trouble picking a resolution

So i’m really struggling with my new year’s resolution.  I veered off track with my resolution last year but I have to say i think I was successful.  I am much happier than I was this time last year.  My mental health is better.  The OCD got in the way of the resolution but in way this was for the best as I’m freer than ever with the OCD and am able to do things I never could have done a year ago.

I want to continue on being happier.  I also want to continue decluttering.  I’ve thought about promising to get rid of 1 item per day as a fellow blogger has done.  I’ve also thought about committing to one healthy smoothie a day or trying to be healthier and lose some weight.  I’ve also considered retrying the Better than Chocolate assignments.  I just don’t really know.  I could also try focusing on overcoming more with the OCD or how to be a successful adult with ADHD.

I would love to write more helpful posts on ADHD and OCD and write about what has helped me.  Maybe I could give myself assignments tackling my barriers and write about this.

My biggest barrier right now is getting mentally healthy to lose the weight.  I’m a real large girl who wants to be healthier but the OCD is blocking me right now.  So much trauma and drama about weight in my life.

I would love to save money so reduce and reuse are huge for me.  I need to stop buying things so maybe to keep things fresh i could focus on a new area each week.

  • spending fasts
  • sugar fasts
  • declutter sessions
  • OCD assignment
  • ADHD assignment
  • happiness assignment

Dabble in each so I don’t give up or get bored.  don’t do it all at the same time but shake things up when I start to get discouraged in one area?  Maybe I could go a week without spending any money (with the exception of gas).  The next week go without sugar, next week declutter 30 items, next week address an OCD fear or compulsion, next week work on addressing my ADHD.

I don’t know – I need help.

Happier, healthier, more money saved, better mental health.  most I’m already working on.

have some fun and create some art!  that would be a great resolution!  design something each week?  could be interesting.

write a book?  don’t know what I’d write.  ideally it would be on parenting or mental health.  – or could be fiction.  drama and trauma?

write a book with my daughter?  short mysteries with a spunky little detective?  she would enjoy this.  illustrated by her.  written by us.

my husband and I would like to have another baby – i’ve told him that if we can free up enough space in our home, if i can get my ocd and adhd under enough control that i can go off my meds and if I could lose 100 pounds that we could have another child.  sounds like craziness there.  We are getting there with freeing up space.  I could manage the ocd for quite awhile without meds, the adhd is harder.  the weight loss is hard though.  at 315 – pregnancy would be tough.  I was overweight when I was pregnant with my daughter and that was tough.  now i’m bigger.  it hurt to walk last time – it would be worse this time.

 

Advertisements

My family room – the before pictures

I don’t have my after pictures ready as I am still working on this room.  Three garbage bags full of donations to take to the Salvation Army tomorrow morning, 1 1/2 totes to set aside to sell.  Since we’ve moved to this home – quite a bit has been removed – giant toybox, 3 book shelves (1 remains), a very large computer desk, plants, and more.  At one point we had a narrow walkway to get from the door to the large bathroom.  We probably would have turned the large bathroom into a closet if it weren’t for the cat (litter box and feed station in the bathroom) and for the bunny who is in the bathroom (much calmer – was overly anxious all the time before.  I believe it’s from being a daycare bunny.)

P1090667

Roughly a third of our home was unusable because of the clutter and chaos.  Also – there are no pictures of any room at it’s worst.  and these pictures are how we lived when no one was looking.  I would have never let even family who didn’t live with us see these rooms like this.  We were very, very good and stashing and dashing.  closets bursting at seems – comments about having a lot of stuff but never would I show anyone this.

Here is picture 2 – our plant is no longer with us.  We’ve had this neglected plant for almost our whole marriage.  I didn’t want to get rid of it but also didn’t want to keep it.  plant and stand were sold at one of the yard sales this summer.  bookshelf given to my brother.  I imagine many items pictured are no longer in our home.

P1090675

Our vacuum cleaning not put away but near the walkway so we can get to it.  a solitary dress on a garment rack.  nothing goes together and it’s all chaos.

P1090668

We have this gorgeous furniture set – my husband’s computer desk and matching book shelf.  beautiful set – was a yard sale find.  We obviously don’t take care of it.  it’s loaded down with too many items.  red bins on top full of stuff, piles everywhere.

P1090671

—————————————————————

Okay so I couldn’t just post these and not give you some progress –

P1090678

Closet (taken in March) – kitchen set sold.  sewing box sold.  pink box full of motivation/ improvement audio CDs – donated to my work.  Will show updated pictures of the closet soon.

Now for some pictures I took about 10 minutes ago – I’ve been wanting to wait until it was “perfect” but I don’t really want to wait anymore.  I spent about 10 minutes straightening up before taking these pictures.

