i’m in love with my sadness

PTSD is the worst. In fact, it is a shitshow. Like Yakov Smirnoff opening for Spin Doctors at the Iowa State Fair kind of shit show. And I know this because I’ve been living with it for almost 5 months now.

Deadpool GIF to go with the Deadpool quote

Five months ago my life was turned upside down (I think that part is pretty clear at this point) and there are still so many times where I find myself questioning if what I am living right now is actually real. I’m a widow who is 4 months away from turning 30 who isn’t working (thanks Corona -__-) and lives in her parents’ basement. Add to that to the fact that the entire world is a hot mess right now (at least I’m not the only one, amirite?) and I haven’t really left said parents’ basement aside from a quick sojourn to Sweet Home Alabama to meet my new nephew. I’ve basically been alone with my thoughts, memories, and quarantine snacks for the last 5+ weeks. And let me tell ya, the memories on repeat aren’t the good ones. So yeah, sounds like fun right?

I have always been the person who uses isolation as a coping mechanism (pretty sure I’ve touched on this a handful of times). I have used this time to justify not going to my weekly therapy sessions, which is probably the biggest mistake I have made so far. I do not recommend this strategy. I have made things worse for myself and I knew it would happen. But fret not, dear friends. I reached out to my therapist today so please don’t get on my case about it. I used to dread my weekly therapy sessions because I would have to acknowledge that witnessing my husband die is arguably one of the worst things that someone could experience and, more importantly, talking it through was really the only thing that would help me cope with the trauma of that night. So I threw caution and logic to the wind and said “to hell with it, everything is shut down and I don’t need to go”. It didn’t take long for me to see how this was a huge mistake. Massive mistake. I couldn’t sleep (still working on that part, btw) and the times I did sleep I would wake myself up crying or yelling or a combination of the two. I would have dreams where I was being charged with Taylor’s death because I didn’t revive him while doing CPR. Even just getting in bed and closing my eyes can trigger the flashbacks to attempting CPR and screaming/pleading with 911 to get there faster. It has been awful. Truly f’ing terrible, to be honest.

It wasn’t until just a few days ago that I was messaging with an old friend and realized the only thing that really helps is talking about it. Talking about all of the horrible things that happened that night and all of the emotions. Talking about the really hard stuff, the details of it all. Basically all of the things that most people don’t feel comfortable talking about. And I get that, it isn’t exactly what people want to hear. To be honest I don’t want to hear it either, my brain just doesn’t seem to cut me any slack. So today, after attempting to go through more of our stuff from storage (that process could be it’s own post entirely) and getting overwhelmed to the point of tears, I knew I had to get back into therapy. I need to have that outlet. It will only make things better. The last time I met with my therapist she was working on connecting me with someone who specializes in EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) therapy. Pretty exciting stuff, right? Stay tuned for that roller coaster ride.

me in therapy

So anyway, that’s my update. It isn’t exactly a great one, seeing as I am basically admitting that I have dropped the ball in a major way, but I have to find a way to hold myself accountable. Even if it means admitting my failure(s) to the entire world (or the 17 of you who actually read my posts). Please don’t be a cotton-headed ninny muggins like me and let your mental health take a back seat right now. Make it a priority. The world is a crazy place right now so don’t let it distract you from what is most important (i.e. YOU). 🙂

-A

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my perfect niece (Charlotte) & nephew (Will). also, guess who gets to finish her sleeve now?! THIS GAL

 

today’s blog title inspiration

**yes I know this is a cover but I really love it and mean no disrespect to The Smashing Pumpkins. It’s a great cover, you should check them out. ;)**

i walk the line

There’s a fine line between social distancing and social isolation. I am really struggling with not plunging myself into the social isolation side of that line. For as long as I can remember my biggest coping mechanism has been isolating myself. Healthy? No. Helpful? Also no. But it’s my go-to.

In 4 days I will be celebrating my four year wedding anniversary. Unfortunately I won’t be celebrating it with my husband. I have been dreading this day since the reality of his death and my situation became clearer in the days after he passed away. I knew that if I isolated myself on April 1st I would risk getting myself into a depression that would seem impossible to get out of. So I made a plan with friends to celebrate and go to all of mine and T’s favorite spots, eat great food, drink (likely one too many) great drinks, and end the night at the Clermont Lounge.

