Be You

526731_229319573839036_972620294_n

I saw this somewhere a few months ago and it has resonated with me.  Be you and believe in yourself.  What a fun combination – ADHD and OCD – sometimes it’s embarrassing to be me.  i’m not ashamed anymore of my quirks and gliches.  I’ve recently realized this and it was such a pleasant realization.  I’m not who i wish i was but i am exactly who i ought to be.

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.

 

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.

The Neverending Day

Today was very good and very bad.  Have to say though that I am feeling pretty positive.  i’m finding that i’m hesitating a whole lot less than I used to.  i can give you a hundred and fifty reasons why i can’t do something but not one reason on why i should do something.  now, i find that i just do things (more so than before).

Today I was out with a family enjoying some time at a park.  it was going really well until the other mother brought out a jar of pink maggots used for fishing.  She was letting her children play with maggots.  So started off good – ended very bad.  Luckily a different mom had disinfectant wipes.  At that point it really didn’t matter that the wipes weren’t meant for hygiene purposes the contamination factor was off the charts.

The day got better – had a lovely visit with another family then to the office to try to do some paperwork.

I got a screw in my tire.  I pulled over to the side of the road and started to change my tire.  It was in a bad part of town but instead of offering assistance the people called the police on me.  so bizarre.  I really don’t understand people. I mean really – why call the cops?   I couldn’t get the lug nuts off as the shop had tightened them too tight at the last visit.  I needed help and fortunately I know some pretty fantastic people.  Tire changed out and off I went home.

I did manage to stop in at a thrift shop today and am quite pleased with my purchases.

I found a pair of Skechers Cali Mary Jane shoes.  Normally I wouldn’t go anywhere near used shoes but they look like they were barely used (if at all) and the material can be cleaned easily and sprayed with disinfectant.  $5 – can’t beat that.

I also purchased three books.  I’m really excited about the first book as I’ve been wanted to buy this one for awhile but haven’t.  The Girls Guide to AD/HD by Beth Walker.  bought it for $2.  Really looking forward to reading this book.

Book Description:

For ages 12+. This guide explores the good stuff, not-so-good stuff, normal stuff, brain stuff, and truthfully, the stuff that isn’t in any other book out there on AD/HD. Really! So what makes this book different? It is funny, honest, and written especially for girls, not for their parents. It presents all the must-know information about AD/HD in a style that girls in junior, middle, or high school will understand and want to read. An important first step is to get to know how AD/HD affects girls in particular. They might be some combination of dreamy, forgetful, emotional, messy, depressed, talkative, distractible, or fidgety. They might also have trouble starting and finishing homework and chores, falling asleep and getting up, or fitting in with peers. Recognising this mix of characteristics, the book presents information using three different girl characters – Maddy, Helen, and Bo – each with a unique personality and combination of AD/HD traits. Maddy, Helen, and Bo cover all there is to know, including: What AD/HD is like for girls; How the AD/HD brain works; How puberty compounds problems with AD/HD; How counselling, coaching, and medications help; How to deal with emotions from anger to anxiety to depression; What advantages there are to having AD/HD; How to cope with school and homework; How to get along with family and friends. Armed with this knowledge about AD/HD and the unbeatable advice found in this book, girls will be ready to accept the impact of AD/HD and decide how they are going to deal with it. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it! This guide should be essential reading for girls, but also for parents, counsellors, teachers, psychologists, and anyone who knows a girl with AD/HD and wants to understand her better.
Can’t wait – I know I’m no longer in school but I’ve felt that this book could really help.  After all – i’m a dreamy, forgetful, emotional, messy, talkative, distractible and figety type of gal!
I also found Simplify Your Space:  Create Order & Reduce Stress by Marcia Ramsland.  $2 but got it for free.  book special i was not aware of.  I’m really hoping I like this book but I’m not sure.
For starters, the previous owner jotted some notes in the book.  With that aside, the layout of the book is lovely however some of the diagrams look cluttered – I guess I’ve been reading about minimalism for so long that a “normal” desk with “normal” amount of items looks positively overwhelming to me.
The third book I bought was actually not for me but for my “father”.  I bought him 2×4 Projects for Outdoor Living by Stevie Henderson & Mark Baldwin.  Now he is either going to love this book or it’s going to collect dust on his shelf.  I love this book for him though because it gives several woodworking projects that I could see him building and using.
Things got better once I got home.  Told my husband about what happened with the tire and he started to get depressed.  I try to talk him out of it but who knows?   I told him the lawn needed mowing and he said he had planned on it but was too depressed so I asked him if he wanted me to do it.  He said he’d get to it eventually and I said that I could do it.  He stated that he didn’t feel like getting it out of the shed (tight squeeze with yard sale items).  I said I would get it out of the shed and he said if I got it out then he would do the rest.
At this point I figured it was a nice day out and that I was going to clean the vehicle.  It was a nightmare (closely resembling the dungeon family room).  I pulled together my supplies and headed out.  I also recruited my daughter to assist.  We pulled everything out of the vehicle including the trunk and piled it on the lawn.  Then I started using my rubba scrubba to brush off the seats and the floor while my daughter cleaned the windows with windex.  I sprayed the upholstery with a mixture of water, sun oxygen and dawn dish soap.  I didn’t think my solution was working as the seats looked filthy but then I looked at my rags and they were disgusting.  The dirt was coming up but there is still quite a bit there.  My hands were filthy but I continued to work.  So did my daughter.  She begged to wash the outside so I pulled the car washing bucket out of the shed and we handwashed the vehicle.  My husband was shocked as I NEVER do this.  In the 12 years he has known me I’ve never voluntarily washed our car.  ever.
Our neighbor came out and invited us to dinner.  Spaghetti with meat sauce.  Without hesitation I said yes for us and then offered to wash her car.  two vehicles washed in one day and I’m still alive.  Life is good.
We ate out in my lovely gazebo.  It was nice chatting with another adult while the kids ate and chatted amongst themselves.  We then started a fire in our new fire pit – our yard sale incentive prize.  (only $48 at walmart which meant we also could buy the Weed Eater Gas Trimmer and an expansion for Talisman).
The fire was lovely – we made smores and poked the fire with our sticks and we were sad when the wood had burnt up and the fire puttered out.
My husband also has our garden planted.  It’ll be quite lovely once the plants have gotten bigger.  He fenced it in to protect it from the wildlife.  My flower pots are also doing well.
Far left is full of poppies (yes it’s overcrowding but i feel they all deserve a chance at life), middle is wildflowers and the right is marigolds.
Left is zinnas, middle is herbs and the right is catnip.  The remaining three pots not pictured are doing well also.  Our berry bushes are also starting to develop fruit.
and my daughter playing in her sprinkler (holding her nose) with my outside oasis in the background.

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”.

Decluttered the shed and played in the creek

After surviving the outing I was starting to feel energized.  I was ready to tackle the shed.  We only have 3 small closets in our home so everything goes in the shed (or on the family room floor).  My husband pulled out the grill which required everything being taken out and then put back in so it was a hot mess.  craziness abounds.  I took with me a roll of masking tape, a black sharpie, garbage bags and a microfiber rag.

One by one I pulled out a tote, sorted through it and pulled out items for the yard sale.  The mismatched items put together and totes formed lines out on the lawn.  As I pulled out an item for the yard sale I wiped it over if needed with the rag and then priced it then and there.  It felt good knowing that at least those items won’t be priced during the yard sale itself because it’s already done.

2 full totes ready for the yard sale.

Here’s what I was able to sort and organzine!

  1. 2 yard sale totes
  2. 4 totes full of my daughter’s things for her to ultimately decide what to do with.
  3. 3 Halloween totes – decorations, costumes, etc.
  4. 1 Thanksgiving/ autumn decorations tote
  5. 4 Christmas decorations totes

There is more to go but I’m proud of my accomplishments today.  1/2 the shed is neat and organized.