This first picture is what you see when you are looking into the room.  I’ve been going through things and decided that I’m separating out by who needs to make the decision to keep or get rid of.  The bright green bucket on the desk is my daughter’s items, the green tote underneath is my husband’s and the black (hunger games) bag next to it is mine.  The black cauldron still holds Halloween candy and once it’s empty will join the Halloween decorations in the shed.  The bag next to the desk is full of empty bags that were full of stuff.  The tall white totes next to the couch (2 of them) were full of stuff – now empty.

IMG_0136

Game shelf still full but not overflowing anymore as we purged a bit of games.

IMG_0139

Here is the tv from our bedroom – move to the family room so I can eventually exercise in here with the Wii fit and the Kinect.  Also – here is the printer stand and game shelf that was previously in the living room.  really cord heavy but eventually we will make it more attractive.  my husband’s bowling ball that he has yet to put away in the closet.

IMG_0138

some totes chilling where they don’t belong – empty green tote, white tote has yard sale items, gray tote next to it has our winter stuff – hats, gloves, scarves, boots, coats, etc., large gray tote has my daughter’s toys that she isn’t ready to part with but doesn’t fit in her room – going to the shed until she is ready to part with them or wants to switch out her toys.  white box full of empty bottles for homemade laundry soap and fabric softener to give away.  bag is full of stuff I still need to sort through.

IMG_0137

The picture below was not taken tonight but gives you a good idea on how it’s looking now.  my husband has decided to sell these two pieces of furniture which means we have to decide what to keep and what to get rid of.  red baskets still full of stuff.  shelves have less books than before.  those plastic shoeboxes are full of art supplies that we actually use.  he is also taking about selling his computer and buying a laptop.

IMG_0112

I wanted to share the dryer balls my husband and I have been making!  still need to be felted.

IMG_0135

Catching Up

My Mental Health

It’s been awhile.  It’s been an interesting couple of weeks.  I’ve stopped taking the Strattera for my ADHD (been taking it for almost 2 years).  Been less and less effective for the past few months and I wanted to try something else to see if it would help me focus better.  the Strattera worked like a charm for my impulsivity and obnoxiousness but not so much for the focus and concentration.  Started on Adderrall.  Man, the onslaught of ADHD drama sent me for a loop.  I wanted to say tailspin but it’s not been all bad.  the Adderrall has some benefits but definitely doesn’t work like the Strattera.  some days i can barely live with myself.  it’s like i’m all over the place.  doing stupid things, forgetting things and my house is an absolute nightmare.  slowly but surely i’m stabilizing again but I really do miss the Strattera some days.

I smile more though.  Laugh more too.  it was like the Strattera zapped my humor away and my ability to appreciate the sillier things in life.  I may be a scatterbrained, impulsive fool but at least I’m able to enjoy things again.  The Adderrall is short acting which means I often forget to take it.  I lie to the doctor and tell him I’m taking it every day.  ADHD is so frustrating because part of being ADHD is forgetting things.  I don’t intentionally not take my medicine but the doctor often acts like I do.  Honestly I have better days when I remember it but that is part of the disorder – forgetfulness.  I was so afraid of taking the adderrall because i didn’t want to be addicted to drugs but husband and I realize that this isn’t the case as I don’t think about the medication and I don’t desire it or crave it.  It hurts my stomach, takes away my desire for food and forces me to focus without the joy of spontaneity.  hmm wait the last one is the desired result – oh well.

but i am happier.

The OCD has settled down for now.  I’m doing things and enjoying things that the FEARS would otherwise prevent me from doing.  I fingerpainted several times this month and wound up with it on my clothes and my skin and didn’t fall into a panic attack.  The panic attacks have mostly subsided come to think of it.  Almost all gone.  I credit a lot of this to my work with my therapist and the Effexor.  There is a bunch of bad stuff on the internet about Effexor but it has drastically improved the quality of my life.  The constant, ever present anxiety is barely present anymore.  I can only really recall three panic attacks since my last post which is quite impressive for me.  We bought a car and the first day driving the car to work was nerve wracking.  it felt so different – so alien – and I couldn’t get my wits about me.  I kept trying to convince myself to go back home – where it is safe – instead of going to work.  I worked and by the end of the day I was fine – and now I love my car.  I also recently had a sleep study which accounts for the remaining two panic attacks for the month.  first one occured in the ER lobby which is where you sign in for the sleep study.  I’ve avoided ERs like crazy – too much contamination, germs, blood, people in pain, do they even clean/ disinfect those seats?   I rocked back and forth the entire time i waited refusing to touch anything.  Second panic attack was when they were placing all the sensors on me and they were all over my face.  I made it through all three without the assistance of my Xanax.  I think I’m ready to let that prescription go.  I’m pretty confident in my ability to get through a panic attack.  Husband says to give it more time though and not be hasty to throw away those pills.

I’m scheduled for another sleep study at the end of the month since they determined i have sleep apnea.  stopped breathing 32 times during the first study.

