I’ve Had Better Monday’s

Okay, so it’s not Monday, but nonetheless, I’ve had better days when life feels chaotic….

My youngest is sick again.  We, as an entire family, have been stuck on a vicious cycle of being sick since September.  This week, it’s my husband and our youngest who are coughing like crazy.  My husband thinks he has allergies, yet sounds like he is coughing up a lung (or two).  Our youngest, has bronchiolitis (for adults, they call it bronchitis).  Unfortunately, her asthma is making it difficult for her to breathe.  She’s already been hospitalized twice this year due to her asthma messing with her colds (or her colds messing with her asthma).  Either way, as a mom, it scares me whenever she gets sick.  The slightest wheeze, I am on her like a hawk monitoring her breathing.  The other day, she was prescribed some heavy artillery asthma meds; in which, we hope will keep her from having to go to the hospital.

I’m A Lazy Cook.  We’ve been indulging in many nights (mornings and afternoons too) in deliciously expensive addicting fast food.  Ever since the dishwasher caught on fire, no fault of my own this time (the calcium build-up was burning), I haven’t been in the mood to cook again.   I’ve lost all motivation.   I am just tired of wasting food from the grocery store. Today, is my shopping day and I am just frustrated trying to come up with a satisfying meal-plan.  It seems as if I’m constantly buying food – but, where does it all go?   

A “Soon” Deadline  Maybe, it’s just me, but I don’t like unknown deadlines; mostly, because I am a procrastinator (I openly and honestly admit).  I do my best work during the last “crunching” hour.  However, the project I am tasked with right now, is going to take me a couple of days to complete.   I’ve gotten most of it together, but some of the things left, require a lot of typing (yay, me) and a few other things are time-sensitive that require to be processed closer to the deadline (not a procrastination thing); yet, the so-called deadline is in limbo.  People just keep telling me, “soon.”   What does “soon” mean?!

I Just Cleaned My House  At some point, in between 7pm last night and 6am this morning, our house looks as if it exploded!  I remember cleaning it yesterday, but this morning, I cannot figure out what happened; however, my bets are on the 2 year old.   I mean, that would explain the donkey on the kitchen counter (a bouncy seat toy).  Generally, no big deal, but family is supposed to be visiting tonight!

Lost Glasses In The Room of Doom  Our oldest wears glasses and this morning, she lost them.  She lost them in her room.  Her room looks like the Temple of Doom, booby-trapped with a minefield of toys, stuffed animals, books, and pesky legos!  The rule is that she cleans her room every night, so that I do not break my neck trying to get to her bed to wake her up every morning for school- and of course, cleanliness is a good habit too.   Most nights we are on it, but last night, we had family movie night; in which, we all fell asleep afterwards.  But, had I known her room was going to swallow her glasses whole this morning, we would have cleaned it.  So- finding lost glasses is on my list today.   

Halloween Is Still Here  On my to-do list is to take down the Halloween decorations (outside).  BUT it is soooooo cold today!!!   Maybe…we’ll try again tomorrow.  I read somewhere, that putting up Christmas decorations early can make a person happier (well, probably not so much the neighbors).   I thought about it, but again, my OCD doesn’t like decorations in the house.  I can clutter the outside of our house until my hearts content; but inside, it must be subtle with a warm, inviting, decor flow.

Ugh….Christmas, I haven’t even thought about my Christmas to-do list!!  

A Laundry List Of To-Do’s, But It’s FRIDAY  Although I have a long to-do list, those are just a few things that are stuck on my mind.  In fact, it’s not really that bad.  I feel better just talking about it, plus, it’s Friday!  How can a Friday act like a Monday anyway – it can’t, it’s against the rules of whatever rules govern the days of the week (no such thing, btw).  I mean, you know, every day of the week is something:  Mondays are terrible, Tuesday is for tacos, Wednesday is hump-day,  Thursday is catch up day, Friday is happy, Saturday is fun, and Sunday is relaxing.  So, Friday’s are just not allowed to be like Monday’s.  But, every day, can certainly be Taco Tuesday! 🙂

Thanks for enduring my rambling nonsense today.  I wish everyone a Happy Friday and hope everyone has a great weekend!!

