Thursday, February 21, 2013

That's One Way to Deal with Rumination

Yesterday I gave a brief talk at my training. Two jobs ago I had to give talks in public often enough that it ceased being a big deal. That was 10 years ago, and it's a big deal again. But I'd practiced it, so I thought I'd be okay. It went fine-ish, but not well. Normally I'd have spent the whole afternoon stewing, but instead I got back to the office just in time to be given a last minute assignment. Then I went to 2 hours of meetings, during which the head of our organization criticized a number of things I'd prepared for the meeting.

I ended up working an 11 hour day. Then I ran for the bus, and while at the bus stop, a guy asked me for directions. I hate giving directions, because I'm always sure the person will wind up lost forever. And last night it was dark and rainy!

All of these are things I would typically go home and ruminate about. And sometimes when I suspect I'll have trouble sleeping due to rumination, I take a Benedryl, because I know it will knock me out. But yesterday I got home and I was so tired I was able to completely wipe all the worry right out of my head. No extra energy left for that. I went to bed and fell asleep immediately.

It's not an ideal system to be sure, but it worked great yesterday!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mental Illness Rates

Recently a local politician lobbied for improved mental health coverage by noting that 1 in 18 adults has a mental illness. The local paper was skeptical. They checked it out, though, and agreed that this figure is likely correct. Now I know I run in mental illness circles, but 1 in 18 seems super low to me, between 5 and 6 percent. Heck, studies estimate OCD rates of 2-3 percent.

And it seems that whenever mental illness comes up, every person I talk to has at least one person in their fairly close family who deals with one.

Wikipedia (maybe not the best source, but surely not the worst) tells me that in large-scale surveys, around 25 percent of Americans met the criteria for a mental disorder over the prior 12 months.

I could not bring myself to read many of the comments made about the online article in my local paper, since they skewed toward "yeah, people just want the government to support them." Americans seems to swing back and forth between, "lock 'em all up" and "don't give 'em a dime." Good times.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Sharing the Blog with Family

For reasons I don't quite understand, I've mentioned the existence of my blog to my sister and parents a couple of times in the last few months. And while it would be super easy for them to find my blog with a simple search, I don't think any of them have done so. But my sister recently asked if she could see it.

And I'm not sure how to respond. This blog is a weird mix of deeply personal, fairly embarrassing, and things I already tell them or that they already know. I think I'm just as afraid of them finding it boring and stupid as I am embarrassment about my OCD. And I suppose there's the reminder that while I've made progress, I haven't made THAT much progress and I've been writing this blog since 2009!

Have you shared your blog with your family? Does it change what you write? Are you glad you did? Do you ever regret it?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

It's Perfect! I Hate It!

I've mentioned before my tendency to try to micromanage my schedule to avoid anxiety. I hate to plan events ahead, because I have time to worry. I much prefer to wake up and think, "Okay, I'm healthy, they're healthy, the weather is good, let's go, RIGHT NOW!" My family has adjusted to this quite well. :)

Today at a work training, a coworker asked me if I wanted to come out to her job site next week. We've talked about it before, but I forgot. I want to see it, though, and it will help me perform my job.

BUT, a storm is forecast for the day she suggested, and I'd have to drive out with her (socially awkward, and accident fears activated).

She told me she goes out there almost every day, and I wanted to say, how about tomorrow!? But I didn't. I got home and deeply regretted that, but tomorrow I will tell her that Tuesday is perfect!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Griping and Dreaming

This week the woman who sits next to me at work had a cold. I must confess to being more annoyed than the situation deserved at her insinuation that I gave her the cold. I didn't return to work until day six of mine, and her cold didn't show up until a full week after that. So I am skeptical.

BUT, the irony of the situation is that she was a little ticked that I might have given her a cold but she didn't take a single day off herself! No, she sat among us and sneezed and snorted and then kept touching things, including me! At one point, I kid you not, she forced people to smell her Kleenex!!! She was fascinated because they were infused with Vicks or some such. Now, I think these were unused tissues at the time, but she had definitely touched the darn things before shoving them repeatedly up our noses. Who does that?

Ah, but the new me is zen about illness, or something like that. (I was able to mostly maintain my zen, actually, because while I don't think I gave her the cold, it was almost certainly a virus I'd already vanquished).

But my subconscious spent last night dreaming of giving other people dreadful illnesses. It was lovely.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

I Got a Cold

Last weekend I got a terrible cold. I ended up taking three (!) days off from work this week. That set off a round of worry. So much work to be done! I missed a training that I was told I HAD to attend.

I missed a deadline (which I just don't do). I worried that they'd think I faked the cold.

In the end, no one much cared that I missed the training, missing the deadline (by a day) didn't cause the world to end or my boss to fire me. I still sounded so terrible when I finally returned that it was clear I was sick. And in fact multiple people thanked me for staying home and not infecting them, as so many of my coworkers seem to do.

So once again, all that worry for nothing. And I did not infect any of my family, including those I saw the night before I fell ill.

Every time I get sick, I become convinced I've entered a cycle of illness, that I'll take days and days off and get in trouble. Has this ever happened? Well, no.

So on Thursday, my first day back, I made myself run a bunch of germy errands after work: I used a pen at the bank (the pen that's attached to the counter with a chain!), then I used the ATM, I touched the self check out screens at the grocery store. Then I stopped briefly at the library.

That bank pen in particular caused some stress, but I really really want to push myself to do this type of exposure more often. And what I also need to be sure to do is not come home and "disinfect" myself after I do.