My Home

So my home is an absolute disaster.  I thought I was done with yard sales but my co-worker finally took me up on my offer to let me sell some things for her.  about 6 car loads later my house and shed are stuffed and this is after the unexpected yard sale.  I’m a bit distraught and don’t know where to begin.  My family room was almost ready to be declared done.  My living room, shed and bedroom were done.  My daughter’s room was looking pretty sweet.  but now it’s all scary and all full of stuff.  I need to sort, clean, photograph and transport the items elsewhere and reclaim my home.  There is a yard sale at my work coming up in October.  We are setting up our training space and allowing the community to shop and we donate a portion of our sales to our work for the holiday Christmas shop for our kiddos in care.  it’ll be okay but it’s very overwhelming especially since my daughter’s birthday party is this Saturday.

Pleasantly Exhausted

Today was a successful yard sale day!  the beginning was questionable as it was super wet and very chilly.  we were determined however because my husband had taken the time off of work and we had no other choice but to go ahead or else wait until next month.  the ad was paid for, the signs were up and the items priced.

here are the positives –

  • 1/2 the shed is still full of items to be gotten rid of but nothing was brought back into the house except empty totes to be filled with more unwanted clutter and items that belonged in the house.
  • I got the opportunity to spend the day with a fantastic person and got to meet lots more wonderfully interesting people.
  • I got to see my mom! and my daughter got to spend some lovely time with her as my mom helped us out by taking her to a birthday party at the skating rink.
  • we made enough money to purchase our fire pit plus extra – we are thinking A/C unit as I detest the heat (the gazebo was already purchased with pre-sales and a lovely anniversary giftcard from my wonderful sister).
  • my daughter made a whooping $50 plus by selling her items.  This means she is able to purchase all three items on her wish list – a stuffed Club Penguin puffle toy, Kinectimals for the Kinect and a water table.  a super duper positive is that these items take up sooooooooooooo much less room than the items that were sold.  LOVE IT!
  • my daughter was able to receive her new bike from us today – we offered her a deal she couldn’t refuse – we pre-purchased a new bike for her – larger than her current bike, fancier too with sparkly streamers coming out of the handle bars – no training wheels and in her favorite colors no less.  We put this in the shed.  We purchased her a 6-month Club Penguin membership.  then we offered her $1 per item that she put into the yard sale to be put towards these two Shiney, enticing prizes that she couldn’t refuse.  She earned both with flying colors.

Tonight I’m sitting in my home – it’s messy and things need to be straightened and put away but it feels SO much bigger.  Clutter makes spaces smaller and crowded.  Declutter is the best way to make a small home bigger.  I can twirl and dance around in my family room should I so chose.

There is so much space and I’m in a little bit of shock, a lot of bit of awe and all over relief.  this is going to be so much easier to clean.  this will give me more time to have fun with my family!  how happy is that!

today i was also able to joke about things with the people that i met and the people i spent time with today!  it felt good – joked about my OCD (as it’s not crippling me – thank u Dr. L and the medicine that’s working), joked about me, joked about life.  it felt good to laugh and just be happy.

today i spent the entire time outside.  this is HUGE!  6:30 – 8pm setting up then 8-4 yard sale then 4-9 dinner and games in the gazebo.  all day and i’m still alive and well – (with the exception of a sun burn).  all day outside and i’m still happy.  life is good.

pocket full of money to buy what we really want, 100’s less items in my house so clutter banished, and an enjoyable day.

tomorrow i think i’ll spend 15 minutes cleaning up the kitchen, 15 minutes in zone 1 (the entrance, front porch and dining room) and then relax and enjoy time with my daughter.

Fly Lady’s habit for the month is drinking water so i’m going to give this a shot – maybe more water will help with my on-going health problems (multiple UTIs since February) and give me a glowing complexion.  Did you know that drinking water can help you lose weight, helps you get rid of headaches, makes you look younger, relieves fatigue better than coffee and can put you in a better mood?  there are many incredible benefits from this “simple” act.

I learned this years ago and it still sounds true – do you know how much water to drink per day?  many people know the 8 glasses of 8oz of water.  I learned that you should take your weight then divide it by half (200lbs divided by 2 is 100).  there you have the daily fluid ounces.  so the 8×8 makes sense if you do the math.  An average person of 128 pounds would need to drink 64 ounces per day.

Here is a great water calculator that I found!  It equaled my above method for determining water requirements.

OCD Pain

So I see a therapist for my ADHD and we have just starting working on my OCD.  He wants to know what drives the compulsions and I feel silly and weak talking to him about them so mostly the response is “I don’t know”.  He asked me what I do when I compulse and I talk about counting.  I can’t fully verbalize the process because at this point I remember doing these things since I was a young child.  It’s out of the thought range now and I just do them.  Sometimes I don’t even realize that I’m doing them unless someone points them out to me.

The other day I was really stressed out.  I started to count.  Certain numbers are good and certain numbers are bad.  If I can count correctly then I will be “okay”.  If I mess up the anxiety builds and then I start over.  and over.  and over.  When the anxiety is really bad I touch things.  every third block on the wall, posters, artwork, lines.  reach out and touch. over. and over. and over.  my stride has to be just right.  I have tripped and stumbled before just so I don’t step down on a “bad” spot.

