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Life’s Turning Points

What are “turning points” in one’s life? They are the times when something happens that alters your personality, they shape who you become. They can be either positive or negative.  They are “significant events in your life that have shaped your character or destiny.” – MIT.edu on Turning Points assignment in below link

From an assignment on MIT.edu: “It is important to take time to consider past events in our lives that have had a major impact on us so that we better understand who we are today. Sometimes we aren’t very conscious of those times and when we stop to really examine them, we are surprised by how much impact they have had, especially the painful ones.” – https://ocw.mit.edu/courses/experimental-study-group/es-240-composing-your-life-exploration-of-self-through-visual-arts-and-writing-spring-2006/assignments/turning_points/

I was six years old when my cousins trapped me in a sleeping bag and hung me on the wall in the garage in it. I was left like that until my aunt and uncle got home the next morning. I had been in there so long that I had to use the bathroom in it while I screamed for them to come get me down. I was mortified. I was filthy, wet, and felt like I was dying of thirst. They left me down there like that with no water to drink, no way to get out, and in the dark. It was then that I learned I couldn’t trust anyone. I became a very suspicious child after that. Anytime anyone wanted me to “come here,” I was afraid to. What if they did something bad to me like trap me somehow? I was scared of everyone’s motives that wanted me to go anywhere with them or do anything for them. To this day it is still hard for me to trust anyone.

When I was seven I had to go live with my mother and her boyfriend. He liked beating her and me both. She didn’t protect me. Just sat quietly with her head down, refusing to look at me even though I would beg her to make him stop. That was the same year that I had to sleep outside, eat outside, and live outside.

My mother and her boyfriend lived in Missouri far out in the middle of nowhere in a one bedroom trailer when my father brought me to my mother and practically dumped me out of the car.  My dad had to take my dog, Babe, back with him because all the dogs there wanted to attack her and hurt her. It tore me to pieces to see my dad take Babe away from me like that but she couldn’t stay there. Hell, I shouldn’t have been allowed to stay there.

Mother’s boyfriend was not at all happy that I was there. He made the rules there and after my dad left he laid down the law. I was only allowed in his house if I was cleaning it. I could sleep outside with the dogs because that is where I belonged. I don’t know why he felt this way about me. I had never done anything to him. So outside I went.

I got along with the dogs pretty well. They surrounded me each night, accepting me into their pack basically, and protecting me. That summer I slept out under a tree that was huge and beautiful. When it rained I would lay under the truck until it stopped. I dared not fall asleep under it though because he would happily run me over, I believe.

I bathed in the creek most of the time that summer. When it started getting cooler though I was allowed to take one five minute shower a week inside their house but only on a cleaning day when I had to be in there anyway. I could take it after I had everything else done and before he got home from his job.

When winter came my mother supplied me with winter clothes, a coat, some boots, and a hat. She also gave me a few blankets. I slept under the trailer with the dogs to keep warm.  I hated it, I was always dirty.

I didn’t get to go to school that year. We lived so far out in the middle of nowhere that we didn’t have any neighbors to see me and turn me in for not going to school so the state of Missouri didn’t even know I existed.

I think that was the year I decided that I hated winter. I was cold all the time and I got really tired of being outside. I think my love for dogs and animals, in general, grew threefold that year too. The dogs really rallied around me to keep me warm.

I got so many beatings that year that I lost count of them. I would get the belt for the slightest thing. I didn’t put a bag back in the kitchen trashcan correctly, there was a wrinkle on the cover of the couch, or I coughed or sneezed while he was speaking to me, telling me what to do, so therefore I wasn’t listening.

So that entire year was a huge turning point. I learned that year that I deserved to be treated like crap. That I was nothing more than another animal to feed and take care of, but I was an animal that was expected to pull her weight in order to be fed or to take a bath, but I would never earn the privilege of being allowed inside his house. Well, that ended when we moved into a town. I got my own room in the house they got. They couldn’t very well leave me outside anymore due to the fact there were neighbors that lived all around us. That happened the next summer. Yes, I spent a year being one of the dogs basically.

