Author Archives: Gamayun

Struggling with OCD Habits

Lately my bipolar moods have been pretty under control. I’m fairly stable there.

But my OCD-habits are flared out of control. It is not the major things I first wrote about, like when I would have to check that my doors were locked three times, to ensure that I knew for sure it was locked.  These are minor things, but perhaps all the more annoying.

Number one of habits that is causing me trouble–I cannot stop picking at the skin on my fingers or the thin layer of skin on my lip. It is a nervous habit that I had been broken of, but due to stress (which triggers a lot of my habits and medical conditions), I have started again. I have not done it for a while, but recently it has been stirred up. This would be something I could deal with–except it is nearing winter. And I have a major problem with my skin cracking and bleeding in cold weather. So it further compounds the severity of this annoying habit that I just have to do, even though I know it is not good for my health.

Like right now, as I sit and write this blog, I am seriously struggling not to pick at the skin on my fingers or to peel at the layer of skin on my lower lip. It is not healthy and it makes it difficult to eat or drink, or cook (should I get any sauce or juice onto my hands it burns in the peeled off skin; and should I try drinking beverages without being careful, it hurts my lip), let alone considering how it makes me look when I cannot stop this habit as easily as a normal person.

I know logically it is the stress making me do this. Stress triggers my OCD in a major way, just like my bipolar becomes less manageable in stress. And my OCD habits stress me out further. And stress from all of this combined triggers my eczema. And the eczema makes me freak out and itch…which just further swings my OCD habits into extremes. All in all a vicious cycle–started and ended with my OCD nervous habits.

So right now I’m struggling to contain my nervous habits. It’s a struggle, one that some days I come out on top of, while other days I probably come out the worse. However, I can recognize that at least it was better than it used to be for me. That is a small win, even in the midst of all my stresses.

Bram Stoker, “Dracula”

Despair has its own calms.

Difficulties

One thing I have trouble with is knowing that I have to keep taking my medicine.

Lately I’ve been feeling great, so my mind is telling me I don’t need them anymore. But I know better. It’s one of the things my psychologist warned me about. I have to keep taking my medication, or I could have a massive plummet to my stability. But it’s something that is troublesome. I have to consciously think that everything will not remain stable if I stop taking my medication.

And lately I’ve just been having trouble with it. My brain keeps telling me, “Oh you’re fine. You don’t need the pills.” Which I know isn’t true. I need them, or I’ll go off the rails.

It’s a bit of a struggle for me lately. I just have to get through this, and remember that I need to keep taking my medication to make myself healthy.

Thinking about going public

I’m debating going to a local NAMI meeting.

But I’m terrified of public meetings and people.

And germs. And touching people.

And really just everything to do with social situations.

So I don’t know if I should do it.

Has anyone else gone to NAMI things, or any other type of community support-style group for mental illness? Would you like to tell me what it is like?

My Baby

Rose

Rose – my baby cat

This is my baby.

She’s 17 years old.

She’s one of the best coping mechanisms that I have for dealing with all the stresses that bipolar and OCD cause me. When I’m having a bad day she helps calm me down. When I’m seriously on edge she’ll just curl up like this with me and purr her little heart out to tell me that everything is okay. (Yes, I know that cats don’t purr for those reasons. But still, it’s all fine and I’ll attribute that to it, and it helps me fine that way) And her being close and curled up with me just helps me quite a bit.

I don’t know what I’d do without this little snuggle-bug in my life. She makes my life better in so many ways.

How to be a good friend to someone with bipolar disorder

Gamayun:

This. This is some of the things I’ve wanted to tell my family, but haven’t had the words for it.

Originally posted on The Prozac Queen's Court:

(I’m publishing this again because I found a new resource that I think will be *immensely* helpful, both to you and your friend. Thanks to Healthline.com for bringing this to my attention!-PQ)

Hi, I’m [river in Ireland] (*cue twelve-step group greeting here*), and I have bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression. To people who have known me for a long time, this isn’t usually much of a shock. Actually, I take that back. People who have known me and been close enough to have seen some rough times aren’t usually that surprised.  As for everyone else, my friendly and talkative exterior can hide pretty much anything I want it to.  I’ve had to use this skill a lot in the past because I have had some people find out that I have bipolar and not be very nice about it. I think my favorite comment was that I was…

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Jokes and Coping

I’m one of those people that most in the online mental-health community hate. And by that, I mean hate vehemently.

I have CDO

I have a little wall plaque that says this on it, that I keep hanging on my closet door in my room. And I joke about my OCD constantly. I think that my friends and coworkers all just think I have it in the sense of the phrasing, “I’m so OCD, I had to organize my books in order today.” You know, the usual joking that makes one wince because they clearly have no clue what OCD really is. I don’t think any of them realize that I really do have OCD and on some days, even with medication, I really struggle to play at being normal so I won’t be bothered by them about my “weird habits”.