There are certain actions that I’m aware of now that have become my “protectors”.  I’ve been told that I’m stupid – by my father and then by the boy who abused me.  The first 22 years of my life were filled with strong individuals who made it known that I was stupid and that I didn’t make sense.  I know this is annoying but I really can’t help it.  I’m always asking, “do you know what I mean?”  “Do you understand?”  “Am I making sense?”  “You know?”  It drives me nuts but I just can’t stop.  Early on I had a major speech delay and was a terrible stutterer.  My kindergarten teacher couldn’t understand a word I said.  When we moved away from Philadelphia I was picked on horribly because of my speech impediment and my strong accent.  Those scars don’t heal so well.  Ever word I say I want to pull it back inside of me because I’m so terribly afraid of being judged or ridiculed even after all these years.

My dad, when he was in a bad mood, would go crazy and do horrible, terrible things.  I’ve seen him hurt my mom, my siblings, our pets… Horrible things that a child should never have to see.  My emotional antenna is super sensitive because after all – I learned that when someone is having a bad day they HURT people especially those they “love”.  Annoying action #2:  I’m always asking, “Are you okay?”  drives me nuts.

I’m a rocker – not a cool ROCKER! but one of those people who when left to stand in a line or sit still for too long will start to rock and rock and rock.  I’ll even rock myself to sleep.  I hurt my back a couple of years ago and went to a chiropracter.  I was rocking then.  He explained to me that the rocking motion was a self-soothing mechanism to help ease pain.  Profound statement for me – do I rock to soothe my emotional damage?  Mommas rock their babies to soothe them.  My mother was being abused and could barely take care of herself.  Do I rock myself because I wasn’t able to be soothed by my parents?  Who knows?

I’m a scratcher, especially my head.  When I am anxious my skin crawls.  It’s such an unpleasant feeling, almost like bugs underneath my skin.  I know there really isn’t any bugs but it’s almost like the anxiety just wants to come out and the scratching causes a physical release to the emotional discomfort.  It’s like the hair pulling – it puts me into an almost meditative state.  Pain then release.

Depending on the trigger and the anxiety I can be a compulsive hand washer.  I also abuse hand sanitizer.  At one point in my life I would scrub with bleach because it was the only way that I could be clean.  The hand sanitizer replaced the bleach because people don’t stare at you like your crazy if you’re using hand sanitizer but normal people don’t scrub with bleach.  When you wash your hands too much they start to crack and burn.  Hand sanitizer hurts really really bad but the fucked up part of your brain tells you that this is good because it’s killing the bad things.  The sane part cries out that you are actually making things worse because you are washing too much and creating pathways for the germs to enter your body.  When I met my husband and then moved in with him we went shopping together for household items.  He put a gallon of bleach in the cart and I quickly removed it.  We never owned bleach or scrub brushes for the first many years of living together because I couldn’t trust myself around them.  I’m finally feeling healthy enough to own bleach again.  It sits under my sink and I no longer use it for hygiene purposes but rather for the intended use.

I’m always checking things.  With ADHD I often forget things and OCD I’m always convinced that I’ve forgotten things.  I’m smelling food, counting pieces, making sure things are where they are supposed to be, I’m making sure my daughter is okay, that the doors are locked.  Always checking.  I remember how I used to be so afraid, so very afraid that it would take me almost two hours to go to bed because I would need to keep getting up to check.  doors, windows, etc.  It would go something like this.  Start in the farthest section of the house which was the big bathroom.  Check in the shower to make sure no one was hiding there.  check behind the bathroom door to make sure no one was hiding there.  close the bathroom door so that no one could sneak around me and hide where I’ve already looked.  check the big bedroom, under the bed, in the hope chest, in the closet, behind the door.  check window, make sure it’s firmly locked.  close closet, close bedroom door.  check the back door, look closely to make sure it was locked, forget what it looks like when it’s locked.  unlock it, lock it.  still unsure.  turn on outside light.  look outside to see if anyone is hiding on the steps.  open door.  turn handle to make sure door is locked.  close door.  pull it tight.  look in dryer.  double check door.  check kitchen window, make sure it’s firmly locked.  look under table.  make sure large bedroom door is still closed.  check behind couch, check living room window, make sure it’s firmly locked.  Check front door.  Open door make sure screen door is locked.  make sure dead bolt is locked.  forget how the dead bolt looks when it’s locked so lock and unlock while staring to make sure the lock is secure.  pull on door knob several times to make sure door is secure.  check small bathroom to include in the shower and behind the door.  check the other bedrooms, their windows and their closets.  try to lay down and fall asleep while convincing myself that someone didn’t sneak around me to wait for me to sleep to hurt me.