Then COVID-19 came along and completely decimated the plan and has now created the very likely scenario that I will, in fact, spend most of the day solo. I am dreading it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be That Guy who ignores the advice (or orders depending on where you are) to stay home. If the best way to move past this craziness is to stay home then I’ll do it. But I’m pissed.

Luckily I have the best family, friends, and blog readers to help me through it. Honestly this whole situation is following the theme of my life for the past year and a half (or so), which is you never know how quickly things will change. I’m prepared to spend my anniversary solo, or with 9 or less friends while we stay 6 feet away from each other. I have plenty of pickled jalapenos to eat out of the jar and enough Bud Light Lime to last me a few days (just kidding, kind of). I have animals to snuggle with and a blog I should really write more content for (accepting any and all suggestions btw). I’ve already made it 121 days so why stop now?

TK
Miss ya, T

-A

Today’s title inspiration (obviously). Although, not gonna lie, “it’s such a fine line between stupid and clever” was a close second. If you haven’t seen This Is Spinal Tap then drop everything you are doing (probably not much given the current global situation) and watch it. It is one of my all time favorites.

Two word review: Shit Sandwich

Spotify users! I just updated the playlist before posting this! Be sure to follow my obsessive-compulsive diaries playlist for some of my favorite groovy tunes. It is a delightfully random mix of new songs and old songs from a bunch of different genres. It’s a great playlist if you need a good dance party or if you need a cry. Or a crying quarantine dance party.

no need to cry, i already am

This blog has helped me a lot over the past year and I sure hope that continues because I need it. I need all of the help I can get. On November 28th my husband died. He died. And seeing/speaking/typing those words is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

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4/1/2016 (our wedding day)

I’ve lost close family members in my life but the physical and mental pain I am in now is absolutely nothing compared to how I felt during any previous loss. I don’t know what to feel. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know anything anymore. My best friend is gone. The one person who I knew would do anything and everything to keep me from feeling how I feel now is gone.

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Snapchat filter FTW

I’m now part of a group that is almost exclusively reserved for those who are decades older than me. I am a widow. At 29 years old. I hate the word widow. It wasn’t until today that I even said it it out loud.

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Monday was my first day of therapy since losing T. I’m seeing a new therapist, which I feel is for the best because OCD is the least of my worries right now. Am I still struggling with my OCD? Absolutely. In fact, I’d say it’s gotten worse since That Day. But I don’t care. I honestly could not care less. I’m sure this is probably the complete opposite of the advice that should be given but, at this point, if picking or checking or any of the obnoxious/annoying habits my OCD has so graciously given me helps me cope with the loss of my husband then why would I try to stop them? I’m not using the teensy, tiny amount of motivation that keeps me going everyday to stop doing the things that I don’t even realize I’m doing because they are some of the only things that comfort me right now.

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2015

The only piece of good news in this post? I still have that teensy, tiny bit of motivation. Everything I’ve done since the day Taylor died has seemed impossible. I preformed CPR while pleading with a 911 dispatcher to send someone to save my husband. I rode in the ambulance while they were trying to revive him. I cried in the ER after the doctor told me “it was not looking good”. I’ve cried for hours and hours and hours until I fell asleep. I worked with a funeral home to plan a ceremony and cremation. I’ve spent days just existing because losing Taylor still doesn’t feel real. I wouldn’t wish the last two weeks on anyone. It’s been truly awful. But there is still that small bit of motivation that keeps me going.

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Babies in 2012

Live like Taylor. Give 110% to anything and everything you are passionate about. See the best in everyone and be a friend to everyone.

