Thursday, November 28, 2013

Take That OCD!

It's a holiday and as such I want to go away from my extremely painful post of Tuesday and write about something that has me feeling p.r.e.t.t.y good!

Having OCD is very hard. I have severe issues with certain things and one of those issues is Christmas trees. If some of you remember last year around this time, I wrote of how I hate the fact that I can not allow anyone to participate in the decorating of the tree. I mean, I try but as soon as the kids put a bulb on the tree I have to move it where I think it should go after they leave the room. I have these ridiculous rules that I have to follow on my Christmas trees. No colored lights. No tinsel. No bulbs too close together. At least three strands of lights...ect. It is a strict procedure and like anything else OCD, it has to be perfect, at least to my standards. My ridiculous standards....I so wish I were joking. 

Decorating of the Christmas tree is fun for me but also a form of torture for my family. My husband jokes that he is just there to put the tree in the stand and move it to where I want it. It never occurred to me how bad I am about it until last year. Last year one of my kids asked  me for something and before I could answer my husband told him, " The best thing to do is leave mommy alone when she fixes the tree. No one wants to bother Mommy right now, trust me." If it hadn't hit home yet how bad the need to fix the damn tree over and over and over had gotten I saw pictures of my best friend's Christmas tree on facebook. She has three rough and tumble kids. Her tree had paper ornaments her kids had made. It swelled with colored lights, shiny baubles, and crazy glitter cut out snowflakes. It was a testament to her love for her children. Her proudness of being a mother. Her family crest in pine needles and tinsel. My OCD hated the tree but something inside me broke. Why can't I be like that? I was so completely heartbroken. Her tree was glorious. Her tree wasn't beautiful because it was perfect like mine, it was beautiful because her children enjoyed decorating it. It was as if her tree spoke of love and family and mine was a hollow shell of what Christmas is supposed to be. Mine was perfect and beautiful and perfectly devoid of all things family. My tree was no more full of love than the beautiful tree display at the department store. It looked like Martha Stewart but now somehow felt shallow and empty. It hit me. My kids have no memories of decorating the tree. Because I can't let them. I can't even let them put the ornaments ,I love so dearly, they make at school on it. What kind of mother is that? Just what am I allowing  my OCD  to say to my children? "Sorry, honey Mommy can't put your beautiful paper angel you made in class today on the tree because there is only one of them and Mommy needs there to be two so it is even?" That's just horrible! It is so bad my family calls me the Christmas tree Nazi behind my back....and what's worse, they aren't wrong. I actually coined that phrase. I am rigid and fevered when it comes to the tree. I used to love decorating the tree but that day I realized how I had stolen the things that matters most about Christmas away from my kids, participation, tradition, and in a small way acceptance.

Later on when I was in the car with my Dad, I confessed that I was afraid I may never be able to give my children the ability to join in on the Christmas tree decorating and how I felt like a complete failure as a mother because of it. He told me of how his parents made hot chocolate, played Christmas songs, and had him decorate the tree. Specifically, they would have him put up a paper chain garland he made in kindergarten. They did this every year until he went to college and then they had him take it with him. It was a memento, a physical representation of memories. Wonderful heart warming memories that he can recall at any time. What memories have I given my children for Christmas? That mommy is constantly focused and manic about stupid glass ornaments and colored lights?

 I sat in the car just dumbfounded.  I have to stop. I have to find a way to get around this damn OCD. Okay, I get that it affects me. I get that it affects my family and everything that I do but I will be good and damned before I let it steal happiness from my children like a thief in the night. That is totally unacceptable to me.

So I thought about it and stressed and fretted until an idea popped into my head. This year I will decorate a Christmas tree as always, but I will have the kids decorate their own tree! We can use the fake tree in the basement. I will let them make their own ornaments! I will invite my Dad over to help since he knows how this is SUPPOSED to go. I will make hot chocolate and play Christmas music and take pictures. 
We made salt dough ornaments and ornaments from clothes pins. We made Santa's out of hand prints. We made the topper from a milk carton, foil, and sequins. I used stuff the kids made from school as well, because they deserve to be on the tree. My children deserve to feel accepted and heard and shown that they are loved. They deserve to know that what they create is beautiful no matter how messy or uneven their creations are. Mostly, they need to know that I absolutely love their creations even though my OCD makes it hard for me to put it on the Christmas tree.

I am not going to say it was easy. I made a promise out loud that I would release control of this project. The ornaments would be their's to decorate however they wanted. They could put the decorations on the tree wherever they felt they should go.I was not going to interfere or move things around.

I may have "fixed" the face of the snowman when the paint from the hat ran onto his face. I realized what I did and I did not allow myself to "fix" anything else.

When the kids wanted to make cyclops reindeer I may have had a moment of panic. My youngest wanted to make the reindeer have one huge eye and one tiny eye. My hands got sweaty. My heart raced. I said no. But then I asked my husband if I was doing okay and he reminded me that these are the kids ornaments and not mine. They don't have to be perfect.....I took a few breaths and relented. Yes, they could put weird eyes on the reindeer. Yes it could be a cyclops. And yes, a pirate Rudolph would be just fine. No better than fine, it would be marvelous!
When the hubby brought home colored lights I thought I was going to physically faint. I seriously had no idea how I was going to get used to this idea and yet have no control. Again he reminded me and I agreed that this is the boy's Christmas tree and since I had all but banned colored lights from my home, this should be what they get. They should be allowed to have everything my OCD has denied them.  I put up the tree three days ago and put on the lights so they could look at them and be ready to decorate today. It took two days before I started to not mind them so much. I think they are actually not to bad now.

Then it was decorating time and it was great to watch them have fun. The hot chocolate was a no go for me because I was recently diagnosed as diabetic and everyone else was too full to want any. My phone died in the middle of taking the pictures. The music died with my phone but the kids played Christmas songs on youtube to make up for it.  I felt so proud of them and me too. They had  great fun and I was so amazingly happy to watch them make positive memories doing what they should have been allowed to do all along. Enjoy the whole production of Christmas and revel in the love of our family. So this is going to be our new tradition every year. We will have two Christmas trees! We will have both Martha Stewart and Handmade Christmas decorations. We will make a batch of new ornaments to put on their tree every year and my Dad will be there too.
And even though the night didn't go exactly as planned it was wonderful. Even though I got kidded that I might "rearrange" the ornaments that are bunched together and I had a small moment of panic, I felt less like an OCD sufferer and more like a regular mom. I even promised out loud not to move anything and I won't.  This Christmas tree is a messy, unorganized, uneven, glorious perfection. It is the most beautiful tree I have ever seen. And although, I can see the imperfections, I wouldn't change a thing. 

 I can see the three Christmas balls so close together....but I am not even bothered by it.....

Nor the fact that this snowman is backwards....

Nor the fact that these two salt dough ornaments are side by side on the same branch...

This tree is the best most beautiful, imperfectly, perfect thing in the whole wide world and I absolutely love it.

Take that OCD!

Neurotic Nelly

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


I am doing something I don't usually do. I am writing this at 11 at night. I usually write around noonish on Tuesdays but today was hard for me. I actually purposely avoided it. I knew that this would be hard for me to write and even harder for me to think about. I knew that when I write I feel what I type and I had tried to avoid what I have been feeling all day.

A deep rush of dread has been in the background. It isn't the most powerful of my emotions but it is underlying. Like layers of paper, it is under my other feelings. It resides under my daily activities. Under my phone conversations and chores. Under my laundry lists and planning for Thanksgiving. I can smile, I can laugh, I can have a peaceful cup of tea but underneath is that niggling feeling of dread. Much like the feeling of waiting for a bad report card to show up in the mail or an abusive parent to come home. That feeling of dread of what is to come. I know it will come just not when or what will set it off. Not necessarily the face I present to my children or my husband but it is there waiting for me be still. So it can creep up and rush over me in waves of horrible dreadful fear. It is so palpable I can taste it. It is it's own being. A monster lurking in the shadows. I can hear it breathing.