So it’s gotten easier to break these compulsions but certain things cause it to flare up a bit.  Occasionally my husband will forget to lock the back door after he’s taken the dog out for the night.  Once he forgot to turn off the stove.  My daughter will occasionally forget to shut the door when she goes out to play or after she’s come inside from playing.  That’s all it takes for me to start the process.  Thankfully though it’s not been as bad as it was when I was younger.  I’m not as afraid of the “monsters” anymore.  Children fear monsters but for most their parents are loving, nurturing, stable and consistent.  Monsters were very much real to me for most of my life.  Monsters invaded every aspect of my life their their abuse and cruelty and they were supposed to love me.  This is what domestic violence does to a child, then teen and finally young adult.  Domestic violence makes monsters very real and very much alive.

Back to counting.  Counting to 100 is big for me.  I also sort into piles of 10s and 100s.  if i have 108 paper clips lets say, then I have to get rid of 8 so that it can be 100.  Who am i kidding?  I don’t own paper clips.  they take too long to count.  also unusable because if I use one then I no longer have 100 of them so I can’t stand having them around because then I have to purge down to a “good” number which means a multiple of 10.  For a long time i only had 100 friends on facebook.  I couldn’t add a good friend that I had found because it would change my number.  If someone deleted me I would quickly have to friend someone so it could be 100.  finally i convinced myself that this was no way to live and I’m proud to say is 131 which is not a “good” number but I’m okay with this.

So I’m a tapper, a clicker and a very loud sigher.  finger’s tapping, pen and tongue clicking.  always in 3s.

I’m also a compulsive eater and money spender.  – when I’m stressed.  When I’m really stressed I’ll swear.  in appropriate places and spacees.

I need constant reassurance.  I always doubt myself.  and I always need to repeat.  repeating questions because I can’t remember the answer.  rewriting lists to fix imperfections, redoing paperwork because it’s just not “right”.

Life as Me

Just finished writing a long blog about my OCD but not ready to share it so it’s saved and most likely to be forgotten.  Here is something I just found written months ago.

LIFE AS ME

I want to live.  As I’m writing this I’m focusing on breathing deep, finding the right rhythm on my mp3 player to compulse to and trying not to have a full blown panic attack.  My dog is quietly sleeping as is my daughter and husband.  All three are unaware of my strong urges to emotionally beat myself up and the twitching of my fingers that so desperately want to scratch my skin until welts are present.

It’s getting late and I’m already feeling like a zombie.  My body is physically tired and my mind is numbing but this uncontrollable urge to keep at it propels me forward.  I know if I don’t get to sleep then I’ll have another day of unbalanced emotions, compulsions and obsessions.  This is my life with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” – Anthony Robbins

The first time I was introduced to this quote was when I worked at a homeless shelter.  I was creating a quote board for the residents and I added my favorite quotes that were meant to empower or inspire.  I asked the parents what words of wisdom helped them get through difficult situations and this quote was handed to me by a very insightful resident.  Years later the words still are as clear as the day he shared this with me.  This quote goes hand in hand with Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity.

 “Insanity:  doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Some days I would really feel insane.  That was me in a nut shell.  I would tell myself, “If you only work harder than you wouldn’t be in this mess.”  I would buy planner after planner and make massive to-do lists only to have the same results each and every time.  I would then give myself a stern talking to and emotionally beat myself up over failing.  I would then take this process and repeat over the course of several years.

I went for some help for my chaotic and forgetful nature.  Focus, organization and structure eluded me and I am the queen of procrastination.  I got some help and learned something very interesting about myself.  I am an adult with attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  A combination of medication, therapy, external structure and routines brought my life clarity and peace.

That is until the OCD reared up its ugly head and sent me spinning out of control.  You see it’s always been there but due to my forgetful nature the OCD usually played second fiddle to the drama of my unorganized life.   I had to ask myself if the therapy and medication were helping because I felt more dysfunctional than ever before.

Then I realized that I’m finally peeling back the layers.  I had to take care of and treat the top layers before I could treat the damage below.  Most pressing was the ADHD because it directly interfered with my ability to carry out my work.  Next was the anxiety and OCD.  I could only imagine that the trauma from my childhood would be next.  The hope would be that once all the layers would be peeled away that a functional, energetic, wonderful adult would remain to live a rewarding and full life.

 

“If you don’t change the way you do things, live your life, or make decisions, you will never grow or mature or feel better about life as a whole. You have to be the change you want to see in your life.”

 

Dark side of Mental Health

I think that I’ve been abused for so long that I don’t know how to be happy or healthy.  From birth there has been violence in my life – such is the curse of being a child in a domestically violent home.  Certain messages get stuck with you for life.  I’m going through a particularly bad phase of my mental health right now.

