Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Famous People with Mental Illnesses Part 1: Sherman & Grant

If you're at all like me, you constantly compare yourself to other people and frequently feel like an absolute, miserable fucking failure. I have to limit my time on Facebook because smiling people in photos on vacations or with their happy families is difficult to watch, at least most of the time. I constantly judge myself on others. They're skinny, why aren't I? They probably don't take six medications a day, why do I have to? I must not be good enough. They are well into their lifetime careers while I have switched mine numerous times and am in the middle of switching again. They finished school in 4 years and have more money, a bigger house...and so on. It's not that I don't want other people to be happy. I truly am happy for people who are happy and well off. It just reminds me of all the ways I do not measure up, at least in my own head.

Solution? Read autobiographies of famous people who had mental illnesses. In particular, I have always found the autobiographies of people like William T. Sherman and Ulysses S. Grant to be very, very comforting. Why?

They were two of the most influential people in the American Civil War, and both of them had mental illnesses. Both felt like failures well into their late thirties because they seemed to fail at everything while everyone else flourished. Their stories are similar: they both enlisted in the Mexican War in the early 1800s, and found civilian life after to be incredibly difficult. Both were treading water, barely able to stave off bankruptcy and starvation. Both had grim outlooks on the remainder of their lives. Both changed careers multiple times, failing at just about each one. They were best friends, and therefore are both in Part 1 of this series.

William Tecumseh Sherman
"I find myself in a whirlwind, unable to guide the storm." 

William T. Sherman was one of the lynchpins of Union success in the American Civil War. Sherman became a feared and respected commander, eventually going onto become the highest general in the land, and even suggested for President (which he did not want, and told others "If elected, I would not serve.") His military strategy is still taught in American military colleges today. William T. Sherman meets all the criteria for Bipolar Type 1 Disorder. He was a chronic insomniac with severe anxiety and was prone to bouts of deep depression. In fact, he was so erratic in moods during the first year of the Civil War that he was relieved of his command and sent on leave with newspapers calling him "Insane." His wife was asked to come get him and take him home to Ohio because Sherman was so paranoid and agitated in the fall of 1861. Aides spoke of his agitated manner, talking so fast no one could get a a word in edgewise, and staying up all night pacing and muttering to himself. He would become paranoid as things progressed in his manic states, thinking the enemy vastly outnumbered his own forces and that complete disaster was imminent. After a manic state ended, he would crash into a deep depression, or "melancholy" as people described it. His wife, Ellen Sherman, wrote that the "melancholies" ran in Sherman's family. She also wrote that in his depressive states, he would not eat or sleep, and would withdraw from all human contact. Bipolar was not a "thing" back then, but Sherman most certainly had it. His mood episodes lasted months at a time, and careened back and forth throughout this adult life. When he recovered sufficiently to return to duty, Sherman writes in his autobiography that he thought his military reputation was in shambles due to his past behavior and newspaper reports. He redeemed himself in 1862 at the Battle of Shiloh, committing acts of distinguished courage and bravery, riding back and forth in front of enemy cannons to keep his men from growing fearful. After Shiloh, he got his self-confidence back, and went on to further fame and military glory. His story is that despite failure, setbacks, and mental illnesses, there will always be a way for you to be better at something than anyone else. That could be cooking meals for 
family, raising kids, serving in the military, being a nurse, doctor or salesman, a teacher, police officer or a volunteer. Mental illness does not mean you are a failure.

Ulysses S. Grant
"The vice of intemperance had not a little to do with my resignation."

Ulysses S. Grant struggled from job to job, just like his good friend William T. Sherman. Grant was a quiet person, and someone who had strong moral qualms about slavery and the treatment of American Indians. He inherited a slave from his father-in-law, whom he freed instead of selling him even thought Grant and his family were poor and near starvation. He lamented about the treatment of American Indians, saying that whites had been cruel to them. He also struggled with an addiction to alcohol. He was forced to resign from the U.S. Army in 1858 due to several run-ins with superiors while intoxicated. Some say that he didn't drink any more than the average man, but he was small and therefore was easily intoxicated. Rumors followed him throughout his life about his drunkeness, which bothered him. However, he provided the fuel for the rumors, even going on a multi-day bender in 1863. Despite this, his military strategy, common sense, bravery and determination led him to become the top military commander in the United States during the Civil War. Afterwards, he would be elected President. Addiction does not mean you are a failure. It can stand in the way of success, as Grant found out during his mid-30s. But he seemed to have enough of a handle on his tendency to drink, even appointing an aide-de-camp whose responsibility it was to help him stay sober during the war. This shows a high level of awareness of his own weakness on Grant's part. Despite his past failures and predisposition to drink, Grant is one of the best-known figures in American history. 