It's hard to describe what having an "episode" like this is like. I try to find words or euphemisms that make sense to my understanding husband. All I can come up with is pure unadulterated terror. I am being terrorized by my mind and I am unable to describe it. I am left mute by it. I try to avoid it. Mostly, I try to not be still.

You see, having OCD means that I can not just let go of things. I can not simply be fine with certain issues. I worry. I fret. The harder I try to deny what is going on the stronger the feeling of dread is. It waits patiently for me to go to bed. When my hands are not busy washing or cleaning, when my mind is not occupied by lists and plans, when my body is simply too exhausted to have the will to fight it off. It doesn't need to be loud or intrusive. It simply waits. It always gets what it wants in the end. Eventually, I will feel the fear in full force, so it just lingers around to let me know that it is there. Always stalking. Always waiting.

I went to the doctor's yesterday. I have been worried I may have another stone in my bile duct. I have been doing good so far, but I feel I can't really trust that. I have had stones for eight years and this year I had four surgeries in a four month period to remove them. I became extremely ill and turned yellow before the last surgery. As someone with severe OCD I am paranoid of health issues anyway. This did not help things.

I was told that I am now diabetic. Borderline mostly and I need to lose weight to see if I can get rid of the diabetes. It was a shock to say the least. Diabetes runs in my family. I am not an extremely large person but I need to lose around sixty pounds to be where the doctor thinks I should be. I have put on weight after having my children and the medications I used to take for my OCD. I still was not prepared to hear my diagnoses. I had no symptoms or any idea that I had become diabetic. I knew I should lose weight but I had no idea what was really going on inside my body. The problem for me is not that I am diabetic per say. It is the unknown. I am not good with the unknown. My doctor put me on a medication. She rushed me through and didn't answer any of my questions. I have had surgery not to long ago and although rare, this medicine can cause death if certain criteria are met. Recent surgery adds to this criteria. My doctor didn't tell me this but the little sheet of paper on the pharmacy package did. My doctor did not order me a script for a blood glucose monitor. She did not tell me to check my sugars. She in essence told me nothing. I felt angry and scared and mostly in shock.

Here is where the fear comes in. I do not see the dietitian until the fourth. Because I have OCD I am terrified to eat. Terrified to not eat and too exhausted to figure out which way is the best way to handle this. Because my doctor is not answering the questions that I think are pertinent, I had to call my GI surgeon to ask if it is okay on his front to take this medication. Is my liver healthy? Do I have any renal problems they are unaware of? I have to ask these questions because for six months after my last surgery I was on a liver medication. My doctor didn't seem to be interested in that fact. This scares me. I am still waiting on my GI surgeon to get back to me. So I am waiting and as anyone with OCD knows the longer I wait the worse my fears become.

Eating terrifies me. Not eating terrifies me. The medication terrifies me. The not taking the medication terrifies me. I am completely terrified. To hold all of this back instead of being strong and facing what I know is going on with my OCD, I decided to clean. I scrubbed the floors, made the beds, got my house ready for Thanksgiving. I put up the boy's Christmas tree, that they are going to decorate on their own.( more about that on my next post). I hung Christmas stockings and planned meals. I vacuumed, swept, mopped, washed, scrubbed, till my knuckles were raw. I avoided each fear, each feeling that threatened to rush over me with taking out the trash, doing laundry, and straightening picture frames. Even going so far as to clean my yard and porch in twenty degree weather while it snowed down on me while my fingers became numb with the cold. Knowing that if I stopped for one second, if I let myself even look at the feeling of dread, the fear would rise up like a wild fire in the pit of my stomach and spread throughout my body with the hot scorching flames licking at my limbs, torso, and face until I was so engulfed in it that I would become immobile. I would become so absolutely terrified that I would break into two halves and fall to the floor. I would lose all composure and be lost.. I was, no am desperate to not feel this misery I know is going to attack me when I lay my head down to sleep tonight. Except I wont sleep, because I will be worrying. I will lay my head on a pillow of dread and wrap myself with the blanket of fear. I will cry myself to exhaustion and then maybe I will get a few moments of complete emptiness enough to nod off. Stuffy nose and tear streaked face to accompany my dreams.

You see, I have health fears so to me, I am afraid my body has turned against me and I just don't know it. It's hard to describe except that I often fear my body will betray me. It will make me sick or hurt. I constantly fear my organs aren't working properly. Sounds weird but it is how I feel. This is health fear OCD folks, and it is a doozy. I am usually able to ignore it but not today.

I also have contamination fears. After I had to get off my medication for OCD because it was known to cause a severe heart arrhythmia and was killing people, I began to look at medicine as poison. Not intentionally but because my OCD picked up on it. Medication or at least the thought of it terrified me to my very core. When I had to take the liver medication, I prayed every night, sometimes twice, that it would cause no damage and would just do what it was supposed to. Make me better... Please just make me better and please don't hurt my liver, or make me sick, or make me...die. Please don't take me away from my children. Please don't make me miss them growing up. Please don't let me hurt them by leaving them without a mother. They need me. Please. Please. Please God. Please..... crying silently into my pillow until my body became wracked with exhaustion that I would fall asleep. I did this every night for six months. I never told anybody. It was ridiculous sounding. It seemed silly to cry myself to sleep as an adult over something I didn't even know was going to happen or not. More than that, it is extremely painful to spill out my deepest fears, my weaknesses, my shame. To say them aloud is to own them and it is beyond  agonizing to admit them to my loved ones, my friends, let alone anyone else. To admit that I am sometimes so very strong and sometimes so equally devastatingly weak. Sometimes I am broken. Sometimes I am simply, overwhelmingly, terrifyingly broken..

When I got off the medication I was a little scared the stones would come back. I was afraid of more surgeries and hospital stays. More terrible food and anxiety attacks because I was far away from the safety of my home and I had to deal with strangers on a daily basis. They were nice but they weren't my family. I was also grateful that my secret nights of crying would be over and now I would get to be me again. No pills that could harm me. No one would have to know about my weak nights. My silent crying until my pillow was soggy nights. My begging until I fell asleep nights. I was free, finally.

Now, I know with my brain that medications are important. I know this. I know that this diabetes medication is taken by thousands of people and they do marvelous on it. I would most likely be no different. And after I lost the weight I wouldn't have to take it anymore. But the fear is there. It is back almost as if it never really left. The unfounded yet extreme fear that this medication is actually more poison than help. That this medication could harm me more than heal me. It may not be founded as the complication is rare, but that is how OCD works. I have a fear of catching the plague in Wal-mart. It isn't factual but there it is. No one has reported a mass outbreak of the plague at Wally World recently but it still goes through my mind. That is why I love hand sanitizer. There is no hand sanitizer for poison that comes in pill form.

Then there is the fear that by not taking the medication my sugar level maybe too high. I don't have a monitor to check it and even if I did, I would still be terrified. The only way not to worry me would be to have one surgically implanted so it could read it every second of every day and they don't have anything like that. I am terrified when I eat things. I wonder if my sugar has gone through the roof. I have to force myself to swallow and not think about it turning into pure sugar as it goes into my bloodstream. I don't know what else to do until I see the dietitian, so I try to avoid breads and things with a lot of carbs. Then the OCD sets in and I am scared that I am not eating enough. Maybe my levels will go too low and that could cause diabetic coma. I am sometimes alone. This could be really bad. And how the hell will I know either way if I don't know when to check it or have a monitor to check it with?  I now eye every fruit, every vegetable, every single piece of food as suspect. I now am terrified of what I drink. I have no idea what is going to spike my levels nor if they are spiked without me knowing. I feel like I am being tortured every time I walk into the kitchen. I am being terrorized in my own home and it is by me. I am terrorizing myself.

