Friday, January 31, 2014

It Doesn't Have To Be That Way...

Crumpled paper on the ground. Broken. Damaged. Wilted. Ignored. Devoid of all hope, all joy, all recognition. A stranger looking back from the mirror. Wasteland. Winter's icy fingers caressing your tear streaked face. Frozen in place. Haunted. Afraid. Ashamed. Muted. Alone.....

This is what it feels like to suffer from mental illness. And it doesn't have to be that way.

Guilty. Dysfunctional. Lost. Less than. Worthless. Pathetic. Unlovable. Untreatable. Loser. Ugly. Bad. Fractured. Failure. Baggage, A Burden. Stupid. Invisible. Forgotten...

This is what we think about ourselves. And it doesn't have to be that way.

Pain. Agony. Misery. Sadness. Anger. Frustration. Loneliness. Fear. Anxiety. Fatigue. Loss. Lethargy. Stigma. Judgment. Abandonment. Grief. Paranoia. Fear. Fear. Fear. Fear....

This is what we go through. And it doesn't have to be that way.

You see, we are afraid. We are afraid to be judged. To be abandoned. Forgotten. We are afraid of being told we are not good enough. That we don't matter. We are afraid of the sideways glances, the snide mumbles whispered quietly under your breath, the wary eyed looks from strangers, the mistrust. We are afraid of being ostracized and stigmatized yet again by people that don't understand, can't understand, or simply don't want to understand.

We feel alone. In a room crowded with people. We are the odd man out, the recluse, the sore thumb that rises above everyone else. The oddity, the abnormality, the freak. As the crowd cajoles and laughs and parties we are the person standing awkwardly alone in the corner trying to figure out how we could possibly measure up to all of the normal people having a perfectly normal time. And we judge ourselves for lacking to understand just what it is that makes us so damn odd. We hate it. We feel out of place. We feel wrong and obtruse. Our palms get sweaty and our mouths become dry.We hate the silence that accompanies the fear that allows us to concentrate on the loud thumping of our hearts that have risen in our throats, threatening to choke away the very air we breathe. We look around at all of the smiling faces and instead of feeling like everyone else, we feel broken and less than. Like tarnished silver in a room full of polished gold. And we don't understand why we can't feel shiny and new too. Why we can't smile like everyone else. You know, a real smile that actually meets the eyes. Not the forced smile we paint on our faces everyday to make it appear everything is just fine. Just fine. We are always just fine....to everyone else....except deep down....we know different.

Deep down we want to tell someone that we are not Just Fine. We want to reach out for help. We want to yell and scream from the rooftops that we are anything but just fine. We want to be understood and accepted. We long to be consoled and held and be told that we are not alone. That we are not broken. That we are not forgotten. That our pain is not invisible. We want to broadcast the truth. We want to explain, that not all wounds are visible. Not all illnesses are "physical". Not everyone is just fine, no matter how much they pretend to be...That we are the walking wounded, the mentally scarred. We are the people that live fractured lives, smiling fractured smiles, telling fractured lies, pretending to be whole. We are not whole. We don't even remember what whole is anymore. And it doesn't have to be that way.

We are not the scary monsters that lurk in the shadows waiting to swallow your children up. We are not the deranged ax wielding maniacs of the movies. We are not the dangerous violent caricatures media paints us out to be and we would tell you that....if you would only listen.....and not be frightened. Not be alarmed. Not be terrified to be in the same room with us...or worse yet, ashamed to be seen with us.

I keep reading the words MENTAL ILLNESS NEEDS LESS TALK AND MORE ACTION, and I am confused. Dumbfounded. Uncertain. Yes, there should be more action. More money funneled down into the system to help us. More beds open to receive those of us that have reached the thin red line of sanity. Those who are no longer sure what reality is or if they even want to stay in reality at all. There should be better resources, better coverage, and more doctors and staff. We should not be treated as criminals because no one knows what to do with us and locked in a jail cell because there is simply nowhere else to put us. All the beds are full. There is no room to hold us. There is no place for us to go in emergencies. There should be more action. To help us. To save us. To treat us...but how can there be more action if there is no talk to go with it? 

How can there be understanding if there is no dialogue to explain what mental illness is like? What we feel. The issues we deal with. The fear that mitigates everything we do. How can we help ourselves if we remain silent? Mental illness isn't the killer. Not by itself anyway. The real killer, the real murderer in our lives is silence. The fear of what others incorrectly think mental illness says about us as a person, the fear of being judged and abandoned, the fear of the wary eyed glances and shifty stares.  The fear of the stigma keeps us silent. The silence keeps us sick. The sickness makes us feel alone and broken. The brokenness slowly kills our soul, our self worth, and our resolve to keep going. The silence corrupts our ability to speak out and get help. It prevents us from supporting each other. It stops our ability to network and inform. It kills our belief in hope. And hope is the most important tool that we have. Hope for a new tomorrow. Hope for a new day. Hope that we can get better. Hope that we are going to have more good days than bad. Hope that we can live free of discrimination and judgment by others. Hope that somehow, somewhere there will be a better understanding of us and all that we go through. That we will one day be viewed like everyone else and not be feared or looked upon as violent offenders, when most of us are neither violent or offensive. If we do not speak, then our voices remain muted. If we do not open the conversation then no one will ever know that we are not just fine. That we are suffering. That we are in pain.

Not to mention, if we do not speak up then we can not correct the grievous mistakes that have been perpetrated against us. The bias, the discrimination, the incorrect preconceived notions, the misconceptions, and false fears. We can not teach the world that mental illness is not the thing of beasts or the creator of violence. It does not make us scary, dangerous, or evil. How do we teach the public that mental illness is a physical misfiring of the brain waves?  A malfunction of the cerebral cortex? How can we show the world that mental illness is not just a way to seek attention or something that is just in our heads? How do we explain that mental illness is no different than diabetes, or HIV, or a birth defect except that it is located in our brains? How do we get more support and understanding if we simply cease to speak about it? If we hide behind fear and stigma? If we allow the silence to rule our lives and slowly strangle the fight away from us?

We don't have to feel this way.  We don't have to remain miserable. We don't have to be scared or lonely. We don't have to believe the self hate and self deprecation that we have told ourselves for years. We don't have to be afraid to reach out for help, or to support each other, or even to speak about why we are not just fine. We do not have to remain muted and suffer in silence like our parents, our grand parents, and all of those that suffered before us. We do not have to live in shame and be ashamed of what we have. We do not have to live in fear of stigma and judgment and misconceptions, but to do that we have to stop being silent.  You can not teach if you do not speak. You can not explain if you have no voice. We can not change the world by action alone. We have to open the conversation first. We have to be willing to lay it all out on the line and be honest. We have to stop saying that we are just fine when we aren't. We have to put down the paper dolls and toy trains and stop pretending. We have to realize that we are only forgotten and invisible if we allow ourselves to fade away into the darkness by accepting the stigma. By ceasing to speak out. By remaining willfully silent. We have to stop allowing the stigma to dictate our lives. We are not tarnished silver. We are not broken people. We are not crumpled paper on the ground. We are good, decent, strong human beings and we matter. We are valid and the only way other people will understand that is if we stand up and start talking about it. There is nothing shameful about asking for help. The is nothing shameful in standing up for yourself and there is nothing shameful in having a mental illness. 

That saying shouldn't be MENTAL ILLNESS LESS TALK AND MORE ACTION it should say MENTAL ILLNESS MORE TALK AND MORE ACTION. Because we deserve both the right to get better help and the right to talk openly about why we need that help. Without fear of judgment. Without fear or retaliation. Without fear of being misunderstood or discriminated against.

We all suffer. Some of us are more open about it, some of us are more private about it but none of us should suffer in silence. It doesn't have to be that way and it shouldn't be that way either. 

Neurotic Nelly







Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Frustrating....

The weather has been crappy and cold. It feels more like the Antarctic rather than the USA. I have been feeling a little overwhelmed and tired. I would like to get out and take a walk. I would like to sit on the front porch and bask in the sun. I would like to pretend that this depressing and oppressive winter is gone and spring has arrived....but it's been negative 18 all day so that plan is out.

I am a positive thinking person. I haven't always been this way but as my mental disorder slowly and methodically ripped everything away from me, I decided to hold onto at least one thing that it couldn't take away....my attitude. I struggled to remain hopeful, I battled to look for the silver lining in everything, I fought to be positive in the face of that soul shattering desolace that was left behind after my OCD had taken a firm hold over my life. For me, being positive wasn't a natural disposition as much as it was a choice. A choice to refuse to let OCD make me miserable in spirit as well as in life.

I am always hopeful, always looking on the bright side, always reaching out to help. I am just wired that way through my personality but also through choice. I don't want to dwell in the land of negativity that I once lived in. It is a harsh unforgiving place. Cold and dark and depressingly lonely.

I want to walk in the warm fields, feeling the grass beneath my bare feet. To feel the sun warming the air around me and smell the crisp scent of the earth renewing, regrowing. Starting a new. I long to feel the cool gentle breeze through my hair and on my skin, giving me goosebumps from the sheer joy of it. I want to sit on my front porch with my husband and a warm cup of coffee and listen to the world wake up one bird song at a time. Hear the trees rustle. See the dawn break in it's magnificent pinks, purples, reds, and oranges. And I can't do that because it is the middle of one the coldest winters we have had in years. And it frustrates me.

I long to write prose and stories and my blog posts and not fear that my words will be turned around against me or be turned into something I did not say. Something I did not mean. Something I am unaware of. I long to write and not have to second guess what my posts might mean to others and if they will be taken at face value, as they should be. Because I always say exactly what I mean and if I don't write it, then I don't feel it. I long to write freely, unabashedly, unbiased, and most of all like I used to. All of this second guessing has made me deal with writer's block and I, as all writers do, detest writer's block. And it frustrates me.