I’m seeing dirt in my dreams, I can’t line up the unorganized patterns on my walls, I can’t get the dust and cobwebs vanquished from my home.  My house is not clean – I’m not one of those “fortunate” OCD types.  My brain keeps going and going.  I visualize every possession, every square inch of my home in my head and my mind imagines all the different creavases that dirt can hide, that bugs could hide.  I think if I actually found a bug in my home I would not sleep for days because I would need to tear everything apart and throughoughly detail the entire home.  back to the visualization.  ticking away is an ever mounting to – do list of how it needs to be done.  counting each item in my head.  graphing out each room on graph paper – to scale.  one square to each inch in my home.  if i mess up i start over.  it takes more than one sheet of graph paper to chart out a whole room.  i carefully tape each page together.  the lines have to line up.  if i mess up i start over.  pen in the windows, the doors.  measure out the arc of the door.  try to figure out how to convince my husband that we need to remove doors and get rid of them – they block escapes and take up too much room.  have to do it in pen.  pencil leaves smudges and then my hands get dirty.  can’t function if my hands get dirty.  can’t continue if my hands are dirty.  can’t touch anything until my hands get clean because i can’t make anything else dirty.  if i mess up because i used pen instead of pencil i start over.  room is graphed.  onto furniture.  lost in thought, how to measure plush furniture.  how to measure the rocking chair?  it’s not square or rectangle.  the recliners – have to measure them open and allow for that space to be in consideration.  it doesn’t line up – there’s not enough space.  graph out furniture.  carefully glue furniture onto cardstock.  cut around furniture pieces.  exactly 1/2 block border around each piece of furniture.  if i mess up i start over.  space is important – been told repeatedly when I was younger that I take up too much space.  space is essential.  I take up too much space.  my stuff takes up too much space.  how can I be comfortable?  with all this space taken up?

When I was younger I read this article about this girl – everything she owned fit into a large box plus her futon.  only keep what you find to be important, what you use, what makes you happy.  I remember that one of her items was a bottle of glittery nail polish.  At this point I was already on my way to becoming a hoarder.  FREEDOM! my very young brain shouted to me!  Freedom from too much space being taken up.  stuff was packed under my bed, in my closets, my drawers, everywhere.  none of it was particularly valuable but I had to keep it.  Freedom from the chaos around me.  I excitedly told my mom about the article I had read – she promptly stated the article was stupid and who would want to live like that.  right then and there my need for space was shot down and I was called stupid yet again.

disposing of items was particularly hard many times in my life – when I was young money was spent on alcohol and cigarettes instead of paying the monthly garbage bill.  the need to keep, to hold on to, in case we may need it was very strong in my mother.  She was married to my father – the abusive, self-centered jerk who thought little of his family.  He squandered away his paychecks on cigarettes, booze, fishing lures and magazines.  his lunch pail hosted an array of foods while the 5 of us split one package of ramen noodle soup.  thankfully we had chickens who ranged free surviving somehow because dad surely didn’t spend money on grain for them.  thankfully we had a daily supply of eggs to keep us nourished and somewhat regular trips to the food pantry when it was held at our church because money was tight.

like I said, hoarding runs strong in these bones.  my grandmother is a hoarder – there were always piles everywhere.  her sheds packed full, closets full, table, drawers, nooks and crannies full.  my other grandmother a hoarder.  They filled one home to the brim so they bought another.  When my grandfather died, they barely could get to him.  the hoarding was so bad that they removed my grandmother and condemned the home.  their plumbing didn’t work and they couldn’t bring a plumber in because of the STUFF, the garbage.  My aunt is a hoarder – her home was so full that she couldn’t get the in-home health aide that she so desparately needed.  she almost died in that apartment.  When she was in the hospital my mom had to go in and clean out.  bag after bag after bag of garbage.  it was the only choice.  she was in danger of losing her subsidized apartment.  boxes and boxes of items that never seen the light of day, reaking of cat piss and water damage.  piles on piles on piles everywhere.  empty mayonaise jars, enough pasta for a family for years.  so much stuff.  the apartment always reaked.  not only did her stuff take up so much room but she takes up so much room.  largely obese – she is my biggest fear.  if i don’t start taking care of myself and breaking my hoarding tendancies, breaking my eating compulsions, getting healthy i will be her when I’m older.

my brother gets so paralized when going through his things that when I see his stuff it looks like garbage mixed in with important stuff.  The garbage ruins the good stuff eventually turning it all to bad stuff.

my mom would take everything I would ever try to get rid of or at the very least try and usually succeed at convincing me that I needed to keep everything that I have ever wanted to get rid of.  I never could get rid of anything because she would never let me.  but she always would tell me how much SPACE I was taking up.