So, today I did what OCD sufferers do best. I avoided. I avoided writing and thinking and anything that remotely resembled obsessing about it out loud. Until now, because I feel that I have to and need to, be honest about my OCD. Because you can't write a blog about mental illness and pretend that everything is okay all of the time. Everything is not okay. Sometimes I do not have great days. Sometimes I do not have great weeks. Sometimes not even great months. I need to purge my fears even though they are extremely painful and scary. Even though I know to normal people they seem completely ridiculous. Event though I am afraid of being judged by them. Even though a million reasons of why I should just shut up and deal with it like an adult goes through my mind, over and over and over again. I need to tell my readers because there may be a million reasons not to tell but, there is one extremely important reason to tell, because there are others out there like me that are too scared to talk about it. And they need to know they are not alone. I want them to know that there are people that go through the very same feelings of believing that they are weak, that they are broken, the very same feelings of fear and dread, and yes, the very same feeling of shame because they feel that no one understands. I have to be honest because I don't want one more single person to have to cry silently in their pillows at night. And worse yet, keeping it a secret because they feel ashamed by it. My shame ceases to be shame if it helps one person feel less alone.

I am going to be okay. I know that whatever my surgeon says I will be fine. I am going to do what I need to do to be healthy and if it is this medication than I will have to just learn to deal with it. I may cry myself to sleep at night and beg til my voice is but a whisper but I will get through it. I may be scared but I will forge on. I will find out what I can eat and can't. I will go to the gym and exercise. I will get healthier so that this does not define my every waking moment. So that my OCD  takes a back seat and is no longer trying to drive the car. I will win this battle, not just because I want to but because I really have no other choice. It's fight or drown and I have no desire to breathe in water today.

I heard once that the strongest of steel is forged in the hottest of fires....If that is true than we surely will be stuff cities and civilizations are built on. We will be the strongest of beams, the toughest of walls, the tallest of bridges, and the sharpest of swords. We will be unbreakable....

Neurotic Nelly

Saturday, November 23, 2013

My Mind Is Broken.......

My mind is fragile. Sometimes it feels like a rice paper lantern that has been painstakingly glued back together to hold it's original form. It is thread bare in some places and see through in others. However torn and glued it does illuminate and I hold on to that.

Beauty doesn't come from what others tell you about yourself. It comes from within. Beauty is a state of mind. How can I be beautiful if my mind is broken? My mind is broken? Definitely.

And so it lies there staring at me in the mirror with glassy eyes, bad breath, and an all knowing smirk. I am different. I am an enigma. An oddity.

It  has been a struggle to learn to love the broken person inside my own skin. The broken bits of myself. The over emotional slightly hysterical woman that freaks out when things aren't the way I feel they should be. The angry person that hates when people are mean to each other. The person that cries at sappy Hallmark cards and lovey-dovey commercials or moving stories. The anxiety prone woman that winces at the thought of not having control over certain situations. The germ-a-phobe that scrubs til her knuckles bleed. The over active intrusive mind that shows herself unwanted images that make her want to bang her head into the wall over and over and over again just to make them stop. The insomniac that can't turn these images and thoughts of dread off even when it is three a.m. in the morning and she has to get up at six. The person who can't work. The person who is afraid to take the bus by herself because there are forty million things that could go wrong. The person that sometimes, I swear to God, has the most sluggish brain and can't think fast enough. The over emphatic person that puts everyone else's feelings and needs before hers and has trouble seeing when she is being used or taken advantage of. The guilt ridden sorry excuse of a human being that grovels in shame and guilt for absolutely no reason.The always unsure, never clear, doubter that has doubts even of what she absolutely knows to be true. The word twister that twists her own words in her own mind making her wonder if she offended anyone or hurt their feelings. The health fear promoter that makes herself fear she may have something horribly wrong with her medically. The contamination starter that tries to make her believe she has poisoned herself or loved ones with imaginary substances that are no where near the food...

These are all me. Bits of me floating around in my own broken mind. I have had to learn to forgive them. I have had to learn to accept them. I have had to learn to live with them. I have had to learn to understand them and work with them. Most of all I have to learn to love myself even though I am broken. It is hard because I wanted to rebel. I wanted to hate myself growing up. It was easier to hate myself rather than to look at myself and work on who I am. It was less scary if I just hated and ran away from the truth. But truth never really goes away does it?

Broken things are not ugly. They are unique. One does not simply throw out the Sistine Chapel because the paint is cracking. One does not simply ignore the Sphinx because he has no nose. One does not simply stop visiting the Eiffel Tower because it can not handle one more coat of paint without fear of collapse. One does not simply bowl over the Leaning Tower of Pisa  because it leans. It leans that is the whole point. My mind is broken and that is the whole point. My mind is broken but I am not. These things are imperfect and damaged but they are beautiful. They are one of a kind. They are magnificent and view worthy. They are miraculous designs of life and I am too.

How is one beautiful if the mind is broken? Simple, all things are beautiful. All beings are made the way they are supposed to be. My mind is broken and I am beautiful.

 Bald is beautiful. Jagged scars are beautiful. Brightly colored hair is beautiful. Being young is beautiful. Being brave is beautiful. Your weakest fall to the ground on your knees moments are beautiful. Your courage to get back up is beautiful. Your ability to be gentle when you are the angry one is beautiful. Understanding is beautiful. Misfits are beautiful. Difference is beautiful. Love is beautiful. Being old is beautiful. Being wrong is beautiful. Being right is beautiful. Nature is beautiful. Being odd is beautiful.
Piercings are beautiful. Tattoos are beautiful. Tears are beautiful. Crooked smiles are beautiful. All shapes and sizes are beautiful. Kindness is beautiful. Life is painful and wonderful and gloriously beautiful. Beauty is beautiful and it has no limits or guidelines. It simply is.

So be beautiful. Be you. Own it. Stop apologizing for not being all the things you think you should be. Stop apologizing for not doing all of the things you think you could be better at. Stop worrying that you are less than others. You are not. You are beautiful and strong and perfectly wonderfully you.

Neurotic Nelly

Thursday, November 21, 2013

What Matters Most....

I ran across a profound quote/ title of a book the other day that I would like to share with you guys. It stirred something inside me as poetry often does. It made me ponder. It made me think. Which could go either way on if that's a good thing or not.

What matters most is how well you walk through the fire....

This speaks to me. It is a low pitch hum that rolls under my feet. It ignites electrical sparks in my brain. It breathes new life into me and yet steals away bits of my soul. It makes my mouth dry and my voice weak. It is truth and lies and everything in between. It says to me all of the fears I have are pointless. It reminds me that it does me no good to fret if I refuse to walk over the coals in the first place. It makes me feel strong and weak at the same time. It makes me rethink my past and comb it over like Donald Trump's bad hair.  Excavating each piece and examining it. Am I doing all I can? Am I giving myself a chance? Do I give myself enough credit for the things I have managed to accomplish or maybe too much credit? Am I over analyzing again? Of course I am, I have OCD. I over analyze everything, myself, my day, the lines in the grass....

And what does this simple phrase mean to me or rather about me?

Everyone walks through their own personal hell. Their own fire that singes and burns. Everyone has issues and problems. Some people choose not to face them. Some people pretend nothing is wrong. Some people don't know what to do and panic and some people just look the other way. At some point all the king's and horses and all the king's men can not stop all of the castles from falling. There is always a stopping point, a place of no return when you either jump or fly, sink or swim, crawl or walk.  Everyone will have to walk across the fire.

