Ocdbloggergirl's Blog: OCD, Life, and Other Misunderstandings

More Mental Malaise, Less Donald Trump

Pepper to Taste — June 20, 2013

Pepper to Taste

Ever since my old therapist chucked me due to new Medicaid restrictions, I have a  new therapist named Pepper. It isn’t a pseudonym, her name really is Pepper. I have no idea what her last name is, just that she’s a therapist. I just liked her when I met her during an intake interview and asked if she was taking new clients. So voila. When I think of Pepper, I think of that doll by Ideal from the 1960s. Pepper the doll had red hair. Pepper the therapist has red hair. In fact, if Pepper the doll had an age progression photo done to age her into her late 50s, she could be Pepper the therapist.

ImagePepper

But let me digress a bit. So new Medicaid restrictions were causing dumping of us ghetto/trailer folk all round. The first to fall was my eye doctor. People on Medicaid apparently do not have eyes. They literally cut all coverage for eye exams, glasses, etc. Well OK.  Next was my dentist. Due to the fire hoops all Medicaid providers must jump through, my dentist dropped all Medicaid folks. Then my therapist dropped Medicaid for the same reason. “I’m just not going to play their game,” said she. I don’t blame her. My psychiatrist, though, was the most emotional about it. Her eyes got watery as she said she really cared about her Medicaid patients, and would do her best to try and keep us. She told me before that she  felt an obligation to my  late mother to make sure I’m OK. Well, OK.

My psychiatrist was determined to find the loophole in the needle that was in the haystack to keep her Medicaid patients. I sometimes wonder if it was the specter of my mother urging her on, though I’m sure she has other far  more likeable patients than me. My mother was the likeable one. The shrink should know, because I drug my mother in with me every time. When I came in the first time after my mom died, she thought my mother must just be parking the car. Awkward. I always had been    intimidated by my psychiatrist, she who wielded the power to diagnose my crazy ass on a whim. My shy, awkward ways, my lack of smiling all made her wonder if I had Asperger’s.  I think she later figured what I believe to be true, my lowwwwwwww self-esteem and fear of doing the wrong thing is the culprit. I get social cues, so next diagnosis please.

Dependent personality disorder. Oh swell. I might buy it and I might not buy it. I’d be more apt to believe it if I didn’t do so well on my own, and for the most part want to be alone. But my past is my past. When my mother was alive I depended fully upon her. When I was with he whom I called my Soul Bro, I thoroughly depended on him to the point of sustaining  emotional abuse. Why do I still see him as the great love of my life? I must be a head case.  I’d rather not be dependentocdbloggergirl.wordpress.com, thanks.

 

And back to Pepper. Pepper is great. Pepper is awesome. I even try to take her advice sometimes. Whereas my former therapist mainly did talk therapy, Pepper is big on cognitive behavior therapy, mindfulness, and shit. I preferred talking and my therapist giving me insight, but OK. She is trying to give me coping skills, assertiveness skills, and learn not to obsess on doing everything to please everyone. Learn how to breathe all mindfully,  be aware of other things going on around you. Cool. Sometimes, however, I must refrain from mumbling, “Lady, are you for real?” Such as the Kitty Cat Exercise.

 

Yes, the Kitty Cat Exercise. One day, I showed up in her office flushed from a hurried walk from my apartment, a good little jaunt. I either missed the bus or didn’t have the fare, and I was late. I apologized profusely, though I am the type who will be late to my own funeral.

Seeing my state, Pepper asked me what my favorite type of water was that I liked to visit.

“A pool” said I, so the idea of me thinking of ocean water and hearing the waves was out of the question, I guess.

“Well, what is your favorite sound?”

“There is nothing nicer to me than the sound of a cat purring.”

This Pepper could work with, so she had me relax, turned on a ‘relaxing sounds’ app on her smart phone, set to purr mode. Then she cut the light in her office out and had me imagine a long-haired grey cat with a bit of white on her nose and me stroking her fur.

I tried to do the exercise, but my mind decided to be a smartass as usual.

That cat sounds like it’s on a respirator.

Then the cat I pictured became Nyan Cat, the animated cat with a pop tart body.

When the exercise was over, Pepper suggested I find such an app so I can do this on my lonesome. I said, “Yes, that sounds like a good idea.” Or I could just go home and pet my cats, same results.