I miss the calmness. This year I am going to be doing things that I need to do but inadvertently make me extremely uncomfortable. I am going to be going farther in things that I have ever gone before and it scares me. Terrifies me, really. But they are necessary for me to learn to be more independent from others and more independent from my mental illness. Small things that everyday people take for granted but haunt me like a reoccurring nightmare. This year my resolutions are small, seem petty, and to normal people would seem quite silly and juvenile. I am going to take small bus trips around my old town so I can learn to take the bus....by myself. Something I have never done before. Go somewhere alone and unprotected. I am going to start small like the library I used to go to years ago. That way, if I miss the bus I still know where I am. It is all my idea and all of my own accord to want to do this. I want to learn to be more self sufficient before I turn thirty five. I want to be able to go do things and stop missing out on life because I can not drive. I want to be able to go to my own doctor's appointments or take my children for ice cream and not have to wait til my husband gets home or call the plethora of family members to see if they can make time to take me somewhere. I want to be more free from my anxiety and fear. It's daunting and scary and it feels like I am years behind in this journey. Like I am a child. Like I am inadequate, somehow. Like I am just learning how to walk again. And it frustrates me.

I am going to be working on visiting friends. Actually going out and visiting them. Something I never do. That would mean taking the a fore mentioned bus, going out of my comfort zone, making sure I am on time, and letting go of the control I have weaved over my life like a thick woolen blanket. A blanket I originally wove because I thought it would make me more calm, when in reality all it has done is make my socialization become stagnate and allowed it to smother me. A few days ago, an old childhood friend that I recently reconnected with said that we should meet up sometime and shoot the breeze. I answered enthusiastically and got really excited at the possibility, but the voice in my mind laughed at me. "Yeah, sure Nelly. You, go out and actually leave the house....alone....to meet up with friends? Bahahaha that will be the day." I realized the voice was right. I have never gone out with friends alone without them or someone else driving me. Never felt comfortable with giving myself permission to do so and worse yet, never given myself the responsibility to try. My best friend lives less than thirty minutes away from me and although we talk on the phone often, I haven't seen her in over a year. I could make excuses, she works a lot (and she does), she is busy planning her wedding, she has so many things to do....but the truth hits me like a ton of bricks as I write this. I haven't seen her not because she doesn't have time for me, but because I have allowed myself to become unable to visit her. It's not her....it's me. I have allowed myself to become home bound on a strategic level, not because I have an auto immune disease that makes going out risky or because I have lost both legs from stepping on a land mine but simply because I am too scared to do so. And it frustrates me.

The things, illusions really, that I have clung to in my life that make me feel protected have in many ways, bound me to my illness. Some would call them excuses but I would venture further. I would call them crutches.  Crutches that I used to think made me feel safe and secure. Crutches that held the anxiety at bay. I used to feel comfortable being shut up in my home. I used to be fine with just being how I am. I told myself that many times, but deep down I was just scared and maybe a tad bit ashamed. Ashamed that I am so very afraid to try new things. Ashamed that I let the OCD take away my ability to be more independent and free. Ashamed that because I feel anxiety, I have never learned to take the bus before I hit thirty five years old. That I have never went to the grocery store by myself and bought what I needed alone. That I have never just went across town for no reason at all by myself. That I have not allowed myself to explore the world, the library, the book store, the local restaurant, my friend's homes without being with someone else to share it with. That I have left out that part of getting to know myself that way. I mean, yes I know myself, but I don't know how to go anywhere alone by myself and I think that might be the biggest tragedy of all. That I have allowed my pretty house with all of it's comforts to become my sanctuary, my security blanket, and my prison all at the same time.  I have allowed the OCD to do this to me, and worse yet I willingly participated in this event. I forgot how to fight it, or not fighting back became a habit, or I was too exhausted to try, or even that I simply allowed the fear to take over and I stopped trying all together. As I write this and look honestly at my life and the pain OCD has caused me, I am aghast at how far I stopped being who I truly am. A fighter, a positive thinker, a warrior of my ow mind. And it frustrates me.

I could dwell and sink myself into the self abuse pattern that many of us know so well. A part of me wants to. A part of me wants to blame myself and paint my misgivings and failures in big red letters across my chest like the proverbial Scarlet Letter but instead of an A for adulteress it would be a huge S for Scaredy Cat. A part of me wants to punish myself for all of the things I should have done by now but have allowed the fear to prevent me from doing so. But what would be the point in that? I have already suffered by not doing those things in the first place. Why punish myself twice for the same crime? I mean, I have a mental illness but it doesn't make a masochist. I don't enjoy suffering.

So, I am going to go with the positive approach. Not because it easier, it's not. It is always easier to stay in the familiar pattern of self abuse and self blame. We are comfortable there because we are used to it. I am going to not only not punish myself for not doing the things I think I should be doing but I am also not going to keep holding onto the old excuses and faulty crutches that keep me from doing them. It will be uncomfortable. It will be scary. It will be utterly terrifying in some cases, but I am no longer going to allow my freedom to be stolen away bit by bit by my OCD. I am going to get through this and slowly take back my life piece by piece. Yes, I am starting at an older age and I am relearning how to do things most people do on a regular basis, but they are not me and I can see the silver lining. It is better late than never and I am going to learn how to be more free, more independent, and just who I am without the comfort of my stifling security blanket that I have weaved around myself. I am going to write and not second guess my words. If someone wants to believe that I wrote something else than what's on the paper, then it's their problem. I have nothing to do with that. I can't change other people's minds. I am going to learn how to give myself responsibility for how I get to places and give myself permission to do so. I am walking out of the prison I have built for myself with pretty wall paper and comfortable furniture. I am going to seek adventure and not let fear keep me back. I am going to take that damn bus and learn to like it, or at the very least not be afraid of it. I am going to go to that library, and the store, and yes, my best friend's house. It is going to be hard but I am going to slowly learn to trust myself finally, one step at a time. One day at a time. One bus ride at a time. I can do this. I have to do this. I am going to do this...

Neurotic Nelly


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Taking Care......

I  have to confess.....I don't watch medical shows...I don't like them. I don't want to know about them. I watch medical type dramas like Grey's Anatomy, but I don't watch shows like Dr.Oz. I turn off the news when a flu outbreak pops up on the television even if it is half of the world away. I refuse to read articles about what is in my pop, or a can of pringles, or where my chicken is processed and frozen. Not because I am callous and don't care or because I want to be unaware and stick my head in the sand, but because I can't watch them. I just can't.

These shows don't just make me aware of my surroundings, they make me hyper aware of them. It damages me. It leaves me afraid to leave my home, or eat, or buy a bag of chicken. These shows and stories don't help me or make me wiser, they scare me and put me into a tailspin of OCD triggers like you wouldn't believe. Suddenly, the symptoms of disease they have talked about on the show makes me feel like I may have it too. I can obsess so much that I actually lose the ability to tell when I am actually feeling something or if it is just my mind telling me I am. Convincing me that I have something I know I don't and yet I end up doubting the validity of that statement. The news broadcasts and articles make me fear every surface is covered in whatever plague they are glorifying on the news for ratings and I become more afraid to touch things. More unwilling to leave the safety of my home. More terrified of what lurks outside of my door. Leaving me fearful of not just leaving my home but also fearful of the very real possibility of forming a bad case of agoraphobia again, and I so prefer not to dwell in that form of hell twice in my lifetime. These shows are supposed to warn the public and make them safer but for me they terrorize me and make me more alarmed than safe. It makes me feel even more crazy than I already do and I hate it. So I do what a lot of people with OCD do, I avoid. I change the channel.

I have had to make concessions, living with severe OCD. Some of them have  been tougher  than others and some of them have really sucked. This is yet, another thing I have given up. Not that I miss it, because I truly do not. I am not good with the alarmist type of news or television. I know they are there to inform people but in my case the information is too much and so it plays on my anxiety and I just can't handle it.

It might seem strange to some people that I can't simply get through a health news broadcast or a hour long episode of doctors discussing various health concerns, but I have to think of my mental health first. My mental health has to stay intact so that I can be physically healthy and it is really important for people to remember that.

Often times, we forget that mental health is just as important, if not more so, than physical health.  I find it odd that at any given moment you can find t.v. shows talking about the dangers of being overweight or smoking cigarettes but not many about how mental illness can impair your life. It kind of bothers me that besides Dr. Phil, there really isn't a huge daily broadcast about mental illness and it's affects. Actually, it doesn't kind of bother me, it really bothers me....There isn't a small portion of news dedicated to mental illness and it's sufferers either, and yet there is always sections about eating non processed foods or how to not waste your money. The mental illness front is rarely covered, rarely openly discussed, and rarely launched into the public eye. Why is that? Why is it that we are comfortable talking about strange growths on our elbow or why not to buy a lottery ticket on a wednesday, but not about depression, anxiety disorders, Bipolar, or even PTSD ? Why do we pretend that mental health issues are not a big deal, when they so obviously are?

Mental health is very important. We need to be more open about mental illness and not only it's affects on our families but also the toll it takes on ourselves. After all, if you aren't taking care of your mind everything else falls apart as well. If you are suffering you tend to forget to to take care of yourself physically. Mostly, because all of your energy is focused solely on what is going on with your head. On how emotionally torn you have become. On how desperate you feel. Eating, bathing, working, and sleeping start to take a back seat to the issues you have always pushed away. They are no longer willing to be ignored or denied. Your mental illness needs your immediate attention and you are powerless to do anything but finally give it the attention it needs to get better. We end up spending our whole lives trying to pretend nothing is wrong until the hammer falls and our lives are left in pieces. If our mental health declines unchecked it takes our physical health out the window with it.