Next post I'll be talking about Lincoln and his wife. Those of us with mental illness are in good company. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Long, Rambling Post About School and Randomness

Ok so *notice* I am kinda scattered right now, sorry in advance. I am on Sertraline (Zoloft), which has helped a lot with my anxiety and panic attacks. The downside is that my creativity starts to go. I still have anxiety and panic, but it is less than about two months ago. My urge to write has been in the shitter lately, most likely due to the numbing-out effects anti-depressants have on me. (Sorry if I jump around on here like a maniac. I am having trouble holding thoughts together.)

School!!! My simultaneous love and hate relationship.

I am still freaking out about school. I am switching my major and I am constantly second-guessing myself. Long story short Ok just long story, I was going to aim for being an early childhood educator. However, after two teaching practicums, coursework, and researching job availability and pay rates, I A) don't think I could make enough in my area teaching that age group (rates are about $7.75-$10 an hour...ridiculous) and B) I find I don't really have the passion for "early childhood." I have discovered I much prefer teaching older students, such as high school or even college-level (at some point in the future). Pay for high school teachers is about $40,000 to start in my area. Like, I am going to have a $40,000 Bachelor's degree from a good university, plus all the licensing and certification and I will basically be making mortgage-level payments on student loans. $40,000/year is like, my MINIMUM I have to make when I am done with school. $40,000/year is not great, but it would be enough to pay back my student loan payments and help contribute to my family's finances as we are primarily supported by my husband. I also have to decide how to go about getting licensed to teach. The traditional route is to do student-teaching as part of your undergrad degree. This is for people who know that they want to teach as soon as they go to college. That's not me. I've switched my major like, 3 times (also not recommended, but whatever). An alternative route is to get your degree in a content area (in my case, I am a history nerd and would like to major in History), then complete a certification course while substitute teaching. After 60 hours of substitute teaching, I would have to pass a series of teaching exams with a certain score, then apply for a teaching license. Another option would be for me to go onto my Master of Arts in Teaching degree. However, I feel like this is a sympathy degree path for people like me. It's the "I-majored-in-something-I-don't-like-and-now-want-to-teach" degree. It's not really a Master's degree as Master's degrees are typically considered. It is simply a degree platform in which you have a Bachelor's in [whatever], and you get the certification while taking education classes. To me this feels like a fraud degree. It's totally acceptable to teach and it would financially be the best option for me. But if I get a Master's degree, I want it to be because I MASTERED it, not because I am switching careers mid-stream. I want to EARN my credentials. When someone asks me, "Oh, what's your Master's in?" I don't want to reply "well, it's a Master of Arts in Teaching." The requisite response to that is "oh." Whereas, if I were to get my undergrad degree in History, then go onto get my Master's in History, that would be legitimate, and I would not feel self-conscious about it.

As usual,  I don't (or can't, or perhaps even won't) take the traditional, easy route. I have decided that long-term, it would be better for me to switch my current degree from Interdisciplinary Studies to History. Once I complete my undergrad in History, I can work on my Master's. I will be able to be a sub at this point and practice taking my exams while earning teaching experience through subbing. My rationale for this is that most high schools and colleges in my area that are currently hiring want degrees in content areas like History, Writing, or Math as opposed to general education degrees. They want subject-matter experts. If I hope to teach at a secondary or post-secondary level, I will need to get my Master's and eventually a Ph.D. in a content area.

I begrudgingly pull up my adviser's email.

Dear Ben So-and-so at blahblahblah.edu,

[Writes long email about soul-searching]

Oh for fuck's sake.

*deletes it all*

I am going to switch to History. I feel this is what I want to do.

- Me

Response from Ben so-and-so at blahblahblah.edu,

Ok, are you sure? You won't be licensed through the school, which is completely fine but it will be up to you to find and complete licensure once you graduate.


I stare at the email. AM I sure? No, not really. But I talked myself out of majoring in History because I listened to other people my entire life, and not myself.

I have always done what everyone *thinks* I should do, possibly because of massive self-doubt. I have always wanted to major in History because I love it, but was generally told by a myriad of people close to me that I would never find a job with a fucking liberal arts degree. I let people scare me away from my true passion (in regards to studying/learning/hobbies). I majored in Business instead, and got my Associate's in Business even though I could not care less about business. 