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To Delete Or Not To Delete Irrational OCD Fears

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The most difficult thing with OCD, is resisting the urge to follow through with a compulsive behavior.  It is so emotionally painful, that the need to obtain immediate relief from the emotional torture is too much, and you are forced to just give in.

But, the remarkable sensation that courses through my body when I finally do take a leap of faith and fully resist my OCD bully brain – is undeniably amazing.

At first, it stings, a lot, like getting a massive emotional shot to the heart, but then it gradually feels better, to the point, it doesn’t hurt anymore.  It’s as if the fear was worse than the actual experience.  Once released from the agonizing grip of OCD, clarity sets in, and the mind is at ease again.  I believe that remembering such an experience, helps develop self-confidence, and the more confidence you build, the easier, over time, it is to overcome your OCD bully brain!

The Dreaded OCD Crutch

Earlier this year, we bought a vehicle dash camera for the family car.  Surprisingly, not for the purpose of my OCD, but more so, for my husband to use on his long drives into the city.  Anyway, I knew when I bought it, I feared I would back-track on all my progress overcoming my irrational OCD fears about driving.

In my opinion, a dash camera is an OCD crutch used as reassurance for the OCD brain, allowing one to calm their anxiety while driving and later check to make sure all, in fact, was well.  Overall, it’s a bad habit that doesn’t benefit anyone suffering from OCD.  It makes OCD worse, because you lose all confidence in yourself.  Confidence in which your OCD bully brain doesn’t want you to have- because self-confidence is power against the OCD bully brain.

My OCD Itch 

For a long time, I managed to keep the dash camera nicely tucked away in its cozy case in the glove box, going on with my business without an OCD care in the world.  But, I guess you can say, I eventually got the OCD itch….

I really didn’t start using the dash camera for my OCD, until I began driving my kiddo back and forth to school.  There is just so much anxiety having to drive through a school parking lot surrounded by kids, teachers, parents and pets (oh yes, pets- who brings their pets to school?).

Kids on bikes scare me the most, because they are the most unpredictable.  They tend to pop out of no-where, as if they just came through an unexpected worm-hole!  Teachers stomp through the parking lot as if they are invincible to cars.  And, then there are some parents recklessly driving through the parking lot with places to go, people to see, and jobs to get to on time.  So, it’s quite understandable that my quirky Fight or Flight Response System is on high alert, sounding off a constant emergency alarm!

So, like any rational person with an irrational OCD brain, I began using the dash camera.

A Destructive Decision

At some point, my sneaky OCD bully brain convinced me that I should probably use the dash camera as a “precautionary” measure against “crazy in-a-hurry drivers” who don’t know how to drive.  IT WAS A LIE!   My OCD bully brain wanted to strip away self-confidence and replace it with self-doubt!  That’s it’s evil plan!

Using the dash camera on a daily basis was a destructive decision against the war effort on OCD.  After a few days, I started to become dependent on the dash camera.  No matter where I went, whether it was driving a few miles to the school or just around the corner to check the mail, I needed it!  

Without the dash camera, I find myself circling parking lots to reassure myself everyone is safe.  I will waste gas to double back to reassure myself that I didn’t cause a wreck or something.  But, the worst, in which I finally realized I had a problem, is when I began lying to my family, about the need to go somewhere when there really wasn’t a need to go anywhere- I just wanted reassurance.  Or, lying to my husband, after getting back from the grocery store, that it took me longer to get home, because “the car sounded funny and I just wanted to drive around to make sure it wasn’t anything serious;” when in fact, I was just doubling back to ease my OCD brain.

I shouldn’t have to lie.  My husband knows I have OCD.  But, after overcoming so many OCD fears, I am a bit embarrassed when I regress like this; even though, it is okay to take a few steps back sometimes.   I am not perfect.