For me, avoiding medical shows and articles keep me calmer. It makes it easier to leave my home and go to the grocery store without wincing when I have to touch the grocery cart. It keeps me from feeling like I have some incurable ailment because my left big toe hurts. Sometimes to be healthy, you have to avoid things that make you feel unhealthy. I just can't subject myself to this type of media. It doesn't mean I don't care, it just means I can't handle yet another thing that could possibly be out there to "get me". I already have enough fears and triggers funneling around in my brain. I don't need to worry about what fungus grew on what and made who sick. I just can't do it and function on a daily basis. I know these shows are there to inform and save people but for me they do the exact opposite. As an OCD sufferer these shows play into my fears and anxiety and actually make me worse. They harm me more than they do good for me. The worry me more than protect me.

I think it is great that these shows are out there to provide us with information and understanding but I also think it would be an even bigger help if there were just as many shows about mental illness. I think that even more people could be helped if there were news stories and hour long specials on how to take care of yourself mentally. Not only would it help those of us that suffer from mental illness but it would also help others to learn the signs of when they need to start looking for help when they first see signs of mental health issues pop up, as well. Not mention the huge impact it would have on ending stigma. We need to be represented and we need to be just as proactive in our mental health issues as we are in our cholesterol intake or the sugar content in our  children's juices boxes. It should be in the forefront of our thoughts just as much as our physical ailments are.   That would be a show I could watch and not be terrified to eat to eat a piece of beef after, or leave my home because of, or be afraid to listen to. We need to get the message out and start to remember to take care of our brains just like we do our hearts. You can't live without either one, so we might as well take care of both. And really, we should be more cognizant of both equally. They both are EQUALLY important.

Neurotic Nelly

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Randomness of Fears....

I have never been accused of being fancy. I am not a high maintenance kinda gal. I have never paid for a pedicure (my feet are way too ticklish for that). I have rarely gone to an actual salon to get my hair done. I do not get my nails done. I just find getting gussied up by others.....uncomfortable. Or rather awkward and uncomfortable.

It's not that I am shy around people or an introvert. I just find other people...strangers, especially, touching me to be anxiety provoking. And here is where my problems lay.

For Christmas, my handsome, thoughtful, and wonderful husband of twelve years and my little, sweet, cherub like children, all of whom are the apple of my eyes, got me a certificate to get a full body massage. I was so touched by this gesture I had to do everything to hold back the tears. (Yes, I almost blubbered...so what.) I am excited, and thrilled, and yet really apprehensive.

And here's why. I have OCD and that means I can be easily triggered. I am easily distracted by contamination fears and although I want so desperately to feel relieved from all of the stress that can be massaged away, I am also a little scared too. I don't know what body massages entail and so my mind runs away in an OCD laden diatribe....

Like, do I have to be undressed. Surely, if they are going to use lotion or oil, they aren't going to use it on top of my t-shirt. That means that I will eventually have to be undressed in some form. I am not a prude, nor am I overtly self conscious but then again, this lady is a stranger and I don't like to be nakey in front of strangers...call me funny like that. Anxiety starts to build.

And if I have to be naked then I assume that means there will be some sort of a robe to wear. Again the anxiety ramps up a little. How clean is this robe? What is the protocol for washing this robe? Do they have more than one? Will this be a new robe? What about the massage chair? How often is that cleaned? What kind of chemicals do they use to clean the chair with? Are they harmful? Will she wear gloves? Do I wear socks? How clean is the floor? What about the oil/lotion bottles? Are they cleaned after each use? Is there some kind of cleaning regulations held up federally or by the state?  Anxiety ramps even higher. I mean, these are the things that stick in my brain. The worries, the fears, and yes the anxiety.

It seems silly to me that I am afraid of some lady who I will be paying to massage all of my stress away. Surely, she isn't an axe murderer or an ebola crusted massage therapist. It's just OCD being it's peevish and annoying, paranoid self. It is just something I am going to have to push through. Because I deserve a massage and I am going to get one, darn it! I am just going to have to not freak out while putting on the robe that is suspect. I will just have to push through as I lie on the possibly chemical laden massage chair. I will just have to deal with the thought of having some strange person touching me....because it's her job and I deserve a little pampering. I am sure once I get over the initial shock of all of it, I will feel more relaxed and even possibly enjoy myself.

I can do this. It's only a massage for God's sake. It's not like I am walking through a laboratory where they test deadly viruses or a toxic waste dump. It's just a massage chair and some oil. I think I am gonna be okay......

Neurotic Nelly

Monday, January 20, 2014

Last....

My life has always been surrounded by last. And by that I mean, I have always seemed to be last in things. The last to know secrets (probably because I suck at keeping them), the last to try something new, the last to understand myself, the last kid picked in gym class ( even the very large non athletic kid was called by name, before me...I wasn't even looked at in the choosing, the last person that had to pick me because I was the only one left, would just roll their eyes and flail their arm in my general direction and grunt incoherently at me), the last to know better, oh, and yes I always put myself last before everyone else as well....It's been a running theme with me.

I am a nurturer. I nurture. It's my thing. I like to make others feel welcome. I like to make others happy. I like to be liked. I like to help others. It isn't a bad thing, to nurture but it can be harmful if and when I forget that I also need to take care of myself. And I do forget, often.

I have always been this way. I put other's feelings before mine. I give so many parts of myself that forget which ones went where. I overextend my capabilities. I run around like a chicken with it's head cut off trying to accomplish everything at the same time and end up getting absolutely nothing done. I am the mother figure, the sister figure, the friend figure, and the amature therapist figure. I am the person to call to when sad, the person to go to when someone scratches their knee, the person to eat a tub of Ben and Jerry's and watch sappy movies with when your heart gets broken. The first one to offer condolences and understanding and support. I want to heal the world and spread positivity around like the common cold. Only with less snot and usage of tissues. I just want to help....and that can be a problem.

Sometimes, my wanting to help gets in the way of things I need to do for myself. I tend to think ,incorrectly, that my issues can be dealt with later and if I were a completely healthy individual, that might be true. Except I am not and a lot of times I forget that. I forget that I have mental illness and things go great, when they are going great except when they don't and then I am in trouble.

Even as a child, I felt the need to please my parents more than myself. I would go out of my way to be nice to others. I would lay down my self esteem to make others feel less bad about themselves. I would try my darndest to be what everyone expected of me even when I knew what they expected of me was impossible. I tried, I really did. I even tried to wear the "right" clothes to fit in, but it was all to no avail. They looked weird on me and they itched. I just wanted so desperately be anything but picked last.

But the truth was far more obvious to everyone but myself. I was/am too clumsy to excel at sports (ahem...gym class). I was too slow to run. Too blind to throw anything remotely round in the air and be expected to catch it. I was too weak to wrestle or lift things. I was a complete failure at anything related to anything physical...I still am.

I was awkward within my own skin. Not because I was awkward per sey, but because I was always trying to be someone I wasn't. Trying to fit in. Trying my hardest not to be picked last for one more stupid thing. I grew up hating being last and yet I was fundamentally unable to achieve any other position. I never received Valentines or Sweetest Day gifts even though, I so wished I would get one of those stupid candy grams like all of the other girls in class, so I wouldn't be last at that as well. And of course, they never let me forget it. Couldn't I just fit in enough to get one ridiculous lollipop with a dumb heart shaped note attached to it?....I never got one...I hate candy grams....and Sweetest Day.

And since I sucked at sports, and at being lucky enough to get Valentines from pimple faced teenagers, or at wearing the proper clothing that was demanded I torture myself with, I turned to something I excelled at. Being nice. Well, in truth I was always too nice and that is probably why a lot of people made fun of me or took advantage of my niceness. I offered them friendship. I was patient and kind and non judgy. I listened and agreed bobbing my head up and down until I looked like some silly bobble head doll stuck to the dash of an eighties station wagon....I did what the teachers asked me to. I did what my parents said. I was a good girl. My siblings detested it and called me the "Goody Two Shoes" of the family. Even today my brother insists I am the "Golden Child". He doesn't say it in passing. He says it with a snicker and a tad hint of judgment. And so it went, the names such as brown noser, Goody Goody, suck up...ect.

The truth is, none of the people that called me these things knew me very well or at least they didn't understand me. What looks like just nurturing and passive niceness isn't just really that. It is a sign of great pain. Pain and anguish of someone who was an outcast, an oddity, and a weirdo. Pain of someone who secretly thought she was broken and damaged and unlikable. Pain of someone with zero self esteem and the mental scars to prove it. A sign of pain that I was this way because I know what it is like to always be picked last and I didn't want anyone else to feel the way I felt. I know how painful it is to be judged harshly and found lacking in all departments. Especially, when it was myself doing the harshest of judgments. Growing up with a mental illness altered my compassion to the point that I have way to much of it. A negative word spoken in passing to me was a crisis. I just wanted to be liked and accepted and it cut so deeply when I wasn't. It still does. I had become a people pleaser to off set the guilt of my OCD and it's horrid symptoms that made me "odd" and "weird". I became a people pleaser to hide the shame that I couldn't be the things others thought I should be. I became like that because I am opposed to anyone feeling like the girl in gym class no one wants on their team and no one even knows her name or cares enough to actually say it. I became like that because being ignored and ridiculed and laughed at hurts and it shouldn't happen. I became like that because I want everyone to feel understood and liked because many times I felt neither of those things. I became like that because even though, I sat at the lunch table all by myself for two whole years because no one wanted to sit near me, I am a good person. A nice person. A very compassionate person. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with wanting other people to feel accepted and welcomed and understood. There is nothing wrong with being nice.