I didn’t write this for sympathy. I don’t need that at all. I survived both these turning points and learned things that have stuck with me throughout my life. Not necessarily good things or even true things, but I did learn.

These two turning points together taught me that I can survive, and so far, I have.

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2017 in the Rearview Mirror & Looking Forward to 2018

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2017 has been pretty quiet except for the month of December of course. Everything bad happens in December, it seems.

The events that come to mind for 2017 are:

  • My youngest son O.D.ing on heroin and almost dying. This, of course, is the biggest event. I am still rocked by this and doubt that it is something I will ever get over. Talk about scary shit!
  • My heart cath in November. No stents this time and I only had one blockage that was fixed with angioplasty. Meaning they broke the clot up with a balloon inflated in the middle of it.
  • Bobby and Stephanie splitting up in November right after Thanksgiving.
  • I started back to college in January, went two semesters and had to drop out due to funds.
  • I turned 48.
  • Xander graduated Kindergarten in May and started first grade in August.
  • Logan had his first birthday in June.
  • Everyone celebrated their birthdays.
  • Bruiser broke his bottom jaw in a fight with either Boss or Max
  • I participated in NaNoWriMo and wrote over 16k words on my new novel, The Webster Plantation.
  • We got our YMCA membership back in December.

So yes, a quiet year for the most part.  Let us allow it to die its quiet death and be done with it and focus more on 2018! The major events that did happen all started in October. So yes, let’s let it die.

In this new year I have goals. I want to accomplish those goals. I want to hold myself accountable as I should and get everything done that I can possibly get done!

YOGA! I want to start going to Yoga class at the YMCA but I’m too scared to. I’m probably not going to be able to do a lot of the stretches they do yet. I have to start small so I have decided that I will do online Yoga classes here at home to start with. I have many options so it shouldn’t be a problem. Yoga is good for all sorts of things from limbering up your body to helping you clear and calm you mind. Both of those are the main things I need to get out of Yoga. It also helps your heart and other body systems. Yoga is a good exercise, especially if you are just starting out on exercising like I am. I mean, I walk the treadmill or the track at the YMCA and I work on the Recumbent Bike, and I am working myself up to the Elliptical but I need that extra that I believe Yoga will give me.

Here is an even bigger goal than Yoga and exercising on a regular basis. I am going to quit smoking and stay quit this time! It starts tonight at midnight. I’m scared (of failure). I’m grieving the loss of them (everyone does, just ask any smoker or ex-smoker). I’m already angry about it (why should I give them up?! It’s my body, my choice, right?). I’m sad (why has it taken me 39 YEARS to figure out that this shit is not good for me or anyone around me?! Look at all this time I have wasted!) … there are a host of emotions that go into quitting nicotine. I have done all of this before but failed and went back to them. I don’t want to fail this time. I want to win.

I want to get this swelling under control and then work on losing weight. I have a plan in the works. I’m including bujo spreads such as a weight loss tracker and a suggestion page, “What to do instead of snacking.” Exercise will work in this goal as well. Willpower. That is what it all comes down to, willpower.

Willpower. I am always in short supply of that it seems.

Another goal… get better with crochet. I am practicing my ass off. I’ve made a phone case and I am doing well on the squares (shapes is more apt the name to give those things) that will be sewn together to form a quilt to go over the bed which is queen sized. It’s going to take me a long while, but it will so be worth it when I’m done.

Write and read more. I have so many ebooks that I won’t be able to read them all in a lifetime! I collect them but never seem to get the chance to read them. I really need to read them. LOL. Then there is my writing. I want to do Morning Pages (see Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way) but I don’t seem to get around to doing them more either.

Blog more. I really would like to make this a great blog that people would enjoy reading and it provide education (learn something new daily) at the same time. Not just about mental health, but about everything and anything.

There are a lot of other things too, but they are just too numerous to list them all.

I have good goals set up, now I just have to do them, work towards them, every day. I can do this. I know I can.

What are your goals for 2018? Leave them in the comments! I would love to hear from you!