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November 2019
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2018
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2016
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One of my favorite pictures we’ve ever taken, inspired by iconic ATLiens (2019)
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Comparison for reference 

-A

Given the overall depressing nature of this post, I felt it was important to share this information again. If you are struggling with your mental health and need someone to talk to please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or click here to start an online chat for free and confidential support. You can also contact the Crisis Text Line via SMS message at 741-741 for free crisis intervention. *please note that the numbers listed above are available resources to those in the United States*

hello it’s me

today’s blog title inspiration

When I tell you that I have started the process of writing this blog post for months that is no exaggeration. I started one back in May by writing it down on paper but then I lost said paper and used that as an excuse to just give up. I didn’t want to give up on the blog, necessarily, but kept putting this intense pressure on myself to come up with a blog post that is helpful and not just me rambling to come up with content. I have had intense writer’s block for the better part of 2019. Actually, I’d describe it more like writer’s anxiety. I started this blog over a year ago (time flies when you’re constantly picking your fingers!) when I was officially diagnosed with OCD in August 2018 to raise awareness/laugh at my struggles but I had no idea that a few months later I would be struggling with such a deep depression that I would cry before I got out of bed every morning. I am not lying when I say my life has taken a complete 180 since August 2018. I was open about my struggles when I started treatment late last year. Once I left the program I decided to take a leap of faith and hit the reset button on life. I left my job and started working part-time, which turned into a full-time gig (which I could create an entirely new blog post on because I’ve never experienced things randomly work out so perfectly). I spent so much time thinking of all the things that could go wrong if I followed through with leaving my job that I didn’t consider the positives. My goal here isn’t to encourage people to make major life changes based on my experience. However, if I hadn’t pushed myself out of my comfort zone, I don’t know where I would be today. I don’t mean that in a bad way, I just don’t know if I would be in the positive, supportive place that I’m in now. I spent so much of my life (basically all of it seeing as how I’ve been checking for as long as I can remember) thinking that Anxious was a normal state of mind that it gives me anxiety to not have any anxiety (so much free time?? What do I do??). Sometimes it is worth taking the risk, no matter how scary and terrifying. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Don’t worry, friends. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder never leaves. It’s an unwelcome guest that has overstayed its welcome but can’t take a hint. Do I still check the door before I leave? Yes. Do I still make sure all electronics are unplugged before I walk out the door? Heck yeah. Do I still pick my fingers endlessly? ABSOLUTELY I DO. I am torn because I would rather my life not be a giant ball of anxiety but without the anxiety how would I have content for this blog..? 

-AK

PS: Back in May, when I took pen to paper to physically write a post (that I never typed or published), I wrote something that simultaneously stuck with me and made me laugh at my lame humor: “Basically I am a Mean Girl to myself. I am both Cady and Regina (and also Karen).”

 

 

It has been 364 days since this post, which is mind blowing to me. If you’re reading this, please know that I am so incredibly grateful for your support.

Umm, let me have my life, I want it

today’s blog title inspiration*

I’ve been thinking a lot about my next move here on the blog. I know this started as a blog to document/entertain the masses (all 14 of you) about life with OCD but ever since I experienced my elegant fall from grace (please note that I may or may not have renamed my experience so it sounds more blog worthy) I feel like it is important that I share what I experienced to help anyone who might find them in the same unfortunate situation.

So here is the first warning that if you are ONLY interested in OCD content then you might want to go ahead and say thank u, next on my article because I am once again going off topic.

There is a reason I chose this song lyrics from Omaha Stylee by 311 for this blog title, I promise. You’ve stood by my side this long so no sense is leaving now…

One of the biggest things I was forced to deal with during my time in the intensive outpatient program was, and I quote, “what do I gain from my illness?”…well, tbh, I don’t gain a single thing. There is not one single thought or experience that I can recall where I benefitted. I was miserable, honestly, and on top of that, I was putting on a front of being okay. When I was faced with the question of what I gained during my depression my immediate reaction is being defensive and slightly offended because I never wanted to experience that low. No one wants to experience depression. Or anxiety or any mental illness. Society is still so hesitant to discuss and acknowledge mental illness that it is easier to sweep it under the rug. Well, I am here to try and stop this nonsense. I loathe sweeping and I definitely hate sweeping under anything (furniture, rugs, etc…) to clean up a mess so let’s just get it all out now.