But then it changed into a more defined level. It seemed being nice wasn't enough anymore. Now I had to start putting others before me as well. If someone needed something from me, I would carve out all of my time and energy to give it to them. I would bend over backwards to be helpful. And it made me feel good. It made me feel like I was worth something. It made me feel like I was finally good enough, because when someone needed help, I wasn't picked last. I finally felt like a good person because others finally treated me like I was a good person. And I thought that being a good person, a nice person, a nurturer meant that I had to give my all to help them with their issues and just ignore all of the problems I was going through. Until everything around me crashed because I was unable to juggle everyone else's issues and all of mine at the same time.

Then it hit me. Even though all of those years I hated being last, maybe I thought deep down that is where I belonged. That I didn't deserve first billing or to be focused on. Maybe, I secretly felt last was all I could be. In the back of the line. Last to be picked. Last to be liked. Last to be accepted. After all, I had been putting myself there all along. Behind everyone else's problems. Behind everyone else's enjoyment. I had been using their problems as a mask to hide my own. Because it was easier and safer to try and fix their issues and pretend mine didn't exist.  Mine weren't as grievous and detrimental if I refused to look at them because I was conviently "too busy" to do so. It never occurred to me that my problems could be just as important as everyone else's.

There are no rules in being a nurturer. There is nothing that says I have to bleed myself dry to help others. In fact, if I constantly give my all, then I can't help anyone, now can I? I can help others and put some problems before my own but sometimes I have to actually put myself first and that is an okay thing to do. In fact, it is the healthy thing to do, and I need to be healthy to be helpful.

I was writing a comment to a friend on her blog about a similar issue when this saying popped into my mind.

Nurturers are rarely the first in line to get the largest bowl of soup. They always think someone else may need it more, even when their stomach is growling the loudest.

And it's true. We often think of others before ourselves even when everything going on with us is falling down around our heads. We can't just keep running on empty helping everyone else all of the time, we have to be cognizant of what is going on with ourselves as well. We can't just nurture everyone around us, we have to remember to nurture ourselves too.

I have come to realize that my idea on what being a nurturer is was flawed. I had forgotten that the most important thing a nice person should remember is that we have to be nice to ourselves too. That in order to help others we have to remember to help ourselves, even when it seems inconvenient or obtruse. Even when we are less comfortable looking at our own problems and would rather concentrate on other people's problems. We have to be kind and good to ourselves and fix our own problems too.

Nurturers are the oak trees of the forest. Strong and comforting. Providing support to all of the other trees around us and if we don't take care of the termite problem in our own trunks and only focus on the termites of others, we lose the ability to support not only all of the other trees around us, but ourselves as well. We will simply, collapse under our own weight...

Being a nurturer doesn't mean giving all of yourself all of the time. It means giving bits of yourself to those who need it when you are able to. It means being there for someone but also being yourself with that someone and sometimes it means saving the bits of yourself back for you and not putting yourself last.


Neurotic Nelly


Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Horror...

I want to share a story with you guys. Some of you may know it,  but some of you may not and I really feel that everyone should know the story of Kelly Thomas. I think it is important that he isn't forgotten and nor the fact that he mattered in this world. Even when other people may not have agreed.

..........
It was a warm summer night in Orange County California on July 5 2011, when a homeless man suffering from Schizophrenia was approached by police officers who saw him loitering in the street. His name was Kelly Thomas and he died because of stigma.

According to wikipedia:

On July 5, 2011, at about 8:30 PM, officers of the Fullerton Police Department responded to a call from the management of the Slidebar  that someone was vandalizing cars near the Fullerton Transportation Center. While investigating, they encountered the shirtless and disheveled Thomas and attempted to search him. According to statements given by the officers, Thomas was uncooperative and resisted when they attempted to search him, so backup was called. "Now you see my fists?" Fullerton police officer Manny Ramos asked Thomas while slipping on a pair of latex gloves. "Yeah, what about them?" Thomas responded. "They are getting ready to fuck you up," said Ramos. A video of the event surfaced, and Thomas can be heard repeatedly screaming in pain while officers are heard repeatedly asking him to place his arms behind his back. He audibly responds "Okay, I'm sorry!" and "I'm trying!" while the officers stretch his arm back. The police officers claim that, unable to get Thomas to comply with the requests, they used a taser on him (up to five times according to a witness statement, and the video footage), and in the video Thomas can be heard screaming "Dad! Dad!". Six officers were involved in subduing Thomas, who was unarmed and had a history of mental illness. Thomas was initially taken to St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton but was transferred immediately to the UC Irvine Medical Center with severe injuries to his head, face, and neck. One of the paramedics testified that he was first instructed to attend to a police officer's minor injury and then noticed Thomas lying unconscious in a pool of blood.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas gave a detailed account of the events during a press conference on September 21, 2011. Using digital audio recording devices carried by the officers, surveillance video from a pole camera at the Fullerton Transportation Center, and other evidence, Rackauckas provided evidence that Thomas did comply with orders from Officer Ramos, who had put on latex gloves and asked Thomas "Now see my fists? They are getting ready to fuck you up." Rackauckas went on to describe how Thomas begged for his life, before being beaten to death.


 Rackauckas announced that according to the Orange County Coroner, the cause of death was "asphyxia caused by mechanical chest compression with blunt cranial-facial injuries sustained during physical altercation with law enforcement." Rackauckas said Thomas died because of the force of the officers on his chest, which made it impossible for him to breathe. This caused Thomas to become unconscious. He then slipped into a coma and died when taken off life support five days later.

According to Rackauckas, the coroner stated that the injuries to Thomas' face and head contributed to his death. Also contributing to his death were brain injuries, facial and rib fractures, and the extensive bruising and abrasions he suffered during the beating, which left him lying in a "growing pool of blood," Rackauckas said. The toxicology report shows that Thomas had no illicit drugs or alcohol in his system. Thomas was severely bleeding and struggled and pleaded, "I can't breathe," "Dad, help me." The DA stated that the officers did not reduce their level of force during the nearly 10-minute assault, however Thomas combatted with officers for almost eight full minutes.
...............
This isn't going to be a post bashing police as a whole. Police men and women have very tough and stressful jobs. Some of them take advantage of the power that is given to them as police officers but many do not and many are fine upstanding individuals that help make our streets safer at night. They protect and serve and I am thankful for that.  What this post is going to be about is how the mentally ill are perceived, and this is exactly how they are perceived. As dangerous homicidal criminals. Mr. Thomas had suffered from Schizophrenia for over fifteen years before his death. He was homeless. He had reacted violently to his family members a few times before and had, had prior contact with the police several times and because of this, he is dead. He was assumed guilty, he was judged guilty by the police officers in this case, and he payed dearly for it. Not because he was doing anything dangerous or was pointing a deadly weapon at the officers but because he wasn't able to able understand the officers shouts to put his hands on the ground. Instead he put his hands on his knees and this is what angered the police officers so much that they perceeded to beat this defenseless mentally ill man to death. Mr. Thomas was scared. As it turns out, he had every reason to be. Mr. Thomas was not a murderer. He was not a "career criminal". He was simply a man that suffered from mental demons and due to not being able to continue help for those demons, his life had spiraled into homelessness.... A crime these officers, apparently felt was punishable by extreme force.

There is a video of his attack but I will not be showing it here. If you are interested in seeing it or the gruesome picture of what his face looked like after being repeatedly smashed in the face reportedly with the butt of the tazer gun as well as the officer's closed fists, you can easily search it. I have already watched that disturbing video and seen the pictures and I truly believe it will haunt me for the rest of my life. I think it is important to note that he screamed for his father several times while being beaten to death. A voice I will probably never get out of my head. As a mother I can not imagine how awful and heartbreaking it would be to know that your child was screaming for your help while being murdered. And let's call it what is was, murder. They murdered a man in the middle of the street because they felt like it. Because he was homeless. Because he was less than to them because he suffered from a mental illness. 

This is more than just a newspaper clipping or media frenzy for me. I did not know Mr. Thomas and yet I feel like I am Mr. Thomas. That all of us that suffer from mental illness are in some small way, Mr. Thomas. Not that most of us have faced the extremes that Mr. Thomas did that night, but that we all are familiar with the treatment we often times receive from others when they learn we suffer from mental illness. The wary glances. The snide remarks. The fear in others faces. The misconceptions. The judgment that we are dangerous, scary, and or violent. That we are unhinged and could pop off at any moment and become spree killers or go on murderous rampages. It is not totally their fault for thinking this way. A great deal of fault rests on the media that glorifies murders committed by the minescule amount of mentally illness sufferers. It makes no difference to them, that most violence is committed with the involvement of addiction problems, gang violence, or domestic abuse. Those murders are much less sensationalized by the media. It isn't as thrilling to people as the false belief that crazy axe wielding murders roam the streets looking for victims to attack. In reality, violence committed by the mentally ill is a much smaller statistic than people think. I am not saying it doesn't happen, I am just saying it doesn't happen nearly as often as people are lead to believe. And there is a reason for that. Everyone feels safer if there is a scapegoat to blame all of our issues on. A more factual statistic is that people that suffer from mental illness are twice as likely to be victims of violence and Mr. Thomas's life is an extreme example of this.

And what do we do it about? How do we stop innocent people like Mr. Thomas and the estimated half of the 375-500 individuals shot by police each year, in this country that are thought to have suffered from mental illness, from being killed? Because Mr. Thomas is not alone.There has been others with less fan fare and less media coverage. And, before I am taken out and tarred and feathered, I do realize that some of these were justifiable shootings and could not have been handled any other way.

There seems to be a disconnect when it comes to how to deal with people that suffer from mental illness. How to safely arrest them or safely encounter them while conducting police business and I have to say, my honest belief is that the biggest reason this is happening is because of stigma. The fear that sets in once you learn a person has a mental illness and the perception that it makes them more dangerous. More scary. Even evil. Stigma is not just the cross that all of the mentally ill bear, it can also be a death sentence.