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Bless my Heart

Yes, the phrase is actually, “Bless your heart,” but seeing how I just had another heart catheterization on the first of this month, the title fits.

On Friday, December 1, 2017, I had to go to Central Baptist Hospital (Best hospital ever!) in Lexington, KY for another heart cath procedure. My last one was two years ago and after that time I now have nine stents in my heart. I figured I would come out of this cath with at least two more. I didn’t!

The heart cath (Coronary Angiogram) is an X-ray procedure used to look at the arteries in the heart. A dye is injected through a catheter into each artery and then the X-ray is shot and it shows any blockages you may have. I only had one this time!

Because I had a blockage, the angiogram turned into an angioplasty. Coronary Angioplasty is a procedure to widen a narrowed or blocked blood vessel of the heart. They insert a balloon through the same catheter the angiogram was performed through and then into the middle of the blockage. Then they inflate the balloon and that breaks up the blockage. My blockage was scar tissue from previous blockages and procedures instead of cholesterol buildup (plaque).

So yes, I got good news about the arteries in my heart for a change! Now I am still waiting for the test results from my doctor to see whether or not I have congestive heart failure (CHF). CHF is when your heart’s pumping capacity is weaker than normal. According to Web MD, 670,000 people are diagnosed with heart failure each year. You can check out what else they have to say about CHF right here. That link should open in a new window so you don’t lose your place here.

I have the symptoms for CHF and it won’t surprise me one bit when my doctor confirms this diagnosis. The main symptom I have is super bad swelling in my legs and feet. I can’t even wear a pair of my boots yet! I have to wear my tennis shoes untied too! I look like the Blueberry girl in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!! I hate it.

I started Lasix to help combat the swelling. So far, even though I am now on the doubled dose of it, it is not working. I have been keeping a log of my weight for each day, weighing in the morning and at night. I will lose three to four pounds during the day but it’s right back the next morning. It is so frustrating!

Needless to say, it is time for me to make some serious changes. The first huge change I absolutely MUST make is quitting smoking. I realized the other day that I have now smoked for damned near 40 years! Do you know how much of my life I have shaved off because of that?! Far too much, that is for sure! I started smoking when I was only nine years old and I will be 49 in April, so yep, nine years. That is ridiculous. I wish getting off cigarettes were as easy as getting addicted to them was.

So I set my quit date for January 1, 2018. I know, I know, everyone does that, but still. I thought it would be nice to start the year off on the right foot. I may end up quitting before that, I’m not sure. All I know is that no later than the first, I want to have quit. I know it’s going to be tough, I’ve tried quitting before, several times, but I want to quit this time. I’m finally done with it I think. I hope, anyway.

Another thing I want to do is walk on a daily basis. We started walking at the park week before last and it really made a difference. It got my endorphins excited and that caused pain relief and a good mood. Both, of which, I truly appreciated!

Another thing I did was to secure a membership to the YMCA for both my husband and myself! I am super excited about this! They have a wonderful gym, a pool, and a dry sauna that I can use. Their equipment s top notch and they have classes that I can take like Yoga and water aerobics! All of this will be good for me.

So I am making the changes slowly but surely and trying to improve my physical health and this will, in turn, improve my mental health.

My word for 2018 is “Optimism.” I am optimistic about the things I am doing to improve my well being.

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Bullet Journal for Mental Health

There are a lot of things you can do for your own mental health. One that helps me IMMENSELY is Bullet Journaling or Bujo for short.

Unlike a traditional journal, you make different sections in your bujo and you can track things like your moods, fluid intake, food intake, activities, distances walked if you walk for your health or any other reason for that matter. You can track everything and anything. You can just jot a thought or two in there if you don’t want to write a whole lot, to put it short, Bujos are AMAZING tools that can help you a great deal!

The original idea can be found at www.bulletjournal.com and if you visit there, don’t let it all overwhelm you. You can see from other bujo related blogs and websites that your bujo is what you make it. It’s exactly what YOU want and need. I can’t sing the praises of this amazing tool enough.

