Thursday, October 30, 2014

Happy Halloween, Ghouls and Gals....

Tomorrow is Halloween. I love this holiday. It is the one day a year you can be anyone you want to be and not worry about being thought of as kooky or odd. I don't dress up anymore but my kids do. I am allergic to Halloween makeup. It chemically burns my face and both my kids were born with my extra sensitive skin (I am sure they are thrilled about that) leaving us to be more creative when creating costumes.

I may be scared of almost everything but the one thing that does not scare me is haunts. People dressed up in creepy costumes walking around, jumping out at you with props, bad lighting, fog machines and eerie sound effects don't bother me in the least. Give me someone coughing in my direction and I am totally freaked out. Give me some asshat in a clown costume with a chainsaw without the blade making moaning noises at me and I laugh. It seems ridiculous to me. They can't hurt you, the common cold can....

A few years ago my oldest and I were trick or treating when we had to walk up on this guy's porch. It was dark and he had so many decorations in the yard that you had to walk all the way around just to go up the steps. He was sitting in the corner decked out in some monstrous skeletal costume. My oldest was completely freaked out. I elbowed him gently with a fake smile plastered on my face and whispered through my teeth,"just take the candy and let's go". I wasn't scared but the weird slow movements the guy was making as he was going to give my kid the candy made me a tad bit uncomfortable. It was almost as if he was  robotic in movement and he was completely silent. He got his hand about three inches from my kid and my kid bolted. I have never seen him move so fast in his entire life. He jumped off of the porch with so much speed and force he took out half of the creepy guy's yard decorations and almost knocked over some big dude standing there chatting with other trick or treater's parents. I was left there with creepy guy unsure of what to do, so I held out my hand for the candy he still had in his hand and kept the fake smile plastered on my face and mouthed sorry at him. I mean, I am not sure what protocol you are supposed to go through when someone scares your kid so badly they actually end up destroying half of their Halloween display.

Anyway we currently avoid that house, partly out of embarrassment and partly because I prefer my children to not have nightmares every night for the next six years of their lives. When my kids stop trick or treating and they want to stay home to pass out candy to the other kids, maybe I will dress up and we will decorate the yard. I will just make sure not to be too scary for the kids or make odd robotic movements because that shit is super creepy, even to people like me that find all of this "scary" stuff ridiculous.

Hope you all have a safe and happy Halloween! Happy Halloween Ghouls and Gals!

Neurotic Nelly

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I Just Wonder...

When I was younger, I would be outside playing and sometimes I would hear the people in their houses sitting down for dinner clinking the silverware on their plates, or washing dishes, or talking to each other in their sitting rooms with calm content voices. I couldn't make out what they were actually saying but I could tell by their tone of voice it was an amiable conversation. I imagined it was something normal and like small talk or conversations about work or bills or school, and I would wonder what their lives must be like. What would it be like to live in their family sitting at their table? What did they do on Sundays? Or even Mondays? What were their jobs like? Did they tuck their kids into bed with a story or a lullaby and a night light to ward off bad dreams? Did they pack lunches for them for school in the morning or just give them the money to buy it in the cafeteria? Did they eat cereal for breakfast or toast? Did they go swimming on weekends or camping or to soccer games? I always wondered what other people's lives were like, and if they were anything like mine. I guess that wondering never really left me because I still wonder what other people's lives are like today. When I see people walk down the street in crazy mismatched bold outfits or people in shorts and tank tops with their arms and legs covered in tattoos I begin to wonder. What do they do? What books do they read? What hobbies do they have? When they go home at night, do they have a dog, or cat, or a ferret, maybe a goldfish waiting for them? Maybe they don't like pets...maybe they are allergic....maybe they go home to a cozy little apartment with mismatched furniture and hand me down rugs? Maybe they live in a house? Maybe they don't live anywhere but where the mood takes them? Maybe their family is nice? Maybe their family is mean? Maybe they have no family at all? Do they listen to music? Classical? Rock? Rap? Folk?