Something needs to change. When people can look at another human being and say such things as, "Now, do you see my fists, they are getting ready to fuck you up," knowing that person has a disorder and can't understand you properly, there is a problem. When compassion for another human being is nonexistent simply because they are considered less than, there is a problem. When people start to blame the victim because they are uncomfortable that the victim was homeless and or suffered from mental illness, there is a problem. When a jury watches a video of police officers murdering a defenseless unarmed man because he is confused, scared, and put his hands on his knees instead of the ground like they ordered,  and acquits them, there is a problem. There is a problem in this country and it has to be talked about.

There needs to be some kind of training on how to deal with those that suffer from mental illness without it being shoot or kill now and ask questions later. The stigma and false belief that everyone that suffers from mental illness is dangerous has to stop. The lies and glorification by the media that helps reinforce these ridiculous accusations has to stop. People are dying. Innocent people that have committed no crime but are are judged to have because they suffer from mental illness, has to stop.

It sickens me. It breaks my heart. It scares me. This isn't just a tragedy it is also a sign that something is very wrong here. That something is broken. Our system is broken when it comes to dealing with the mentally ill. Suffering from a mental illness should not be a death sentence and yet for Mr. Thomas and many others like him, it has become one. Often times, it is swept under the rug and receives little to know media coverage because people don't understand mental illness and people have always been afraid of what they don't understand. It has become acceptable to label anyone violent as possibly mentally ill. It has become commonplace to place blame of all the ills of our country on the mentally ill. It has been protocol to call murders, abusers, and kidnappers as mentally ill even when there has been no actual diagnoses to confirm that. News broadcasters have spoken such gems as, "Ariel Castro, who is arguably the face of mental illness, a man described as a monster". It is a no wonder people assume incorrectly that mental illness is dangerous.

And I am not just referring to Schizophrenia. I am referring to those that suffer from any mental illness. OCD, Bipolar, Personality disorders, DID, GAD, SAD, Depression....the list goes on and on. We are all under the same umbrella. We are all mentally ill. We are all looked at the same way. We are all dealing with stigma on a daily basis and it is wrong. It is hurtful and in the case of Mr. Thomas, it was deadly.

We have to continue our efforts to speak out. We have to keep informing the public the truth about mental illness and the truthful statistics that the media is so inclined to ignore. We have to keep pushing our law makers to stand up for us and to funnel money back into treatments for the mentally ill that work. Back into homes and hospitals that can help those of us who have become homeless and unable to receive proper psychiatric care. We have to demand that this country come up with  better training for our police officers on how to work with the mentally ill safely for both the sufferer and the officer. And we need to demand to stop being portrayed in the negative, false, and hurtful light that we have been placed in by the media. We have to keep trying to erase stigma before it kills more innocent people.

We need help. We need resolution and we need to work in earnest to end the stigma that has crippled us for so long. The horror of stigma has to end and only we can end it by being advocates for ourselves and other like us. Mr. Kelly Thomas and the horrible and unjust crime that happened to him should never be allowed to be forgotten. We should never allow ourselves to forget just how deadly stigma can be. Just how awful we can be treated simply because we suffer. How false misconceptions can have serious and extreme consequences. Most all of all we should never forget Mr. Thomas because he was a person and his life mattered. He mattered and he deserves not just the remembrance that he suffered from a mental illness and died tragically and unjustly because of that fact, but that he was a person with family and friends. We must never let ourselves forget what the police officers in this case so obviously did. That Mr. Thomas had a right to live, a right to love, and a right to be treated like a fellow human being. Because he was one.

Neurotic Nelly




Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Down The Rabbit Hole....

Hey everyone!

I am seriously thinking about turning some of my blog posts into a book.  So last night, I decided to check out just what all that would entail and I don't mind saying that it was way more complicated than I ever dreamed....and kinda scary too. There are so many options to choose from and so much to do with them. The jargon was so over my head it made me sick to my stomach, my pulse race, my anxiety levels go bonkers, and my head hurt. Coded words like ISBN numbers popped out at me like some ancient foreign language I had never seen before and seemed to dangle just out of my reach of cognition.  It made me feel inadequate and reminded me how much of a novice I still am in the writing world. I ended up feeling even more confused after reading the articles about self publishing then I did before I started. Self doubt crept in.  I have no idea what I am doing...I'll never be able to publish anything....I will only fail...ect. Then came the second guessing myself. Am I really prepared to do all of this? Am I even capable of doing this? Will anyone even be interested in a book of my posts? What do I have to offer in a world full of wonderful and even not so wonderful self published books? Will mine be good enough?

I feel this way often. Secretly, because of my mental illness, I tend to feel like I am not good enough. Oh, I am good at things....but maybe not good enough. That's the kicker. That tiny little word at the end. Enough. The word seems non threateningly enough. It  seems rather innocuous. It is but a small simple word and yet it haunts my dreams like poltergeist.  It sticks in my head like a fishing lure bobbing up and down in my cerebral cortex baiting me....Am I good enough? Can I ever be good enough? Good enough at anything?

And so lies many of my dilemmas in life. Often times, I want to do something but fear of failing or the fear of  not being good enough hold me back. And not just the fear of it but the pure extreme amounts of anxiety that go with it. It feels like I am  falling down the rabbit hole again, and I so despise that feeling.

Many times in life we feel less than. We fear yet another failure in our lives, because we have had so many. And it's not just the big ones that kill our self esteems, but many tiny minuscule ones that add up day after day. Tiny mistakes we see as huge signs of our failures in life, even though most people wouldn't give them a second thought. We beat ourselves up over them repeatedly and the mental illness wins.  Anxiety and anarchy ensues and it's right back down the rabbit hole...

It can be something as simple as taking a shower on time or remembering if you turned off the kitchen light. Most people would sweep it out of their minds and go on with their day, but for us it shows as just another example at how we fail. It is silly and ridiculous but this is how mental illness works against you. Against your self esteem and any progress you try to achieve. It is the voice of damnation disguised as the voice of propriety. And we tend to not know which voice to listen to. It, at times, seems to make sense. If you yell at a dog enough it will cower in fear and pee on the floor when you walk in the room. We yell at ourselves so often, so loudly and damn ourselves for every single mistake, slight or not, that we have become fearful. Our thoughts of progress are muted by the voice that makes us cower in fear. The voice. Our voice. Telling us to believe that any attempt at progress will only end in disaster. That we can't achieve. That we can't grow. That we can't believe in ourselves or our own self worth. That we are losers. Completely incapable of being anything but broken. That we are not good enough. That we are never good enough....

And what is that anyway? Like we haven't enough do deal with already? Like it is not enough that we have to put up with ignorance and judgment from those that don't understand mental illness as a whole? We have to punish ourselves too? Why? Why do we do that to ourselves? Why do we allow this voice, this self doubt to dictate our lives? Why is the word Enough, so important that we decide not to try, lest we be smited by it?

I am aware that all of this book publishing stuff is over my head. I am aware of the vast lack of knowledge I have in this department. I am aware of the anxiety coursing through my veins like a bad batch of  heroin. The fear that turns my stomach sour. The confusion that pounds in my head like and angry jackhammer clanging away in my skull. I am aware of the feeling and acknowledgement that this might end up on my long list of things I have failed at in my life and yet I am still willing to try. That rabbit hole be damned!

The person who never made a mistake, never tried anything New- Albert Einstein

So, I am going to take ol' Al's advice and try something new. I may fall flat on face, but hey, it's not like I have never done that before. I am cool with falling down, it always gives me the chance to get back up and I excel at getting back up. I have exceptional practice at it.

My greatest hope is that we all can learn to stop being afraid of ourselves and what the voice tells us we can and can't do. That we learn to believe in ourselves and reach for our dreams no matter how crazy and unlikely they seem. People reach their dreams everyday, and truthfully we are no different, we are no less amazing than they are. We just think we are...


So, I am going to try this book thing. I am in over my head but I believe it will either all work out or it won't. But it won't fail because I refuse to try at it. I am capable of trying and I am capable of succeeding. I just have to stop letting fear rule my life first and that starts today. That starts now. That starts with this very post. I will keep you updated on what I am doing with the book and how it is going and if anyone has published anything and knows any tips, Please give me a shout out! I could use all the help I can get. :)


Try, Try, and Try again...
Neurotic Nelly

Monday, January 13, 2014

Ashes In Your Mouth...

This is no place to be. No way to live in the shadows. In the dark. Reaching for scraps that fall from the table and scratching your tongue on the floor as you lick them up in a rush to feed your starvation. Not for the feeling of nourishment or the enjoyment of food but the actual need of sustenance. Because you actually are starving, you just don't know it yet... Scraps that taste like burnt match ends and dirt. Scraps that are rotten and moldy. Scraps. All that you think you deserve. Because you are abnormal. Because you are different. Because you are not the perfect size zero or you wear glasses. Because you have braces or freckles. Because you are too short, too tall, or your nose is too big. Because your hair is too curly or too straight, or God forbid too ginger. Because you  may suffer from mental illness. Because you are not what the magazines and television adds say you should be. You do not look the way they say you should. You do not sound the way they say you need to. You are odd. Because you may have a hard time fitting in or being understood. Because you have phobias, or worries, or worse doubts. Doubts that you are important or worthy. Doubts that you are lovable. Doubts that anyone anywhere has ever given one single damn about you as a person. Doubts are the sea in which we swim in to our own personal hells. Singular for each of us but no less devastating.