Not only that but there are a lot of very cool people out there that are willing to help you in all ways with your bujo. They give you advice, inspiration, free printables, contests to win stuff and more.

If you would like to get your life a bit more organized or maybe just your thoughts, give bullet journaling a try. Seriously, it can change your life. It certainly has changed mine! I get so excited talking about bullet journaling and introducing it to people who have never heard of it before. It really is sweeping the world.

Want a great place to get your start? Here is a great place to get a start: www.littlecoffeefox . She is a great person to learn from. I have used quite a few of her tips and tricks and of course the free printables she gives out. She is running a contest right now too. Sign up for her newsletter and you’re automatically entered! You could win your first bujo and some majorly cool supplies to get started! Check her out and let me know what you think of the bujo system.

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Thanksgiving Gratefulness

thankful.jpgEveryone stops for just a moment during the month of November to actually pay attention to the things they are grateful for. I am not so different. I do write something I’m grateful for into my Bujo daily though and I have been doing this since I started Bullet Journaling on May 29, 2017. From the littlest thing to the biggest. Each month I come up with 30 to 31 things I’m grateful for.

Of course the little things are on those lists… coffee, electricity, heat in the winter, a/c in the summer, etc. The big things are on there too… family, friends, furbabies, etc. (No, I didn’t plan on all those starting with F, they just did. LOL)

But giving thanks for the things in your life are a huge thing during the month of November here in the states. You stop and take stock of all the wonderful things you have in your life that many others don’t have and that you know could be taken from you in the blink of an eye. So I pay homage to all my blessings today, Thanksgiving…

I am grateful for my husband, Darrin. He is such a wonderful man and he treats me like a queen. He is always there for me, no matter what; he always supports me in whatever I am doing or going through; he always takes care of me; he always tries (and typically succeeds) in giving me everything I want and need; he spoils me something awful; and most of all, he always loves me unconditionally. I can’t say enough good things about this marvelous man! I am so grateful he is my husband. I am so grateful that I was blessed with him coming into my life just as I was turning 13 years old. I’m so grateful he is the father of my three boys and now my adopted daughters. I am so grateful he is the papaw of my five amazing grandbabies. I am grateful for him and I love him without end (AMEN!). I truly do know how lucky and blessed I am to have him and I love him with all my heart and I am still in love with him as much, if not more, than I was at 13!

I am grateful for my children. They really are great kids. They, like their their dad, are always there for me. They have enriched my life beyond belief. Becoming a mom (by birth, by adoption, by marriage, etc) is one of the best things I have ever done in my life. My kids… oh my kids! There are no words to adequately describe how deep my love for them goes. It is eternal and it flows without boundaries or conditions. They give me joy and happiness. They give me hope. They are amazing people. I love seeing them succeed in life. I love to see them happy and content. I love to see them always stretching themselves and pushing any obstacles they come to in life out of their way and going on like they do. They are free thinkers and risk takers (even though if some of the risks they take I don’t like or agree with) and they all embrace life fully and wholeheartedly!

I am grateful for my grandbabies. Oh my goodness what blessings these little people are! They make me smile. They light up the world around them. They are true blessings and miracles of life. I never knew I was missing them in my life until my first grandbabies showed up in my life. Then each baby after that as well. My heart bursts and overflows with happiness every time I see them. The love between a grandparent and their grandchild is completely different than the love between a child and parent. You get to love your own baby’s baby. How flippin’ cool is that?! There is nothing like holding your child’s child in your arms. The feelings are so overpowering that they make you drunk with love. I am so grateful for all five of my babies. Life would be a lot less bright without them.

I am super grateful for all my friends. Some friends I am closer to than others and you know what? That’s how it is supposed to be. It doesn’t mean I love any friend less than another, but my very close friends, they are like family. My acquaintances, they’re friends that are huge blessings as well, they just don’t know everything about me and they sometimes don’t know quite how to take me.  I am grateful for my friends though. The ones that are always there for me without fail. The ones that play the part of cheerleaders in my life. The ones that don’t look down on me for anything. The ones that come around just to chit chat and hang out without wanting anything from me. Friends. Friends who are family. I have so many blessings. In “real life” as well as online. I am so very lucky.