What did I “gain” from my illness? I gained a very warped sense of comfort. I am a creature of habit (which is where OCD ties back in) because I would rather stay in an uncomfortable situation that I am familiar with than risk stepping outside of that comfort zone. THIS MAKES NO SENSE and I know that! What’s the worst that could happen if I step out of the comfort zone that provides me zero comfort? In fact, now that I am typing it out for the masses (again, thank the 14 of you who are my ride or dies), it truly makes no sense. But this is a huge thing. I am not the only one who would rather stay uncomfortable in my “comfort zone” and at least know that I am going to be uncomfortable for the foreseeable future than risk taking the teeniest, tiniest step outside of that zone and discover that I am comfortable in this new zone.

I hope the above makes sense. I’m still trying to figure all of this out so please excuse any nonsensical ramblings.

So there it is, friends. If you find yourself in a similar situation then I encourage you to try and answer the question “what am I gaining?”, because even though the word gain makes it sound like a positive when it really isn’t, this exercise could provide you the opportunity to discover something about yourself. For example, I discovered that I am a creature of habit. I will stay in the familiar, no matter how painful, before I try branching out. Stepping outside of my comfort zone is the only thing that I could do to start the recovery process.

You when you realize I might be right 😉

Anyway, keep this in mind friends. I promise I won’t lead you astray.

These pictures help illustrate how treatment has changed me for the better. Full disclosure, they all involve Snapchat filters and in the first two pictures I took my glasses off and chose temporary blindness over the ability to see because I really dislike wearing glasses.

-AK

*Amazing how a random song lyrics (although it is important to know I’m a pretty big 311 fan) can really speak to you, huh? Also, I couldn’t find a decent GIF and/or image that I felt deserved to represent Omaha Stylee…** 

**This might be the only time I show my full support for Omaha. No offense to any Nebraskans, I would just rather be anywhere other than the midwest unless I am storm chasing…***

***Please note I was born and raised in Georgia, still live in Georgia, and am completely aware of the state’s downfalls. But it is much closer to the beach than Nebraska so IMO it reigns supreme. 

 

it works if you work it

For my first blog post of 2019, I want to take a quick second to thank you all for your support. This project I started back in August to document my success and struggles with OCD morphed into a way for me to see how depression, which is something I wasn’t really even aware I was struggling with, had pulled me down. Way down. When I create a picture in my head of where I was October through December of last year it looks exactly like the deepest, darkest parts of the ocean where the pressure is so intense that not much can survive aside from blobfish and the weird fish with the dangly light coming from their head (just did a quick Google search and discovered those are called angler fish and they truly are nightmare fuel, so proceed with caution…).

I have been in treatment (and recovery!) for depression for 43 days. There are still days where I struggle or don’t feel like myself but when I think back to where I was just a few months ago I can feel a difference.

There are two big things I have learned over the past 43 days. The first is how many ways my depression was manifesting but I failed to see it as a warning sign. For example, I stopped cleaning the house, doing laundry, and caring about how I looked. I stopped finishing projects that I started, no matter how small they were. And I also kept telling myself that I was fine when I knew that I really wasn’t. I didn’t ask for help because I still kept telling myself I could get better on my own. This entire experience has really helped me. I urge anyone who might find themselves in a similar situation to take the first step (which I know is scary but if you already Googled an angler fish you can handle almost anything) and ask for help. The second thing, which may help anyone struggling with reaching out, is that there are free support groups for those who feel overwhelmed by their emotions and don’t know what to do.

For anyone interested, I highly recommend Emotions Anonymous. It is a 12-step program based on the steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. For more information check out this link. To find an EA meeting near you, click here. You can also contact me if you have any questions about my experience with EA or the overall calamity I have experienced for the past 4 months. At this point, I am pretty much an open book.

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I have completed step 1 🙂

Lastly, since this is technically a blog about OCD, I would like to report that I straightened my hair today for the first time in years. This is a pretty BFD (big forking deal) because the first thought that crept into my mind was that by straightening my hair instead of curling it something terrible was bound to happen. It could have been the lack of sleep that caused me not to care about the possibility of impending doom but I like to think it was because after 43 days I am finally feeling like myself.

