if i need to rearrange my particles i will for you

It’s been a while since I started a post without a “this is going to be a bummer/no positive updates over here” disclaimer but I am happy to report that things have changed. Kind of…this actually isn’t a complete bummer of an update but it might make you feel some feels, which is completely understandable. I’ve been feeling the feels since I started working on it a few weeks ago…

I’ve worked my way up to brewing at work (I work at a brewery, which is a relevant detail) and earlier this year had the incredible opportunity to brew on a collaboration with Bottleshare, the same organization that worked with my brewery to create a fundraiser to help me after Taylor died. There is absolutely nothing about the last two and a half years of my life that I ever expected to happen. As far as I was concerned I had my life planned out without really accepting it could all change. And…that’s exactly what happened. My life took a drastic change for the worse. But then there was a group of folks who came in when I needed it the most. A bunch of people were just there. They were there for me, there for our family. Just there to make sure we all made it to see another day. The family and friends who helped pack and organize a move so I never had to go back to mine and Taylor’s house. The friends who, without any hesitation, came to visit me every day after work to make sure I wasn’t alone all while dealing with their own grief over losing T. There are so many people who may have known me but might not have known Taylor,  or may not have known me but did know Taylor, who donated to the fundraiser that helped me survive the worst thing ever. This collaboration was my chance to give back and attempt to return the support and love I felt after losing my husband. Losing your spouse shouldn’t be anything anyone experiences. It’s really, really shitty and I wish I didn’t have the firsthand knowledge to confirm it. If there is any positive from this post it’s to know you can help folks who find themselves in the unimaginable situation I was in back in 2019. The collaboration I was part of helps other people in the industry who are experiencing a hardship. I honestly don’t think there is any way for me to express how thankful I am for the support I received after Taylor died. It took a lot of stress off of my plate and I’m so grateful to be here to experience everything coming back full circle. Now get ready for a bunch of pictures because I am feeling all of the feelings ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Taylor and I having a beer at SSBC with some of our favorite folks

I sure do miss that guy more than anything and I know I’m not the only one who feels that way. Taylor had a way of making sure everyone was having a great time and it is still hard to believe we’ve spent two and a half years without that positive, fun-loving person here with us.

The collab crew, minus a few out of town folks

I feel like it is only fair that I give you an update on my life and unfortunately that is where this post takes a turn like the last ones (unless you felt all of the feelings with the pics earlier). Things are….ok? I’m in a much better place than the last two and a half years but I’m still dealing with the OCD and the anxiety, depression, and insomnia that I’ve had since Taylor passed away. But I’m doing my best to work on it and that should be good enough. It is for me, at least, and it has taken me a long time to feel comfortable saying it.

Pretending like I have it all together. Or not. My face says otherwise

What an update, amirite? Probably not where you expected it to go, although TBH it’s probably better than the last few posts, but I hope it was still helpful. Or inspirational. Or whatever the point of my writing has been. Regardless, cheers to Taylor, to my incredible family and friends, and to every single person who was able to lend support with this collaboration. It was the most fun I’ve had at work in a long, long time ever. And that is a pretty great feeling.

Collaboration label. The beer release was on 2/22/22, the week of the brewery’s 90’s themed anniversary party

If you are interested in donating to Bottleshare, follow this link and let ‘er rip tater chip. If you’re over the age of 21, live in the Atlanta area/can pick up your online order, and want to buy a 4 pack of our collab beer then follow this link. If you want to support the cause but maybe can’t donate or purchase please feel free to share this post. I’ll be forever grateful and I know that the folks Bottleshare helps going forward will feel the same. Let’s raise glasses and save asses!! 

For more information/updates on Bottleshare check out their Facebook and Instagram pages. If, for whatever reason, you want updates on this big ol’ loser and some of the beer stuff I work on then give me a follow on Instagram.