Medications. I am very grateful for the meds I am on and the doctors who prescribed them. Without the meds that I have to take every single day I would probably be locked up in the hospital right now fighting a complete meltdown. My meds keep me even. My meds keep my heart ticking. My meds save my life every single day. Yes, I am very grateful for my medications and what they do to keep me alive and the fact that they really do make my life more bearable.

Indoor plumbing, clothing, electricity, cell phones, technology… all the little things we take for granted. I am grateful for it all. I’m even grateful for the physical and mental pain I suffer with. I don’t like it, but I’m grateful for it. It reminds me just who the hell I am and the fact that I have been strong enough to fight to live to the point I’m living now. It reminds me I am a warrior and that I will get through anything.

I’m feeling very blessed the older I get. I tend to notice the blessings in my life more now days than I did when I was in my teens through thirties. Something changes after you enter your 40’s and change even hits harder when you get close to 50. I’m close now. Only one more birthday year before I enter into my 50’s. This one coming up is my last year of being 40 something. I’m grateful I’ve lived long enough to even contemplate this. I’m grateful for taking notice of my own mortality because it has made me appreciate life and everything in it more. My gratefulness runs deep and it feels wonderful to be able to count my blessings like this.

I hope you are having a truly blessed Thanksgiving and that maybe this gives you pause to really think hard about all the blessings in your life. You’ll find, I bet dollars to doughnuts, that the blessings, no mater their size, outweigh the negative in your life. So count them everyday even if it is just to write down one… Today I am grateful for____.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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What Fibro is Like for Me

I hate living with Fibromyalgia. If you don’t know what that is, Fibro is a disease of pain. It’s a disease that affects your bones and muscles marked by wide-spread pain, especially in joints, and extreme fatigue. I’m here to tell you, it affects every aspect of your life.

Medical experts aren’t sure what its causes are but they tend to think it’s a problem with the brain and spinal cord communicating with the nerves. There is no cure. Doctors tell you that regular exercise, medication, managing stress, and living a healthy life style can help you live a normal, active life. Personally, I don’t believe that. When you have fibro you can’t exercise much because it hurts so bad. You take the medications to numb the pain, you stress over not stressing and the stress brings on more pain and you can live the healthiest life style as possible… that’s not going to stop the pain. It will still be there.

I’m sure there are those people out there in the world that claim all of that has the fibro under control, but flare ups happen to the best of us and when they do, there is no managing your life. You simply ride the waves of pain and deal with it. You pray and plead for the pain to just stop, even if for just a little while. If you are one of those people that smile through the flares then I applaud you. I sure can’t do it. I’m lucky to be able to move during a flare.

What’s a flare? I’m glad you asked. It is when the pain is acting on its absolute worst behavior. Every nerve ending is on fire. Every muscle is cramped up. Every bone feels like it is pressing out of your body. Your head hurts, your feet hurt, it simply hurts to move any more than you have to and there is no escaping it until its over. That could be an hour, a day, a week, a month, three months… whatever your body decides to put you though.

I’ve been in the current flare for three weeks now. The only relief I get is from living on my heating pad and popping aspirin. They both take the edge off so I feel like I can, at least, breath. Sleep is a good escape but I can’t sleep for more than about four hours on a good night. I normally sleep two to three hours, tops.

I’m sorry I’m not able to sugarcoat all of this for you. If you came here looking for good news about fibro and that what to expect isn’t that bad then this is definitely not the page for you to look for your information. Fibro is a bitch and she doesn’t play well with you. She grabs hold of you, snakes into your entire body and wracks you with the pain and she is hard press to turn you loose.

I wouldn’t wish Fibromyalgia on my worst enemy. Pain like this is inhumane. It is torture. But we live through it. That is a bit of good news. We know that “this too shall pass,” and it does eventually. It goes down into a dull to whispered roar.