In fact, the more I ruminate on this, the more I realize that I probably dropped out of school 10 years ago to begin with because I wasn't interested in it. I wasn't interested in Business. When I went back to school early last year, I didn't switch to a History major with a minor in Business, as I should have done.

Well, fuck.

At least I learned what I don't want to do. Life, right?

I allowed myself to take a 400-level American History course this semester as a self-treat for my 4.0 GPA. I loved it so much, I couldn't simply go back to something else.


And so it goes. But I'm in it now. I told myself that this is the absolute Last Time Changing My Degree Ever.

Ok, now that I've had basically blogging diarrhea on school, I'll attempt to list out the rest of my topics.

1. Tomorrow is Visit #3 to OCD specialist. I feel that Exposure Therapy is going to benefit me most in the long run. I am in for a long time most likely because I have let my OCD run untreated for my whole life up until now. A current example of my therapy: I am afraid of doing things after 8pm because of a laundry list of imagined troubles. My therapy homework is to do something after 8pm that stresses me out...every.goddamn.night. That used (five weeks ago) to include showers, reading a book, watching a TV show, or anything like that. I have successfully cut my anxiety about that in half, which is the goal of my therapist. The next step is to do things like drive at night, drive after 8pm, and so on. I am having panic attacks tonight thinking about going to counseling. I just know that she is going to have me "level up" and start driving at night. That's the only way to beat OCD. It's to re-train your brain and re-learn life. SHIT.

2. Anti-depressants are working on anxiety. I have also start Irwin Naturals Stress Defy vitamins (yes, I know the risk of Seratonin syndrome, but it's rare and I can't possibly have enough seratonin or GABA in my brain yet). I am also taking an herbal supplement at night with Irwin Naturals Power to Sleep PM (yes, I know I shouldn't be taking herbals with prescriptions. I don't care. I am desperate enough right now not to care.)

3. I have been sleeping a WHOLE LOT BETTER.

4. I have been deepening my meditation and exploring Reiki (on myself, as a form of meditation, as you are laughing and mocking me).

5. I bought worry stones and at night when I start freaking out I meditate, and fiddle with worry stones in both of my hands. It keeps me occupied until I fall asleep. It was cheaper to buy two "worry stones" at a local new age shop than buying a fidget cube, or whatever it's called.

6. I have been watching "Charmed" while falling asleep. It's a guilty pleasure. It makes me think of fonder times of when I was a kid in the 90s, and not a mental-illness-ridden adult. I was still riddled with mental illness, but I had a few good years in there pre-medication.

7. I've been watching TV while falling asleep. It makes me less anxious than laying down in the dark by myself. My husband works nights and often 7 nights a week, so I sleep in our guest bedroom. He takes the master because he frankly needs the physical rest more than I do and he is a big guy who needs our big bed. Plus our guest room is tiny, and it makes me feel safe. I don't know why a tiny room makes me feel safe. I know it's not "good sleep hygiene"to watch TV but fuck it. It helps me, so.

8. Xanax and Ambien aren't working for me as well as they used to, almost 6 years ago. I am going to eventually have to stop taking them. I just can't go off anything right now because I am too damned stressed. Even though I am doing better, I still feel like a coin spinning. My therapist wants me to wait to taper off meds. She said I still need a lot of therapy before thinking about coming off of sedatives. Somehow, I would like to eventually just be on anti-depressants and occasional OTC sedatives like Benadryl. I would like to not be fat again. I would like to not have a pile of pills to take every night. I worry that I will have to go to some type of medical detox because I take so many heavy psychiatric medications that lose effectiveness the longer I take them.

The End. Sorry for the dissertation-length post.

PS- I read Mugwort tea helps with anxiety, so I made some in a misguided attempt at self-medicating "naturally." It aborted a panic attack  I having, but then I got super dizzy and foggy and spaced out for about 4 hours. It was not fun. Don't ever try it.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Bipolar Anxiety/Depression

I looked in the mirror this morning and finally admitted it to myself:

I have not been well since last fall.

Really crippling anxiety and OCD have tag-teamed me into depression. I am taking steps to recover by going to a group of therapists who specialize in OCD and anxiety; I am talking to my psychiatrist via his office's client email form in order to adjust medications; I am meditating; I am walking outside in the sunshine every day, I am eating healthier than previously, I am taking enough tranquilizers to put down a small elephant.