And lest anyone think I’m only making fun of one of my disorders, I will joke about my bipolar as well. I live in the larger Seattle area (people outside the area think it’s all Seattle, but it isn’t). It’s a pretty well-known local joke that the weather here is crazy, one minute it is rainy, then its sunny. So I’ll even joke about the weather reflecting my moods and how they change. Of course, friends will say the weather is “bipolar”. I usually just laugh them off, there isn’t a point to explaining it every time someone makes a crack comment. And sometimes I just don’t feel like trying to explain what bipolar really is.

It’s always put me off a bit about the vehement hatred towards these jokes.

Now, on the one hand I get just as annoyed when I see some idiot teenager who is online “lol-ing” it up about how they’re sooo bipolar, because they were upset they got into a fight with their boyfriend. Or the ones who joke when they post a photo of a restaurant tiled floor pattern with one tile out of order and then say they hate it, so that makes them OCD. I get annoyed as anyone else with this, because their playing light about it is something that takes away from everyone who really does suffer from these things. And teenagers are just generally idiots (gods, and I know I was just as bad as them a few years ago)–so their moronic posts and circling the wagons to protect their self-diagnoses of normal teenage emotions is just annoying.

On the other hand, for those who truly do suffer from mental illness, I do not see something wrong with them having a joke. For me, to make light at times of my OCD and bipolar–of exactly how much they affect my life–helps me keep myself in perspective and helps me stay positive about the fact that I am never going to be cured. I can cope, get help and manage my mental illnesses, but I’ll never be cured. There’s no hope of that. And to really think about that is rather depressing. So I joke about myself to lighten the mood for myself, and to make myself remember that the world does not end…that I can function and be a productive member of society, even if I am odd in certain ways.

And yet I’ve seen dozens of people lambast others with diagnoses, who are clearly not teenagers just playing for attention, for choosing to joke at times to help cope with what they deal with on a daily basis. I guess it just disheartens me, because I know how much a lighthearted joke on occasion helps me feel normal. It is so rare that I ever get to feel that way, that my little jests at myself help me feel like I belong to society at large. Especially considering how little my friends and family really understand what I have, sometimes these jokes help them to see that I’m not just “crazy”, I’ve still got normalcy to me.

I know I’m probably in the minority there, because I really do not mind the jokes, and I use them to make my life feel a bit happier.

I guess this has just been weighing on me for a while, and I wanted to put my thoughts out there.

I have to hope that I’m not the only person out there who genuinely has a mental illness and will at least occasionally joke about it as a coping mechanism.

Mini Hiatus and Back Again

I didn’t mean to be gone so long.

My computer was basically destroyed, and so I had to rebuild it. I did mention that about a month ago.

But then, right when I was going to begin blogging again, I had a bit more come up.

See, then I had things come up with living with my mom and in trying to figure out how to move further north to satisfy both our work commute needs. See, we had to give notice right after my computer failed. And then we spent the next 2 weeks trying to find a place to live. And once we finally found one, we were packing, and then moving, and now I’ve been unpacking. So I’ve just been so busy, I haven’t been able to blog.

I also went back to my doctor for the first time in months, which was fun. She was not so thrilled that I went off my meds cold back when my insurance was gone, but she understood why I had to do that. She was glad to see that I’m doing better again now though. That’s good. Of course, I’m super stressed due to the move and unpacking, which I despise with a passion. And it’s flaring my OCD, because nothing is where it should be…but it should all settle down slowly once we have time to put things back in their new places.

I just wanted to let you all know that I am still here, and I’m going to try and blog a bit more frequently, once I’ve got time (days off, or in the evening after I get off work most likely).

Technical Difficulties

I’m just going to apologize for lack of posting.

I was going to start posting again this week, but then things happened.

Namely — my computer crashed. So until I get it back, I won’t be able to post anything.

I’ll be back once I get my computer up and running again. But for now I’m on a mini-hiatus.

Lack of Posts

Sorry everyone!

I have been super busy with my new schedule.

I get up at 5am every day, to drive 1.5 hours up to Bellevue for my new job. I start at 8am, but I have to leave earlier, by 6am, so I can ensure to avoid most of the traffic and be on time for work. Then I work until 4.30pm. I then spend 2 hours or 2.5 hours in traffic on my way back home from Bellevue. So I have a 12 hour day, from 6am leaving to work and getting home at 6pm.

It’s been stressful, but I love my new job. It’s customer service. And I get to use my German-language skills.

One downside is that some things do trigger minor OCD-behaviors in me at work. I try to keep my desk in order, but it’s a bit difficult right now, since I haven’t been moved to my official desk yet. Once I’ve gotten settled in there, I think I’ll be able to be better off on the habits front.

But for right now, I’m trying to make sure that my new coworkers don’t notice too much unusual in what I do. I don’t need to hide it, but it does make it a bit easier if I’m seen as being more “normal”. No one at work knows I’m bipolar, but it has slipped out that I have OCD.

I don’t mind coworkers knowing. That isn’t it at all. I’m far more interested in just getting through the day without people bothering me too much.

I’m going to enjoy this job though.

Once I’m more settled in, I’ll have some more time to blog. I’ll have the time to blog, especially with my new schedule.