I don't know why I do this or even why I did as a child, except other people's lives fascinate me. I guess it is because I have always been so scared of everything. So terrified of life. So afraid of anything new and most things that are old and everything in between. So I try and imagine what it would be like to not be scared to live. I imagine great and wonderful possibilities when I see these people. Quiet dinners around the table with no one getting up to leave because the noises of people chewing in their mouths drive them insane. I imagine comfort and coziness rather than anxiety and cleaning the baseboards with a butter knife and soapy water. I imagine the person covered in tattoos as brave because needles hurt and tattoos are permanent and what must it be like to have something to say that you believe in so strongly you want your skin to say it for the rest of your life? I am not sure that I have anything to say that is that meaningful or believe worthy enough to ever be permanent. I imagine the boldly dressed person as courageous and as someone who marches to the beat of their own drum and doesn't give a damn what other people think and I envy them because I do care what other people think. Even though I know I shouldn't. I don't really want to care but I do....and I wonder...what must it be like to be that way? To be different than how I be free. Too be normal. To be not scared......I wonder.

It even happens to me on television shows or movies. Especially period movies set in a different time. I was watching a mobster movie set in the forties last night and I was interested in the story line and yet I caught myself wondering again. What would it have been like to know so little about diseases and germs? How would it have been to just live your life not worrying that every little pain or ache or cramp meant something medically horrible was wrong with you? You would never worry about it because they didn't know much about that stuff in those days. You got something bad, it made you sick but you didn't go around being plagued by the thought of it because you didn't know any better. You just lived life the way you wanted to. The freedom they must of had from the fear of it. Freedom of the fear of germs and diseases and medical issues, I will never know because now that I know about them, I fear them constantly. I always have. Then I have to sit there and ask myself what is wrong with me. I mean, here is this terrific and moving movie and all I can think about is how wonderful it would have been to share the drink with the love interest on the show and not wince when he puts the glass to his lips and not be all," Um, you have had your flu shot right?". Or how nice it must be to sit at the bar and actually eat the pretzels in the bowl on the counter that everyone and their grandmothers has had their hands in and not bat an eye....Or how freeing it would be to run around and not be terrified that every little bothersome twinge is a sign that you have a serious malady. I could dance, or sing, or run around in high heels and flapper dresses and not give damn. My God, what would that be like? To not be paranoid, or weird, or terrified, or OCD?

It just stuns me. How other people live their lives so freely and unaware and they seem happy. They seem carefree. They seem sooooo normal and it fascinates me. This normal that I have been told time and time again that I would never achieve. This word that eludes me no matter how hard I try or how hard I play act at it. I know that I can not be free of my OCD. That I will never be OCD free completely. That I will never be normal.......and I know that the tattooed guy probably has a tattoo of Tweetybird on his ass that he got in college on a dare and regrets it, or that the boldly dressed lady is probably just color blind or crazy or both, and that the dinners I heard as a child were probably just mac n cheese and sliced hot dogs and that the conversations were probably about stupid things like what the neighbor said about the guy across the street and that television and movies aren't real and that normal supposedly doesn't really exist. I know all of that and yet I still cant help but wonder what it would feel like or be like or if it had a taste what would it taste like? Would it be bitter or sweet or would it taste like popcorn? Or if i"normal" were a thing, an actual solid thing, could I hold it in my hand? Would it be heavy like a brick or would it be light and fluffy like a marmalade sandwich? Would it be sticky like peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth on a hot day or hard and gritty and substantial? Because I know that fear tastes coppery and metallic, and I know anxiety is bitter and tastes salty like tears, and I know that my fears aren't tactile and my hands are empty yet they feel so very very full of broken dreams and worries and desperation that slip through my fingers daily, and I know how heavy and substantial OCD is on your soul, and so I just wonder....what would, what could, how would it be to finally just live unafraid.... to be be like everyone be normal.

Neurotic Nelly

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My First Test.....

People with OCD are fantastic actors. We look normal. We blend into most any situation. We hide our symptoms as often as we can the best that we can and most of the time no one has any idea there is something broken in our minds.

