Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I Think About.....

My day today started as dawn broke. The light peeking in through the window blinds. Some days I hate the light and others it is my welcome friend. The birds chirp, the clouds hover over head, the smell of coffee fills my atmosphere. My hopes that the morning light would mean a slightly warmer temperature was met with disappointment. It was 21 degrees. Mornings are quiet before everyone stirs and makes the normal morning sounds. I love this time. My time. Time when nothing is expected of me but to simply open my eyes. The few seconds before I roll out of bed and meet the world and all of it's expectations and demands...grudgingly.

Then it is afternoon. Somehow, the day seems like it is slipping through my fingers. I eat lunch, which I have never liked. Lunch always makes my stomach curl. It doesn't matter what I eat. I think it might be anxiety. I jot notes on paper only to lose them in  my cleaning spree. I bet if you opened the desk drawers and cabinet doors you would millions of my half assed thoughts lying around. Not that they would make much sense singularly, all together even less so. They are the keys to the thought narrative in my head. Sometimes a few lines, sometimes just a sentence, mostly just a word or two. As if my OCD  mind is some dark hidden diary that requires a special key to unlock and reads it's secret contents. Although, they really aren't so secret since I write many of them in here. They are just reminders of things I want to write about.....or phrases that touch my soul. Other people's quotes, poems, prose...ect. 

I was thinking about how when I am in the car and looking out the window, I often think about riding horses in the deep green grass. I think about running through corn mazes and having picnics. I think about how money seems like such an odd concept for me. Not because I have ever had much but because I have never had much. Even if I did, I would probably give most of it away. I always want to help others, do for those that have less than me, and I find many things to be ridiculously priced these days. I don't need a bouquet of roses, just pick some wild flowers on the side of the road.  I don't need diamonds and fancy shoes. I hate shoes, they make my feet sweaty. I don't know, maybe that is weird?

I think about how everything seems like people become more and more detached form each other. I used to write long thought out hand written letters on vintage stationary I bought from various resale shops and send them to my loved ones. All of the people I used to write to have since passed. They were the older generation. I receive no letters and send none back. It is kind of sad really. I get bills though....yay. (sarcasm)

I think about how my oldest is turning into a teenager and I worry if I am teaching him the right things. Do I teach him to really listen to the world around him? Do I teach him the importance of liking himself and trusting his intuitions? Because a low self esteem is a horrible cross to bear and a hard one to rectify. Do I teach him how to stand up for himself and the things he believes in? Do I teach him that life is love and music is a representation of life and therefore universal? Do I teach him that of all things in life I find to be important, compassion is the biggest and sometimes hardest thing to learn? Do I teach him that education is something to be serious about? Do I teach him to be fearless in his pursuits and to always question everything and to never give up?.....Hell I don't know. I try.  I hope these things are coming through, but with a teenager it can be hard to tell. He is an amazing kid,so I must be doing something right. After I write this I am going to call my mom and apologize again for being a teenager.....because wow....just wow. They are a real trip. I never appreciated all that she did for me like I do now that I am doing it for my kids. It's an eye opener. 

I think about what it must be like to live unafraid of the things I am afraid of. I think about how some apples were recalled for Listeria. My husband just bought some apples too. I most likely will not be eating them. I might if I feel up to battling the contamination fears. I don't at this exact moment. Maybe later...

I think about blood sugar levels and weight loss. I think about vacuuming the carpet. I think about finding things to write about and this horrid writer's block. I think about my husband's upcoming birthday, and wanting to train to run a marathon, and of learning to be secure in myself enough to go places on my own. I think about what nightclubs must be like because I am a horrid dancer and have never actually been in one. I think about bookstores and antique shops, and how much I love the smell of old musty books. I think about the Winter being over because I detest the cold.  I think about how nice the aroma of wood burning fireplaces and bonfires are. I think about the garden I am going to plant in the Spring as a memorial to my aunt because she liked pretty things and her favorite color was green.... I think about anything and everything in rapid succession and I wonder if maybe I have a touch of ADD with my OCD or if this is just how an overactive brain works.

It seems like thinking is all I ever do. A never ending, never ceasing mumble in the back of my brain much like the sound of a train passing by in the background. Only the train never passes fully, either that or it is the world's longest train track occupied by the world's longest train. If it is a train, then I hope it has a caboose like the ones I used to see as a kid when I played near the tracks of my great grandmother's house. Cabooses are a thing of the past too, and they were so neat looking. Children these days really miss out on some of the old cool things. Makes me feel a tad bit ancient.

