lives that we lead. Chasing normal is like a drug and we just can't stop doing it.  We are addicts looking for a fix.We need a good hit of normalcy. Normal is the invisible carrot dangling in front of you. Move this way, do this that way, reach, strive, push. Always trying to be better than we think we are. Trying too hard to be like everyone else.I am tired of this addiction of trying to appear normal. I am ready for the withdrawals, so bring it on.

Last night I was outside on my porch. The snow was floating and dancing all the way down to the ground. A huge flake flew right onto my nose. It felt like tiny carbonated bubbles popping. I was reminded of the  magical things we see as children. How the world is so innocent and wondrous. I stuck out my tongue to catch a snow flake and chuckled when I got one. It's silly to be doing that as an adult. And for that reason I loved it. I spend so much of my time being serious and being a proper adult. I miss looking and really seeing the the world around me.  I want to hear my children playing, my husband snoring, my neighbor weed whacking his lawn. The sounds I take for granted because they are always there. Never realizing that as life changes they wont always be. I want to snuggle under the blankets with my kids, watch cartoons, make blanket tents and read by flash lights with them. I want to have snow ball fights. I want to play in the water hose. I want to dance in the rain. I may teach them how to grow up but they are teaching me how to be a kid again. I am making time to see the small things. My OCD can wait a few seconds while I really listen to my children's laughter. It can wait a few minutes more while I stop on my walk and actually smell the roses. It can wait while I hold my husband's hand and listen to his day. It can wait while I catch snow flakes on my tongue. I want to see from the eyes of a child again. I want to touch, smell, taste. I want to use my senses for something other than sitting in my house and being turned away from the world.  I am breaking free from this ridiculous notion that being mentally ill means that you have to be shut away like a crazy aunt in the attic. Having mental illness does not and should not mean that I can't  have beauty or wonder in my life. Where does it say that I can't have both? I am going to see the beauty where ever it is hiding. I will notice that  bird is singing at six in the morning. I may not really want to hear it be that cheerful that early, but I will find beauty in it. If I am hearing it then I am alive. What can be more beautiful than that? I have someone that loves me. What is more precious? I have two amazing children. What could be more amazing than that? I have supportive friends and family. What could be more terrific? I have a voice. I have a life. I have a choice. I am surrounded by beauty. I just have to choose to take the time to realize it.
                                                                               Neurotic Nelly

Sunday, February 3, 2013


Bipolar disorder, with its extreme mood swings from depression to mania, used to be called manic depressive disorder. Bipolar disorder is very serious and can cause risky behavior, even suicidal tendencies.-webmd

I have three people in my family that are bipolar. Back in the day they were diagnosed as manic depressive.  Each person has different issues and severity. Each person deals with it in their own way.

 My mother takes lithium. She does pretty well with her bipolar.  Growing up with her in her mania state was great. She would dance around the house while she cleaned. She felt alive and really happy. Her mania was her best time. Then the depressive state would come. She would struggle with suicidal thoughts. Getting out of bed was impossible. She was irritable and angry. She has it under control better now. Lithium and therapy has really helped. The mania is less and although the depression comes it is much less debilitating.

My sister was also diagnosed as manic depressive. We did not live together growing up but we visited very often. She was a very aggressive and sometimes violent child. She has had issues with drug abuse. She lives very far away from me.We talk about once a year. I am very familiar with her depressive state. She seems tired and irritable. She is often angry and sad.  She is currently not being treated for her bipolar disorder. She has major mistrust issues and although I would love her to get help, I understand her hesitation. Last time we spoke she was in a mania episode. It was the first time I have ever heard her happy. I cried when we hung up the phone because I want her to be happy. I want her to have a good life. I want her to be stable. I know it was only a mania phase and yet was relieved to hear something in her voice I have never heard before. Happiness is fleeting with her but at least I will have one memory of her being something other than sad and angry.

My other family member has slight to moderate bipolar disorder. She struggles with anger, depression, and manic episodes but at a much slower rate. Her episodes last weeks to months.  She is dealing well with the help and support of her family and friends.  She has been on medication and had therapy. She is dealing with loss of her mother. I am very proud of how strong she is. She is an amazing friend. She, like many of us with mental illness , does not broadcast her illness with others. The stigma of it keeps her silent.