The Creek

I’m not very good at outside play.  My daughter asked to play in the small section of woods near the creek.  The answer is always no but today it was a yes.  I figured I was outside sorting totes so she would be within earshot if needed.  She ran up to me and was so excited about a “BIG ROCK!” that you could walk on and she wanted me to see it SOOO BAD.  Normally I would say no.  Today I said sure if you help me finish up a small section in the shed.  We walked into the woods and she pointed down the steep slope down to the creek bed and rocky shore.  She slide on her butt down the hill and yelled up, “See Mom!  That’s a big rock isn’t it?”  I must admit it was huge.  I stared at the slope – battling within myself – “Do I go down? I could get dirty?  My shoes might get dirty and I really like these shoes.  What if I fall?  I could get a cut and bleed and then I would have to look at it.  If I lost my balance and had to touch NATURE then my hands would surely get dirty.  The dirt would get on my clothes and then what if the wash machine doesn’t get the dirt out all the way or what if dirt is left in my washer and then the dirt would get on my other (dirty) clothes.  What if I get down there and there is a spider?  What if I step on a snake?  What if, what if, what if.  maybe i can search for an easier way down because this way is MUCH TOO RISKY but then I’d be walking further into NATURE and then I might encounter more unpleasant things and I don’t want to disappoint her but I JUST CANT DO IT”  This internal monologue took all of 1 minute and I gave you the abridged version.

I was about to say, “okay now, it’s time to come back up” when the unthinkable happened.  My feet took me down the steep slope.  I had to quickly force my hands out of my pockets so I could actually make it safetly down the hill. but I didn’t fall.  It was easy – much easier than I ever could have thought.  I walked right over to the giant rock and climbed up it with her.  On my way down the hill I saw some spring flowers hidden in an unusual place and wandered up the rocky shore to show her my discovery.  It was beautiful – she thought so too.

She was overwhelmed with childhood delight and was telling me how much she loved it down there.  I remember loving it once when I was young before the OCD took hold.  I remember the adventures, my love for nature.  She saw an “undiscovered island” in the middle of the creek.  This creek is only a few inches deep (6 at the most) and about 15 feet across, maybe 20.  The island was a small section of rocky ground that was barely above the water.  she started building a rock bridge to get to this exciting island.  her feet were getting wet, so were her socks and pant legs.  It was a bit chilly out and I thought about correcting her and heading back up when I found myself bending down to pick up a large, dirty rock.  I carried it over and added it to her bridge.  I add another, and another.  I saw some spiders, a salamander, lots of mud, thankfully no snakes.  I stepped on her bridge and felt the water seeping into my favorite shoes and I stepped further in.  I dropped a particularly heavy rock in the next spot and water splashed up over me and her and she started laughing so loud.  I laughed a bit too.  We got her bridge to a point where she thought she could jump to the island.  It was a bit too far and I knew she couldn’t make it.  Normally I would say that it wasn’t good enough yet and make her go the extra step to make it just right.  I said, “Go for it”.  She was a few inches shy of the dry land but i knew she would be safe (wet, but safe).  She picked up some rocks from the other side and added a few to make up for the shortage and proudly walked back across and said, “we made this – our bridge to our island.”

Hesitation is a problem maker (though it is a safety mechanism).  Mine is overactive.  It was time to climb that slope.  Normally I would second guess every step, every scenerio and ultimately need help getting up the hill.  I just went for it and beat her up the hill and was actually able to offer someone else the helping hand.  Which she refused to my delight because “she got this”.  she figured it out on her own.  she won’t be stuck staring helplessly at a situation without working her way through.

Today was my day to explore the creek instead of passing this opportunity off to my husband like all the times before.

