I’m obsessive (but not compulsive).

It’s been a few months since the last post, so let’s just jump right into the happiness of all you’ve missed.  We’re up to 132 tubes of blood and I get 4 more taken in a couple of weeks.  I tried Prednisone for a while.  It helped with the mystery disease pain, but not enough to make the side effects worth it.  What side effects, you ask?  The constant, pounding headache was so bad that I was ready to rip out an eye just so I could watch it thump.  Then there were the sweats that were 5 times as bad as the hot flashes during menopause.  Ask me how many times I wet my pants.  Go ahead.  Ask me.  The answer is that I don’t know because I stopped counting at 10.  Oh my Lord in Heaven, I would hit the restroom right before I left work, drive the measly 7 miles to my house, and then wet myself before I could get the door unlocked.  It’s just like when the farting starts right after you turn 50:  no warning whatsoever.  Needless to say, we won’t be doing Prednisone again.  I’ve also had something that’s been trying to bite me in the butt for the past couple of months.  It finally did it about a week and a half ago.  My digestive system was in an uproar.  I never did have the upchucks, but I sure felt like I was going to 24/7.  I can handle anything except feeling nauseous.  I am such a baby about that, but with all the pain and crud I deal with every day, I figure I can be a baby about something.  I couldn’t stand the thought of eating.  Up until a couple of days ago I was eating bland foods and not much at all.  I finally started feeling better yesterday and ate two bowls of homemade chili from the freezer.  Yes, I lost my mind.  I was so sick last night that I went to bed early.  Wouldn’t you think I would have had better sense?  But I felt fine this morning, made it to work, and am still doing okay tonight.  So maybe, hopefully, I’m finished with this stuff.

So hey, Debby, how’s the book going?  Don’t ask.  (That should tell you everything you need to know.)

In the meantime, I spent several minutes today putting the cash in order in my billfold.  Besides the diagnoses of chronic depression and PTSD, I also have a diagnosis of Obsessive (but not Compulsive) Disorder.  Instead of OCD, I’m just OD.  As you can imagine, having one less initial makes me feel oh so superior.  Ha-ha, not really.  🙂  Anyway, what it boils down to is that I’m obsessive about things being a certain way, but I don’t have to make them that certain way over and over again throughout the day.  For example, someone who’s only OD might have to wash her hands at exactly 3:08 PM every day (that’s obsessive), but not have to wash them every 10 minutes all day long (that’s compulsive).  About the cash….my money has to be in ascending order by amount with the singles in front and with the heads all facing up so they can breathe.  Yep, you read that right.  I have to be sure that all the heads can breathe.   Otherwise, I can’t rest or think about anything else until I fix them.  If there’s change in my pocket, I will have my hand in there, too, making sure the change is stacked with heads facing up.  Again, I have to be sure that all the heads can breathe.

Any tissues in my pocket have to be folded in a certain way and NEVER EVER wadded up, even if they’ve been used.  I always put my socks and shoes on before pulling on my pants.  I repeat every single letter/number/symbol in my head as I’m typing it.  If I don’t do that, then I know that my writing isn’t good and my spelling is worse.  I never pick a coin up from the ground unless it’s heads up so that I know it’s been able to breathe.  When I fold my underwear after doing laundry, I must stack them in alternating solid color and prints order.  When I put them away in the drawer, the waistbands must be on the right side, never left.  My socks must be folded in half, top to bottom, with the heel on the left side, never right.  The various things on my desk at work must be in certain spots and always facing their particular direction.  Otherwise, I can’t work until I fix them.  Want to mess with me at the office?  Move something on my desk and watch me go crazy!  And don’t even think about touching the screen on my desktop or laptop.  Wouldn’t you love to be inside my brain?  Sometimes, it’s really tiring being me.  Fortunately, I’m only obsessive for the way I do things and not for the way other people do things.  I would have to live by myself on an island if I were OD about other people.

A couple of months ago, I received a letter from my therapist saying that she is retiring.

I think I wore her out!


About that Book

I don’t usually talk about things that I’m writing.  I’m not superstitious or paranoid about doing it.  I just don’t like discussing a writing project until I’ve completed the first draft.  I prefer to keep it to myself for a little while.  But one of the things I plan to use this blog for is to help me as I work on my book, so from time to time I’ll give an update or tell what I’m doing or maybe even share a paragraph or two.  In this post, I’m giving a few details about the book.  This is a “first” for me, so I’m kind of nervous about doing it, but I think it will be okay.

The thing about writing a book is that you can call it whatever title you want and make all the plans you want and then if you’re lucky enough to have the book published, an editor will come along and change everything.  However, these are my thoughts so far, pre-editor.

The title is “Goodbye, Pride: A Mother and Daughter’s Journey into the Dark Mind.”  I know.  What a mouthful.  That will most likely be changed for me, no doubt, but it’s what I’m working with now.  I’m writing the book in parallel about my deceased mother’s journey through Alzheimer’s disease and my ongoing journey with clinical depression.  What I know for sure about what Alzheimer’s and depression have in common–besides what they do to your mind–is that you kiss your pride goodbye.  Both rip what pride there is right out of you.  When you can’t remember how to eat or how to use a toilet, or you’re walking on top of your furniture because you just can’t put your feet on the floor, you’ve pretty well lost your pride.  I’m writing about how we came to our mental illnesses, how they were diagnosed, treatments, and so on.  That’s mostly the clinical stuff.  But what I’m also writing about is the personal side of Alzheimer’s and depression, and how they affect your life, particularly the “everyday” stuff.

While being with Mom and helping to take care of her as she traveled her road, there were times when something she did would give me a little insight into myself and my depression.  For example, I went to the nursing home one afternoon to find Mom literally tearing little chunks of flesh out of her arms and throwing them on the floor.  (The nurse had already been summoned and was there a few seconds after I arrived.)  There was blood running down both arms, on her hands, and under her fingernails.  I saw that and was sick to the point of repulsion.  For just a moment, I wanted nothing to do with this hideous sight or the person causing it.  But then it hit me: how was what she was doing any different than what I was doing to myself on a regular basis?  I self-mutilated and was doing so throughout Mom’s illness (and before and after, for a while).  How was her action any different than my taking a knife and making cuts on my body?  That was a major “ah-ha” moment for me.  (Before anyone worries, the last time I cut myself was over 2 years ago and I know I will never do it again.  A good therapist, “ah-ha” moments, and wanting to get better can work wonders.)

So, that’s about the gist of it.  I’ll be making changes as I get farther into it, I’m sure, especially while I’m doing some family research for the book.  One thing I won’t change or won’t let an editor change is the book’s dedication.  It goes like this:

For my mother,

Ella Mae Burke Perkins

(October 15, 1931 – August 23, 2008)

and my sister,

Judy Mae Perkins Wedding

(May 19, 1950 – October 24, 2007)

who always wanted me to write

a book about our family.