For instance, I may be in an elevator with a group of people. There may seem to be too many people on the elevator but I have to be on it too. I don't outwardly freak out but inside my OCD is freaking out," What if we are exceeding the weight limit? What if this whole things comes tumbling down?" and God forbid, someone sneeze or cough in the elevator with me in it. However, all you see in this situation is me with a fake smile plastered all over my face. You see a polite, normal person. You see a woman, a mother, an individual. What you don't see is that this woman, mother, and individual is screaming inside of her mind.

I have been out of hand sanitizer for two weeks now. I have been out of the house three times. It has been unbelievably hard. My first test was going to the doctors office. I had to sign in with some mechanical machine with a stylus, I damn well know everyone and their dog's have touched. I had to touch door knobs and chairs and elevator buttons (things I usually avoid by using my sleeve instead of my fingers). I searched for any hand sanitzer in the office with desperation and found nothing. Sure, I looked calm on the outside but on the inside I was screaming. I was totally freaked out. The Price is Right was on the office television. The beeps of the wheel turned into a long annoying sound of dings and pings. The audience clapping became a loud obnoxious murmur. The sounds of the people in the doctors office became a background noise. A cough, a sneeze, some woman in tight pants and an animal print shirt continued to clear her throat and make annoying sniffing sounds while she read something on her cell phone....and then my brain took over. Everything faded away and the silence came. I no longer heard or tasted or smelled. The only sense left in my body was feeling the germs. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw my saving grace, a wall with a hand sanitizer pump on it. Hallelujah! I walked quickly over to it and pumped the glorious germ killing miracle gel all over my hands. Relief!

Then a few days later I went to the grocery store. Again this is where I would have used my hand sanitizer at anytime I would feel the start of the OCD contamination and germ fears but I did not have my fall back hand sanitizer. I seemed happy on the outside but on the inside my mind was reeling." Don't touch the cart, don't touch the counter, Leave the package of raw meat alone, germs, germs, germs, germs...tainted, tainted, tainted...dirty, dirty, dirty...."
I was so worried and anxious through the whole experience that I totally forgot to buy hand santizer for myself. I made it through and made it home without touching my face with my tainted hands, and then promptly washed my hands as soon as I walked through the door....Relief!

I need to get more sanitizer but I am kinda stoked I was able to get through both of my major triggers without my trusty hand sanitizer and still made it through with out an outward, ugly,extreme breakdown in public. Which is exciting because a few years ago I am not sure that would have been possible.

Neurotic Nelly

Thursday, October 16, 2014

OCD Awareness Week, Rock It Like It Is 2014!

Yay, the new sign for OCD awareness week is out! And I went to print it and guess what? I am out of ink in my printer....ugh! I am going to put the actual online printout super imposed onto my picture instead. (A huge thank you to my extremely tech savvy best friend!) Since I said I would use the UK sign, I will do both and since there is no "I am a PureO" sign, I decided to make one myself, with paper and pen because I am cheap and I suck at Paint Shop Pro and apparently, I suck at looking to see when I need to refill my ink cartridges as well.

OCD awareness week means so much to me. After having this illness for over 31 years, I can not explain how wonderful it is for it to be recognized and talked about. Growing up, I thought I was crazy. Now, I know I am crazy but I also know that I am not alone. There are thousands of us. Thousands of crazy, beautiful, magnificent, wonderful people just like me and I am not sure that there is anything more powerful than learning you are not alone. You do not suffer alone. You do not worry alone. That there are people who may not have the exact same rituals, compulsions, or obsessions that you do but yet they still know exactly how you feel. It is amazing and comforting and even, dare I say calming? It helps to know that I am a part of such a terrific group of individuals.

Thirty years ago, twenty years ago, hell even ten years ago, OCD was a nameless mental illness only known to those of us that had been diagnosed with it. There was no fanfare or special weeks set out for it. No t-shirts or banners to hang. It wasn't uncommon to have explain your diagnoses over and over again to the same person until they understood that yes, it was a real thing and that yes, you, in fact, suffered from it. Now days, people use the term OCD like it is the most fashionable thing in the world. They use it to describe everything from being neat and tidy to quirky and organized. This is probably the most insulting and irritating thing an actual OCD sufferer can hear but at the same time if people are willing to incorrectly label themselves as OCD than I am going to take their faux pas and turn it into a discussion with them of just why they are not sooo OCD and I am....I believe everything can be used as a teaching tool and we now have the voice to speak, teach, and educate just what OCD is about and how it affects us and the ones that we love.