I guess this post is about how OCD just never really stops. It is manageable but it is never quiet. Never fully silent. There will always be thoughts, and wondering, and thinking about stupid and or ridiculous things. There will always be that mumble in the back of your brain, even if the loud thoughts and images aren't present. It gets to be where you don't notice it as much. It is just something you learn to tune out. It is part of the OCD experience, I suppose. But hey, I always liked trains so I am not too bothered by it.

Neurotic Nelly

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Inspiration.....Go Whitney!...Haters Need Not Apply....

Sorry I was unable to write last Thursday and Tuesday but I have been under the weather lately. A head cold and a case of "the blahs" will do that to you. But never fear, I am back!

I was watching this television show called "My Big Fat Fabulous Life" the other day. For those of you who haven't heard of this show, it is about a woman who wrestles with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and has become obese due to the weight gain of her disorder and depression. It is inspiring to me because she has such a wonderful outlook on life. She is working on losing weight but at the same time, she refuses to let it stop her from living her life. She dances. She goes on dates. She laughs. She LIVES.

Of course she gets haters, because people really don't like when someone "out of the mold" as they say, defies social norm and learns to love themselves, or pushes the media fantasy of what a "real woman" is, or refuses to be an unhappy recluse shamed to tears because she is fat.

And this show resonates with me on a number of levels. For one, I have wrestled with two separate eating disorders in my lifetime. A binge eating disorder I have struggled off and on with for most of my life and unspecified anorexia, which I had at the age of eighteen. Basically, I ate only tiny bites of food and exercised for six hours a day. My bones were sticking out, my face was sunken in, my hair had started to fall out.  I have never felt so fat as I did when I was anorexic. I was under 120 lbs which on my frame looks sickly, and yet in the mirror all I saw was fat. The scale was the weapon I used to torture myself with. Then after around a year and a half of this kind of horror with an inept therapist and a bad marriage helping to take it's toll in flipping me to the anorexia, I swung right back to the binge eating like I had done all of my life. I ballooned up, gaining one hundred and forty lbs leaving me at 260 lbs. My weight for me, has been a struggle and it still is a work in progress. I am finally for the first time under 190 lbs and eating completely healthy. I am for the first time, not worried about what the scale says, but what my doctor says about my blood tests. I am not binge eating anymore and have not for over a year.

The second reason for loving this show, is that I don't fit the mold either. Not just because I have been both overweight and too skinny, but because I have a mental illness. And just as there are several stigmas and untruths spread around about being overweight, there are equal if not more stigmas and untruths being spread about mental illness. Some of them are similar i.e. laziness, weak willed, pathetic, disgusting, worthless....and some of them go a step further i.e. dangerous, scary, unhinged....ect. So, even though, I am not as big as the woman in this television show, I feel like we could have been sisters in the discrimination department. We are similar in the discrimination that she faces and the battles she has dealt with because of other people's judgments making her judge herself.

I doubt she knows how inspiring she is, not just to those people with weight issues but also to those of us who have also unknowingly let our disorders steal life away from us. Those of us that too, do  not fit the society's mold of perfection. Because we are scared of what other people would say. Of what other people might think. Of how we forget that we have every right to be seen and be loved not just by others but more importantly, by ourselves.

She says things that inspire me. When she was about to teach a dance class and she was talking about her weight and struggles. Her words hit me like a ton of bricks," It's about a passion and if you feel it you gotta bring it."  And I thought about all of the things I am passionate about but I am afraid of and it made me realize I have a right to do what I am passionate about, to admit that there are big things I am passionate about, and that I have a right to be passionate in the first place. Because she is human, and I am human, and we are all human and to be human is to dream, to learn, to love, and to be passionate.

Case in point, next weeks episode preview was about her buying a swimsuit for the first time in twenty years. I sat there and tried to remember when I bought my last swimsuit, which was over thirteen years ago. Then I tried to remember when I last went to a beach or public swimming hole and I realized it had been at least fourteen years. Not because I was overweight or not, but simply because even though I enjoy swimming, I have OCD and being in a large group makes me feel vulnerable and nervous. It took a television show to show me how far I have let my OCD stop me in things I could be doing. I should be doing. Things I used to love to do but somehow became complacent in because I was worried how other people would react if I had an anxiety attack.