 

One last thing though, and I don’t want to be maudlin, but I had the most bizarre dream. It is in my dreams that I remember I once had a mother, and that my memories of her and my life before she died are my memories.

I dreamed that my former roommates invited me back to live with them when I wished for $250.00,  but I still had my own apartment. Things had not changed though, they were both insulting me and I felt a constant threat of making them mad, or being thrown out of Faux Bro’s life which I was paying to be in. Philippe was with me. If you remember, Phil was the cat they wanted to keep as their own, the other two my nurse had to retrieve from the pound.

Then I found myself at the McDonald’s down the street, a place I had gone to get away from that oppressive environment sometimes during the final days. And there sitting waiting for me was my mother, my dead mother, which I kindly reminded her of her state. “Mom, this is a dream. You’re dead. You can’t really be here. Please stay.”

At the end of the dream, I venture back to my own apartment with Phillipe in my arms. 

 

Thanks for reading and I’m sorry I haven’t been around here or at your blogs, will do  better. XOXO

Poetry Potluck -Nightguard — July 13, 2011

Poetry Potluck -Nightguard

An image from 1300s (A.D.) England depicting a...
Image via Wikipedia "See if you lose this, b!#*h"

Depending on who you ask, bruxism (that’s grinding your teeth) can be caused by stress, OCD, your jaws doing weird things, etc., so forth. This brings me to my first real post on my new blog, submitted to you by the muse of losing my nightguard -later found. I decided  to post this to Poetry Potluck too!

The Nightguard

 

Dammit, damn, and damnation!

Losing one’s nightguard is such an abomination!

 

Night Guard?

You mean that invisible rent-a-cop the complex hired?

 

No! Hell no!

That’s not what I’m saying.

Nightguard, oh wretched nightguard!

This, this, is for which I lament.

 

What’s it look like?

 

A damned dental apparatus!

Once a plastic clear,

now jaundiced yellow sunshine

from the years.

 

Sounds lovely.

 

It’s the one that cut into my gum,

but going to the dentist…

That’s no fun.

Snip snip the scissors.

Fixed it, it’s done!

 

Not fixed, not really.

 

Been a bit loose since that day,

asking myself, as one may,

if I swallow the damn thing

would I be able to cry,

‘Alas, alas, I choke! I die!’

 

 

It’s doubtful.

 

Could I have swallowed the nightguard

in fitful sleep’s embrace,

my teeth no longer braced?

Wailing! Gnashing my teeth,

The damn thing I must find I think,

lest my teeth continue to shrink,

ground down to my gums!

 

Good luck!

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Rumors of My Death: Episode II — October 18, 2010

Rumors of My Death: Episode II

 

Random, gratuitous photo of my cat. Maybe he's the director?

 

OK, for fear that people think I abandoned the task at hand, I submit another exciting episode of Kidney Wars. It takes me longer to write something than to live it! I decided to switch writing styles from Episode I, inspired by the last paragraph of Episode I. The story remains true as I recall it except for dramatic music and the like. As fond as I am of purple, I think I may go goth and do it all in black for ease of reading except for the intro. Thoughts?

::Play::

Welcome to my guest appearance on ER. It is a sunny, hot day, the sort of day you expect nothing bad could happen…

Cue dramatic music…

But even on the best of days, the absolute  worst can and does happen. The Patient is ambulatory when she arrives in her ghetto/trailer park style van. The van makes a noise, the loud death throes of a wild animal. No doubt even patients in a coma hear and is as effective as the blare of a siren. As the van stops, the brave patient says to the subject with her (The Patient’s mother, a smoker), “Isn’t it stupid they won’t even let someone smoke in their own car?” They both agree, yes, very stupid, Cigarette Nazis and all that…

Which brings us to a commercial break: Insert public  service announcement about not smoking, one with the woman without a voice box, because those are particularly freaky. Then an antidepressant commercial that warns as a woman smiles in complete bliss, “Tell your doctor what medicines  you’re on and contact your doctor if swelling and nausea appear as this may be a sign of a serious medical condition and can be fatal. Tell your doctor if you contemplate, attempt, or commit suicide.”

And now back to our show! The ambulatory patient and her mother walk in the sliding glass doors, leaving the beautiful sunshine outside, maybe forever. To the reception desk STAT!

