Life is tough – But so am I

Haven’t written a blog in almost a month.  We aren’t in the best of places right now.  OCD is running our lives.

OCD sucks

We normally spend almost a week at my in-laws lake house over the 4th of July. This year because the OCD is so bad we decided to only go for two or three nights. After attempting to visit my family for a few days we decided G and I shouldn’t even go. Hubby and my older daughter left on Sunday and we stayed home and did some things here.

Decided to attempt to salvage some family time and G and I drove 3 hours today to be there with them. Should not have gone. She had a little fun but it was more trouble than it was worth. OCD ruined everything and she and I ended up driving home that night. We were gone a total of 12 and 1/2 hours and 6 of them were driving. I hate this miserable disease and all that it is stealing from us. She is getting worse by the day. Our time at Mayo can’t come quick enough. Praying it helps.  And after we got home I ate a bunch of junk food because I stress eat. So now not only was I mad at OCD but I was mad at myself too

Mindset

Focusing on the positive was something I’d been doing well on but it’s been a struggle lately. Things are tough so I’ve been feeling pretty negative. It’s affecting me mentally of course but also physically. I’m tired, achy, grumpy, and just blah. I’m working hard to focus my efforts on positive again because I hate feeling like this and being negative isn’t solving anything!

About a year ago I got this tattoo on my forearm. It stands for courage, strength and faith. I got it so that I can always see it and be reminded that I have these things. Lately I’ve been forgetting.

I’ve been listening to an audio book recently and it talked about having a “headstone” something in front of you, that you see often, to remind you that you are working towards your goals. That is the exact reason I got this tattoo but I haven’t been using it that way lately.

I’ve started reminding myself every time I see the tattoo and it’s helping me to feel stronger mentally.

I’m doing everything I can do be strong for myself and for my family.  Life is not an excuse! Heading to Mayo Clinic next week.  Say a prayer for us!

 

Stop using life as an excuse

Posted by Danielle Springer – Healthy Living on Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Mental Health – Stop the Stigma

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

There are so many myths and misconceptions out there about mental illness. These mislead people and often cause people not to seek treatment.  So much stigma surrounds mental health that people are ashamed or embarrassed by it. depression asthmaSomeone can have asthma because their lungs and airways don’t work quite right.  A person can have diabetes because their body doesn’t produce enough insulin.  Neither of these illnesses are judged or have a stigma attached.  So why is it different because someone brain doesn’t make enough serotonin?

Michelle Obama said “Whether and illness affects your heart, your leg or your mental illnessbrain, it’s still an illness and there should be no distinction”

Misconceptions

So often when someone finds out that my daughter has OCD they say something like “oh so she washes her hands a lot?” or “Her room must be so clean!” Yeah, not so much. This is her room. It looks like a bomb went off. OCD

 

 

 

There are different types of OCD and it is very different for everyone. What my daughter thinks is dirty really isn’t but she loves playing in the dirt and is a big slob. It’s very illogical and that makes it all the harder for all of us to deal with it.

The simplest things in life cause me great anxiety.  I have trouble making a phone smilecall.  I make plans to meet a friend but cancel at the last minute or I just keep declining invitations.  If someone doesn’t answer my text or email quickly I think I did something wrong.  I don’t participate in a group conversation.  Sometimes people think I’m rude for this behavior but it’s the anxiety.  Most days I can fight it and win, or at least fake it pretty well, but some days I’m just too exhausted from the fight.

Stop the Stigma

Please don’t take how the media portrays mental illness as the end all be all. Ask questions, learn about it, and support those suffering.  Offer help.  One of the best things you can say to someone when they share that they are suffering is “How can I help?”  They may turn you down but just asking will make a difference.

Help end the stigma!

A glimpse into life with OCD

A glimpse into life with OCD

It’s been a hard week in our house.  The OCD monster is back with a vengeance.  Dealing with that is causing my anxiety to go through the roof.  It’s been a major struggle to get through a day.   But it has helped to remind me just how much OCDsupport we have.