The woman in the show is not so different from the rest of us. She is different from what the media force feeds you to believe everyone should be but she is so much more than that. She is beautiful, she is strong. She is an inspiration and she is a bad ass. She is everything all of us are but many of us just haven't been able to see it yet.

She is learning to say yes to things and she is doing things for herself. In spite of other's ignorant comments and opinions and it inspires me. Maybe one day soon I will go and try a new swimsuit on and go to the beach. Because if she can do it, and not give a flying fritter what other people think, I can too. If she can dance and kick ass then I can too, even though I am a horrid dancer. If she can say yes to things that make her uncomfortable simply because she is an amazing, positive, and inspirational human being, than I can too. Because as she says," I have one life to live and it damn sure better count"

No one deserves to live in shame whether it be for weight, mental illness, or anything different. Difference is what makes us unique and beautiful. Difference is what makes us...us and we are fabulous.

You go girl! Thank you for reminding me to keep trying even when things are scary and rough. You are an inspiration to more than you know!
Neurotic Nelly

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Silver Linings....

I finally got to watch Silver Linings Playbook. My husband didn't really understand it but I sure did. It was a good movie. It resonated with me.

Part of what keeps me positive is finding the silver linings in things. So, I have been trying to do that everyday.

Things here are still pretty stressful. I had this horrid nightmare last night that I was on a bus going downtown and people kept touching my face (one of my major triggers). Like a bunch of strangers walking down the isle putting their open palms on my cheeks and mouth.......shudder..... I could feel the anxiety swell and I tried to yell at them to stop. No voice would come out at first but when it finally did, no one listened. It was awful!

Silver Lining: I woke up by rolling of the bed and was relieved that it was just a really bad dream. No one had actually been touching my face unless it was one of my cats and that is perfectly fine.

I have been stuck in a weight plateau of 195 lbs for six months. It was really bumming me out. No matter how much I tried on my elliptical bike, I couldn't lose anymore. It was starting to really bug me. First I did 10 miles a day. That seemed to do nothing weight wise but I did get some great leg muscles. Then I tried to up the resistance and only do 5 miles a day. That didn't seem to do much, either. After three months an zero loss on the scale I became irritated. I wasn't looking for a huge amount of difference but I was hoping for at least a half a pound. Out of extreme desperation, I upped the resistance to where every ten pedals I feel as if my legs have been set on fire. I push through and do 5 miles a day even though I have to take breaks between every mile. It hurts, I hate it but you don't go to the gym and not "feel the burn" so exercise at home should probably feel the same. I need to lose about 30-40 more lbs to be "target weight" for my height.

Silver Lining: I lost eight lbs finally!!!!! My blood sugar is much better and I look forward to the possibility of being able to manage my diabetes without medication. Although I am not sure I will be able to not have to use the medication, I am going to give it the good ol' college try.

I haven't had as much time to write and think and do my posts because of all that is going on.  It seems like I have lost the "alone time" it takes for me to be able to put thoughts together. I am always busy and I can't even get my house as clean as I would like. I kind of feel like I just can't catch up. I lose the energy to clean when everyone is home. I clean better and write better when I am alone.

Silver Lining: I haven't had time for my OCD to plague me either. Not a bad trade if you ask me. Things will eventually get back to normal at some point and I will have a cleaner house, better posts, and my OCD will be back in full swing (the last thing not being great but at least I am used to it).

So, things are hard but I am getting through it. It is sometimes all about attitude and I am trying to keep a positive attitude going. Or, as the movie says, "Excalibur". Stay positive and keep going no matter what obstacles get thrown in your path. You can either stop  in front of them and walk away feeling defeated or climb up them scratching and clawing until you get over them. And I need the exercise anyway....

Silver Linings, people. Silver Linings.....
Neurotic Nelly

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Ummmm, Yeah...

Today I would like to celebrate two years of writing this blog. Two years ago, I had no idea what I was doing, if there was an audience for my platform, or if what I had to say was going to be received in a positive light. As it stands, I have had wonderful feedback, tremendous support, and terrific feedback. I thank you all for supporting me and being my amazing readers. This is my two year celebration but really, this is our two year celebration. So, here's to us!