Just thinking out loud tonight while the flare deals me a hand of insomnia to go with the pain. I hope you’re not dealing with this. If you are, I’m so sorry. Know that you don’t deserve this. Know that you are better than this disease. Know there are better days to come. Go on living. Deal with it and work yourself through it. The pain doesn’t last consistently for the rest of your life. You will get a break from it and you’ll learn to ignore the dull roars coming from it.

FibroAwareness

 

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NaNoWriMo has begun!

Hello friends!

November first marked the beginning of NaNoWriMo. What’s that,” you ask? It stands for National Novel Writing Month and you can look it up at www.nanowrimo.org if you would like to learn even more about it. What you do when you participate is work towards a goal of writing 50,000 in 30 days. 1,667 words each and every day. Fun goal, right?! Well, it is for writers.

I am participating this year. I got a very good start yesterday and I hope to keep the momentum going today and each day. Now I will be realistic about this, I know there may be some days where I don’t hit my goal due to varying factors, but that’s okay. As long as I try my best then I am doing okay.

Along with writing my novel I am learning how to incorporate my bullet journal (bujo) into my experience so I can document it right along with the story I am writing. I plan to self-publish this one as I did with my other book and I don’t care if anyone except my family reads it. I think since I am leaving my journals to my family upon my passing that this section of my journal will be great to have along with the book to see my struggles as well as my victories in this endeavor.  I know I would love to read some of my favorite authors’ notes from when they wrote some of my favorite books, especially if they noted what they were feeling at the time and all the stuff you put in a journal. Just to read their way of thinking and how they came up with such a great story. The scene behind the scene.

I am fortunate this year. I found a fantastic Facebook group to support me along the way and that will allow me to support others while they write. It’s NaNoWriMo Bullet Journaling and it is just one of the best groups I’ve been in. All the members are wonderful at supporting one another and cheering each other on. The group, Bullet Journal Junkies led me there and that is another great group I’m now in. They too, are filled with wonderfully caring and supportive members. Groups are a great thing and I’m glad Facebook has them.

If, by chance, you don’t know what bullet journaling is (and I sure didn’t until May of this year), check out this article on BuzzFeed called, “WTF Is A Bullet Journal And Why You Should Start One? An Explainer.” You should also check out www.bulletjournal.com and you can see what the original bullet journal developed by Ryder Carroll is all about. It will give you the basics but I found it confusing and overwhelming on Ryder’s site and it wasn’t until I ran across the BuzzFeed article that I understood. I tried it and I have only missed two days since I started my first bujo (short for bullet journal) of journaling since May 29, 2017. That is huge for me as I would start a new journal with the best of intentions of journaling each day only to stop. I have a lot of incomplete journals on my shelves and a lot of blank ones. I’m addicted to journals, by the way, too. You should see my wish list on Amazon.

Well, I need to get to work on my novel. I hope you found this blog entry useful for you. Leave me a comment and let me know. Have a great day everyone!

Posted in Mental Health, Spiritual Health

Self Care is a Must if You want to Keep Going

Why is it you never feel quite like you do as an adult until you are drinking a cup of coffee? I am sure I am not the only one that has experienced this. You don’t realize that you haven’t been feeling “all grown up” until you take that first sip of lovely, hot coffee, and suddenly you realize that all this time you wasn’t feeling very grown up at all. Is it the caffeine? Maybe there’s more to those little brown and black beans than we know. Is coffee the doorway into adulthood? If so, it’s too late for me and millions like me, but if you’re reading this and you haven’t had that first cup of coffee yet, run! Run the other way! It’s a trap! Once you come through the adulting door you can’t go back! It’s something to think about anyway.

Self-care-dino-Resize
Speaking of things we have to do while we are practicing “adulting,” like clean the house, run the errands, pay the bills, chauffeur the kids to and from sports, music, and dance classes, and all the little things in between can really wear on us and wear us down.  It’s important to practice self-care all the time, not just some of the time. You have to take time for yourself… to care for yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself FIRST then you will not be able to take care of anyone else. Make sense? You can’t drink from an empty cup, so go get you another cup of coffee and sit with me for just awhile so I can give you some ideas on how you can care for yourself.