I have accepted that I am walking. I have accepted the pain, the burns, the soot covered feet, those awful smudged black footprints stamped all over my life. They are a real pain to try get out of  the carpet.  I have accepted that life is a learning experience and been reminded over and over again that learning can be agonizing. I have accepted that my struggles are long and my issues are many. I make no excuses for that. I see them clearly. And so what? My whole life is a fiery ravine to be crossed. It has been fraught with issues and obstacles. I can't let that stop me. I can't just sit on the side lines and be stationary. I don't have the luxury to simply look the other way. I never did. I am forced to walk through the fire and you know what? I am determined to do as good as I can. I am determined to be a walking, talking wave of positivity. Not because I am a naturally bubbly person but because I believe that I deserve to be happy. We all deserve to be happy. So yes, the fire burns and it is extremely hot but that doesn't mean I have to be angry or sad about it. Everyone has issues. Everyone has pain. Everyone else's fire is just as sweltering and painful. I am no different just because my fire is because of OCD or mental illness. Fire is fire and pain is pain.

So you see, it doesn't matter why I have to walk through the fire or what caused the fire in the first place. What is most important is what I do with it. How I choose to walk through it. How I hold myself. How I treat others. How I present myself to the world. That is what matters the most.

So I have decided that since this is my fire I am going to walk through it with a smile and an open hand. An open heart filled with compassion. Only nice remarks on my lips for those that need a kind word. Ears ready to listen and not just hear. A mind ready to learn. Making sure I never cease to tell people that they are worthy no matter what size they are,  they are beautiful no matter how broken they feel, they are valid no matter how often they have been told otherwise.  I will not just walk across the fire I will dance through it because life is hard and painful and yet so very very beautiful at the same time. I will walk through the fire singing opera and folk music and rock and country, and oldies, and Christmas carols, and even rap ( although I have terrible rhythm and you might want to wear ear plugs for that one). Simply because music binds us all together and it is magnificent, all of it, in it's own way. I will walk through the fire offering friendship and acceptance and empathy. I will walk across the fire wearing broken in cowboy boots, my grandma's gaudy jewelry, my favorite jeans and sweater, a doctor who scarf and a top hat. Because I love top hats and Doctor Who and being comfortable and my grandmother and this is my life. I will walk through that fire being totally, completely me and make no apologies for it.  Yes, what makes you have a fire to cross is important. Yes the issues you deal with mean something but what is most valid, what is most important is how you choose to deal with those issues. How you choose to behave and hold yourself. How you choose to either help along the way or ignore as you walk by. What is the most important is how you use your knowledge, how you love, how you guide, and if you can learn to love and accept yourself  each step at a time. To always be as kind as possible, as confident as possible, and most importantly to remember to always be yourself. You are magnificent and you can rock walking through that fire like nobody else.

It doesn't matter where you have come from, what you have been, or where you are going. How sad and broken and scared you have been. How scarred and damaged you have felt. How lonely and anxiety prone you may be. How dorky or cool, or strong you think you are.

What matters most is how well you walk through through the fire.....

I'm not going to just walk through that fire well, I am going to walk through it exceptionally.

Neurotic Nelly

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cat food, Leeches, and Worries...Oh My.

Today's my brother's birthday.I call him many things bubba, big bro, sometimes jerkface, but mostly my childhood pet name for him, Christopher Robin. In honor of this big (and old, muhahaha) event I would like to share a story with you guys in which he is the main character, if you will. A story that I have learned a great amount of wisdom from totally at his expense, as it probably should be.

My bother was born first. He was born four years before I was even a glimmer of a thought. As a baby he had bright brilliant red hair, so much so that the nurses in the hospital made it into a huge curl on top of his head. My mom thought is was adorable, his dad..... not so much.

To say my mother's children share a resemblance would be an understatement. All three of us (my brother, my sister, and I) all  have red hair in varying shades. I have the lightest and I always wanted their more rich almost copper color. We all have blue eyes, my brother having a beautiful sky blue and my sister and I have more of a marbled dark midnight blue. We all have the pale white complexion of Elmer's glue.
We grew up visiting each other on weekends. My brother lived with his father, my sister ,who is two years older than me, lived with her father's side of the family, and I lived with our mom.

Our summers consisted of sunburns, laughter, and pranks. My brother is ever the prankster. His sense of humor is keen and sharp. He wears his hair in crazy styles that makes others sometimes stop and stare. He is unabashedly blunt.....kind of like someone else we know. He has had many struggles and trials and he has beat them. I am truly proud of the things he has overcome. He amazes me sometimes, I am not sure I could have beaten addiction the way that he did. I am not sure that I would recover from some of the bad things he has gone through.  He is my brother and although we don't always see eye to eye I love him very much.

I have many memories of my brother joking with me or getting us both in trouble. He was always good at getting me to do stupid things that eventually would get us spankings or grounded. He was a master of fooling me, like when he pretended to eat a piece of dry cat food and convinced me to actually try some too.  He thought it was hilarious as I chewed with a horrible expression on my face. F.Y.I. it tastes like greasy, salty bits of crumbs. Quite disgusting.

When I was ten and he was fourteen we had a day I have never forgot. My brother had come over for a visit. It was mid summer and a million degrees outside as it often is in Texas.We had walked the four blocks to one of the town's big parks. This one had a slide, a swing set, and a long shallow creek that was lined with natural shale rock. It had rained recently and we decided that we would take off our socks and shoes and walk in the cool refreshing liquid. Anything at this point would have to be cooler as we were quite sure we were physically melting into the pavement. We splashed water at each other laughing about whatever kids laugh about. He started walking in the creek ahead of me. All of a sudden he reached down to scratch his ankle. He touched something odd and as he did, he started to elevate his voice with fear,"What is that....what is tha...Oh My God, is that a leech? Is that a leech??!!" By the time he had finished this sentence he was screaming in  the highest pitch his voice could muster. He started grabbing at his ankle and rolling around on the ground yelling at me to go get mom. Now, I knew nothing about leeches except what I had seen on the movie Stand By Me. And this leech looked more like a tiny black string of snot rather then the huge leeches the characters of that film had on them. It occurred to my ten year old mind, that my brother watched horror movies all of the time so he must have understood something about leeches that I did not. I thought it had to painful to be sucked on by a leech the way he was yelling and screaming and rolling around. It had to be a bad sign because he was yelling it was sucking all of his blood. I became frightened that this thing could kill him. I ran home as fast as my ten year old legs would run. I would get tired and out of breath but this high pitched voice inside my head pleaded and shouted for me to get mom. I had to get mom. The whole way I screamed for our mother hoping she would hear me and come out of the house before I got there. Four blocks started taking it's toll and my chest and side started to ache. My screams became  more of harsh whispers. Finally I had made it home and I beat on the door. Our mother was frazzled as I tried to explain what was going on but I was so out of breath it sounded like," help.... hurt... need you... ...ankle....doesn't want to die."
Then as she eyed me she said,"What is that noise? What is that sound? Is that your brother?" Apparently my brother was now screaming so loud that we could hear him four blocks away. It wasn't his voice in my head rushing me to get mom, it was actually his voice screaming at me for real. 
I had awful images of what we would find when we got back to the park. Maybe the slimy little leech had been sucking out his blood for so long that we would turn the corner just to see him deflated like a balloon. He would just be lying there like a husked out shell of his former self unable to move as this monster sucked his life force except to raise his hand slightly in our direction in a last desperate silent plea for help. (I had a very vivid imagination). Instead as we rounded the corner  I realized my brother  had made it from the creek bed to the picnic table twelve feet away and was now on his back still screaming and rolling around. A crowd of adults had encircled him with senses of awe and worry on their faces. Our mother and I finally approached the picnic table  only to see a guy walk from the crowd and fumble in his pockets. This man wore the kind of cut of jean shorts only done in the eighties fashion that were too short and a tad to tight. He was covered in blue and black ink prison tattoos, sported one silver dangle earring, and wore his black hair in a combed back wave kind of like Patrick Swayze a la Next Of Kin. He smelled faintly of motor oil and cigarettes. He reached out of his pocket and presented a cigarette lighter. He flicked it and as we held down my brother so he wouldn't move, the man burned the leech and it dropped off. Crisis averted. My brother thanked the man over and over again assured that this man had most definitely saved his life. I was sure of it as well. My mother looked at us both like we were insane.