Anyway, Happy OCD Awareness week my wonderful peeps! Hold your head high and be proud of not just what we have accomplished but who we are as people. Because honestly, we might be a bit different than the rest of the world but we are makes this world diverse and unique and beautiful. We rock, so let's rock it  like it is 2014! Yeah!

Neurotic Nelly

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Things To Rant About....

I am thinking of occasionally talking about things that really piss me off. There is a bunch of them. I don't always rant about them, and I  don't always write about them, but they are there and they irritate me to no end. Here is this month's installment in no particular order....

OCD week....
I love OCD awareness week. It is my mental illness and I want to be a part of it. Last year I was bummed because I didn't have a printer and couldn't print the offical "I am So OCD" print out and take my picture with it. I went out and got a printer specifically, so I could participate this year and what happens? The site that usually has these printouts keeps saying that the new pic is coming soon, a week before OCD awareness week. Well, it is the second day of OCD awareness week and still no printout!!!! I am now obsessing about my OCD awareness printout. So yes, I am having OCD about my OCD. Wonderful....Guess I am going to have to just print out the UK one and take my picture with it. I love the UK but I am from America and I would like to have support from America about my mental illness as well. It baffles me as to why a simple printout is so hard to create. I am going UK this year so check out Thursday's post with me holding my OCD UK printout! And although I am happy to support OCD there it pisses me off there is nothing here to show my support....

I was just diagnosed as having vertigo due to my ear drums and ear canals being severely scarred from tubes in my ears when I was a child. I no longer am able to drain the fluid out of my ears so every time I get sick or have bad allergies, my ears ears fill up with fluid leaving me to feel dizzy and unfocused. I now am taking 3 extra pills to combat this until the fluid dissipates. That means I now have to take 11 pills a day and I hate taking pills! I can't move my head without feeling weird and when I lay down the world spins like I am on some horrible theme park ride. Now, not only do I have bad eyesight that leaves me with poor depth of perception, I cant even tell now where the object I am reaching for actually is. I tried to grab something handed to me yesterday only to find I was grabbing for it about two inches to left of said object. I got up from the table at a restaurant and collided with an errant chair and table on the right side of me. Thankfully, no one was sitting there at the time and I just acted like it didn't happen but the thought of being even less able to walk and function on top of my blindness scares the shit out of me. Basically, I stagger around like I am drunk but without any of the pleasantries of being drunk. It makes me feel even more vulnerable, clumsy, and more of a burden than I have ever felt in my whole life. It sucks and it pisses me off.....

Birthday Ban....
An elementary in Kentucky has banned cupcakes and cake or anything edible on children's school birthday parties. Nothing says fun and birthdays like the erasers, pencils, and bookmarks they suggest you give your students instead. Yum. I know as a kid I would be so excited to receive such yummy treats as a graphite lead covered in wooden tubes with brightly covered paint or paper pressed book marks! Not....They claim it is to curb obesity but let's call a spade a spade shall we? One cupcake or piece of cake will do nothing for obesity. No one is one cupcake away from being fat. ( Gee, I was so skinny until I ate that one cupcake. Sheesh now I am 300 lbs over wieght just from that one afternoon in science class, said no one ever.) This is not alcohol addiction where you are one beer away from losing sobriety. It's a fucking cupcake for God's sake. These are children. Can't children just be allowed to be children without people pushing their odd personal political agendas and overall ignorance all over them? If you are worried about children being fat then increase their gym time and recess. Don't feed them lunch at 10:15 a.m. right after they just had breakfast at 7:45 a.m. Make them eat lunch at 12 like normal people. That way they don't come home at 4 p.m. starving to death and raiding the kitchen. It isn't a school's decision on food anyway. That is the parent's job. A school's job is to teach. Teach about health and healthy eating habits and exercise. Anyone who has ever dieted knows that diets don't work because you can not possibly hold up to never eating a cupcake or a piece of candy. If you refuse to let a child ever eat such things then they will gorge themselves on it when they become adults because now they finally have the option to try them. In short, leave the damn cupcakes alone and let the kids be kids for God's sake and do the world a favor and get over yourself.