I am still barely able to stand it. It got so bad that I pleaded with my psychiatrist for an anti-depressant. He knows I don't ask for one unless I really need it due to the possibility for bipolar mania. He called me in a script for Zoloft. I have the bottle sitting on top of my coffee maker so I don't forget it in the mornings. Coffee-and-Zoloft mornings this week...mania be damned, I don't care right now. I don't want to feel this anxious, this upset and overwrought 24-7. I am doing everything right. It's so frustrating when that doesn't work.

I am still working part-time and going to school full-time. Thankfully, work has been slow and pressure and hours are low. I don't mind the tighter budget when that happens right now. School ends in May so I will have less stress and more time to practice self-care.

All I want is to be less anxious. Just less anxious, not even cured from anxiety. My OCD checking is back, and I either give into it or suffer through the abstaining. Intrusive thoughts frustrate me and send my panic attacks into high gear.

Zoloft will eventually kick in, and I will eventually be in a better mood. I will eventually have less anxious thoughts and the OCD will retreat somewhat.

For now, I wait. I am tormented by my mind, but I know it will pass.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Don't Really Have Much to Write

My anxiety and OCD are throttling me, and I am barely keeping my head above water. I feel myself slipping into depression, which is scary.

I saw a counselor who specializes in anxiety and OCD this past week, and I have follow-up appointments with her in 3 weeks (She was booked solid until then). My anti-anxiety meds are not working currently, and my emergency sleeping pill stash is not working anymore. I am zombie today, but at least I managed to get through work. Now I need to take 2 exams for school.

I dropped out of the sky like a lead balloon yesterday. I've asked my psychiatrist to call me back, and I've requested to be put back on anti-depressants, despite the risk of a manic episode. I've also asked for a different anti-anxiety medication because I'm just used to taking Xanax, and it doesn't do a think for me anymore. I also asked for a different sleeping medication because I am apparently immune to Ambien after having taken it on and off for so long. It only works 2 or 3 days in a row before becoming worthless.

I'll write more when I'm feeling better.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Off to see the Anxiety/OCD Wizard!

My anxiety has been so off the charts lately that I've been questioning the level of treatment I am getting at my current psychiatrist's office (where I also see a counselor). My fear of change has kept me from seeing another mental health professional because I feel like I'm betraying my doctor and counselor.

But the truth of it is, I've been doubting my current treatments. My anxiety is off the charts. When I say "anxiety" to my current psychiatrist, he ups my dose of benzos. I hate taking benzos on a daily basis. I've gone back on sleeping pills this week just to take the edge off and get some rest. They worked for a few days, and stopped working again last night. I have a huge med hangover this morning. I had to pop half a Depakote at 11 last night to fall asleep.

I feel like a mess. My current doctor hasn't really taken my concerns about weight gain on anti-psychotics seriously, and he doesn't want to put me on an anti-depressant for OCD and anxiety. I get that because I'm bipolar, but I could really use some help in the anxiety-OCD department.

I did some research on specialists in anxiety disorders and OCD. I live in a small city with top universities, and I figured one of them has got to have some type of mental health branch.

I was right.

I found a university with an OCD-Anxiety clinic. I was floored. I checked out the website, and that is literally all they deal with (also will work with co-morbid conditions like bipolar). It took me several days to get up the courage to make a phone call. The receptionist was very nice. She asked me why I was calling. I told her anxiety and OCD have taken over my life the past few months, and that I needed more help than I was getting from my current mental health team. We agreed on an appointment time, which is this afternoon at 2:30. I have to drive an hour away, but I know it's worth it. When I get there, the receptionist told me to be prepared to be evaluated for an hour before my actual session starts. That includes paperwork and a meeting with some type of professional. Then, once I get past the gatekeeper (as I like to call it), I get to meet the specialist.

I am looking forward to this meeting. I have gotten to the point where I am tired of my anxiety and OCD kicking my ass. My current psychiatrist and counselor hear "manic" when I talk of anxiety. They focus on my racing thoughts, nervous energy...to them, everything I have is bipolar disorder. I disagree. I have been diagnosed with GAD and panic disorder as well, but they seem not to focus on that too much.

Honestly, anxiety and OCD are my most distressing problems. I can deal with my mood swings. I have family that helps me monitor my moods and provide me with feedback. I keep a mood tracker. I am on mood stabilizers.

Hopefully, this OCD-anxiety specialist hears "anxiety" and "OCD" and doesn't stop listening once she reads I have Bipolar Disorder. Not everything I go through is Bipolar-related.