These three lovely ladies in my life have dealt with more anguish and suffering than people normally do. Their shame and silence has been deafening. We should not live in a society that looks down on people that don't meet their standards of perfect. We should not be so afraid of it that we reach out to dangerous substances to cope. We should not be so afraid of our mental illness that silence becomes our chosen option.We should not be afraid to seek help. We all should find the courage to stand and say this is me. This is us and we are matter . This is their story and so it is also all of our stories as well. End the stigma. End the shame. Be an example to all those that can't speak by yelling from the highest rooftops. Be their voice. I am these three  women's voice. Hear me.

Although bipolar disorder is a disruptive, long-term condition, you can keep your moods in check by following a treatment plan. In most cases, bipolar disorder can be controlled with medications and psychological counseling (psychotherapy)

If you would like to learn more about bipolar disorder you can go to these sites:

Bipolar disorder - 
Bipolar Disorder Center: Symptoms, Types, Tests, and ...

               Nelly Neurotic

Saturday, February 2, 2013


When I was pregnant with my first son I needed to know my history. The doctors were asking me all of these questions I could not answer. I looked up my real grandmother's phone number. You see I knew who she was but we had been out of touch since I was six. She was a dear family friend but she had no idea that I was her granddaughter. My mother had worked with her, her husband, and her son. When she became pregnant with me my real father and his father bullied and convinced my mother that telling her that I was her granddaughter would hurt her. That she would never believe my mother.So it was their little secret. My mother was only twenty and wanted to keep these people in our lives. I was cheated out of a grandparent. I was even named after her. I needed answers so I called her and told her the truth. It was hard for her to believe but she accepted it.  My real father was eager to talk to me.  I was excited.Turns out what he really wanted to do was start a relationship with my mother...which she promptly said no to. It was never really about me. Then after numerous phone calls and letters with my  grandmother, her husband died. There was no mention of me in the obit. My real father told me about my grandfather's death in an email. An email he sent to my mother. Every time I would reach out he would give me a picture and a tiny bit of information. I wanted to know if I looked liked her. What was it like on his side of the family. What was my hertiage? Where did I come from? He would deny me the right to talk to his mother. She doesn't remember you, he would say. She is too sick.  I forgave him but I was still very hurt. You  try growing up as someone's dirty little secret. I was thirty years old and he still couldn't tell his family I exsist?  He only was interested in being forgiven. Forgiven for not being there, for not trying to stay in touch, for his denial that I was his. Every time I would open my heart for him and every time he would deny me in every way that counted.  My step dad and my mom had been divorced for a long time. At some point the man that raised me ceased to call me his daughter. When introducing me to his friends he called me his ex wife's daughter. My heart was crushed. After raising me for twelve years that was all I was to him? I would wait till Christmas to see him. He would generally make a stop to my house to see me and my kids. He lives thirty minutes away and I get one visit a year. When he feels like it and when he wants to come over. This year he didn't come at all.  I have no idea why. I know he is busy. He had some health issues recently. And yet he flew to see his other daughter who lives three states over. The only time I hear from him is when I call him. I call him on Father's Day, his birthday, Veterans Day, and Christmas. I realize that I have never gotten over my childhood desire to be accepted and loved by these people. I want them to just love me. Get to know me. I want to them to be proud of me. Every time they knock on my door or email me this little wounded girl comes out. She is begging for something they can't or won't give her.
So I am going to.
For my Real Dad, You know I am a damn good person. You wanted to deny me, well then that's your loss. I am amazing. I am someone I would want to hang out with. You may never thought I was worthy of your time but you were wrong. If you can only manage to think of me when you need forgiveness or be told it's ok with me that you were selfish and put everyone and everything else before me then don't bother. It's not ok. It's just not. You missed birthdays. You missed me growing up. You missed getting to know an exceptional woman. You missed out.

As for you Dad, if you can't bothered to visit me because you can't bare to look at me. If it makes  you see your own faults, then Geeze I am really sorry but get over yourself. I am not you. Your arrogance is making you miss out on watching my kids grow up. You are knowingly choosing to miss out. That's all on you. They are terrific little people and you are just to busy to see them. You are and always have been to  busy to see me. You missed out on the one person who loved you more than anyone else ever could. You were my dad. I am tired of giving myself. I am tired of the hurt and the hope that I have held that you two could finally accept and truly love me. I am so over it. I am done jumping through hoops for your approval, you try doing parlor tricks for me for awhile. If you are looking to be absolved call or email someone else. Get a hobby, get a therapist, go to your local priest but don't come here. Nelly's house of forgiveness and absolvement is closed. I forgive you, but that forgiveness is for me not you.I am going to do the one thing neither of you ever had time for. I am going to heal that little girl inside me. I am going to love her. I am going to accept her. I am going to be proud of her. I am here. This is me. I am not going to be anybody's dirty little secret anymore.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Sins of Their Mothers and Fathers