Welfare Ignorance...
If I had a nickle every time I have heard some blowhard say that welfare recipients on food stamps waste their food stamps on booze and cigarettes I would be able to take all of the people on food stamps out to breakfast. Listen, I know this is hard to understand but try and keep up. Food stamps And only food. No paper products, or alcohol, or tabcco products. It does not pay for laundry soap, or the pencils you may be forced to give your kids at school for thier birthday parties. It pays for stuff that you eat and that is all. If you had the runs and were out of toilet paper and had no money but $400 in food stamps, you would go home without toilet paper and try to figure out how to drum up enough money to buy toilet paper or try to wing it with using banana peels or the plastic bag that bread comes in because food stamps pay for things like bananas and bread but not for things like the magical fluffy white paper you wipe your butt with. Hence why the word Food is in the word "food-stamp". There is no cigarette stamp or booze stamp so stop it already. Just stop. If you have never been on food stamps than you have no idea how hard living on such things are. I have been on them twice and not for very long, but each time it was a hard and embarrassing experience. The way people treat you and look at you is mortifying. The judgments you receive because maybe you lost your job, or your loved one was too sick to work is unbelievable. It hurts. Sure there are people that abuse the system but that is not everyone and no one wants to be hungry or starve. Not all people who are obese are on food stamps and not all food stamp recipients are obese. I wasn't. And as for the "you should buy healthier stuff when on food stamps" comments you see all over the place, that would be doable if the healthier foods weren't almost twice the price of the cheaper fattier options. It must be nice to have never been on food stamps or have struggled to feed your family, but unless you have been on them you really have no idea how hard it is to try and live on them. No one buys cigarettes and booze with food stamps, it is impossible. Could the welfare system be better and more functional and less costly, yes, but don't blatantly lie about what food stamps can be used for. That is just ignorant and when you say things like that it makes you appear ignorant and it makes you appear to have a strong lack of compassion.

And finally the last thing that is pissing me off right now is:

Columbus Day....
I refuse to acknowledge this day. Christopher Columbus was not a brilliant, brave, fearless man. He was a murderer, thief, swindler, and liar. The reason this day is a supposed holiday here, mystifies me. Banks are closed and the mail doesn't run all because he "discovered" America. How in the hell do you discover a place that already has people living on it? That is like me going over to my neighbor's fenced in  yard, hammering a wooden stake in the ground and claiming that I have discovered their yard and it is now mine. Then we could have Nelly day and people could build statues of me and change my history around in the history books so I come out smelling like a rose and not be remembered for the things I actually did and how I actually did them. The only thing redeemable about there being statues of Christopher Columbus anywhere in this country is the fact that birds get to fly over him and defecate on his head everyday....He didn't discover land, he stole it. He found indigenous people on his "discovered land" and those people were raped, murdered, turned to slavery, and had all of their gold taken from them. Their lives were destroyed because he was greedy and corrupt, not to mention a tad bit full of himself. Wow, if that isn't someone to look up to and call a hero, I sure don't know what is. (That's sarcasm, folks.) I mean the man thought that he had reached India instead of America which is why Native Americans were called Indians for a very long time, and even the Caribbean Islands are often called the West Indies. But yea, he was sooo intelligent and an overall nice guy....cough...cough...bull shit...cough. Columbus day is a farce and I refuse to lower myself to the regurgitated bologna they try and teach about such a man and I certainly refuse to act as if what he was, is in anyway noble or worthy of being celebrated.

These are just some things that really irritate me and make me annoyed or trigger my OCD and make me rant. They aren't the first and I am sure they won't be the last. So, it got me to wondering what really bothers you guys?

Neurotic Nelly

Thursday, October 9, 2014

OCD Saved My Life...

As annoying, frustrating, and agonizing OCD can be, it literally may have saved my life last night. I won't venture far enough to say OCD is my hero but this is one time I am thankful I just can't stop obsessing about stuff.