We laugh at that story now because now we realize that a single tiny leech isn't a life threatening experience. That he was in no real danger of bleed to death or being sucked dry. It was silly and we reacted to it in a ridiculous and over dramatic fashion. He pokes fun at me about the cat food and I poke fun at him about the leech and we go on laughing like siblings do.

What this experience taught me though, was much greater than just the knowledge leeches are not that dangerous. What it taught me is that sometimes I get so carried away with I perceive to be wrong with me (health fears), what I fear might happen to someone I love (intrusive thoughts), or what might be around the corner that I blow it out of proportion. I dwell and dwell and dwell  until I am almost hysterical. I react at these things like my brother reacted to the leech in the park and I assume the worst. I become terrified and over dramatic.  It helps to remember this story and remember that just because I cry and get scared, just because I am afraid of what I think might happen does not make it true. That mostly, I have hyped up what is going on with me and it isn't ,in reality, that bad.  I need to breathe and look at things from an outsiders view. Is it really that bad? Am I blowing things out of proportion or letting the fear take over? Most likely. I like to remind myself of this story in times like these and it helps me.

So in short, don't let your fears become a leech. Don't let them drain you dry and remember just because you become hysterical with fear it does not mean there is real danger. Most likely you are just scared and that is perfectly okay.

Oh and happy birthday "Christopher Robin". I love you.

Neurotic Nelly 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

It Does Define Me.......

I have OCD. It is a fact. A fact that I have learned to live with since the age of four. I am familiar with it's workings. I am not a doctor but I have thirty years of experience. I am aware of how it affects me and never, not once, have I ever been allowed to forget that it is there. Not because other people remind me but because my mind refuses to let me.

I am OCD. I am the face of it, the mind of it, the personality that suffers from it, the woman who cries about it, the blogger who writes about it, the mother that never feels like she is good enough of a mother because of it, the person who cant work from it, the house scrubber because of it, the loyal friend due to it, and the person who is up all night replaying the day's events and worrying over it. I am the odd man out because I am not normal and do not think like normal people do. I am OCD. It is me. There are some that say OCD doesn't define them.  I believe that whatever you need to believe to get you through is a good thing. If you believe that it does not define you, then I think that is terrific. I believe it is a personal choice and I totally support that. But for me, my OCD absolutely defines me and everything I do.

To say it doesn't define who I am would be a lie and I never lie. It does define the way I act. It is a constant battle every day. You can not have something in your life growing up everyday as a child and it not form the way you think or change the way you are. That would be impossible.

I love deeply because my OCD made me hate myself for so long.

I am loyal because I am betrayed by my mind.

I am sensitive because I know how bad it feels to hurt.

I laugh because there have been days when all I could do was cry.

I am respectful because I have been stigmatized and ostracized.

I am honest because my mind has lied to me over and over again.

I do not judge because my OCD has judged me and always finds me lacking and I will be damned before I do that to another person.

I am found because I have been lost.

I am strong because I have been weak.

 I am loud because I refuse to sit in silence and dwell in this house of pain any longer.

I have cried, struggled, pained, fought, and battled. I have warred against my faulty perceptions. I have fought against the guilt and shame that had ruled my life for so very long. It is an everyday battle and as such I am affected by it each and every day. It affects my relationships, my belief systems, the way I raise my children, the way I feel, the way I react to others, the way I speak to people, the way I physically react to life, the way I think, the way I process, even right down to the way I bathe, eat, and sleep. To say that it has not defined  me or shaped me in any would be preposterous.

Do not get me wrong, I have a personality but it is shaped by my OCD. It has to be because I have spent my life avoiding the things that trigger me or forcing myself to go through them to thwart my OCD. It is as much a part of me as my hair color or the shape of my thighs. It is more than a diagnoses or a clothing accessory. It is something I carry with me always. I have had to learn to accept that. I have had to learn to stop shaming myself or giving in to the guilty feelings because I am not like others, or think like others, or see things like others do. I have had to learn to forgive myself for all my many imagined ills and stop blaming myself for what my OCD tells or shows me. I have had to develop new mantras to replace the old childhood ones I used to use. I am not bad. I am not worthless. I am good enough. I can do this.

How can I seriously say that OCD doesn't define who I am when in essence it has shaped every part of who I am?

I no longer allow myself to pretend I am not affected but that doesn't mean I will wallow in shame or ambiguity. I am here and I am opening up the conversation. I am here and I refuse to sit idly by and let OCD just wreck my life anymore. It has shaped me and I am a stronger more fierce person because of it. I don't have to like it but I do have to accept the changes it has made in my life. Good or bad, right or wrong they are my changes and my choices. Because of my mental illness I have had to change so much I am no longer sure where I start and the parasite OCD ends. We are intertwined and that is my cross to bear. I have learned to be accepting of that. I refuse to be upset or scared or sad. I refuse to live my life ashamed and broken. I refuse to sit in the shadows and fade into darkness.   I am damaged but healing. I am scarred but beautiful. I am a good person. A kind person. A real person. This is me. OCD is me. Mental Illness is me and those that can not accept that are not worth my precious time or the OCD thoughts I would be wasting on them.

So I have OCD. I don't expect fanfare or balloons and party hats. I don't need a parade of acceptance. I am who I am simply because I am a fighter and I have OCD. I would not be the same person without it and I like who I am now. My name is Nelly and my OCD does define me. I refuse to feel bad about that, so deal with it. The days of me apologizing about it are over. I am not happy to suffer but I will be damned if I allow myself to be chastised for it. I didn't ask for this but I am rocking it. So take it or leave it just don't ask me to fell bad about it anymore. Those days are gone. This is simply me, strong, fierce, caring, beautiful, intelligent, unapologetic, and very OCD.

 I am not proud that I suffer from OCD but I refuse to be ashamed of it either.
Neurotic Nelly

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I usually Don't Do This......Rant on Bullying

Okay I usually do not do this. I have only had three hours of sleep and I have a long arduous day ahead of me. I was trying to go back to sleep but I unfortunately read this article while getting my oldest to the bus stop and it just kept replaying in my head. I have OCD,sue me. I decided sleep was never going to come visit if I didn't get this out on paper and release the total amount of complete anger that was pumping through my veins.

The article can be found here:

Apparently, a mother and blogger by the name of Stephanie Metz wrote a blog about children and bullying called," Why My Kids Are Not The Center Of My World." In it she references that children should "toughen up" about bullying......She shared the post on facebook and it snowballed to a huge number of readers. Congrats, I think. She is receiving criticism as well as praise but my issue isn't just with her, it is with the whole article.

Just to be clear her children are four and two. 

Just to be clear on Mrs. Metz's attitude about bullying and parenting, all of her knowledge comes from the knowledge of a young parent raising young children. Her kids are four and two. Unless Pre K has gotten "harder" and more cut throat then when my children were that young, then I can't see why we are all running to take advice from someone who has no idea what children going through bullying is remotely like.  That is of course, assuming that there isn't a rash of pull up wearing thugs pushing  toddlers off the swing set while waving around juice boxes in a threatening manner.

Having a child that young of age does not make you a bad or a good mother. It makes you an inexperienced one. It is silly to rush out and believe what a  young parent is spouting off about, simply because they are a new parent and they think they have discovered some new found knowledge. Come back to me when your kid is over the age of ten and then we can talk about teenagers and bullying and reminisce when our children acted more like children and less like us. In short Mrs. Metz you have no idea what parenting a child that has gone through bullying is like and therefore your opinion, it's a free country so you are allowed to have one, is invalid and highly disappointing. With quotes like"I feel we are creating a generation of victims" how could I not be disappointed? I personally feel like we may be creating a generation of self indulgent, ungrateful, selfish, bullies with no self control or compassion ...but maybe that is just me.....because of comments like what you just said.