I am optimistic; I will post an update later about the meeting.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Time to Get Raw About OCD

If you follow me on Twitter (@mindmyst), you know I have been diagnosed with multiple mental illnesses: Bipolar 1, OCD, Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety, etc. Out of all of these, in my opinion, OCD has been the hardest for me (right now and over the past 1.5 years) as far as living day-to-day. I still have issues with my Bipolar Disorder, but I have not been hospitalized for 5.5 years and can generally tell when an episode is occurring, catch it early, and nip it in the bud with the help of my psychiatrist.

OCD provides no such warning, much like my panic attacks. They have been occurring together nowadays, a nasty little coupling of tormenting thoughts and sensations. Since it's been on my mind, I wanted to do a raw blog post about OCD and tormenting thoughts that I have personally experienced. A lot of OCD revolves around intrusive thoughts: thoughts that come unwanted into your mind and generally have disturbing images with them.

Such as:

When I was 7, I had intrusive thoughts about killing myself with a knife. I avoided going into the kitchen and avoided sharp objects.

When I was approximately 9 years old, I was afraid was I going to go crazy and kill my mom in her sleep. I would try to stay awake all night praying so that I wouldn't sleepwalk and go stab my mom. I went through our house and hid all the knives in high cupboards that I wouldn't be able to reach without a stool. I figured if I was sleep walking I wouldn't be able to figure out how to use a stool to get the knives to kill my mom.

When I was a pre-teen, I volunteered in the church nursery on Sunday evenings in the infant room. I had horrible intrusive thoughts that asked, "What if I'm a child molester subconsciously, and I go insane and hurt these babies?" I quit volunteering in the nursery.

When I was a teen, I would babysit. I would have intrusive thoughts that I would subconsciously hurt the kids, or accidentally start a fire. I quit babysitting.

When I was in high school, public restrooms were huge contamination factor for me. I also obsessed over my appearance, clothing etc, having to shower a certain way, wash my hair a certain way, check my appearance three times throughout the day. If I didn't do these rituals, something bad would happen and I would be humiliated in school. I would also spend a great deal of time driving and back-tracking because I was afraid I had hit an animal or a child with my car, and I would have to check to make sure I hadn't. I would also drive back and forth from school to check the front door to make sure I locked it, sometimes multiple times over periods of hours. I also had to say a prayer a certain way, and if I messed up, had to start over to "protect me" and my loved ones.

I started college and dropped out due to anxiety.

After I quit college, I began having to buy things in 3. Three was a lucky number to me and still is. I still buy things in threes or multiples of three sometimes. If I don't, something bad could happen. I don't even notice this compulsion sometimes. My husband will notice groceries in threes and mention it, whereas it is so common for me I don't realize I am doing it.

In my early 20s, I stopped watching shows with violence in them, or songs that were not perfectly pleasant and neutral. I was afraid I would be negatively influenced by them and then a "bad side" of me would take over and hurt people. For example, I love Law & Order, but I stopped watching it for several years just in case I went crazy, I didn't want to have many great ideas.

Mid-20s were spent dealing with Bipolar Disorder, hospitalization, etc.

Present day, early thirties. I am afraid of going to bed after 9:46 pm. If I go to bed later, I will not be able to sleep and then I'll hit someone with my car the next day. If I listen to upbeat music or watch an entertaining show after 6 pm, I will be too stimulated to sleep. So I make myself just sit there alone away from everyone else. If I read an interesting book after 6 pm, same thing. I can't eat after 6 pm, or I will have trouble falling asleep. I get anxious as the sun goes down. I start compulsive rituals such as taking a lot of melatonin, drinking sleepytime tea, checking and rechecking alarms. I can't sleep with anyone in the same room as me right now. It makes me want to vomit, it makes me so anxious.

I also have a weird thing with alarm clocks. I want to buy a lot of them so I am sure I will wake up on time. It's really hard not to give into this compulsion.

Now, someone without OCD will read this and think WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?! You're crazy! You're insane! That's so bizarre/weird/messed up etc.

Yes. And we (OCD sufferers) feel horrible about having these intrusive thoughts. So we begin avoidance or compulsion behaviors to compensate.

In the case of being a pre-teen, I simply stopped volunteering at the church nursery. I had to go to church since my mom worked in one, so I elected to sit in with the adults in the sermon, thinking that I was evil and disgusting and should be in the sermons anyway. Or I stopped something else like babysitting, getting a job working with animals instead. Or I stopped listening to music I like or watching TV shows I like, because I was afraid of negative effects on me. Or I just stop living and enjoying my life, afraid I'm not going to be able to function; afraid of hurting someone or something; afraid of losing control and doing something horrible...