-A

If you are struggling with your mental health and need someone to talk to please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or click here to start an online chat for free and confidential support. You can also contact the Crisis Text Line via SMS message at 741-741 for free crisis intervention. *please note that the numbers listed above are available resources to those in the United States*

 

 

 

choose not a life of imitation

It’s been a while since I’ve posted and part of that is because I have been busy, but mostly I wanted to be strategic about how I share what is going on. It’s no secret that I have anxiety and OCD. That is why I started this blog. I use my own humor and sarcasm to help cope with everything, which up until recently had worked. But another way I cope is by closing off and bottling up. The worse I feel, the quieter I stay (spoiler alert: this never ends well).

Me playing it totes cool when things are, in fact, not totes cool.

It’s no secret that 2018 has been a hard year. I’ve struggled with just about everything that’s been thrown my way. Last Thursday was when I finally reached the tipping point. I had a phone session with my therapist. She urged me to go get an assessment at a mental health institute. She knew I wasn’t suicidal but she held firm on her wish for me to be evaluated. My first thought was how to tell my family. I’ve been closed off, pretending I was fine when I really, really wasn’t, and now I had to explain to my parents and my husband (who was out of state for work) that I needed to be evaluated ASAP {as possible}. Not tomorrow or over the weekend. I needed it now/yesterday/a week ago. I knew they would be blindsided. Everyone likes to think, myself included, that if we had a family member or close friend in crisis that they would know that they could come to me with zero judgement. But when the crisis comes and you’ve spent so much time and energy pretending that things are ok it’s a completely different game. After work, my mom picked me up and took me to the facility. We got there at 8:45. We waited. My brother brought me something to eat and hung out with us in the waiting room.  After being evaluated and hearing the treatment plan that the doctor recommended it was almost 5:00 am. My mom was still there. My brother was still there. They came in and heard from the clinician what the doctor felt was best. Partial hospitalization. It didn’t (and still doesn’t, honestly) feel real. It seems like such an extreme measure for someone who is just going through a difficult time. The problem was that I had surpassed difficult time.  I wasn’t a danger to myself or others but I wasn’t in a good space. I was in a terrible space and no matter how hard I tried nothing seemed to pull me out of it.

I’m still totally new to what is going on (I started yesterday) and I’m not going to lie, there are multiple times a day that I still think I can do this on my own. The truth is that I can’t, though, and I am in a situation where I can take the much needed time to work on myself. I hope that anyone reading this who happens to find themselves in a similar situation (ideally that would be no one but the reality is that it is highly likely), please know that you aren’t in it alone. Trust me. I write a blog chronicling my struggle with anxiety and OCD (depression has been the added bonus!) but I still felt like I was alone. Keep in mind that at the very least you have the girl who fumbles through a blog (and life, tbh ¯\_(ツ)_/¯) who can relate. Don’t ever be ashamed of what you need to do in order to take care of your mental health.

I’m here to be your biggest fan…*looks around hoping someone appreciates my dad joke*

So what does this mean for my irregular blog posts? Well, hopefully, I can share what has helped me start feeling like I am back in control and healthy coping mechanisms to use when things start taking a turn for the negative (turns out humor/sarcasm isn’t exactly on that list). But don’t you worry one bit because this entire episode has been the accelerant that my OCD craved. Much to my dismay, it is thriving.  For example, today while driving home I was passed by two fire trucks when I was a mile or two away from my house. They were driving in the direction I go to get to my house (so not towards my house, there is a distinct difference) and I felt the panic start because surely my house was on fire and that is why those two fire trucks were driving in that direction.

I should know that the fire scenario highly unlikely because I unplugged almost everything before I left this morning (and was late, as usual) and made two additional trips to check that things were unplugged between my front door and my car. So yeah, blog content won’t be an issue.

For today I will leave you with this: since I am trying to have a more positive outlook on things, at the very least now I can say I’m the jolliest asshole this side of the nuthouse and it is a fact.

I know I used this in my last post but it was too good of an opportunity to use it again.

-A

If you are struggling with your mental health and need someone to talk to please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or click here to start an online chat for free and confidential support. You can also contact the Crisis Text Line via SMS message at 741-741 for free crisis intervention. *please note that the numbers listed above are available resources to those in the United States*