I moved into this home – i broke down crying when we walked in.  we had rented a large moving truck to make the move up.  we moved into the “family” house.  I was told that it would be ready for us to take it over.  We walked into a dusty, dirty, cat pee smelling home full of STUFF.  everyone’s stuff.  every room full of STUFF.  i sat on the toilet with the door locked crying for a long, long time.  it had been a long drive and we were going on very little sleep.  outside was a giant truck full of too much stuff that needed to fit inside a house with too much stuff that had a shed already full of too much stuff.  Can i get rid of this?  no, can i get rid of that? no.  what about these 3 coffee makers?  they are still good, you can use them.  But I have a coffee pot that I love.  that might break someday and then you will need a new one and these ones work just fine.

almost two years to the date later and the home still has items that were left behind.

back to the graphs – many hours later and the graphs are finished.  a trash bag is full of the errors.  I lay the graphed room on the table and put the furniture in place where they currently are.  I try to move them around, make it fit better to give me more space.  as hard as I try to make it work it doesn’t fit better.  there is just too much stuff.  try to get the husband to help and he says he’ll help me with it later.  i say it’s always later, why not now.  it doesn’t get done.  it doesn’t fit.  I don’t have enough SPACE to breathe, to move, to be happy.  the walls are closing in on my, there are too many nooks and crannies and my brain is hurting thinking about all the dirt that is hiding everywhere.

Okay – I just need to get rid of some stuff.  how about some books.  pull them all down off the shelves.  carefully dust each one.  clean each shelf.  wash hands to clean hands.  sit back down.  carefully flip through each page of each book.  i tend to stash things places.  i don’t want to unwittingly give/ throw away something important.  set book down, repeat.  start piles.  one pile for keep, one pile for giveaway.  keep gets taller and taller and barely anything gets put in the giveaway.  i might read it again someday.  i might need to reference it.  i may start training others again.  my daughter may want it someday.  i can’t part with that yet, i haven’t read it.  i can’t believe that i spent so much money on books when we are in debt.  i can’t part with it because then I’ve truely wasted our money.

office supplies – try to purge and wind up c reating a wish list of supplies “needed”.

craft supplies – look at all the unused craft supplies and start berating myself for not crafting more.  also convince myself that I need to keep all the crafting supplies because I’m going to start crafting again and then my daughter will want to craft too and I will just be wasting money if I get rid of it.  vow to self to craft.

scrapbooking supplies – become instantly overwhelmed at the amount of supplies and start to berate myself for having so few pages completed.  vow to self to scrapbook.  nevermind the fact that scrapbook is much like the graphing.  mess up, start over.  over and over and over again.  in the time it took my to scrap one page someone else could have 20 completed.

need I go on?

last summer I tried a medication for the OCD.  it worked like a breathe of fresh air (only not unpleasant) but I quickly stopped it because of the immense sweating.  in that short time however my possessions lost their hold on me and I started purging.  out went my wedding dress, books, extras and more.  I was always so embarassed to have people come over because everyone always said, you have a lot of stuff.  ouch.  even my mom uttered those words multiple times even though so much remained that was once hers.

if you have been following this blog you know that I am leading up to a yard sale.  I’ve been sorting and pricing and stashing in the shed.  I just realized that I’m ready to part with more.  why is this so important?  I can’t think straight.  all i can think about is the stuff.  I’m learning that once I free the stuff from my home I no longer worry about it.  I feel lighter, freer.  It hurts me to look at all of the stuff.  patterned items especially.  too much visual stimulation.  Most of the scrapbooking supplies are leaving with this sale – never to return to my home.  as is the sewing machine and much of the crafting supplies.

I realized that I’ve built up these fantasy selves – I’ve never particularly liked myself so always dreamed I would cultivate all these skills and would be AMAZING and people would love me and want to be around me.  I realized I don’t need those skills to be loved.  I do have a select few people who do want to be around me.  I don’t need those things to create an identify for myself.  so what if I’m not a scrapbooker, or a crafter, or a writer, or a journalist, or a fantastic cook, or an amazing housekeeper.  I don’t need to be and I can let those things go.  I also hate dust and hate to dust.  why keep a whole bunch of stuff that requires me to dust them?  it’s so much easier to dust 3 or 4 pieces or a flat empty surface than to dust hundreds of items.  Am I ever going to be fluent in 20 different languages?  no.  fluent in spanish? no.  enjoy the occasional french movie? of course – oui:) the nature adventure books?  I don’t even like being outside.  out you go.  haha.  can I drop these expectations of myself and just allow myself to be as I am?  I’m definately going to try.

back to the obsessively clean part – my house is not obsessively clean unfortunately.  I wish it were.  By the time I’ve mentally mapped out my home, then graphed out my home and then dusted my bookshelf and flipped all the pages I’m exhausted.  or maybe i tackled the game shelf and counted all the pieces to all of the games.

Long message short – I take up too much space, my stuff takes up too much space, i will never live up to the expectations that i’ve given to myself.

fix? – get rid of all the stuff that does not truly reflect me  – but the rather fantasy version of me, practice self-acceptance and create a space that makes me feel at home.

Living with GAD

I have Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) which is a pattern of frequent, constant worry and anxiety over many different activities and events.  The main symptom is the almost constant presence of worry or tension, even when there is little or nothing to worry about.  I also live with Obsessive-compulsive disorder which is an anxiety disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations (obsessions), or behaviors that make them feel driven to do something (compulsions).