When All Confidence Is Lost

What is certain, is that I must knick this in the butt as soon as I can, because once all my self-confidence is lost, my OCD bully brain wins.  Self-confidence is extremely important in overcoming my OCD fears.

When all self-confidence is lost, extreme self-doubt will attempt to distort reality-it’s scary and emotionally exhausting.  It doesn’t matter what anybody says, the OCD bully brain takes hold and does a remarkable job of convincing you that you are terrible person.  Self-doubt can be so powerful, nothing is reassuring, not even real footage on a dash camera.  You eventually begin to question your sanity, as you dwell over and over on what it was that might or might not have happened.   Not knowing for sure, increases all the emotions inside, building anxiety, and causing overwhelming emotional suffering.

My first two years with OCD was like this and I NEVER EVER want to have such an experience like that EVER again!

Difficulties Letting Go 

The memory card for the dash camera is completely full and yet, this weekend, I was unable to delete it, in fear, something of great importance was on it.  “What-if” thinking set in.  What if something bad happens, if I delete it?  

Of course, I can just let it be, for that new videos will eventually override the old videos, but that often corrupts the memory card and memory cards are expensive- at least this one was; I later learned that I totally overpaid for it.  The memory card (SD card) for the dash camera, cost me about $30, and is the size of my thumb nail (and I have tiny thumbs)!   That’s crazy!

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Massive Dose Of Exposure Therapy Today

This weekend, I made an executive decision against my OCD bully brain, that I was going to limit the use of the dash camera.  The initial plan was to stop using the dash camera every time I drive somewhere; unless, it is somewhere, where I should probably use it, like trips to the school, because, that’s rationally reasonable, considering all the crazy traffic.  Also, I planned to completely resist the urge to do any checking, when I do use the dash camera.  Well, that plan backfired on me this morning- because I had no dash camera to use!

This weekend, like every other weekend, I had brought the dash camera inside the house to re-format the SD card (delete files) to start fresh for a new week.  I failed miserably of course, due to my OCD fears.  However, this morning, rushing out the door to get my kiddo to school, I forgot about it and I didn’t have time to go back inside and search for it- because it wasn’t where it was suppose to be (figures, right?).  So, I had to drive my kiddo to school without the comforting reassurance of a dash camera.

I was super anxious at first, but I reminded myself to breathe (deep breaths) and reassure myself everything is going to be okay.  Then, one by one, practice the 5 most important things I have learned so far about overcoming my OCD.

  1. Self-Confidence: I reminded myself that I am a good driver and a good person.
  2. Acceptance:  I must accept the situation of not having a dash camera and also, make the best of it with a positive attitude.
  3. Faith:  I must believe in myself.  Also, there is always a reason as to why things happen.  The Universe doesn’t want me to use the dash camera; obviously, otherwise, I would have had time to find it.  The Universe is helping me overcome my OCD fears.
  4. Stress-Management:  Breathe.  Deep Breaths.  There is nothing to be anxious about, for that I am familiar with the road and the usual traffic.
  5. Mindfulness:  When the brain goes on auto-pilot while driving, we sometimes forget what happens between Point A and Point B of our trip.  Sometimes, not remembering our drive (even though there was nothing significant to remember) can trigger an OCD episode.  Today, I knew I had to be 100% in the moment with my driving, so that I didn’t later question my driving.  Every time the mind began to drift, I redirected my full attention to my driving.

 

When I got back home….I was okay!  I had no need or urge to double back to make sure the world was still okay.   I also found the dash camera and finally deleted the files to start a new week.

In the future, I still intend to use the dash camera, but only if I am driving to places with a lot of traffic.  I also plan to resist the urge for reassurance with the dash camera (no compulsive checking).  It will take time and practice, but I am confident in myself, that I got this!!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hairy Blob Monster From The Drain

Today, I decided to deep clean the kitchen, well, okay…the entire house.