I’m not looking for pity or sympathy. I’m looking for support and understanding. Don’t judge me when you see my child having a meltdown and I don’t seem to be dealing with it the “right” way. Don’t judge her when you see her do something strange. It might be the only way she can cope with the situation. Until you’ve spent a day in our shoes, don’t judge.  To give you a glimpse of our life, here are some things that happened this week.

Monday

I had my first 504 plan meeting at G’s school.  We’ve always known it needed to be done but the staff worked with us so well we just decided to wait.  Things have gotten bad enough, and she only has one more year at this school, so it was decided to start the process now.   I know it’s what’s needed, and I know the school only has her best interests at heart but it’s so overwhelming to try to lay it all out; makes me feel like a failure.  Every day I have to hear from the staff or other kids about all the things she’s doing “wrong”, all the things she’s struggling with. I know I need to know this stuff, and I ask to be told, but that doesn’t make it any easier to hear.

Tuesday

We spent her lunch time in the office trying to calm her down so she could eat. She was having a melt down because even though she wanted to be in the lunchroom eating lunch she couldn’t. All because the lunch before hers got out a little late and the benches and tables didn’t get wiped down like normal. You might think this is silly (and she knows it’s not logical) but the OCD will not let her and sometimes she’s just not strong enough to fight it. And when I ask her what I can do to help she just screams at me because she is so frustrated because she doesn’t know or understand. Imagine trying to fight a bully 24 hours a day. How many adults are strong enough for that? She’s 8!

They are doing the M-STEP standardized tests this week. After dealing with the lunch problem it was her first day of testing. She couldn’t even step into the computer lab because it wasn’t the same lab they always use. When they were finally able to get her in the room she couldn’t sit in the chair or use the mouse since she didn’t know who touched it before. Once they got her a new mouse and got her going she still had to take this test (standing, by her choice) with all that anxiety. (Thank God our school has such supportive and understanding staff!)

cat camp
Someone doesn’t want her to leave!

Meanwhile, during all of this stress with G, I’m trying to help L get ready to leave for a 2 night camping trip with her school where it’s going to be in the mid-40’s and rain constantly!

Wednesday

Wednesday was a stronger day.  I received so many comments and messages of support I was overwhelmed.  It helps more than people realize. Some times on this journey I feel so alone and I forget how many people have my back and support us.

As usual, I have recess duty 4 days a week. Often people comment about how giftsthey don’t know why I do it. The kids! That’s why. It’s Staff Appreciation week, just out of the blue, a boy handed me a note. “Dear Mrs. Springer, Thank you so much for being a great person and watching the 3rd graders and taking time out of your day” At pickup another boy and mom handed me one of those large Ikea shopping bags and inside was a Costco size bag of coffee (now explains the strange questions about what I like to drink )

Friday

More lunchtime issues but she is able to pull it together and eat lunch in the cafeteria.  After lunch we try to take her to the office, just to talk with her and get her to give us input to help her but she has a meltdown.  First because she thinks she’s in trouble, then it builds because she doesn’t want to talk about it (it’s really hard for her) and all she wants is to go back to class.  I ended up crying on several shoulders that I never would have thought of crying on.

Even with all her issues, G can always make me laugh.

Bedtime conversation with one night:
G: (out of the blue) I’m going to miss you when you’re dead.
Me: um, ok?
G: but I call dibs on your car…… oh! And your jewelry!

The point

I guess my point in all this rambling is just to give you an idea of what we go through.  And to remind everyone that it is OK to ask for help or just to say “I’m not OK” You probably have more support out there than you know.

 

Music and Mental Health

Music and Mental Health

Music can be so powerful.  It can make you smile, laugh and cry.  It can bring back memories.  I know whenever I hear songs from the 90’s I’m taken back to high school sock hops.  Music can be therapeutic too.