Smiling through the OCD

My head is hurting and my hands are shaking but I’m smiling as I type this.  Today felt like a break through day for me!  A wonderfully, marvelous break through.  The first occured this morning – I was in a small room with an obviously disgruntled individual and I didn’t allow their mood to bring down mine.  I tend to be an emotional sponge.  Negativity especially likes to leech off of everyone in a room.  I didn’t allow it in and helped to block it from the children as well.  So by the end of this visit my mood wasn’t tainted and my spirit wasn’t dragged down.  Second point to cheer about – I touched something DIRTY.  I started to sweat, my heart was palapating. My hands were shaking soooo bad.  My head was screaming – SCRUB THOSE HANDS!  DROP EVERYTHING AND RUN TO THE NEAREST SINK!  NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  The staff with me knew something was wrong.  She asked me if I needed to step out and wash my hands but I said, “it’ll be okay.”  There were baby wipes in the bag (definately not a substitute for a suitable hand scrubbing), hands shaking so fiercely that I fumbled multiple times trying to take out one wipe to give my hands a quick swipe.  I firmly told myself that I would get through this.  and I did.  I survived and the world did not come to an end.  The OCD did not beat me.

Second triumph for the day – home visit with a truely delightful family.  13 children ranging from 1-13.  I brought a memory match game to play with the younger children.  we dumped the pieces on the floor and they were quickly scattered to the four corners of the room and wandered further into the dining room.  Normally at this point I’d be sweating and quickly gathering up the pieces (and counting them twice to ensure no piece was lost).  a piece went into a mouth, the box was stepped on but still we played and I smiled and it wasn’t fake.

84 eggs boiling on the stovetop.  6 eggs per child with 6 extra just in case.  styrofoam cups full of dye, water and vinegar.  little hands, unsteady hands sitting around the table.  cups abound.  still i smiled.  a little one smooshed a egg in her hand – pieces crumbling everywhere.  a cup knocked over – pink water seeping down to the floor and spreading over the table.  hands colored blue, green, pink and orange.  my head was aching but I pushed through.  I calmly and genuinely helped and went in turn complimenting the young ones on their marvelous eggs.  no criticisms came close to my tongue – no corrections to be made.  It was a wonderful experience that I was lucky to share with a group of fantastic children.

the younger ones began to cry.  it was close to lunch time – to nap time.  Crying babies send me running.  – it’s the noise, the tears, the snot.  usually it’s my cue to go.  “what can I do to help?” came out of my mouth without a second thought.  snuggling close, rocking gently, rubbing back and feet till the smiles came back on the little one’s face.  I held many of the children today – watching tv, rocking, gentle talking to them.  there were dirty faces, runny noses and maybe even a dirty diaper.  i didn’t reach for the hand sanitizer or run for the sink or the door.

I left feeling happy and fortunate that I work with such wonderful foster parents.  They do a job so hard that I could only imagine what it’d be like.  fostering is a 24-hour, 7 day a week job that is underpaid and under appreciated.  I work with severely traumatized children and it’s not easy to be a foster parent but we are blessed with some of the best ones out there.

I love my job and that is why managing my ADHD and OCD is so important.  My children need me to be on my game.  They need me to play with them and comfort them.  I need to take care of myself so I can take care of them and the foster parents.  I need to be a good role model for my birth parents.  and I need enough left over to take care of my own – my beautiful (special needs) daughter and my husband.  Today I felt like a success and I didn’t have to fake it.

I left proud – compulsions were running high but not forcing me to run away.  I went out to the vehicle, put a squirt on sanitizer on my hands and did the motions.  held off counting the game pieces.  i drove away.  I must admit.  I could only make it 14 miles before I pulled over and counted and sorted the game.  failure?  no – because that is amazing that i could put if off for that long.  maybe next time it’ll be 30 and then maybe not at all.  pulled back out onto the road – anxiety soaring high – starting frantically counting to 100.  warding off some DOOM and DREAD.  I made myself stop – slowing breathed in DEEP and FULL.  the calming deep stomach breaths and counted to 10.  10 deep breaths.  anxiety dropping.  still want to count, still shaking.  called my mom – want to go all crazy and ramble about my nerves.  instead, i asked her how her day was going and talked about her.

Right now – I’m boiling eggs – 18 total.  going to make a delightful mess with my own daughter.  no corrections, no criticism, no fears.  I can do this!  The OCD will not beat me down!  The OCD will not rule my life and take away my joy!

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.