My increasing self-awareness helps me to live with my anxiety disorders and seek treatment when needed because I want to live a happy, productive life.  Self-awareness is essential to living a happy life because without it you cannot truely address what is the reasons behind the anxiety.  I chose to go on medication this past Thursday for anxiety because I could feel myself leaning towards my agorophobic tendancies.  So I’m trying something new to help and am optimistic about it.  Worrying takes so much energy.  I believe this energy would be better spent playing with my daughter, spending time with my husband, cleaning my house, developing a hobby or putting my all into my work.  If a medication treatment will help me achieve this then it’s worth a shot.

I’ve also learned that self-talk works wonders for anxiety, especially of the OCD variety.  I have this irrational fear that something really bad has happened if anyone is late.  so – I start to count – to 100.  over and over and over and over and over.  gotta tell ya.  it is tiring.  does counting really save anyone I love from a car accident?  of course not.  do I count anyways?  yes.  now when I find myself counting I tell myself firmly, “Counting doesn’t save lives, counting doesn’t count.”  I repeat as often as needed until the anxiety peaks and goes away.  Because it always does you know – peaks then goes away.  if you can force yourself not to comply with the compusion eventually it’s not so bad.

Dirt, water, fresh air and being outside really bother me.  The other day I sat outside with my daughter.  It was a beautiful spring day with gentle breeze.  We bought three pots, some herb seeds and a bag of dirt.  I filled the pots with dirt, planted the seeds and watered and forced myself to complete this task from start to finish without complaining or getting up to wash my hands.  Now everytime I look at these pots I am so proud of myself and a feel joy – true happiness because I did it – a small victory against the OCD.

Stuck on Slow: Living with OCD

Sometimes I really believe my brain is stuck on slow.  I’m really missing that get up and go that so many people seem to have.  I think I’d be happier if I could just blame it on laziness but laziness is a choice and OCD is definately not a choice.  There are so many mental roadblocks in the way.

I think most often the reason I don’t do what I need to do is because I often feel too overwhelmed.  OCD can be crippling some most days.  Take house cleaning for example – when my house is clean I feel better.  There is more room to play and to take care of myself and my family.  The OCD makes it difficult to touch anything that is dirty.  You would think that my house would be spotless then because of this but no.  Once something in my home becomes dirty it makes it difficult for me to clean it because it’s dirty.  The OCD also makes being wet incredibly uncomfortable – absolutely hate it.  This makes exercising extremely difficult because of the sweat factor.  It also makes washing dishes a task that I really need to talk myself into because you combine dirt and wetness.

I finally asked for professional help for my OCD last summer – was prescribed medication and did some talk therapy.  I don’t believe that I was ready to change though as the medication was unpleasant (it reduced the mental barriers but I sweated profusely) and the talk therapy made me feel crazy.  I quickly stated that I was doing better and have not talked about it since.  Trying to explain to someone the need to count things obsessively just adds to the anxiety.  Do normal people have to count game/puzzle pieces before using, after using and during routine cleaning sessions?  No but I do.  Do normal people count repeatedly to 100 to prevent bad things from happening? No but I do that as well.

Can OCD and happiness live together?  I don’t really think so because OCD is anxiety and I’m happy when I am free from the anxiety.

Anger Management

So what do you do when you are really REALLY angry but you don’t want to damage a relationship?  I’m angry and really pissed off but I don’t want to hold onto it and I don’t want to lash out.  I don’t want to do or say something that I will truely regret later.  I find that with anger comes regret especially if the anger is handled improperly.

ADHD and anger is a particularly bad combination because that verbal filter is absent.  It seems like when I’m angry I come down with a terrible case of verbal diarrhea.  Past history has shown that I do not always know all of the facts so don’t always know why people are behaving a certain way.  It’s also important to note that I rarely become upset with this person.

I’ve also learned that people cannot blame other people for their expressions of anger.  My anger is MY reaction to things going on.  I think much of my mood currently could be chalked up fears over my health, changing family schedules and lack of restful sleep.

Anger is a sign that something needs to change.  It’s important though to take some time to figure out what it is exactly that I want to change.  Could you imagine blowing up because you are pissed off then not having options thought out to how things could be better?  It doesn’t sound very effective.

I’ve given it a night and 1/2 a day and here is what I’ve figured out so far.

  1. I feel undervalued and under appreciated.  There is alot going on with my day and I definately don’t want to bore someone with all the details but I would like to be asked how my day went.
  2. I work hard at my job and I do so for my family – to pay bills and such.  If I have to work late occasionally then I occasionally need help with things like dinner.
  3. Processing how my daughter’s day went and following up on homework with her is important.  I shouldn’t be the only one doing this.
  4. Family time is important.  Don’t do something while we are all home that you should have done when we were all gone but didn’t.
  5. Unpleasant tasks should at least be shared.  Don’t dump all the work on me especially when I work too.
  6. Acknowledge that I need help and support because I’m scared, worried and exhausted.  On-going health problems wears a person out especially without support.

Ah – the “joys” of being a woman.