Earlier this year we had a total of four gas leaks.....yes I said four. The first two were from my faulty and old water heater which we had replaced. Let me just say, that I have one of those incredibly sensitive noses. It has been a bain of my existence that some small smells literally drive me insane but one of the things my senses pick up on is natural gas. I am not sure if my sense of smell is so uncanny because of my OCD or because of my bad eyesight, but I can smell a gas leak, even the tiniest of gas leaks from far away.

The furnace went out right after winter this year. I smelled gas outside and called the energy company. My husband at this point was sure I was crazy as he didn't smell it. He thought I was imagining things, even though I was right the two times before with the water heater. The energy guy told me someone's furnace was about to go out.......sadly, I found out three days later it was mine. Yay me (sarcasm). My furnace was over thirty eight years old, so it wasn't a huge surprise. I went down to the basement and and sure enough, I smelled gas and it was bad. The energy company had to get come out and turn off the gas running to my then defunct furnace. It was scary and I decided that this was just not safe. We had to get a new furnace before this winter. Especially, since last year we had temps of -20 degrees Fahrenheit. This year is predicted to be worse. Most of it was arctic blasts from Canada......thanks Canada......I love Canada but it was sharing a little too much last winter, if you ask me. It's beautiful there and the people are wonderful but in the winter it can be frigid. Please for the love of God, keep your arctic blasts up there where they belong...brrrr.

So, a new furnace was put in two weeks ago and for the first time all year, I finally felt like the leaking gas debacle would be over. My family would be safe. My house would be free and clear of noxious and poisonous air......I was finally able to rest peacefully that we would be safe sleeping in a house that wasn't a virtual death trap. In fact, the furnace installer had told us had we continued to use the old one, we would have gone to sleep one night and never have woken up.

As for the two carbon monoxide detectors we have, never once has either one of them gone off. Sure the hybrid one will scream at you if you try and cook a hamburger patty on a skillet and declare that your house is burning down around you but have four gas leaks in a six month period and it is bupkis. I am not saying they don't work...I am just saying I don't fully trust them. I mean, if my nose smells gas shouldn't the detectors?

Which leads me to how OCD saved my life and my family's lives. Last night...err early morning, about 2 a.m. I remembered that I had forgot to switch over the laundry so my youngest would have pants to wear to school today. As we all know, pants are kind of important for leaving the house. I went down to the black hole (the basement) an started to switch out the clothes and BAM....gas. It was more of a strong grease odor at first, with a tiny sliver of gas smell underneath. I thought I was going insane. I mean, it is a two week old freaking furnace for God's sake! How in the hell could we have yet another gas leak???!!!

I decided, as I sniffed around like a bomb sniffing dog, that maybe just maybe it was all in my head. The smell had ceased so I went back upstairs. Where I sat and obsessed. And worried. And freaked myself out only to decide to go and sniff again to make sure....Something I don't normally do. I usually refuse to give into my OCD reassurances. But in this case I decided that I would not be able to sleep if I was laying there pondering whether or not gas was filling up in my basement making my house into a poison fueled, ticking time bomb.

As soon as I opened the door and went down three steps I smelled it again. It was faint but obviously there. I went to the new furnace and bent over and sniffed. The smell of natural gas was so strong that it made me light headed for a nano second. Thankfully, the new furnace people had made shut off levers on my gas lines when they installed the new furnace for me, so I went up stairs, woke the hubby and we turned off the gas...again. Ugh...did I mention how much I fucking hate having natural gas as a fuel source to heat my home? Well, I do, I hate it passionately.

The furnace people will be here soon to see why I have a leak and maybe just maybe I will finally be able to get some sleep because I haven't slept since last night. Even with the gas turned off I am paranoid about it.

And although, I hate having OCD, I am so thankful that it made me go back into that basement last night. Otherwise, I have a strong suspicion that we would have had a much bigger problem than a restless nights sleep.

So OCD, I sometimes hate your obsessing, compulsing, anxiety ridden guts....but sometimes, like last night, I am thankful that you are an actual thing and not just something I made up in my head. Thanks for bugging me relentlessly and making me go back into the basement to check for the second time.  Thanks for saving me and my family from carbon monoxide poisoning or from being blown to smithereens. Thanks OCD, thanks. My family and I appreciate it.