A

I know I usually include the title inspiration at the beginning of my posts but it felt weird this time because the song really hits close to home with how Taylor died. Please give it a listen, though. It is absolutely worth it

the update nobody asked for

Featured

Well it’s been a year and a half and I am happy to report that I am back (after much turmoil involving this account) and I wish I could tell ya this was going to be a super inspirational post but tbh it probably isn’t. Or at least it isn’t going to start that way. So buckle up, my dudes.

 I’m going to say something that no one wants to hear but I know anyone who’s experienced loss will agree with: if I can’t go back and prevent Taylor from passing away then I’d take the next “best” thing. Going back to the weeks after he died where I didn’t have to move on. Just existing was enough. I didn’t have to worry about accomplishing anything aside from physically getting out of bed to show I wasn’t going to let the overwhelming depression get the best of me. The problem is that overwhelming depression and sadness never goes away. It’s been almost two years and I still struggle, especially this time of year. It doesn’t get any easier, it just gets manageable to the point it looks like I have it all together. If you know me, and even if you don’t I’ll go ahead and let you know anyway, I do not have it all together.

They say comparison is the thief of joy and, let me tell ya, it’s the honest truth. Even before November 28, 2020, which marked a year since Taylor died, I was berating myself for not having my shit together like most people my age. I didn’t have a house or a family. I’d spent most of the summer sitting on the couch and watching every cooking show available because COVID drastically changed the taproom operations of the brewery I work at. I had so much free time and I still didn’t have anything to show for it. For some reason I was putting the pressure on myself that I would never put on anyone else (this is not the first time this has happened). And honestly I’m probably being way too hard on other people without knowing what they might be going through. It all takes me back to that awful day in December 2019, shortly after Taylor died, when I went to Target to try and get a few Christmas presents for my family. I was so overwhelmed by ALL OF THE THINGS that I froze in the middle of the store. Everyone was in a hurry, everyone was so excited about the upcoming holiday that I couldn’t keep up and my body physically froze in an isle and I started crying. That was one of the many low points I’ve had in the last two years. I never want to be the person who makes someone feel the way I did in that Target. I’ve learned a lot about myself the last year and I truly think the biggest takeaway is remembering how I felt that day and knowing, at the very least, the best thing I can do to help someone else struggling is to be patient and understanding. There was nothing anyone could have done to help me. I just needed a minute to catch up. And I did. It just took way, way longer than the minutes I spent in that stupid aisle crying surrounded by strangers buying Christmas presents. I am still catching up, I just don’t need to stop and cry it out as often. And I definitely don’t let my stupid OCD brain try and tell me that I am falling behind on all of the life milestones when I made it through absolute hell November 2019

It is almost impossible for me to tell you the significance of me finally being able to log in to this blog today. Two years ago today this picture was taken.

Both of the people in this picture were struggling. We were overwhelmed and depressed and didn’t know how we would ever get out of it. The problem is I didn’t realize the struggle Taylor was dealing with. Part of it was his pride, but the kind of pride where you feel like you have to be the support for everyone else, and part of it was me being so wrapped up in my own shit that I didn’t really see how much he needed help. I have spent so many days and nights thinking about anything and everything I could have and should have done differently that night. Things were bad. Since I can’t go back and change the past, no matter how much I would if I could, the best thing I can do now is to use whatever tiny platform I have to tell anyone who will listen to reach out. Reach out if you are worried about someone. Reach out if you need to talk or if you are struggling. Just please, please reach out. Life is crazy and there is absolutely no reason any of us should be doing it alone.

please don’t stop reading now because I still have more to say and it isn’t quite as depressing

Oh yea! This is a blog about OCD. I almost forgot since I haven’t created content, especially OCD related content, in so long. It’s actually kind of funny and I’m sure someone way smarter than me with some sort of fancy degree would be able to explain why the obsessions and compulsions seemed to take a back seat after losing T. I only have a geography degree but I can confirm that the obsessions and compulsions took a back seat. HOWEVER I can also confirm that they have started to slowly creep their way back in the more comfortable I feel. Comfortable? I don’t know if that’s the right word. The more normal? I don’t know how to describe it but I’m hoping y’all know what I mean. I started working full time again (hello production team!) which meant I was back to a routine. I have the distraction of work, which is great. But as we all know with the great comes the bad and, for me at least, the bad meant I started using work as an excuse to ignore all of the things I knew I couldn’t ignore forever. For example, I have started checking to make sure the stove is off before I leave for work (this actually poses even more of an issue because I have to be at work at 7:00am and my ability to sleep has not improved at all. My picking has gone into overdrive. Sooo I think it’s safe to say I’ve been distracting myself from truly dealing with/feeling the things I know I need to deal with/feel. 