If I clean the kitchen, I gotta clean the living room, and if I clean two rooms, I gotta clean all the rooms.  AND, the worst room in the house, the room I always dread cleaning the most, is my husband’s bathroom!  He’s just gross!

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Tackling my husband’s bathroom requires a hazmat suit and all the harsh chemicals my OCD doesn’t allow me to use.  My OCD is so bad, I can’t even keep any harsh chemicals (toilet cleaner, multipurpose cleaner, or even floor cleaner) inside the house, with the fear, someone will get hurt.

I hate OCD. 

However, I have no problem keeping other types of cleaning products in the house, such as disinfectant wipes, glass cleaner, and environmentally-safe (to the sewer monsters) dishwasher soap.  But, it’s taken me years to allow those inside the house.  I do not like them, but they do not bother me as much as the harsher products.  Silly, I know, but it is a work in progress; one day, I hope to not be bothered by any cleaning products in the house- like a normal person.

MY OCD EPISODE 

Today, I managed to deep clean my house, with harsh chemicals, without having an OCD episode.  Unfortunately, the chemicals, it seems were the least of my problems.  IT WAS THE HAIRY BLOB MONSTER IN THE SHOWER that triggered an OCD episode!

My husband is hairy, well, except for his head.  He is slightly (to be nice) balding, however, I do not think the hair on his head is technically falling out.  From my perspective, it just seems as if its relocating to other parts of his body…to fall out.  This, is a problem for the shower drain.

I love my husband. 

Anyway, I decided today, since I am already in deep cleaning mode, I would unclog the showers.  Generally, some vinegar and baking soda does the trick, because for the most part, it’s just shampoo and body-wash clogging the drains.  Plus, who doesn’t like watching vinegar and baking soda react!

Unfortunately, my husband’s shower drain was being stubborn.  I went to the store and got this handy little stick thing (because I do not like chemicals) to try to unclog the drain.  Now, if you have never bought one of these, you are totally missing out on all the fun!

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Simply, it’s a stick, with ridges, that you shove (takes a bit of work) into your drain, and with all your might (with two hands), pull out the most gross, nastiest, hair ball in the world!!!

The coolest thing, is that it works!  The downside, is if you have OCD…  The gunky gross hairball touched me! 

Gloves couldn’t save me, for that it touched the exposed portion of my arm!  My OCD bully brain had convinced me that no matter how much soap I used, no matter what type of soap I used, or how hard I scrubbed my arms, we were all going to get super sick and it was going to be my fault!

It also touched my sweater, that I threw into the dirty hamper, that my kids later knocked over on to the floor….oh mymy world was upside down!  Now, I had to disinfect the floor!

Irrational intrusive thoughts flooded my brain like crazy!

Stopping Intrusive Thoughts

Fortunately, my intrusive thoughts were interrupted by a phone call.   Earlier today, we dropped the car off for an oil change and it was ready for pick up.

Distraction can be an effective way to stop intrusive thoughts.  The drive to the car shop, cleared my mind, and acted like a reset button.  Just like dealing with a bully, sometimes, you just have to walk away.

When we came back home, I was fine.  I even managed to unclog the other shower without my OCD bully brain getting in the way (exposure therapy).

If this would have happened a few years ago, I can tell you…our shower drains would not be hair-free.  I would have broken down in tears.  I would have thrown away my sweater.  I would have scrubbed my hands and arms until they bled.  I would have disinfected the monkeys out of the floor where the dirty laundry touched.  I would have stopped using the shower all together.  And, I would have dwelled and dwelled and dwelled on my thoughts until I felt as if my heart were about to burst.

As silly as this story is, for some, the emotional fears stirred up by OCD can be super real.  It takes a lot of work to overcome the OCD bully brain, but with practice, I promise, it does get better!

 

      

 

 

 

 

 

Sick…Again, It’s Kind of Getting Frustrating

We are sick again…and, it’s starting to get a bit frustrating.  

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We’ve been off and on sick since September!  We’ve probably only had about a couple of days in between viruses where we all feel pretty dang good; but then, someone gets a fever and the cycle starts all over again.  Welcome to parenthood.