Growing up I was unaware that my life was different than the norm. I had a wonderful mother and a great dad. He was my step dad but I was two when they got married. He was the only father I ever knew. My mother had been sexually abused as a child by her father. She had repressed these memories so I do not remember knowing of this until I was around six. Her father had been a preacher and took all that was supposed to be holy and good and abused it. He was also sexually abused by his mother and grandmother. He in turn passed his damage onto and wielded it at my mother and aunt. A father should be a source of comfort and acceptance to a child. He should be her protector. My mother never had this comfort. She made a decision that she would not pass down his damage onto me. She was my protector and my comfort. She would hold me and kiss me. She could not change the damage done to her but she could change the possibility of damage being placed on me. She was my warrior. My father was also abused. He was abused by verbal and physical abuse. Back then it was not considered abuse to beat your child with the buckle end of the belt. It was widely proclaimed that children should be seen not heard. How can anyone be seen if they are not heard? Because of the way he was raised he never kissed me. He was afraid that it would be inappropriate. He said he loved me but he never said he was proud of me. I had OCD at that time as well, so I was very sensitive. I still am. I wanted so desperately to be loved, to be accepted, to make him proud. He would hold me and spend time with me but he never kissed me. I have two memories of him ever kissing me. One was when he thought I was my mom sleeping, we had switched beds, and he gave me a peck on the lips. The other time I had realized that he was the tooth fairy. I told him I wanted a dollar coin and a kiss on the cheek from the tooth fairy.  I should have no memories of kisses from him because there were to many to be remembered. I should have been Eskimo kissed and butterfly kissed. I was a child and I needed the one reassurance that someone loves you. I could kiss his cheek but he could not kiss mine.It should not have been uncomfortable because his family never kissed him. His parents were different.His parents couldn't stand me. I was a redhead, I was too sensitive, and worst of all I was not his. My blood line was not good enough. They looked at me with distaste like I was a bug to be squished under their boots. They tolerated my presence but there was no love there. A child can feel when they are not wanted or loved. It was blatantly obvious. His other daughter was a saint and I was crap that someone had accidentally stepped in. Only his parents treated me this way. To him and in my mind he and I were father and daughter. He had been taught never to go against his parents. He unconsciously ignored their abuse towards me. Their looks and their remarks went unnoticed by him. They hurt me dearly  as well as the fact that he couldn't see the pain they were afflicting on me. My mother stood up for me but she was also an outcast. I have to wonder what damage was passed onto them that they could not see how they were damaging their families. What made them feel no sympathy towards others. What made me so vile that I needed to be broken down time and time again? All I really wanted was to be accepted and loved. I tried so hard to make them see me as good and kind. I so dearly wanted them to be proud of me. I tried harder and harder to be as good as his other daughter but it never made any difference. I was tainted and therefore never going to be accepted. He passed the damage they had casted on him down onto me. He was not mean or abusive to me but he was never my protector. He never stood up for me. When they divorced he would have me every other weekend until he got a girlfriend that disliked me as well. I was a sign of his past and she wanted to rewrite it without me. She would scream at me and make ugly remarks and still he never stood for me. My mother put a stop to that and so he didn't want to see me anymore. He later got remarried to a nice lady and we are on better terms, but the relationship will never be whole. I have heard that the same sex person in your family is your most important role model but I am not so sure that is totally true. I have met more women with father issues that are in broken relationships. We tend to go for men that we think give us what we never got from our fathers. We tend to marry men that turn out to be similar to our fathers. We tend to marry abusers.The damage begins again. I was once lost from my father but now I am healed andif I am not healed than I'm going to fake it until I make it. My father's damage will not be passed down to my children. I married a man that gives everything to our sons. He loves them. He kisses them. He stands up for them. He is their protector. I kiss them silly. I tell them I am proud of them. They know without a doubt that they are accepted. They are loved. They have the right to be seen and heard. I will end this cycle of damage. I, like my mother, will stop this particular inheritance from my family from being passed down. We are one and we are going to raise whole children not broken ones. This I promise.