I would also like to take a moment and wish one of my greatest supporters, my Grandma, a lovely happy birthday. Today, she turns 75! Without her and the support of my friends and family and you guys, I wouldn't be here. I certainly wouldn't be writing. And I would have never known just how many of us are out there and how important mental illness dialogue is.

So, happy blog anniversary to US and Happy Birthday Grandma!!!! Ummmm, yeah. Today is pretty awesome!

Neurotic Nelly

Thursday, January 1, 2015

We Are Worth It.....

So, after my last post things started looking up. First of all, I got some much needed support and comments on my google+ page in my blog comment section. You guys are amazing and thank you so much.

Then I read this post from an incredible blogger http://judyjourny.blogspot.com/2014/12/thoughts-on-approaching-new-year.html. Her last few lines hit me in the gut and made me realize that even though I am weathering a bad storm, I have been here before. And just like last time, I will get through this too. Sometimes, you just need to be reminded of how far you have come. Especially, when setbacks rear their ugly heads.

Then this morning I read some stories that made me sad and well, angry. And I was reminded why I started this blog almost two years ago. Through my ups and downs, I started as a scared but yet hopeful mental illness blogger just praying that there were other people like me out in there in the world. Never thinking that that those people understood me better sometimes, than I even understood myself. And it makes sense to me because although we may all have different mental illnesses, pain is universal. And the understanding of that pain and the compassion we show each other is also universal. But even more than that, LOVE is universal.

All of us walk down winding blinding paths. Sometimes the fog rolls in and we become unable to see. We become blinded to all that we offer the world. The negative thoughts set in and we lose the ability to not only see the love we get but also the ability to love ourselves. We start to believe that we don't matter. But the funny thing about fog, is even in the thickest darkest hours eventually the fog lifts. And we can see the path again. Clear not for the first time but clear enough to pass. And that is all life is, a couple of steps at a time. Helping those you meet along the way. Understanding pain, having compassion, and most of all offering Love. Not just for others but for yourself as well, because dammit, we are worth it. (Even if we sometimes think we aren't)

Then this song came on the radio and I just knew that this was what my post needed to be about.

And even though this is a love song and it is about a relationship, I kind of took it to mean something totally different. It made me think of us, all of us dealing with mental illness and the relationships we have with our own selves. And how much we need to support each other because who understands us better than we do? And how many times has it been just one kind word or sympathetic smile that made you turn from suicidal thoughts and made you hold on for just one more day. One more day is all it takes. A couple of steps at a time.

The lyrics touched me and it made me realize that I am strong and it is because we all are strong. That even in the darkest of times, I can never give up on myself and I can not give up on my mental illness community either. We are all in this together. What I do affects others and I need to make sure that everyone knows that that they belong on this earth. That they have a place here. That they are many things in this life but alone is never one of those things. We are strong. We are tough. We are magnificent. I refuse to give up and I hope that you refuse as well.

As the song says:

When I look into your eyes
It's like watching the night sky
Or a beautiful sunrise
Well, there's so much they hold
And just like them old stars
I see that you've come so far
To be right where you are
How old is your soul?

I won't give up on us.
 Even if the skies get rough.
 I am giving you all my love.
 I'm still looking up.

And even the stars, they burn. 
Some even fall to the earth.
 We got a lot to learn.
 God, knows we are worth it.
 No I won't give up.

I don't wanna be someone who walks away so easily
I'm here to stay and make the difference that I can make
Our differences they do a lot to teach us how to use
The tools and gifts we got, yeah, we got a lot at stake
And in the end, you're still my friend at least we did intend
For us to work we didn't break, we didn't burn
We had to learn how to bend without the world caving in
I had to learn what I've got, and what I'm not, and who I am.

I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up, still looking up.

Well, I won't give up on us (no I'm not giving up)
God knows I'm tough enough (I am tough, I am loved)
We've got a lot to learn (we're alive, we are loved)
God knows we're worth it (and we're worth it)

I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up

We are still losing good people out there and this has to change. Stigma has to end and compassion has to grow. And the only way to do that is to live for those that could not hold on and fight for those that are not able to speak out from fear. We have to hold on not just for ourselves but for each other. Because simply put, we are all important. We all matter. All lives matter...Everyone. And God knows we are worth it. I am worth it and just as importantly YOU are worth it too.

Neurotic Nelly