OCD saved my life, so today I am a little more thankful for it and just maybe, I hate it just a little bit less.

Neurotic Nelly

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

It's Not An Addiction...Rant...Rant....

A Small Update:

A couple of weeks ago I updated my blog's background to this awesome vintage fabric my grandma made one of my favorite shirts out of. I thought it was funky and would make a cool background. I like to update my blog look every so often or it bugs me.

I also have added a new blog link section on the side to include other OCD blogs. I figured it made no sense to make finding us all so damn difficult. There are literally thousands of OCD sufferers walking the earth. Some of us are doctors. Some of us are teachers. Some of us are taxi drivers and some of us are bloggers. We are here and if people want to read about OCD to better understand what we go through or maybe even want to read  our blogs because they are also sufferers, than it should be easier for them to locate such blogs. So I hope this list will keep growing and more people join in. Please keep checking in for more OCD blog links! Or if you are an OCD blogger and would like me to add a link to your blog please let me know in the comment section. I only ask that you add a link to my blog somewhere on your site as well, to keep the "OCD blog ring" going. Now on to today's post....

It Is Not An Addiction...

I was looking up news about OCD because I like to stay informed about what is going on with my diagnoses. What I found instead was a blog post talking about OCD, rituals, and the fact that the author believes OCD to be an addiction. I was irritated to say the least.

Of course this author discussed OCD as only being the touching of door knobs, germ-a-phobia, and cleanliness of OCD sufferers. At this point I had ceased to be irritated and had moved on to becoming angry.

In this day and age to learn about illness, almost any illness, all you have to do is do a simple google search. To write a blog post without any semblance of information about the illness in which you decided to write a post on is not only ignorant and dare I say lazy, but also negligent.

It just goes to show the sheer ignorance and judgments that follow a mental illness diagnoses. It uncovers the stigma we face on a daily basis. How many times have you heard that your mental illness was something you faked, something you use an excuse, or (according to this author) not a mental illness at all but just an addiction to doing weird things?

Listen bub, an addiction means that at some point you had a choice to do something (unless you were born addicted which sadly can happen). You have a choice the first time you put a cigarette to your lips. You have a choice the first time you snort a line of coke or stick a needle in your arm. You become addicted and then it becomes less of a choice and more of a need.

I didn't just clean my house one day and just couldn't get enough. I don't have a desire to cry myself to sleep at night because my youngest had a nose bleed and my OCD makes me terrified that he has something horribly scary like Leukemia. Nor do I crave the feeling of washing my hands til they are raw and bloody because I can "feel" the germs on them even though I can see that they are perfectly clean. That isn't a need or desire. I wasn't given a choice, I was born this way.

Not every OCD sufferer has germ-a-phobia, or contamination fears. Not every OCD sufferer counts or touches things. There is literally hundreds of symptoms to this mental illness and not all of us are preoccupied with cleaning or washing our hands. I don't know how many times this has to be said but apparently it has to be said constantly because ignorance is everywhere and it spreads faster and easier than the cold hard truth.

The cold hard truth is OCD is not a choice. It was never a choice to anyone that has it because no one , NO ONE would choose this pain, this self doubt, this agony. We learn to live with it and use it to our advantage sometimes and we are proud of how far we able to overcome but we would never choose to suffer on purpose. Nor would we wish it on anyone else. That is just a silly statement not to mention an uneducated one.

I mean, no one would write a post and make up half truths about heart disease. No one would write something as uneducated and wrong as claiming heart attacks were an addiction. No one would write a post about diabetes with misrepresented symptoms and misguided attitudes. That would unacceptable to the public and yet it seems to be perfectly acceptable to write such misconceptions about mental illness. It just goes to show the differences in how physical illness is viewed vs mental illness. There is no stigma in having diabetes or heart disease. There is nothing but stigma when you suffer from mental illness.

I guess what I am trying to say is, if you are going to write a post about any mental illness, get your facts straight first. Otherwise the post is about your opinion that is based on other's opinions and only further promotes ignorance and stigma. If you do not know what you are talking about, it should be your duty to educate yourself. If you don't and you write misleading posts than you are part of the problem of stigma that we face daily and I don't think you mean to be. I just think that you are misguided and ignorant of just how mental illness works. We are not addicted to our mental illness, we suffer from it.