That's OCD. Right now, it's an anaconda around my neck, choking me tighter each time I let out a breath and try to struggle.

And it comes out of freaking nowhere!

In my city, there are quite a few top universities, and one of them has an OCD clinic. I am on the waitlist to see a counselor who specializes in OCD and anxiety. I am hoping that will provide me with some relief.

Monday, February 6, 2017

When Family Doesn't Understand Mental Illness

It's happened to every single person with a mental illness. There will inevitably be some point in your life that your family (or friends, if you don't have family members around) will not understand your mental illness. It rarely happens to me, because I am freakishly lucky with my family members. My husband is very supportive of me. There are still times, though, where he does not understand. I don't think it's possible for him to understand the inner fucked up working of my mind.

The past couple of days, I've watched as my sleep got worse and worse, and my anxiety surged forth and my OCD became front and center after weeks of it improving. My mood has started to change too -- from feeling weepy to hyper and back down again.

That's not good.

Last night was difficult. I had panic attacks all day, and we went to visit some family who lives about an hour away. As night fell, my OCD began to kick in. I have a weird thing that if I'm not in bed by 9:46 pm, I won't be able to fall asleep and my day will be ruined. We got home at about that time and I had a total meltdown, crying and upset. Now, I have already been having trouble sleeping, but able to function during the day with no problem. But for some reason, yesterday was really, really difficult.

My OCD/Anxiety demon has also really messed with me the past 2 days. I have a fear of sleeping with other people in the same room with me right now. I have been sleeping alone in the spare bedroom for the past 4 months. My husband got a bit irritated with me last night, asking why I wasn't sleeping with him in our master bedroom yet. I told him about the problems I am having with anxiety about sleeping with other people. It's weird and it's not logical and I don't like it. He became frustrated with me and tried to explain how illogical that was. I know it's illogical and weird, but I don't pick what my anxiety or OCD or Bipolar fixates on. For several years I couldn't use public restrooms for fear of contamination, and I could not use them if someone was in the bathroom with me, even if I had to go really bad. That went away when I was about 20.

It got so bad last night that I took a sleeping pill from an old prescription for the first time in four months, which makes me feel like a failure. But it knocked me out cold despite my panic and anxiety and obsessive thoughts. I emailed my psychiatrist and asked him if I could go back on sleeping pills. This constant battle at night to sleep is starting to wear on me. I was able to sleep while on Depakote, but had to discontinue due to side effects. I can't increase my Seroquel any more because that too causes weight gain, blood sugar issues, cholesterol issues...all of which I am trying to overcome right now. Xanax does nothing for me anymore as I believe I am immune to it after all these years of taking it on a nearly daily basis.

It upset me last night, though, when my husband told me I wasn't trying hard enough to overcome my OCD anxiety about sleeping at a certain time, and about sleeping with someone else in the room with me. I tried explaining that my OCD is not rational. It is illogical and silly. But it really fucking hard to deal with and I am doing the best I can. He didn't seem to think that. I went to bed while he silently played video games. I woke up and he is doing the same thing (He's been off work the past 2 days, not like he's a bum or something). I know exposure therapy is good for this kind of stuff, but I have a lot on my plate right now like school full-time, work part-time, and then trying to do the cooking and cleaning and taking care of our daughter. I feel too tired right now to fight more.

It was a huge, hurtful blow to hear from someone I trust so completely that I am unwilling to recover, I am coddling myself, I am not trying hard enough, I don't want to fight the OCD as hard as I need to, that it's basically all my fault. That's what I was told last night by my husband, and it was awfully hard to bear it. I sat in the guest bedroom and cried and wrote down how awful I felt.

I don't blame him for it. He can't understand what I am going through. He is a normal person without mental illness. He is mentally very sound and strong. I know it's hard for him sometimes when I am struggling. There is no quick fix or even a fix for what we with mental illness go through. It's bound to splash over onto our family members who are trying very hard to support. us. I hate myself for that, that it affects our family. We were planning a spring break trip to the Great Lakes, but I am so overwrought with OCD that I can't even think about sleeping in a hotel room with my husband and daughter. How fucked up is that? My OCD is ready to ruin a nice vacation that will make nice memories. I told my husband I didn't know if I could go, which is what set off this issue. I don't know. I don't know if I will be able to go.

I know this all due to my mental illness. Bipolar moods are swinging right now in the wind, and my OCD has me in a death grip all of a sudden. I know it'll improve. I am just not feeling well right now.