Many people have told me I am brave for writing so honestly about my life long struggle with mental illness, or as I like to call it "My struggle to seem normal". Not because I am struggling to be normal, mind you. That ship has already sailed a loooong time ago. My struggle is to appear normal because that is what many of us do. We dumb down, we wear too tight of pants to hold in the muffin top we have been denying exists for two years now, we get particular haircuts that we sometimes dislike just to appear to be something we are not. Not really. We pretend to not suffer when we do until we are unable to pretend anymore. We are not stupid. We are not three sizes smaller than we actually are and we are not always people that want the newfangled bob haircut every actress and her brother is sporting this week. We do suffer and it's okay to talk about it.

I am always humbled by these comments of my bravery simply because I am the least brave individual on the planet. I look and talk tough but in reality, I am just a woman who sits in front of a computer screen and writes about my pain. A woman who is fine writing about the betrayal of my mind over and over again to anyone who will listen, not due to bravery,  but simply due to the fact that  I do not want others to hurt the way I have. I am overly sensitive and overtly empathetic. I am many things but I am not sure courageous or brave is one of things. My case in point, I have a phobia. A terrible gut wrenching phobia.....of rabbits. Yep you heard me right, those God awful fluffy big eared creatures that munch not on undeserving children's faces or the mail man's calf muscle as he walks by to deliver the mail, but dandelions and grass. Ewwww....scary. But that is my point. Phobias rarely make sense and yet there they are hanging around our necks like bad eighties costume jewelry. They don't have to make sense to scare you to the point of hysteria. Try explaining that to a normal person....

In reality, I think that especially for the mental illness community, we  try very hard to appear normal. We too, long to be accepted. Or at the very least we try very hard not to be ostracized from the rest of the world.  We too, want to have a place to fit in. A tribe.  A sanctuary. A home. And when we fail to be what the media and television says is normal, we blame ourselves. We punish ourselves. We self hate and degrade ourselves. Simply because we are different. It makes us sad. It makes us scared. It makes us feel alone and often times it makes us hide our true selves from the rest of the world. Not because we are dangerous or scary but simply because we don't want to be hurt again. We simply don't want to hurt. It's not complicated. There is no rocket science going on here, no great and powerful OZ behind the curtain, no mystery to be had. We simply don't want to be judged. We are afraid to be singled out and laughed at, pushed away, mocked, and even worse we are afraid of being feared. And so often times we retreat into ourselves. We shut ourselves up so tight that no one can get in and even our own words fail to tumble out of our own mouths anymore. Our words don't simply cease to exist. They disintegrate. They turn to dust. They turn to blackened char. Til we forget we could even speak  in the first place. We forget that we once were able to discuss what our lives were like at one time. Before the troubles came. Before the diagnoses. Before we realized what we have is taboo to discuss. Now all we have left is ashes in our mouths. Ashes that taste  bitter and foul as they go down. And I am not willing to accept that.

I am not willing to accept that people will and do suffer in silence because no one wants to talk about the ugly things. The things we are scared of. The things that make us uncomfortable. I am unwilling to accept that by my remaining silent, simply so I can continue to appear to be more normal, someone somewhere is hurting with the same symptoms I have had and has no idea that they are not alone. That they are not bad. That they are not broken china waiting to be swept up by the proverbial societal broom and placed in the waist basket. Where all the broken things belong. I look back when I was a child, teenager, or even when I was a young adult and NO ONE was talking about mental illness. No one. It was a shady topic only to be spoken by doctors with fat degrees under the belts and hanging on their walls and the hushed tones of families that dealt with it. Secretly. Ashamed. Petrified of what others might think. I am unwilling to be silent about it. If we had the social platforms we have today when I was younger, I may have not had to have been so scared of my symptoms. I may not have had to believe I was secretly an evil and vile person and just didn't know it yet, for years on end. I would have had the option of knowing exactly what I had and exactly how it worked. I am unwilling to continue this charade of being silent and acting normal when clearly I am nothing of the sort. If it means I am judged, then so be it. If some people are uncomfortable with the things I have to say, then fine. I don't really care. If they can't accept the topics I choose to discuss or the issues I deal with on a daily basis, then they weren't really my friends to begin with anyway.

I do not believe I am brave or courageous as much as I am unwilling. Unwilling to let those that suffer or those that don't fit in think they are anything less than the magnificent people they are. I am unwilling to sit by and let good people place themselves in the same dark places, I spent most of my life in. I am unwilling to let them crawl around on the floor begging for table scraps and dirt because that is all they think they deserve in life. I am unwilling to agree to stay silent and let them live ashamed and stigmatized and so very, very alone. Those dark places are nothing but shadows and dust. Blackened bone and moss covered stones. Empty, hollowed out, and void of all life. There is nothing there but cold hard self degradation and no one deserves that. I don't want others to shroud themselves in the shadows and hide from the light. I want them to feel the sunshine on their faces again because they are human, and fallible, and unique, and beautiful, and they deserve happiness too. So if that means I have to talk about what I have gone through over and over again until I am blue in the face, then I can do that. If it makes just one person feel less scared of their symptoms or feel  less alone. If it helps just one person, then it is worth it. If I have to put myself out there for the whole world to judge, then I can do that to. There is nothing they can say to me that I haven't already said to myself back when I was living in the dark place. When I was licking the floor for scraps.When I had ashes in my mouth instead of words. For me it isn't bravery that seeps into my mind when I write these posts, in so much as, unwillingness to ignore what is so blatantly obvious. That we suffer and we remain silent out of fear. It isn't bravery as much as it is pure stubbornness. It's being unmovable. It's the remembrance of all the pain and suffering and loneliness I went through and the realization that if people had been allowed to talk about it when I was growing up, then I might not have had to suffer so much, or agonize so deeply, or felt so very very alone. If they had been allowed to talk many of us would not suffer as greatly from the stigma that surrounds our diagnoses. If they had only been allowed to soothe others  or to help others with their words, this could be a completely different conversation we are having right now. But they weren't and we are not. I am not brave or courageous anymore than anyone else is. I just want to help people, and it is my hope that maybe my story can do just that. Help someone somewhere along the way. That maybe my story will help them feel like they are able to finally open up and talk about their pain and struggles and realize that they are deserving of the sun's warmth, the acceptance of their peers, the happiness life possesses, and the truth. That they don't have to beg for scraps on the floor anymore, they can  actually sit at the table. That they can finally spit the ashes from their mouths and use their words again....That it is not always comfortable, or a terrific experience, or uplifting to do so, but it is okay to talk about it.

Neurotic Nelly

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Guess What?!?!?!....

Guess What?.........Well, can you guess?.......

         It's
                Day!



That's right! I started this blog exactly one year ago! If you would have told me back then, that I would be sharing my inner most personal mental health issues on the internet for the whole world to read, I would have laughed in your face...Seriously. What did I know about blogging, or the internet, or....about being honest with myself and others about some of the most truly horrible things that I have dealt with? I didn't even know how to write about it on paper, let alone on a computer screen with this awesome new keyboard that helps prevent carpal tunnel. Never in my wildest imagination, did I ever think I would have almost 30,000 views since I have started.

And all of this isn't me just tooting my own horn...TOOT...TOOT.... Really this is all about you guys, my readers. You guys have been there for me thick or thin, through the bad times and the good, for every step of the way and I am so thankful. So grateful. So inspired by you all.

So, I updated my blog theme in honor of the new year, and a year of not only learning about many of you, my wonderful readers, but in turn also learning more about myself as well. Something I would have never been able to do without all of your support. Each and everyone of you have  reminded me daily to believe in myself, have courage when I am scared, keep hope, and inspired me to keep on going even when I feel weary and weak.


                                               
That's all you guys!


So in honor of my blog reaching a year I wanted to have a blog Thank You for supporting me party. And what do parties have? Well, they generally have balloons and pointy birthday hats but I could't find any non copyrighted pics of those.....So How about Cake!



I loooove Cake!
But then I remembered I have diabetes and I can't eat cake anymore :( And how would I know how good it was if I didn't taste test it first? I can't be baking a nasty cake and serving it to my loyal readers? That would be awful....

                                   
                                                             Awe...flowers are so nice...

Oh.......sorry about that......erm....... Cake is out...flowers are out...what else makes a party?....

Oh yeah a gift! But.....


                                                                  Any suggestions?



Okay, I could do that! I mean I couldn't actually write one on such short notice but if I could I imagine it would look something like this:

                                              


........That was kinda rude.........
......
I guess I may have gotten a tad bit overzealous with the pictures on this post.....


Oh, well in that case, I can certainly write you all a lovely thank you letter to show my appreciation for being there for me, supporting me, and giving me a voice when I have been silent for so long.....



So I typed one up for you.......


And it put it in an envelope.....



 And here it is....this post is my Thank You letter to all of you. I couldn't have lasted a year doing this without each and everyone of you, my dear fantastic readers. It's not just about me, it also most definitely about all of you who got me here. It is about you. So in essence I am not just tooting my own horn because my little blog has turned one. I am also tooting yours as well....TOOT....TOOT....TOOT...TOOT....



Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart,

Neurotic Nelly


If you like these fantastic pictures I used please visit http://shabbyblogs.com/design/ to get your own  for free. They also have free blog backgrounds for blogger and wordpress. Awesome sight!



Wednesday, January 8, 2014

It Was and Is A Daily Process.....

After the Postpartum OCD left, I was grateful to be alive and grateful to have a chance to raise my son. Thrilled even. However, the symptoms I was used to before my pregnancy had changed yet again and they have remained that way every since. I have been able to manage them better and was even able to have another son without Postpartum OCD coming back. It has been a struggle but I am doing rather well, even if my symptoms have changed.