Just what is “self-care?” Self care is, literally, taking care of yourself. Making sure you have what you need whether that be a 30 minute break in a quiet room or a hot bath. It is whatever it is that your mind and body need to rejuvenate and replenish itself.

Some quick self care options you can try on the go are quick meditation breaks. Do these when you get back into the car from taking care of an errand. You get into the car, lock your doors, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Breathe in through your nose slowly to a count of four or five and then purse your lips and blow it out for a count of four to five. Do this a couple of times and then literally, shake it off. Hold your hands out in front of you, hands limp at the wrist and give yourself a little shake. There, now you’re ready to go again. You just gave yourself a quick charge to your personal battery to take care of the rest of your errands.

When you get home at the end of the day and dinner has been cooked and eaten, the kitchen straightened up, baths taken, homework done, and all the kids are in bed, it’s your turn. What makes you happy? What do you like to do? I know you’re tired from all the running you did today, but come on, it’s time for you to take care of you, remember?Go draw yourself a hot bath. Pour some Epsom salts into it along with baby oil, and some sort of your favorite scented bath additive. Yes, all three things. Now ease yourself down into that water. Feel all the tension in your muscles just ease away. Soak as long as you can. Personally, I like to soak until the water gets too cold to be comfortable anymore. Don’t forget to light a few mildly scented candles for your bath and turn the harsh, overhead light off.

Now that you’re fresh from the bath, grab your favorite book, journal, knitting/crocheting project and sit in your favorite comfortable spot whether it be the bed or the couch or wherever. Enjoy the time you spend working on your hobby. Allow yourself to become immersed in what you are doing and you are not allowing any worries from the day or from tomorrow to invade your thoughts. If you find that they are, do your breathing exercise you did in the car and imagine you are blowing away those worries for now when you exhale.

These are just a couple of self care things you can do. There are hundreds of ways you can show yourself care. For example: Sit in the sun, take a shower, put on soft, comfortable clothes, listen to music, write your worries down, apply a face mask, color your hair, wrap up in your favorite blanket, get yourself a teddy bear and hug it often, do yoga, take a walk, get a massage, sketch, get lost in your favorite website, look at picture albums, sleep, eat food that makes you feel good, indulge in a “guilty pleasure,” relax and detox in a sauna, go for a swim, stretch, and hundreds of other things. How many self care things can you think of? Write them down and keep your list handy for when you need to take care of yourself.

 

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OCD and Me

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder characterized by obsessions and compulsions the sufferer deals with all the time. Examples include people that feel they must wash their hands often and end up washing them hundreds of times a day or people who must have things in a certain order such as books on a shelf and they must be placed just so.

According to the website, https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1934139-overview , “The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), [3]released in 2013, includes a new chapter for OCD and related disorders, including body dysmorphic disorder, hoarding disorder, trichotillomania, and excoriation disorder. Previously, OCD was grouped together with anxiety disorders.”

For me, I have a few obsessions and compulsions. I have Dermatillomania (aka Excoriation); I am a hoarder; I wash my hands quite frequently; I have intrusive thoughts; I believe if I don’t think certain things or ways then either other things won’t happen that need to happen or that just the opposite, things will happen that I don’t want to happen; I have a very addictive personality in that I become addicted to things quite easily and rapidly. Maybe I should say I become obsessed with things instead of addicted. For example, right now I am completely obsessed with bullet journaling. I spend hours a day working on my own journal and researching online. I don’t want to end this obsession though because I gain a lot of enjoyment from it and it helps with other things… like it reduces my urge to pick. I am finally healing.

I can walk into any room of my house and tell you if something has been moved, even an inch, literally. I know where I have everything. I have a compulsion to know I suppose.

My craft shelves are a mess right now and it is driving me bonkers! I’m out of room to store things (yes, my hoarding is rearing it’s ugly head) so things are just being set willy nilly and I don’t like it one bit.It bothers me a great deal.

