God Help Me. Am I the Only One Who’s Ever Felt This Way?

I don’t remember the last time (if ever) I was able to focus on one thing at a time.  I’m sitting in a very useful training for my job, and the trainer is very good, but I’m also thinking about this blog, wondering if my coworker like me, figuring out the best route to the vet after work, and worrying that my eye sight is getting worse.  My brain never stops, even during meditation and hypnosis.  This is probably why I constantly have to pee so much at night, because my brain needs something on which to focus, and that’s the only thing on which it can focus.

This leads me to wonder how many people with OCD and Anxiety Disorders have co-occurring AD/HD.  How many of you have felt this way?  Have you felt that you couldn’t pay attention to one thing at a time?  Have you gotten distractedly fidgety in meetings no matter how interesting or important the topic was?

Because when a question pops into my head, I have to figure out the answer, I Googled OCD and AD/HD.  I found a really interesting article by Amitai Abramovitch, PhD, & Andrew Mittelman that after reading had me going, “duh.”  The biggest thing that I believe should have occurred to me being a Professional Counselor is that OCD is a disorder of Compulsivity while AD/HD is a disorder of Impulsivity.  This being said, the article states that 21% of children and 8.5% of adults have both.

So go here and read this article and let me know your thoughts and if/how you’ve experienced this:http://ocfoundation.org/default.aspx?id=3043  

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What Helps? What Doesn’t?

So in the past seventeen years I have tried a myriad of therapy and self-soothing techniques to effectively live with the symptoms of anxiety.  In this blog I’m asking you to comment on what you’ve tried, what’s worked, and what’s been utterly useless in your journey to wellness.

The most effective strategies I’ve experienced have been EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), meditation, yoga, deep breathing, and to some extent hypnotherapy.  I also take Pristiq 100mg which has been the most effective anti-depressant I’ve been prescribed.  I know many people that don’t believe that Pristiq works at all, but it works for me.

Strategies that have been less than effective have been regular talk therapy, couples therapy, Zoloft & Paxil, and distraction & avoidance.

So my hopes are that this post and its comments can be a forum for sharing our strategies in the spirit of helping each other.  We do not exist in isolation.  We are not “other”.  We are not weird.  We are not broken.  Please share, and let me know if this is helpful.

Hey Your Glass Is Empty; It’s a Hell of a Long Way Home

So I worry about a lot of stuff, but most of my worries fall into four categories with one major theme: 1) My relationship with my husband (and most people) (because I’m not good enough to keep him happy/satisfied), 2) Money (because I’m not good enough to make enough or save enough money), 3) My weight (because I’m not good enough to maintain a healthy weight), 4) The set up and cleanliness of my house (because I’m not good enough to keep my house clean enough and well decorated enough to have people over).  Notice the theme?

I’m not good enough.  Or better stated I’m only good enough for now, temporarily, until something better comes along.  I’m tolerable for the short term.  I’ll do for now.  I truly believe that anyone that has any relationship with me is only doing so because they’ve settled and are just waiting until they don’t have to put up with me anymore.  I don’t believe I am the love of my husband’s life.  I don’t believe that my friends hang out with me unless they have nothing better to do.  This consumes my thoughts everyday.

I’ve attempted meditation and counseling, but I mostly find myself worrying that I’m not good enough at meditation.  As a counselor I feel like a hypocrite when I tell my clients that there is no right or wrong while meditating, the purpose is to just notice what you’re experiencing, when I constantly judge myself while meditating.

I guess one of my goals for this blog is to work through these worries by putting them into a visual, tangible format.  When something is tangible, it’s more controllable.  It’s easier to cope with something physical than something mental.  Then I worry that by wanting to control my worry, I’m not being mindful and accepting.

So that’s where I am.  Taking yoga, making spreadsheets and lists to organize my life, constantly complimenting my husband to an annoying extent, repeating “So Ham” (I am that) multiple times each day, and lost in indecision whether or not to say what I’m thinking or participate in a conversation.

30 Minutes in My Head

Here is a snapshot of some of my thoughts within a 30 minute period.