You’d think after 30+ years, my immune system has encountered most of the virus strains out there and thus, should have a pretty tough defense against cold viruses by now.  Apparently not.  Viruses are constantly evolving and are always creating new challenges even for the toughest immune systems.  Thanks Evolution!  

Had our kiddo gone to daycare or preschool prior to Kindergarten, we probably wouldn’t be sick as often.  One of the benefits of daycare and preschool, is that your kiddos are introduced to all the nasty viruses before starting Kindergarten.  Therefore when Kindergarten starts, the immune system is fully ready to defend against most common kid viruses and they will likely not miss any significant amount of class time.  Because my kiddo never did preschool or daycare, her immune system wasn’t prepared for all the nasty bugs out there and we’ve missed quite a bit of school, because of it.

Although I love being a stay-at-home mom and teaching my kids all the things preschools teach, I do regret not getting my kiddo out & about enough to strengthen her immune system before starting school.  The upside though, my youngest is catching everything my oldest brings home and hopefully, by the time she is ready to start school, we probably will not be as sick as often (at least, that is what I hope).

Unfortunately, this is a ride we just have to ride out for awhile.  It’s frustrating.  Nobody likes to be sick and being sick on and off, months at a time, really sucks.  When will it end!

My friends have suggested my family try Elderberry supplements.   I am not really into supplements, but I am willing to try anything.  But, that’s me.  When it comes to my kiddos….I am strictly, by the pediatric book kind-of-gal.  So, I am a bit hesitant.  However, several of my friends swear by the stuff, claiming it has kept their kids sick-free all year.

What do you think?  Are supplements healthy?  Is it worth a try?  

Well, today is Friday.  I love Friday’s!  Doesn’t matter if you are working 9-5 or you stay at home all day, Friday’s are for everyone!

Happy Friday everyone!  I hope you all have a great weekend!

 

 

 

 

The Universe Balancing Itself Out

Man, when life hits ya, it can sometimes hit ya hard!  

Every once in awhile I go through a period of intense overwhelming stress.  For whatever reason, my entire world turns upside down- anything that can happen, does happen, and generally, it happens all at once.  Murphy’s law at its best, really.

Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

-Murphy’s Law

Life has been crazy overwhelming since the beginning of September and today, is the first time things have been calm and peaceful.

I believe these random periods of chaos is the Universe’s way of balancing itself out.  I generally tend to only have a few bad days (sometimes a few bad weeks) throughout an entire year.  So, technically, that’s not too bad, given that the rest of my year is fantastic!

I guess, after having a few good years though, I was probably due for a couple of bad months.  Perhaps, that was the case this time, because this period of chaos was a doozie!

Both my kids got sick (twice), one of them was hospitalized, while the other was out of school for an entire week.  They both had a common cold and then later, strep with a mild viral infection.  This was the root of all my stress, especially, since the beginning of this month, we went from amazing health-care insurance to “What kind of health-care insurance is this?”  Basically, our premiums doubled and we lost really good benefits.

But, that wasn’t all I was dealing with… 

I am in charge of everything.  On top of the average domestic duties of a modern housewife and mother, I am also in charge of paying bills, budgeting finances, unclogging toilets, routine car maintenance, and household maintenance, such as changing air filters, fixing appliances, and taking out the trash.  I do this, all in between raising kids, washing laundry, and putting food on the table.  I truly do everything, except bring home a paycheck.  Given enough time in the day, I could probably do that too. 

I am not complaining though.  I truly do not mind doing everything.  Fortunately, my OCD brain is really good at managing chaos; however, I am not a robot.  I have human limitations and boundaries.  No matter how organized and smoothly efficient things are, I do, on occasion, get exhausted, stressed, and overwhelmed and that is okay.  Sadly, the problem is when there is no emotional support for when I do get overwhelmed.