Did you know May is Mental Health Awareness Month?  I decided it was the perfect time to share what I call…

My Coming out Story

Obviously now I’m open and posting about my and G’s struggles with mental illness.   Sure didn’t used to be that way.  Instead I was embarrassed and ashamed.  I must have done something wrong for us to be like this.

I remember the turning point for me.  As silly as it might sound, seeing the movie Frozen changed it all.  I still member sitting in the movie theater with tears running down my cheeks.  The whole concept of Elsa hiding her magic, concealing it so others wouldn’t know she was different, just really related for me.  When she sang, “Let it Go”, so many of the lyrics resonated with me.

The Lyrics

“It’s a kingdom of isolation and it looks like I’m the queen” I felt so alone in this battle.

Let it go lyrics
The Lyrics

“The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside. Couldn’t keep it in; Heaven knows I’ve tried” We tried so hard to keep it all in and keep it hidden but it was hurting us and getting harder.

“Don’t let them in, don’t let them see. Be the good girl you always have to be. Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know.”  Don’t let anyone know about our problems.  Be good and keep it hidden.

“I don’t care what they’re going to say. Let the storm rage on. The cold never bothered me anyway” Why are we worrying so much about what other people are going to think?

“The fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all.  It’s time to see what I can do to test the limits and break through” What could I do if I talked about it openly?  How much different could things be?

Let it Go

It really hit home for me that it was time to stop hiding and “Let it Go”.  I was Elsa Let it Goexpending so much energy trying to be “normal” that I should be using to help G, and myself, learn to live with the illness.   Once Elsa embraced her magic, she learned that she could control it and I felt once we embraced our illnesses we could do the same.

Embrace it

Now anxiety and depression are just a part of me, they don’t define me.   OCD is just part of who G is.  She’s 8, she’s blond, and she has OCD.  It just is.  I often relate it to being diabetic.  Our bodies, and a diabetic’s body, don’t produce the right amount of a chemical that we need to function.  We need to learn to modify our life (eating differently, fighting the compulsions) and sometimes take medication to help us; and that’s OK.  There’s no shame, no stigma to physical illnesses.  There shouldn’t be any with a mental illness either.   If I can share our story, our struggles, and our victories and help others who struggle and educate people, why shouldn’t I?  After all, if I don’t speak up, who will?

Do you have a song that really resonates with you?

Back to Basics (I fall off the wagon sometimes too)

Time for some honesty

As I’ve shared previously, I’ve been on a healthy living journey for about 18 months now.  It’s not always easy and I fall off the wagon just like anyone else.  I’m only human after all.

I’ve been going through the motions for a few weeks, probably months now. Things have been rough at home.  My husband has been working late most nights.  G’s OCD has come back just about as bad as before we went to Mayo Clinic (you can read about that here if you are interested). Thankfully, now we have the tools to get her back on track but doing all those exposures is exhausting for her and me.  This leaves me open to falling back into my anxiety and depression, which leads to my bad habits.

I’ve let it get the better of me. While I’ve been getting in my workouts they’ve been half-assed and my eating has been WAY off track.  I’ve resorted to comfort food way too many times.  I don’t know why I believe the peanut butter when it tells me it will make everything better.  What?  I’m the only one who can hear the peanut butter?  I can tell that I’ve slacked, both on the scale and in how I feel.

New day, new attitude

portion fix containersBut that ends today!! I pushed hard in my Hammer & Chisel workout this morning (notice all that sweat on my shirt?) and I got my Portion Fix containers back out. No more half- assed workouts and no more “eyeballing” portions or resorting to comfort food!   Yes, I’m having issues in my home life but that should be a REASON to work out and eat right, not an EXCUSE! I need to be strong to help my little girl and myself!

 

Why am I sharing this?

– For accountability! Yes, I’m a coach but that doesn’t mean I don’t need help.
– Because I’m human! I fall off the wagon too. diminishing intent
– To show you that you can start or start over too, at any time!

You don’t need a New Year or month or whatever. Just a new day! What have you been putting off?  Start now!

Want to join with me? Contact me today and we can do this together!