The woman at the reception desk is a friendly  woman around 60 and she asks The Patient what makes her think she has a kidney infection. “Blood in urine, fever, ache in stomach and back, and I’m weak,” says The Patient.

“Have you ever been a patient here before?”

“No.”

In the background, more dramatic  music, this time starting low  and building to a crescendo as the receptionist mournfully says, “Sorry, then you have to fill out this form.”

The Patient says to her mother, “I thought it would be much longer, but it’s only half a page. Will you look it over to see if I did it right.” It seems the patient doesn’t trust her own judgement. Our narrator must stop and shake her head at the 32-year-old patient, but since that isn’t in the script, we must proceed.

Now the patient must find a seat to await her time in the back where all the real dramatic stuff happens on this show. They sit down, but directly behind them  hidden by a grey curtain is a heavy drilling sound that puts a patient in mind of having dental work done. One can hear the Spanish-speaking workers yelling over the racket (additions to sets can’t wait until filming is over, plus we at the network wish to show ethnic diversity in our shows anyway, so it all works out in the end). The talking didn’t offend the patient, but the drilling appears to be a bit too taxing for the ailing Patient, so she decides to move.

“We can sit over there,” says The Mother, pointing to a space recently vacated by a mother and her little boy. The Patient looks and immediately rejects the idea, seeing a Diet Coke can and clear plastic cup on the side table. Everyone knows children in emergency rooms are walking Petrie dishes, and The Patient with great wisdom decides not to get near these left over articles from  the child, lest his germs jump ship and hop onto the Patient. Finally,  The Patient and her mother decide on a seat next to  the window.

The Patient and The Subject now may make a survey of the humanity around them. Surprisingly few are here; perhaps it’s too early to cut one’s finger off or drill a hole into one’s hand at work. Perhaps later, but as it stood now, only one young man has somehow injured himself. With surprising adeptness, he jumps about with only one foot, the other injured. A woman in her fifties is rolled into the waiting room by a nurse. She has a rolling suitcase, which she makes certain the nurse puts exactly where she wants it. Eye view, right next to her, but out-of-the-way. A man in his seventies is wheeled in, speaking with a hint of curtness in his replies to his wife. They take the old man back and the wife waits behind. She strikes up a conversation with the woman in the wheelchair and the patient listens to them speak. The older woman introduces herself and the younger woman does in kind.  She notices the  wheelchair bound woman is cold even though it’s comfortable to The patient.  The older woman puts the sweater around the younger and tells her to keep it, she has plenty in the car and at home.Then they proceed to tell each other why they are here.

“I’m trying to get into Hospice,” says the younger woman, as though knowing you have six months to live is only inconvenient and annoying. “My cancer is all over now.”

The patient listens and steals glimpses at the woman. She neither looks healthy or all that unhealthy, she just is there with her long, stringy gray hair and thin frame. Before she admits she has no family around it’s obvious.

Now the older woman tells why she’s here. “They don’t know what’s wrong with my husband. They keep running tests.”

And then the older woman is giving her phone number to the younger.

Curiouser and curiouser. The Patient wishes she was as open as the older woman, as good. Every thought worthy of being told to the audience is done by a voice-over of The Patient in a slightly echoing tone popular in these dramas.  The patient has the inclination for being all good and kind and junk, but she finds her voice unequal to the task of constant  open magnanimity. If she survives this ordeal, hopefully she will be of better use to others one day.

::Pause::

The History of a Phobia;or, Physician, Heal Thyself and Leave Me the Hell Alone — October 2, 2010

The History of a Phobia;or, Physician, Heal Thyself and Leave Me the Hell Alone

Great, Lisa. You thought everyone needed a background history of your fear of doctors. Thought it would be a paragraph or two didn’t you? Then you could tell the ever so fascinating, graphic story of your kidney infection. But no, before you were done there were over 1000 words of something that could be daintily told in one sentence: I’m scared doctors will tell me I’m about to kick the can, so I don’t go to doctors. Amen.

So dearest readers, please enjoy if possible, and soon enough I will talk about blood in urine and other pleasantries.