My husband’s extreme anxiety, mild case of Asperger’s, and fear of responsibility (hypengyophobia), can be quite challenging when I am in need of emotional support and/or a little extra help with the daily biz.  For the most part, I am just left to figure it out on my own- which takes time.

It also didn’t help, that I got sick too.  I don’t think with Strep, but certainly, a mild viral infection.   Basically, after everyone got better, all the “fires” were put out, the house was clean, and everyone was back on tract, my body broke down and I finally got sick too.   I also broke down emotionally- I felt as if I had taken on the world and the world had won.  Things got so overwhelming, I struggled with a sense of time.  I wasn’t on top of everything.  A lot of things, minor things, fell through the cracks.  But, in the end, all turned out okay.

I am good now.  I know what day it is.  My house is clean.  My to-do-list is small.  I am grateful for all things little and large.  And, I also have a smile on my face- with a cup of coffee in my hand.

This is how my Universe works.   I have periods of good days and bad days, more good days than bad days, and the few bad days I do have, are just thrown in to balance out chaos.  This is life.  Understanding it, makes those bad days not so bad.

Hope everyone has a great Monday!  If you are having a bad day, week, or even a month, remember better times are just around the corner.  ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking Of Brains…

Hi Brains!

I totally missed ya’ll!  For some reason, I didn’t have the heart to completely shut down Speak To The Brain.  It lingered in the back of my mind while trying to venture onto new projects; new boring, “why am I doing this again,” kind of projects.  I missed blogging about mental health and I have recently realized that my new projects aren’t as fun as blogging for Speak To The Brain.  So, I’m back!    

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My Much Needed Break 

I don’t entirely regret taking a break from Speak To The Brain, for that I had a lot going on (don’t we all) that required my full attention.  However, the biggest reason for my break from blogging, was my oldest, who is no longer a pre-schooler, but now a full-blown Kindergartener!  I, like so many other moms on this planet, was having a difficult time letting go…

My oldest was born a micro-preemie (3 months early, weighing just 1 lb) and as of this past summer, was still not up to par mentally.  Basically, we worried that she wasn’t mature enough to start school.  Academically, we weren’t worried; however, she still acts like a toddler with her defiant bad attitude; in which, her pediatrician feared would get her “kicked out” of Kindergarten.  However, the school administrator ensured me (as if trying to make a commission sale) that all will be fine and that they certainly “do not kick kids out of Kindergarten.”

So, I spent the rest of the summer spending as much time with my oldest as possible trying to prepare her for Kindergarten (and wrapping up the wonderful baby years that I’m so very much going to miss).  Unfortunately, I neglected to prepare myself for Kindergarten.  I was not prepared to tackle my own social anxieties having to talk to teachers and other parents!  I wasn’t ready for the pressures of PTA, parent / teacher conference, and a bunch of social school events.  It’s so totally awkward!  

New Content: Social Anxiety 

Although I am pretty good at keeping my OCD in check, I am faced with a new mental health challenge: social anxiety! 

Okay, I’ve always had social anxiety.   I am the person you invite to a social gathering who kindly accepts, but can’t seem to cross over the threshold, later texting excuses and apologies for not showing up.  Yup, I am that person.  Although I’m much better now- I’ve learned to say “no” up front, rather than string people along on my anxiety ride.

But that’s not the issue.  I am an introvert who has forgotten how to simply say, “hello.” Words either fail to come out of my mouth or awkwardly stumble out of my mouth, making me look like… a dork.  Sometimes I sound rude while other times, I sound like an idiot.  And most of the time, neither of us (in a two-way conversation) knows what I am talking about, with many awkward pauses in between.  Obviously, my social skills are a bit rusty and apparently, I have picked up on some of my husband’s quirky social skills, in which, is driving me crazy.   I am a mess!  But, I guess on the bright-side, I have new content for Speak To The Brain!

Do you have social-anxiety?  What are things that you struggle with socially- words, body language, or thoughts of intense judgement (or all of it)?

I totally look forward to blogging again!  Please be on the look-out for some future posts and remember, your mental health matters too!  Smile and breathe! ❤