8:45AM I left my work laptop at home.  I overhead coworkers asking a question; I know the answer but don’t want to appear like I’m eavesdropping.  I say nothing.  I peeled the gel polish off 2 nails on each hand, and now I have to meet a client.  I hope his mom doesn’t judge me.  And this backup laptop is VERY SLOW.  I need to get my nails redone, but I’d have to put it on my credit card, and that would be bad.  Snap, crackle, pop.  Seriously this laptop is annoying.  Or maybe just different.  Maybe if I got used to it I’d be fine.  Ugh, gotta poop.  Hope I’m not still sick.  Sometimes I wonder if the person at work that pays my bills just pays no attention or just doesn’t care.  They fired my last person for lack of productivity, but this person is much slower in my opinion.  Am I too judgmental?  I’m sometimes afraid of people. 9:10AM

Cleaning Naked

So I just cleaned my bathroom naked.  Why?  Not because I was worried about getting my clothes dirty or some need for cleanliness.  I had just gotten out of the bathtub and saw that the sink and toilet were needing to be cleaned.  I was worried that if I got dressed (which meant leaving the bathroom to get clothes) something would distract me causing the bathroom to not get cleaned.  So there I was nude scrubbing the tub, toilet, and sink, hoping the Scrubbing Bubbles wouldn’t get into a sensitive area that would cause mass discomfort.

This happens quite frequently.  Not the cleaning naked, but attempting to get something done without being fully prepared because I’m worried that if I don’t do it while I’m thinking about it, I will forget or get distracted.  If I can’t get it done, I ruminate on it until I can or until I get really irritated and just miserable to be around.  If I attempt mindfulness and “letting it go” until I can do something about it, I very often become distracted leading to numerous partially done tasks or completely undone tasks.  I forget to pay bills; I forget to get my license tags renewed; I forget my lunch; I forget to put on deodorant.  I’ve often wondered if in addition to OCD I also have AD/HD.  Is that even possible?  Or is it just that there are so many obsessive thoughts running through my head that I can’t possibly remember everything I need to remember?

I just know that I need to sweep the floors now, but I also have to pee, but I also need water, but I also need to pick up my husband’s socks, but I also need to find that $20 from yesterday which means I have to clean my purse which reminds me that I need to clean all my purses………

I need a nap.

Why “Margarita in pill form?”

I was never a big drinker.  At times some may have seen me a type of teetotaler.  Then I discovered Chipotle margaritas.  Not only were they delicious, but I noticed that after drinking one my “give-a-damn” went away.  I didn’t agonize over decisions like whether or not I should say what I was thinking.  I didn’t care.  I was calm.  I could enjoy things without worrying about what would happen next.

The problem with margaritas for me is that they have lots of calories.  As one of the major things I obsess about daily is my weight, AND to keep that same feeling of not caring would require more margaritas, I thought maybe I should seek another method.  The next time I went to my doctor, I asked if she had something that had the effects of a margarita in pill form.  She gave me a script for Xanax.

For the record, as a mental health professional I am wary of taking the Xanax.  It’s a PRN (as needed) script.  She gives me 15 at a time which usually lasts me a year, so by the time I’ve used them, the script has expired.  I struggle with the necessity of taking medication.  It’s still hard to accept that this is a real biological problem and not a deficit in my personality and character.  I don’t want to lean on medication as a crutch without making my best effort to work on my other “Coping Skills.”  I am working on accepting myself and the fact that I will need to work on this my entire life.  I am working toward “Mindfulness.”

So there’s the origin of this blog.  This is my journey as I continuously learn new ways to accept and cope with my anxiety and doubt.  Each post will be a little different.  Some will be narrative.  Some will be stream of thought.  The purpose is to attempt to capture my daily experience as accurately and REAL as I can.  I will falter.  I will annoy you (and me) and make you (and me) mad.  But that is real.

On a lighter note, after Lent (because I gave up alcohol for Lent), I will start posting a different margarita recipe that I’ve tried at the end of each post.  You know, because it’s in the title. 😉

Peace to all.  Namaste.

Another blog about mental illness? Really? How self-indulgent!

Yup.  That’s me.  In my lifelong quest to seek understanding from others and from myself, my OCD brain up and started a blog.  But I don’t care if you read it.  I don’t care if you hate it.  I don’t care if you even understand it.  Because most likely this blog isn’t for you.  This blog is for the people like me, the 2-3% of the US population that deal with the formal diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and the millions of others without the official diagnosis that cope with intrusive thoughts every minute of every day.  This is not an educational blog.  This is not a persuasive blog.  This is my daily (weekly, biweekly) experience of my brain and how it functions in this world.  This is my attempt to let others that struggle know that they are not alone, and if in that attempt one person not struggling comes to a slightly better understanding of those of us that do, maybe even develop a glimmer of compassion, maybe begin to stop before reflexively saying, “Why can’t you relax?”, then I’ve accomplished something.  And that’s all I can ask for.

*It’s driving me “nuts” that I left a dangling participle.