I was still a germ-a-phobe but to a much greater degree. Not only did I still wash my hands excessively but I started to carry a bottle of anti-germ gel in my purse at all times. I still do. I have always been hyper aware of germs and dirt but now it seemed to be even more oppressive. I have a hard time shaking other people's hands, touching things my mind deems to be dirty, or letting people near my face. Seriously don't do it....it freaks me out. I actually "feel" the germs on my hands. I actually "feel" residue on surfaces my mind claims are dirty. And yes, I actually "feel" the place that has been touched on my face and it is not a pleasurable experience. It's horrible. It's dirty. It's unclean. It makes my anxiety level shoot through the roof and my pulse quicken. My heart races  like a marathon runner who has just finished a 5K and all I did was touch a pen in the doctor's office. It sucks....I could go on and on but no one has time for all of the many, many germ-a-phobe issues I deal with on a daily basis. So, I will just leave you with this mental picture....I have been known to scrub my face raw when someone touches it. Not dry and chapped from too hot of water or too drying of soap, but actually raw...and I still could feel the touch underneath my skin.

I still had the contamination fears and they still plague me today. I actually threw away a perfectly good peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I made for my youngest the other day because I was afraid that the counter had some bacteria from the meat I had placed on it the day before. Even though, I know I scrubbed it several times with warm soapy water after I put up the meat. I couldn't quite convince myself it was safe and I worried the bread might absorb any remaining bacteria up in it like a sponge. So, I had to throw it out and start again. I really try to not do that but like anything else it is a process. A daily process and I am actively working on it.

I still had Harm fears but they were more random and less scary. After the hell of Postpartum OCD, these Harm fears seemed to pale in comparison. Occasionally, I see myself stabbing someone whilst cooking or using a utensil of some sort. A pair of scissors, a kitchen knife, a pencil, a set of car keys....It doesn't really matter what the object is. It could be a broken toothpick or a thumbtack..OCD is not particular on the weapon, it just makes weapons out of whatever you are currently holding in your hand. I once had one while holding a sheet of paper....true story. It scares me for a second and then I remember what it is and I go on. I am not going to hurt anyone and I am fairly certain no one has ever been papered to death....

I did get a new symptom that really threw a wrench in the machine. Medical fears. Not only did I worry I had accidentally poisoned myself from eating something off of a chemically washed counter whilst giving myself a disease from touching a public handrail, I now started to worry I had some major illness that was terribly devastating and awful. A mole on my leg was skin cancer. A cough meant some rare disease only sheep got that had somehow evolved to spread to humans and then only to me. A watery eye meant that I had a brain tumor...ect. The anxiety ramped up as I tried to figure out how to quell this monstrosity of a symptom as well. Many times I failed and was left terrified by my own thoughts. I started to google my symptoms of each imagined ailment, which in turn led to the most horrendous horror stories you could ever find. The more I searched, the more I found, the more frightened I became. There is a good saying that plays into this sort of symptom very well. "If you search for something bad long enough, you will find it." I had to make a promise to myself to never research any symptom imagined or otherwise again, just to preserve my own sanity. OCD just loves fear and doubt and I refuse to give it anymore leeway by searching for medical symptoms. I am not a doctor and everything on a google search only leads to horrible, painful, and disturbing diseases and diagnoses. I don't need that kind of pressure.

Because of all of the symptoms of OCD I have endured I can say that my life is different than most normal people. Not better and not worse but different. Everyone has their own struggles and hardships in life. This just happens to be mine. It has changed the way I live and the things I do. It has had a profound affect on how I treat others and the understanding I have for those that suffer from mental illness, especially those that suffer from OCD. I get what they are going through. I know what it feels like and I haven't even had every single OCD symptom there is floating around out there. OCD is extremely complex and if you can think it, it can manifest it in some horrid intrusive thought. Trust me...

So, I know when I read blogs and comments about the horrors of the mind, it makes perfect sense to me. It really does. In suffering for so long I have learned a great deal and honestly, I still have a lot to learn. I will most likely never know everything there is to know about OCD. It changes constantly and this will probably not be my last symptoms to pop up. There is always a chance that again my world will shift and new ones will appear. I will just have to learn to live and battle with them like I have had to learn to live and battle with these.

From fears of being inadequate, the compulsions, the checking, the counting, the washing, the touching, the homosexual fears, the being harmed fears, the germ fears, the relationship fears, the contamination fears, the harm fears, the medical fears, the Postpartum OCD, and the guilt and shame associated with them I think it is safe to say that I don't need to watch horror films. I have seen more gore, violence, disturbing sexual images, and horror in my head than any normal individual. Any slasher film or Friday the 13th movie could never compare to the awful and terrifying things that have played thorough my mind at one time or another. I don't need to watch Halloween on television or at the movie theater to get scared. My OCD has already been doing that to me for years.

I wrote this to be honest and explain just how OCD has been affecting me since I was a small child and continues to affect me to this day. Yes, I wrote this to share my experiences but also to try and break down some of the taboo that surrounds not only OCD but also mental illness as a whole. I wrote this because many think OCD is not a scary or a devastating mental illness. Many think that it is not something people become suicidal over or worry about. Many think OCD is not a severe debilitating mental illness. Many think it is something to be laughed off or made fun of. They even sometimes, think it's cool because the media has made it seem harmless and funny. They are so very, very wrong.  I wanted to be in depth to let those people know that OCD is so much more than just about organization or touching things repeatedly. It really is a lifetime of ever changing, ever constant, ever painful symptoms that we deal with on a daily basis. Everyday. All day. For the rest of our lives.

I would like to close my post with this message. OCD is hard and scary and more often than not, completely exhausting. It can and does take a toll on your view of yourself. It can make you doubt your sanity and your self worth. It can make you doubt what kind of a person you are and just what you are capable of. It can make you struggle, but you can get better. It can be managed. . I possess no curing snake oil potions, or superhero powers, no healing spells, or magic pills to take to make it all go away. But if an average, plain Jane, regular girl like me can make it through all of this, then you can too. I have no doubt of that. You can and will get better. You just have to keep trying and keep fighting. You are worth it. You are strong and you can do this...

Neurotic Nelly

Fourth Installment  :http://neurtoicnellyocd.blogspot.com/2014/01/surely-this-was-hell.html

Third Installment :http://neurtoicnellyocd.blogspot.com/2014/01/i-was-unaware-and-unprepared.html

Second Installment :http://neurtoicnellyocd.blogspot.com/2014/01/what-it-became.html

First Installment :http://neurtoicnellyocd.blogspot.com/2013/12/and-so-it-begins.html



Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Surely This Was Hell....

XXXX....WARNING....TRIGGER...WARNING....XXXXX

I have been dreading writing this post for as long as I have been blogging. In fact, I am terrified to put this all down on paper and share it publicly with the world. It is uncomfortable and scary. It makes me feel guilty and shrouded in shame. Anytime we delve into the worst part of our symptoms we tend to clam up and not openly talk about the bad ones. The ones no one wants to admit to because it feels awful, gross, unsettling, disturbing, and horrifying.  We want to pretend they didn't occur and we want to sweep them under the rug because we are fundamentally scared. Scared of not only the judgment others may wield in our direction but also the judgment we have placed on ourselves. The blame we lay at our own feet for having them in the first place. No one likes to talk about the horrible details when you are in the complete bottom depths of your mental illness. Where the water is so dark, murky, treacherous, and deep no one dares tread in it. Lest, the insanity of it all swallow you whole and you are never seen or heard from again.

This post will be hard for some to read and even harder for some to understand but I can't talk about my symptoms and OCD and just gloss over or minimize the worst symptoms I ever had and the ones that almost killed me, literally.

 Surely this was punishment for being a horrible monster in a past life. Stalin or Hitler maybe.  Surely, this was my penance for anything wrong I may have ever done, or maybe even anything wrong every person on the face of the planet had ever done and I was the one paying for it. Surely, this was hell because nothing else could be this horrible, this torturous, this depraved.

I had gotten divorced and was learning to understand myself again both as a person and as a person with OCD. Again I thought I had the disease of my mind figured out, I really have to stop doing that...I went on and life went on and things got much better. I met a man and fell in love. When he wanted to have a child I kind of laughed a bit. I wanted one but I believed that since I had been with my ex for four years and never conceived except for the miscarriage, that he might be wasting his time on me. Still, I agreed to try and see what would become of it. A month later I was pregnant and very surprised. I was happy and ecstatic. I was finally going to get to be the one thing I had always wanted to be, a mother.

My OCD kicked in as I had to get off the medication. Instead of the fears I was used to, it changed into a more controlling role. I ate only healthy foods for the baby, I drank nothing but water, I walked a mile a day to make it easier to give birth. Not only did I revel in the pregnancy but looking back I realize I also obsessed about it. Afraid that if I didn't do everything just right I might lose this child too, I made sure that anything the doctor advised, I did. I read all of the "What to Expect When You Are Expecting" books twice. Had my birthing bag ready two months before I was due. I even took the time to wash all of the baby bedding, and clothes, and buy as many packs of newborn sized diapers I could fit in the closet...Busying myself with the chores of getting ready for a newborn seemed to take away the punishment of the waiting game. As anyone with OCD knows, anticipation and waiting are truly the OCD playground. The expression "idle hands are the devil's workshop", spring to mind. So I busied myself and obsessed on exactly what I could control. After all, I was going to do my damnedest to give this child the best start I could. I couldn't save the one I lost, I was going to give my all to save this one. I put headphones with soft music on my belly, because I read somewhere that babies can hear in the womb. I talked to him while gently rubbing my tummy. I said sweet murmurs and softly sang him lullabies. I made sure to take luke warm showers, even though I hated them because the scalding hot water like I prefer, wasn't good for pregnancy. When I was diagnosed as having borderline gestational diabetes I checked my blood sugar three times a day like the doctor suggested religiously and did the diet without any complaints, even though I felt like I was starving to death. In short, I did everything I could think of to protect my son and to make him grow healthy and strong. After all, I not only was stubborn but I have OCD and OCD can make you be extremely rigid in your behaviors.