We will get back to you in a second. My other main gripe is that the article then goes onto a so called expert of bullying who I sincerely hope they misquoted. I mean how else could someone who is an "expert" leave such golden little gems as:

"I've coached those kids who are over-parented and you kind of want to give them a T-shirt that says `does not play well with others,"' said Coughlin, who's also a soccer coach. "It does make for some fragile children when we over-parent."


"This over-parenting also is almost a perfect storm for creating serial targets," he said. "Over-parented children are more likely to be serial targets than non-over-parented children."

Yes, because it couldn't simply be that some kids are just assholes. No, it is always the victims fault and also the victim's parent's fault for not being cool enough or for having parents that actually pay attention to their child's needs rather than ignore and neglect them like some parents do. Pissed off yet, Yes I sure am. As someone who was severely bullied I take high insult to such ridiculous beliefs. Hell, if I would have known that all I needed to do to not get beaten or laughed at was to just not have a great relationship with my mother then I could have saved myself years of being tormented. Obviously it was all my mother's fault for loving me and not the fault of the bully's parents for not giving them the tools to have a decent self esteem and healthy communication skills. Wow, I had no idea.

You know, because victims aren't victimized enough we must all make sure they know it is their fault for not being like everyone else, for being weak, for being good caring people. This cannot continue we must make sure that they know that the fact other kids take their things, call them names, stalk them on the internet, and push them is their fault,. What a load of bullshit!!!

Here is a couple of facts about bullying I think would be pertinent to know:

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year, according to the CDC. For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. Over 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7 percent have attempted it.

Bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University

A study in Britain found that at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying

10 to 14 year old girls may be at even higher risk for suicide, according to the study above

According to statistics reported by ABC News, nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying

But your are absolutely right, Mr. Coughlin and Mrs. Metz they just need to toughen up about it. It isn't like it is a life and death struggle to deal with bullies on a daily basis, right?

I would like Mrs. Metz and Mr. Coughlin to realize the severity of their statements and in doing so I would like them to sit across from the parents of the seven year old who hung himself because of bullying, the fourteen year old who did the same after bullying on her facebook, or the twelve year old that through herself off of an abandoned cement platform to her death because her tormentors told her to kill herself over and over again. I would like them to sit across from them and all of the not as widely reported parents of children that committed suicide due to bullying and look them in the eye. I would like them to look them in the eye and tell them their kids needed to just "toughen up" and not be "a generation of victims." I would like them to tell the parents that no longer can go home to hug their children, that it was their fault because they cared too deeply or parented too much. Not the fault of those that knowingly abused and tormented their children because they have crappy parents or terrible lives. Not the fault of the people that ignore the abuse and bullying and sweep it under the rug because they are too lazy, indifferent, or believe the way that you do. Not the fault of anyone else but the people that now have a vacant, empty, gaping hole that can never be filled ever again because their children are gone for no other reason but some punks wanted to have fun and hurt innocent undeserving children. When you can sit there and do that then I will consider reading your advice or even bother listening to your ridiculous tripe you call an opinion. Come back to me after your kid has been bullied to the point he is depressed then we can talk. Otherwise do the world a favor and don't open your mouth about something you have not had to deal with yet ( and truly hope you never do and never have to know what the pain of the parent is like when it happens to your child). They may not be the center of your world, but my children are the center of mine and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Neurotic Nelly

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Out Of The Mental Closet....

Hello my dear readers, I have returned. Not that I actually went anywhere but never the less I am back....

I read an article today, about Richard Dreyfuss opening up about his battle with bipolar disorder. He actually has been open about it since 2006 but did an article with People magazine.

I started to visualize and think about how beneficial it is to have celebrities come out and talk about their mental illness. To come out of the "mental closet" as it were.  I like to think of a mental closet as a place in your mind where nothing matches, only half of the clothes fit and the others are way too small, it's dark and smells faintly of  old people and mothballs, and there may or may not be a disembodied voice floating around. A closet that we keep all of the things we want to keep hidden in for fear that other's will judge us or hate us for it. Mental illness type things. Some of us are out and some of us are hanging on to that last coat hanger of sanity trying to appear as normal as possible. Some don't have a choice but to remain in the closet with the door locked behind them. It is important to talk about one's closets. And in my uneducated opinion if you can safely than you should.

What it means for all of us when  an actor, singer,or famous person comes out of their "mental closet" is insurmountable.  Some people huff and puff and pout claiming that famous people deciding to come out and declare they have mental illness is unhelpful. I call Bull crap!

Anytime someone comes out and admits to having a mental illness, it is helpful. Especially, those that no one suspected had anything wrong with them. Why you ask? Because generally when one is diagnosed with a mental illness they feel broken and lost. They go through a roller coaster of emotions ranging from gratefulness that they have a diagnoses to shame because they now have a diagnoses they were not prepared for. It is devastating to be told there is something wrong with your brain. Something broken in your mind. Instantly a cacophony of negative words and slurs go through your mind about what mental illness means. Are you now supposed to accept that you are all of these things? Are you a nut job, a psycho, a crazy nutcase, maniacal unhinged unbalanced lunatic? Are you dangerous now that what ails you has a name? Are you worthless or unproductive? That is what you have been told and taught all of your life that mental illness is. Does this now mean that this will be the new you?

Being diagnosed with a mental illness is not only a personal devastation but also a social one. It is not seen by the average community the same way having diabetes is or any other physical illness. In short, you are treated differently. You are responded to differently. You are often ostracized and stigmatized. Your life as you know it has changed and there is no going back tot he way it was before the doctor uttered those words that changed everything. Not really.

So, when someone famous that is adored or respected by the masses comes forward and declares their own personal struggle with mental illness, it is freeing. It shows the masses that mental illness does not mean dangerous. That it does not mean that you have to be homeless or scary looking to suffer from mental illness. That people go onto live wonderful and happy lives even thought they are dealing with mental issues. They are not seen as nut jobs, crazies, and certainly not lunatics. It opens the world's minds to the fact that mental illness is everywhere and it does not have to define everything we do in our lives. It is not simply a death sentence to be inflicted after years of toiling in the dark shadows and cold rooms of the past. Things are different now, and there are many more ways to be treated and live our lives as functional even exceptional human beings.

Not only does it inspire the world to look upon us differently when a famous person comes out of the "mental closet" but it also can inspire us, the sufferers as well. All of our lives we are told, explained to, and shown that we are not capable of doing what we want. We are not able to fulfill our dreams or our desires. We are somehow broken and therefore should not try to reach out to our dreams or set anything but low goals for ourselves. And we believe them more often than not. We secretly feel that we are in some ways unable to be as productive as normal people. We feel that we are somehow unable to be anything of worth or value to others. I call bull crap on that as well.

When famous people who suffer  from mental illness come out and talk about it, it opens doors. It creates new doorways where we can see that even if we struggle with mental illness, that does not mean that we can't be an actor, a singer, a painter....ect. That we are not bound to a life of misery simply because we are not like everyone else. In fact, some of the world's greatest artists, leaders, and talents have suffered from mental illness. From actors such as Dreyfuss to Patty Duke. From painters such as Van Gogh to Edvard Munch. From singers like Brian Wilson (The Beach Boys) to Kurt Cobain (Nirvana). Comedians Rosanne Bar, Jim Carrey, Robin Williams....just to name a few. Composers such as Beethoven, Mahler, Schumann. Many athletes, world leaders, presidents, painters, singers, authors, and poets suffer or have suffered from mental illness. There are more people famous mentally ill people than you can shake a stick at and still we are afraid. We are afraid that we are not good enough. We are afraid that we can not become what we desire to be. That no one will respect us or believe in us. That we do not matter. And it is all false.