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These shelves make me want to scream as does the condition of my room here. I’ve had a lot of physical problems for the last year and cannot get up and clean the way I used to.

The media and the public at large, often have fun with the term, “OCD” and use it to joke with. I, personally, do not mind this but I know a lot of people that it offends. That is just like how the news media is always so quick to jump to the conclusion of mental illness when an atrocious crime is committed. There are some things that just shouldn’t be joked about or assumed.

I know this is a short blog, I just wanted to check in with everyone and give you a glimpse of what OCD is like for me. It’s no picnic, that’s for sure.

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Thanks for the Dermatillomania Dad

My dad gave me a lot of things. He gave me vivacious blue eyes, a strong skeletal build, and the gap between my top two front teeth that I absolutely hate. Unfortunately, he gave me some other things too; like my propensity for alcohol and more than likely he is the one responsible for some of my mental issues such as Bipolar Disorder as well as the Dermatillomania I suffer with, among other things.

Alcoholism and Bipolar both run in my paternal family back to my great-grandfather, at least. It probably runs farther than that but I don’t have to go back that far to see where mine got it’s start. I start with my great-grandfather and work my way down the ancestral line… great-grandfather, Granddad E., my father and three uncles, me, my children, and please, God, let it stop with my kids. I don’t want to see the grandbabies suffer with this shit too. *sigh*

I’m sure you know a little about alcoholism and Bipolar Disorder by now. You may not have, however, ever heard of Dermatillomania. This can also be called, “Skin Excoriation.” It is an obsessive compulsion to pick at one’s own skin, usually, until the tissue is damaged. It has been thought of as being related to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and as a body-focused repetitive behavior (BFRB). It has been treated as those types of disorders with varied outcomes to treatment.

Recently, the DSM-5 no longer classified the behavior as an impulse control disorder. Instead it “defined as “repetitive and compulsive picking of skin which results in tissue damage.” — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excoriation_disorder.

Research into the disorder is ongoing and some researchers are claiming the disorder is more of an addiction type disorder rather than an OCD disorder. As such, if it’s treated like that and the meds and rehabilitation is given to suffers maybe that will help end Dermatillomania.

I have Dermatillomania and I am inclined to agree with the two researchers, Odlaug and Grant, who are claiming the disorder is more akin to substance abuse than compulsion disorders. A person picks to relieve stress and/or anxiety they are feeling. When they pick they get a minute of a relieved feeling, much like self-harmers do when they cut.

Let me be clear here… Dermatillomania is NOT a self-harming action. Yes, the picker breaks the skin, brings blood out of the body and all that, but they are not doing that to replace cutting. These are two very different disorders and ways to cope with stress, anxiety, depression, etc. The only similarity they actually have is harm to the body tissues.

Living with this disorder is no picnic. Personally, I don’t pick much at my face so I really don’t have to worry about cover ups, make-up and things like that. My main targets are my upper shoulders, back, and arms. I can’t wear sleeveless shirts due to sores being visible. I can’t use public pools, there is too much of a risk for infection, not to mention no one wants to be in the water with someone whose back and arms look like mine. *I* wouldn’t even want to be in the water with me. I’m not shaming anyone, you understand, I’m just telling you how I see things.

In my Bujo (Bullet Journal), on my habit tracker, I have the words, “NO PICK” in all caps in my list. I’ve been doing my bujo since May 29, 2017. Not once have I been able to color in a square on that entry. I want to sooo bad, but I pick daily.

I tell myself I’m not going to pick today. I fight with myself all the time about it. I hate that I am like this. But there it is, I’m like this. I need something that will decrease my urges to pick. I hate that I do it and I want to stop doing it so bad. I’ve tried several times and have tried all the latest supplements and programs, but nothing has worked so far. Maybe if we treated it like an addiction something would change. I’m going to try to treat it that way and do my best to overcome it or at least control it.

Thanks for reading my blog! I hope to get some feedback from you soon. More on the Bujo in a later post. Have a great week everyone!