Then he was born. My beautiful amazing little boy. I fell in love at first sight. He was tiny and precious and perfect in every way. I doted on him like he was a miracle because all children are miracles and they deserve that kind of treatment. I took hundreds pictures of him in every outfit we had bought for him. Pictures of his first smile. Pictures of him sleeping. Pictures of his first bath. I spent nights awake just listening to the soft whisper of his breaths while he slumbered. I checked on him to make sure he was comfortable and safe. I held him way more than I should and spoiled him relentlessly. I took to being a mother like ducks take to water and I finally felt like I was doing something I was always meant to do. I had finally found my purpose, my calling. And then it happened....

I remember while being pregnant I told my doctor about having severe OCD. He had informed me that it put me at a higher risk for postpartum depression and that we would need to keep an eye out for signs of me getting depressed. I didn't really worry about it because I had no idea how Postpartum anything really worked but I did remember seeing something on t.v. about it and I thought I would just inform everybody it was a possibility and we would be alert but not petrified of the possibility.

It was two weeks after giving birth and I was walking with my precious baby in my arms into the living room when I had this strong clear image of putting him in a lit fireplace. I froze with fear. I was unable to move as I processed what had just went through my mind. It terrified me. It shook me to my core. I quickly put him in his bassinet and called my mom. This had to be what the doctor warned me about and I needed to make sure that I was going to get help right away. I remember being relieved to some extent because we didn't have a fireplace, so maybe it was just a hallucination brought on by lack of sleep.

But that was just the tip of the iceberg, the edge of the cliff around the dark pit of insanity and I was teetering over it. Soon the images became louder and faster and more vile. Me putting him in the microwave or drowning him in the tub. Me throwing him down a flight of stairs we didn't even have or slamming him against the wall. Each time I had one I would break down crying in hysteria...There was something wrong with me. There was something seriously wrong with me... I was terrified of myself and  was terrified that if I had these images then I might be able to do them, so we all made a pact that I would never be alone with the baby until I was able to get help from a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist who, oddly enough, was dragging his feet on seeing me. Even though I had made several calls freaking out about what was going on.

Then the images turned into not just harming my son but also my husband, my friends, my family. Everything became a trigger. A spoon for the coffee creamer became a eye gouger, a fork became a weapon to stab a loved one in the throat, a pot of boiling water for spaghetti became an image of severely burning my husband. I started to not only avoid my baby but also everything else and everyone else as well. Trying so desperately to avoid the triggers that made me have the gut wrenchingly painful thoughts and the overwhelming guilt that followed them. I was unable to sleep from them, unable to eat because of them, unable to function in any real way accept to cry and agonize over the unwanted thoughts and images.

Again they turned into even more disturbing and disgusting thoughts. The smiling baby on the similac can turned into  pedophilia images....the sight of my neighbors Chihuahua turned into bestiality images...anything sexual became a mental horror show that I could not stop. I started to refuse to bathe my son or go near his diaper in fear that somehow I would turn into my grandfather and be a predator. It terrified me to my very core. I refused to walk down the baby isle because the images were so strong that they would make me physically flinch like someone was slapping me full force in the face. They made me physically ill and yet the voice in my head told me I liked them. I avoided contact with animals refusing to even look at them let alone pet them. So I could avoid the animal torture and bestiality images that were waiting to jump out and torture me.

I called my therapist in a panic....." I need help, Oh God please help me....Please help me I have gone insane...completely insane."

She refused to treat me and thought about calling the authorities on me. It wasn't Postpartum Depression she thought. She said she couldn't be responsible for what I might do. I was now even more terrified. I was insane and now I had no one to help me. And if she abandoned me then maybe it meant I was capable of actually doing these horrid things. She obviously thought so.

Finally after a day of the really bad sexual images running non stop through my mind, I made a decision. I was going to kill myself. I couldn't take it any longer. I couldn't take one more nasty, disgusting, vile, fucked up thought.. I just couldn't...I couldn't do it anymore. No one would help me, my therapist left, the doctor was stone walling me, and I was petrified I might end up being all of these things these images were portraying. If I wasn't then why were they there plaguing me? Surely, this was hell and I was burning. No, not surely, this was definitely hell and I was Satan himself for thinking these putrid thoughts. I had to do it. What if this was my mind warning me I was going to be just like my grandfather and I might hurt someone? Like an advanced child molester warning? Or an advanced serial killer warning? Like it was showing who I truly was deep down and I just didn't know it? I couldn't accept that. I would never allow myself to be that kind of a monster, I had to protect my family. I had to protect my son. I am his mother, it is my one job. The one job you are given as a parent, to protect your child. Anything else was unacceptable. I knew suicide was a sin but I had wrestled with the idea that if I did it to protect my son , then maybe God could find a way to forgive me for it. Or at least maybe he would have mercy on my soul. Either way going to hell couldn't possibly be as bad as this. The constant images and thoughts....Anything had to be an improvement.

I called my mother and asked her to take my son for the day after his dad went to work. They were going to stay with me anyway but I wanted some time to myself, I told them.  I didn't think of who would find my body or how I was going to actually do it, just that I was and I would be doing the right thing because I wasn't going to allow myself to become a monster and the things in my head were definitely monstrous.

Something in my voice must have struck my mother as off. She agreed to come get the baby but she wasn't agreeing to leaving me alone. She called some more doctors to see if they could schedule me in. I think, looking back, because she had tried to commit suicide when I was younger, she recognized something in my voice. She saw it coming. We hung up and I got my son's stuff ready to leave as his dad got ready for work. I was sad but I felt I was doing the only thing I could to protect my family, and then the phone rang. It was my mother. She had been so worried about me that she got tired of all of the doctors blowing us off and started researching my symptoms on the internet. And she found it. I wasn't crazy or insane. I wasn't even dangerous. I had Postpartum OCD. My hormones dipping after two weeks of giving birth had spiraled my already severe OCD into a postpartum OCD. Those images weren't because I was sick or depraved, they were intrusive thoughts. Much like I had before but more violent because I now had Harm OCD symptoms. I was in no danger of being my grandfather, or a serial killer, or a dog abuser, or someone who stabs their husband in the eye with the coffee creamer spoon. She had found a brave, courageous lady who had written a book about postpartum OCD and had done an interview on television about it. Her description of her symptoms mimicked mine so greatly it sounded as if she too had been living in my head with all of these sick and twisted images. It clicked. I knew how OCD worked but I had no idea the images could be so disturbing and so horrible let alone so violent....

I finally was seen at a doctor's office and they tried to schedule me in for two months away. My mother stood up in the middle of the waiting room and yelled that I had waited long enough. That I needed help and if anything should happen to me or her grandson that they would be held solely responsible. She has always been my biggest support but that day she was my hero, my champion. I was seen right away and I was properly diagnosed as suffering from Postpartum OCD. I was medicated and finally the images started to cease.

I was never told that Postpartum OCD even existed. We had no idea that it would even be a possibility. We were unprepared and I suffered greatly because of it. My therapist should have helped me find a doctor. She should have supported me and helped me find treatment. Instead she abandoned me and I almost gave up my life believing that what I was suffering from made me a danger. In fact Postpartum OCD is remarkable in the fact that unlike Postpartum Depression or Postpartum Psychosis women that suffer from Postpartum OCD are not dangerous. The statistics are so minuscule that there aren't any... They are so terrified of the images that they encounter that they will go out of their way to avoid anything that gives them these images. Often times avoiding being around their newborns and or family members or like me making sure someone is with them at all times to protect the baby. They are not dangerous but they are tortured by their thoughts. They deserve to know that this is out there and it is real. They deserve to know and not have to find a diagnoses on a google search. They deserve to know there is treatment and they can hold their babies and not be afraid that they are secretly monsters. That suicide is not the answer. They are not dangerous or sick or vile. It's just OCD doing what it does best, causing fear and torment. Turning everything you fear into illusions, smoke, fog, and circus mirrors. Showing you things you would never do because you are not that kind of a person. You are not a monster.

Postpartum OCD changed me in a way I never thought I could be changed. It made me stronger and it made me understand this illness in a way I never thought possible. It taught me that OCD is complex because our minds are complex. It taught me that what our mental illness says we are or shows us we are, is all false perception. OCD sufferers are nonviolent and will go out of their way to avoid these images because we are non violent. It scares us. It haunts us. We are tortured by these images and thoughts. We are haunted by them. I have no other way to describe it but pure emotional hell....but it doesn't last forever. You do come out of it. You do learn to move on and to fight it. You do learn that OCD is not indicative of who you are as a person in any way. You learn that you are not what these images say you are. You never were. You are just person that deals with unwanted thoughts and images. They are just that UNWANTED. They are NOT who we are or what we are capable of....

Although these were the worst and most scariest symptoms I endured over my thirty years of OCD suffering,  they weren't my last. My next post is the last installment of my life's journey through severe OCD symptoms so far, where I suffer random harm fears, germ fears, contamination fears, and health fears.

Neurotic Nelly

If you would like to know more about Postpartum OCD you can find out more information at these websites:

http://www.ocfoundation.org/eo_postpartum.aspx

http://www.postpartum.net/Get-the-Facts/Pregnancy-or-Postpartum-OCD.aspx

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Next Installment :http://neurtoicnellyocd.blogspot.com/2014/01/it-was-and-is-daily-process.html
Third Installment :http://neurtoicnellyocd.blogspot.com/2014/01/i-was-unaware-and-unprepared.html
Second Installment :http://neurtoicnellyocd.blogspot.com/2014/01/what-it-became.html
First Installment :http://neurtoicnellyocd.blogspot.com/2013/12/and-so-it-begins.html