Took this right after putting this post together to prove the picking is still just as bad as ever

I’m not sure where this post was supposed to go. It has been so long that I kind of just combined the 5+ notes I created on my phone when I couldn’t sleep for the last year and a half. I suppose it was more of a venting session to show I am doing my best but also because I know I’m not the only one who feels like they are just doing their best right now. Doing our best is better than doing nothing and I am in no place to tell you otherwise. Personally, I think doing my best is better than doing nothing at all because doing nothing at all just made me feel even worse. The biggest thing is that I know I am going to be ok and I hope anyone else going through a rough patch knows they will be ok too.

-A

**Things got a bit real in this post and I feel like it is important to include this information** 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*

I hope you’re still here because I had to add this little at the end of all the serious stuff because it made me laugh out loud when I realized I had to update my About Me since I am no longer a twenty-something. Time flies ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Spotify users! Be sure to follow my UPDATED SUPER AWESOME 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 dance party.

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. ;)**

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. 

 

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*

 

 

when your OCD wins

Well, well, well what do you know? Looks like my blog about OCD is actually getting back to being a blog about OCD. Today’s overshare (kidding, of course, seeing as how I do this willingly) is inspired by a post from my friend over at Yeah OCD.

I know the fears that fuel my anxiety (which turns into compulsive checking) are irrational. I know that. I know my front door is locked. I know I unplugged my curling iron. But what about the times where I didn’t unplug the curling iron? Or I accidentally let one of the cats out? Or I didn’t lock the door? Or check to make sure the burners on the stove were off? On the off chance one of my OCD fears becomes a reality, I don’t just go back to starting over. I go further back as if I started a race a few seconds early and was forced to move my starting line back in return (and, for the record, I don’t like participating in any event that involves a starting line).

Having to start over AND start further behind is incredibly difficult. The OCD won and it uses every opportunity to remind me of it.

OCD reminding me about that one time I forgot to do that one thing back in 2009 as I am walking to my car.

If I leave my curling iron on in the morning and discover it when I get home my first feeling isn’t reassurance that the house is fine and everything ended up being okay. It is a complete guilt trip turned panic attack because I didn’t check enough. Now, instead of checking 2 or 3 times before I can leave the house (and by that I mean leave the neighborhood because there have been many, many times where I turn around to go back and check before I’ve left the complex) I will check 4 or 5. And then, even after I am in the car, the OCD is in the back of my head reminding me about the time I left the curling iron on and plugged, even if it was years ago. There is no expiration date on these things, which I would argue is one of the hardest parts of living with OCD.

I am okay. I’ll just be sure to stress about this for eternity.

I actually left one of my cats out in 2011 and still, every time I leave the house will watch my feet as I open and close the door. Go back in and check to make sure she is in there. Look through the windows to see if she is still inside. It is a really, really crappy way to live. I know what I am doing is irrational but checking is the only thing that eases my anxiety. And if that doesn’t help then I have a backup plan.

On a completely unrelated and much happier note, today is the day after Thanksgiving which means only one thing: ya girl is decorating for Christmas. Some people spend their post-Thanksgiving time waiting for hours in line surrounded by strangers (my literal nightmare) to possibly, but probably not likely, get a deal on a new TV.

plasma tv

But not me. I freakin’ love decorating for Christmas. Come Friday my house will be filled with candles that smell like fresh cut Christmas trees, Elf and Christmas Vacation on repeat, and a custom holiday playlist that includes some of my favorite Christmas songs, such as this Hanson staple, anything from this album, and most definitely this 1994 classic.

-A

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