Neurotic Nelly

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

It's Like A Disease....

XXXXX..................WARNING POSSIBLE TRIGGERS...............XXXXX

It's like a disease, a poison that drips it's sickness down onto generation after generation. The abuse that happened to my grandfather and then the abuse he inflicted on his children, has harmed us all. It affected my mother and aunt as well as their children and in time it will affect ours as well.

They may not see it yet, the dysfunction. One day they will notice as the talk to their friends about their families, that ours is much different...The fact that we do not call him by his name. We rarely speak of the years he was abusive. We are a broken family. Maybe not broken but more twisted like a tree that has been struck by lightening and healed but now grows more sideways than up. We are that tree, healing but still struggling to grow past the damage that was done.

With the recent loss of my aunt I struggle with the renewed anger and disgust of my grandfather's actions that made her turn to drugs in the first place. Now, the huge holes that are in my family have gotten bigger. There is no denying that the things he did affect us all and will for many generations. No one wants to describe their grandfather with such horrid words as pedophile, child abuser, molester...but that is what he was. He was a preacher, a father, a husband and behind all of those smiling family pictures full of false family togetherness, he was a monster...

I grew up being told to watch out for Grandpa. Never be alone with Grandpa. If Grandpa ever touches you in anyway that feels funny tell someone immediately. I was never left alone with him but I was warned just in case. I grew up knowing he did bad things to my mother and aunt. There was no way to shield me from that when my mother was in and out of mental hospitals, shattering all of the plates in the house by throwing them on the floor, hiding in closets, crying like a wounded child in the corner.  There was no denying it when my aunt was in and out of prison, turning tricks for money, or on the street with a needle in her arm.

I always knew, it was my way of being protected. My mother made damn sure I was aware that this secret would never be a secret that would make it possible for him to hurt me. He was supposedly a changed man by the time I was born. He did not molest after my aunt and mother grew up. I knew him as a different man and my mother said it was okay to have love for him because I did not know him like that, and I do but I also have hatred for him too. My mother forgave him but she forgave him so she could let go of the bitterness and hate. She will never forget and although she managed to have somewhat of a relationship with him, she still has to deal with the destruction he caused. Even though he is dead, his abuse will never fully leave her. It will never fully leave any of us. She still suffers from it.

I never considered that at some point I will have to explain this to my children. My oldest asked me about my grandfather the other day. I felt my mouth go dry.....what do I say? How much should I say? Oh my God what do I tell him? These questions hung in the air so thick and heavy I felt them choking the life from me. I do not want to tell my sweet innocent children that we are all related to such a creature or that such horrible things happened to the people they know and love. I don't want to tell them this stuff and yet I will have to eventually. I mean, they have questions about this person and I refuse to lie.  I refuse to keep up the lies he made my mother and aunt tell when they were his victims and not his survivors. At some point my children will notice how strange and fractured our family is compared to other families and they will ask why.

I just told my oldest that his great grandfather was a not nice man who had been abusive to his children and that is why we do not say his name around my mother when we discuss him.  He asked me his name and I told him. He asked what he did and I just said that one day I would tell him in better detail but that he did bad things and it hurt the family but it was too hard to describe right now. One day it would all make more sense but he would have to wait until he was a little older.

I don't know what else to do at this point. He doesn't need adult situations in his life right now. He needs to spend time enjoying being a child. I figured it would be best to just tell him that my grandfather was abusive and leave the details for when he is older. That way it isn't a total shock when he does find out later on but it doesn't screw him up right now. This is so hard. I never thought this would be something I would have to discuss with my children.....It changes one's perspective of life and I just want them to not have to deal with that perspective yet.  I wish I never had to tell them but there was so much more about it that I haven't written about that will make it necessary for them to know when they are adults...ugh. Sometimes, I wish my Grandfather hadn't been cremated so I could dig him up and punch him in the face. Abuse is so devastating. Not just to the one's that it was wielded at and onto. It doesn't just hurt those in the years it was inflicted, it hurts the generations afterwards as well.

Neurotic Nelly