Every time we hear or read or see a famous person talking about mental illness and how it has affected their lives, we are reminded that the only thing holding us back from our lives is us and our fear. That we are capable and worthy.  That we belong on this planet and each community just like everyone else. That we have nothing to be ashamed of. It is my fervent hope that each time a celebrity comes out of the mental closet we learn from them. We learn that we have nothing to fear. We learn to not be so devastated when we are sitting in the psychiatrist's office waiting to hear our diagnoses. That it wont be an earth shaking, souls shattering feeling that comes over us after we receive that diagnoses. That celebrities can actually open that door for us to be accepted as they are differences and all, creativity and all, mental illness and all. That one day being diagnosed with mental illness will be no more shocking or stigmatizing or frightening than being diagnosed with diabetes. That is what I truly wish. To end all of the stigma and shame and all the bad feelings of guilt and worthlessness that lingers simply because we are different.

I believe that is very important to have role models. I also believe that when your role model comes out and talks about their lives and struggles it can change the world for just a tiny bit better. This is their tiny bit of better and I commend them on the bravery for doing so. Thank you Richard Dreyfuss for standing up for us and being honest and thank you to all of those who have come before him.

Neurotic Nelly

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day......

This wasn't just plain terrible, it was fancy terrible. This was terrible with raisins in it.----Dorothy Parker

This week has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad time for me. To further prove that I am not immune to my severe OCD, I have been having cleanliness issues. My house "feels" dirty. So I scrub and scrub and scrub......I am so tired of scrubbing. It puts me in a foul mood. Not the actual cleaning, but the feeling it is still dirty after I have spent all day washing, sweeping, vacuuming, and wiping down. UGH! It is so frustrating. I still see dirt. Surfaces still feel dirty. My biggest frustration is the fact that the stove door has dribbles of some unknown substance in between the glass front and metal back. Somehow water or liquid of some sort has gone through the little vent cuts and flowed down. This peeves me to no end because to get to them I would have to actually take apart the door front. Something that could void my warranty or even break my oven and my question is why? Why would they make an oven you could not clean???!!!???! I don't understand how they did not see how liquid would drip down there and you can not clean it. I can't even look at the stove now without getting pissed off. It just really irritates me. Now when I clean the oven door it is shiny except the big dried dribbles behind the glass for all to see. I hate my stove. I truly, truly hate my stove.

Since I was sick and then had several appointments this week, my housework has suffered. I try to clean everything and get back to where it once was but I can't seem to get back to the level of cleanliness it was before. I feel like I am just chasing the monkey on my back and getting nowhere. I can't seem to quiet the OCD storm. I seriously hate when I get like this. I end up having no time for anything else except elbow grease and cleaning products. I am in a crappy mood. I am so aggravated. My floor looks dirty. My dishes are dirty. Even my walls seem like they need to be scoured with bleach and an S.O.S. pad. I am this close to actually getting out a butter knife and running it over the seams in my wood flour so I can clean them. Yes, I said the seams of my floor. Oh God. It is driving me INSANE!!!

For most people the belief  is that your home is your castle. For me, my home is my sanctuary but also my jail cell, my asylum, and on bad OCD days my worst enemy. It just depends on the day and this week it has been my albatross. I know  that the cleanliness OCD symptom is more of an outward sign that I have been under a lot of stress lately. I always have major anxiety when it comes to appointments. Especially, doctor's appointments. I know that I have been wigged out the last few days and now that they are over I am just trying to deal with the havoc they left behind in their wake. It is a slow going process. These are the days I truly wish I were more normal and I could just stop cleaning over and over again. That I could just relax and not be so wound up that my muscles bunch up, knot, and ache. That I could just let it go.

It is why I get angry when people claim they have OCD because they like a clean house. Really? Do you scrub your floors till your hands bleed? Do you reorganize you linen closet twenty three times because the toilet paper isn't in the right place? Do you vacuum so often you need to replace your vacuum more than once a year? Do you wash your dishes so often that if you did not have a dishwasher you would spend all day in the kitchen with your hands submerged in hot soapy water? Do you sit and stare at a scuff on the wall and are unable to concentrate on anything else until you finally have scrubbed it so much the paint has come off the walls? Well, have you?

OCD is not a badge of honor. It is not something you are happy to have. It is not proof that you are a clean and organized person. It is hell. It is a painful, frustrating, stressful mental illness and it sucks! It takes perfectly normal days and turns them into nightmares. It isn't something to be spouted off at the office simply because you keep your desk neat.

So in short, I am sorry I have been unable to write as often as I should. I am saddened that my post isn't the usual upbeat/funny post I usually aspire too. Sometimes, I have to remind myself that the whole reason I write about having a mental illness is because I have one and this week I am feeling it's affects. I have to remember that in telling you guys, my dear readers, to take care of yourselves I need to do the same for myself. I am sure I will be back in regular form on Tuesday. Have a marvelous weekend and try to relax. I promise I will do the same..... right after I figure out how to clean that damned oven door.

Until Tuesday my friends,
Neurotic Nelly

Thursday, November 7, 2013


Shelter is defined as:  a place giving temporary protection from bad weather or danger.

We all are in need of shelter. It does not have to made of brick and stone. It can simply be an offering of understanding, an offering of support. Many times I found shelter in not jut a friend but a simple conversation shared between someone who understood my plight, my dysfunction, my pain.

Whenever I run into someone with OCD I feel connected to them. Kind of like the feeling when you meet family for the first time. A simpatico. A sameness. Almost as if we are all brothers and sisters separated at birth. We may all have different symptoms but we all know exactly how it feels to suffer from them. We get the guilt of being imperfect, the shame of having intrusive horrible thoughts, the pain of being lied to by our minds and betrayed by our false perceptions. I can feel their pain and not just in the sense of saying that in a sympathetic tone. No, I actually feel it. Like an OCD empath. I can taste their fear like coppery bile and I know how they are tortured. I too have danced in the barren room of ice, twirling around while my fingers and toes slowly turn frostbit. It is a frozen barren field of feeling alone but being forced to participate in a game that has rapidly lost it's amusement, we have learned to hate, and don't want to play anymore. It is a blizzard of snow covered emotions and most of them are sorrowful and depressing. Sadness becomes your blanket, pain becomes your pillow, and self loathing becomes your pajamas you wear so often they have started to become your second skin. It's no longer easy to remember where you begin and your OCD ends re we even sure anymore? Feeling lost and alone and so very cold is something any OCD sufferer can identify. We have all done time in this place. Our jail cells of ice and stone. It is our punishment for crimes we have only thought but never actually done and never wanted to think about in the first place. We are punished twice. Once for the horror they cause us and then again for the simple fact we had them to begin with. We beat ourselves up for thinking such things. We hate ourselves for the images. We learn to hate the voice in our head. It is the enemy and we fear him. He is the ice demon and he sends ice water through our veins. He lies. He devastates any sense of self confidence. He shows us false images and tells us false stories leaden with his silver tongue and poisonous adjectives. He is the cold, bitter, frigid, cutting, biting winds of shame. He is the frosty earth that crunches beneath your feet threatening to break under your weight and swallow you whole.We need not fear the boogeyman that lies in the dark shadows beneath our bed who threatens to climb out with his long scraggly bone like talons and grab you by your ankles to drag you down in hopes of getting to devour your soul. He is child's play compared to the the boogeyman in our minds. He is the real threat. He doesn't need to hide under the bed's comforting shadows. We waits for us in the recesses of our minds, the corners of thought processes, the wrinkles in our peaceful thoughts. He always there, always aware, and always hungry. We fear him. We are mostly in a state of constant terror. Not of things that we are afraid we will do, because we know that we will not. We are incapable of harming others like we see in our heads. We fear him because he makes us watch these atrocities over and over again like a horror film stuck in a belt loop. So we understand each other. We know how it feels. We are fundamentally the same when it comes to the ice man and his room of frosty horrors.

To find someone who knows what that is like, to me , is like a miracle. Finally I know that this person is familiar with the ice room. This person knows what the betrayal of the mind feels like. This person knows what I have gone through. This person is my kin and we have never even met. It is freeing. It is absolving. It is wondrous. For the first time in my life I feel safe. I feel like I am sheltered in their understanding. I am protected from the storm in my head by the masses of my peers.

To finally know that I am no longer the broken ballerina twirling in a room of desperation has been life changing. It has become my saving grace and my chosen duty to try and reach out to others. To let them know we  all feel like  broken ballerinas and we are not alone. Just like every false thing OCD tells us, the feeling of being the only one is also false. We are many. The feeling of being broken is false. Are we repetitive? Sure. Are we confused? Sometimes. Are we broken? Never.

So, I have decided that I no longer am willing to listen to the ice demon's lies. He is repetitive and boring. Not to mention rude and vile. I am no longer willing to play his game at only my expense. I refuse to feel guilty for something I have never done nor will I ever do. I refuse to bow down and wear the red letter of shame. These pajamas of self loathing suck. They are ill fitting and not my taste. These blizzards of emotional turmoil are pointless and damaging. I am going to not only seek shelter by being open but I am going to build my own shelter by reaching out and sharing .I didn't ask to be born like this and refuse to be punished for it. And most of all I refuse to punish myself for something that is no fault of my own. I will no longer cower in fear or avoid the happy positive things and relationships in my life just because my OCD wants to be in control. I think it has taken up plenty of time in my life already and I refuse to allow it to do it anymore. So, I will obsess but I will not give into the fear. I will have intrusive thoughts and they will be upsetting but I will not call myself names or blame myself for them anymore. They are not my fault or my doing. I am going to talk, and speak, and shout, and yell until I am heard. Until we are all heard and we can finally stop living in fear of what our minds say. I will write. I will write. I will write.  Each post will be the bricks that build my walls. Each word will be the mortar. Each comment will be the support beams. Each time I write I will build a shelter for those like me to stand under when their storms are heavy.

When I run into someone else with OCD I feel like we are the same. We have fought the same battles and weathered the same storm. I would like to offer them the shelter of knowing I understand. The shelter of knowing I have been there too. The shelter of knowing they are not alone. The shelter of believing that we are not broken ballerinas twirling around blindly in the snow. We are so much more than that. Many times, I have found shelter with other's words. I hope that others can find shelter with mine.

I felt it shelter to speak to you___Emily Dickison

Neurotic Nelly

Saturday, November 2, 2013


When I was thirteen years old I had no self esteem. I am sure it was evident in the way I walked with my head down as to not garner any glances. I felt ugly, stupid, and worthless. I had been in a school where I had been bullied daily. My parents were on the verge of divorce. We were dirt poor and my family circumstances were pretty sad at that time. I had short hair and was teased about being gay or a boy. I wasn't gay nor a boy, not that anyone should be abused or bullied for either one of those things. They shouldn't period. I was called hopeless. I was called a freak, a waste, a pathetic excuse for a human being. I was many things but beautiful wasn't one of them. Not only did I hear this from my "peers" but I heard it loudest from myself. I felt completely broken. OCD is something that makes an idea in your head a broken record, your albatross, your repeat setting on the radio, your alarm clock. If you build it they will come. If you think it you will dwell. It never ceases to amaze me how much I can think about the same horrid things over and over again. If your obsession is that you are worthless then you have a big problem. I had a problem....a big one.

I tried to fit in and the more I did the more I failed. It was exhausting not only to fight my peers but more so the fighting of myself. A war of the demons in my soul. The plague of ghosts that haunted my mind. I wanted to be someone important. I wanted to be heard. I wanted to be beautiful.....I wanted to be normal. I wanted to be accepted and understood. I wanted what all children want but I felt I was too far gone to be accepted. Too wounded to be normal. Too broken to be anything but ugly.

Then it happened. A gift from God. A blessing. An angel in disguise, whatever you want to call it. For me it was a profound moment in my life. It was the chink in the armor. The broken brick in the wall that helped me to tear it down. It was one simple incident and it changed my life. I doubt he even knew what the power of his words did for me.

My mother and I were at a flea market. We weren't buying anything, just window shopping, as it were. I was wearing some ghastly nineties plaid multi-colored shirt and jeans. My glasses were constantly fogging up when we walked into the flea markets for some reason, leaving you blind for the first thirty seconds. My mom was looking at a booth and I decided to look at my feet and shuffle along like I always did. Never dare looking anyone in the eyes. I was quiet and demure, after all, what did I have to say that could be remotely important. I had walked by a handmade jewelry booth. There were hundreds of beautiful mother of pearl and beaded earrings. They glistened and I felt almost blinded by their beauty. They were precious and I felt out of place standing there looking at them. I started to walk away and as I did the man that ran the booth walked up to me. He was a nice looking older man with dark perfect coffee colored skin. He smelled like spices that were unfamiliar but pleasant. He handed something out to me. He had a strange accent foreign to me, maybe African and he said,"These are for you." I hesitated and said I had no money. He smiled and said,"They are for you," He kept shoving them in my direction. "These are for you because you are beautiful. Beautiful earrings for a beautiful girl." I was stunned. Surely he was talking about some other girl. I had been called many things by others not related to me, but beautiful sure wasn't one of them. He was insistent that I take them. They were dangle earrings that had pink bead on top of a mother of pearl long bead and a pink bead on the bottom. They were gorgeous and they sparkled in the light as I held them up. He smiled once more and then he was gone. I walked by his booth again with my mother and he was no longer open. I never saw him again.

It seems strange but what this did for my self esteem was huge. Had he not stepped in, I am not sure that I would be who I am today or that I would even be here at all. He made it possible for me to begin to believe that I was so much more than I thought I was. Someone thought I was beautiful. Someone believed in my worth as a person. Someone thought I was worth looking in the eye. Someone believed in me.  He had no idea what kind of person I was but he must have noticed that I was unhappy and insecure. His simple gesture made me believe that if some stranger could believe in me than maybe I should try to believe in myself as well. He gave me back a little bit of my sense of dignity. A little bit of hope and even maybe a shred of self awareness. He planted a tiny seed of doubt that I was as ugly as I had been led to believe. A seed that grew into a tree the older I became. I realized that his simple gift had made me stronger. He didn't have to go out of his way to help a broken sad girl but he did and I am ever so thankful. He changed my life with his words. Who knows why he felt compelled to do this for me. Maybe he had been bullied or picked on? Maybe at some point he had felt insecure and ugly? Maybe he just needed to get rid of a pair of earrings? Maybe he just wanted to see a sad girl smile, I don't know. What I do know is that he started me on a path of  self confidence with his single act and I will always be truly grateful.

It became ever so clear to me that there are many broken people walking around afraid of their imperfections. They feel lost and insecure. They feel like outsiders. They feel ugly. It can just take a few words of encouragement or a few words of kindness to help them begin to believe in themselves again. It can just take one word and it can change not only just their day but their whole lives. Some people are literally just waiting on one kind word. Maybe we should be more cognizant of that. Maybe we as people, especially those of us that have wrestled with this before, should make sure that when we see someone hurting, we offer a few words of  kindness. After all, everyone in this world is unique and special. We are all beautiful and everyone deserves to feel that way at some point in their lives. Why not let it be now?

Why not tell the saddest, most scared, and insecure the truth? They are beautiful too. You are beautiful.....
Neurotic Nelly