When I was a little girl, my mother took me to the doctor for every sniffle and I had a cold at least once a month. This didn’t bother me much because I hadn’t yet come up with the idea of croaking from several different diseases. This isn’t to say I didn’t think I was weaker than other children, because I did, and actually was in a way.  I think the hyper-reflexia wore me out easier since my muscles never completely relaxed, and maybe in those days I hung on to a cold longer than other children (but then, I also was eager to stay out of school as long as possible). Also, it isn’t to say I thought I’d live to see adulthood. In fact, by the time I was 8, I convinced myself I would die by my 10th birthday. It was 1987 and the war on drugs was in full swing.  I became obsessed with it, convinced by all those public service ads that I would soon die. It was almost like a catching disease, and I began to imagine that years ago someone gave me drugs, which I couldn’t remember, and by delayed reaction I would die years later. Ten seemed like an evil age because it was double digits and by all those drug ads, I thought that once you got that old an almost irresistible force came and you got strung out on coke.

My Brain, Age 8

By the time I was 12, however, I had for the most part given up my “catch-a- drug- addiction-obsession” and focused it more on “the-police-and everyone-will-think-I’m-on-drugs-and-arrest-me-obsession.” (Are you thinking what I’m thinking? I either A) was an insane kid not in touch with reality, or B) I was just really, really dumb to believe such things as old as I was). It was about this time I stopped going to doctors. By my teens, I seldom had colds and Mom figured out that if I did have one, it wasn’t necessary to put me on antibiotics for a viral infection.  As I grew older a blanket of  uncertainty regarding my health seemed to be thrown over me. I saw signs in everything of impending doom, of thinking the normal discharge from my you-know-and-if-you-don’t-i-ain’t-telling-you-what was a sign of cancer or something nice and fatal.

Fast forward some more and at age 19 I went for my first prodding. I only went because my shrink at that time refused to believe me that Paxil, the antidepressant I was on, was stopping my monthly curse, which it was (apparently I’m that 1 in 10,000 whose period stops on certain SSRI antidepressants. Who can beat those odds?). We’ll just say it wasn’t smooth sailing and I screamed. Not gasped. Screamed. The good doctor told me she’d done the procedure on a 4 year-old once, which was fine, but you hadn’t done it on me. Give my fat, yet surprisingly tight ass a break considering I had not even used a tampon in those days. When I got a notice for another exam a year later, my mother was like, “Eh, you’re fine.”

Down the road a little more and I’m around 21. I got off my medicine for about a year then and I began to bleed again like a normal person and that delightful fat which helped in vouchsafing my purity started melting away. It was crazy. I went from 250 lb. to 180 in a year, and probably would have lost much more if The Cold didn’t happen.  The year I stopped taking my medicine was manageable, though about every 15 minutes or so I’d feel small surges of anxiety that came and went, plus at various times a terrible guilt plagued me so that I had to figure what I had done to cause it. That was the year I kept thinking I contracted HIV everyday by unique, creative ways.  All that I could sort of manage, but then The Cold sent me haywire.

Anyway. one afternoon at school I felt so sick I might faint and was ever so grateful when my mother picked me up. At the time I had no idea that faintness would set off something  and I got better. That part of my brain that hides and waits to pounce on something suddenly exploded to the worst sort of panic I ever felt, and it was a panic that would not subside. My mind felt tightly wound, my skin felt as though it was crawling, and all I could do was remain terrified. Out of my mother’s presence, I felt sure I’d fall down dead or that I had diabetes and ready to slip into a coma. What I ate tasted different, like I imagine  death tastes, and I had no appetite. Worst anxiety I ever had I think and I almost dropped out of college before I got back  on medicine. Still no doctors except my psychiatrist though I was certain I was in my death throes. It subsided eventually when I returned to my fat, medicated self, but dropping dead still likes to hang out in the back of my head on the rare occasions I go far from home alone. “Enjoy that stroke, Fatso,” etc.

Fast forward once more, age 27, my second and last prodding. I just got Medicaid and the doctor’s office my social worker suggested thought it proper I be prodded and I acquiesced. May I say something here on doctor’s clinics who depend almost solely on Medicaid for their bread? In a word, they SUCK. My first inclination this was a sub-par place was the fact they wanted me to update my records twice, once without ever seeing me. The second was the nurse couldn’t find my vein to save her life. “Do your veins roll?” she asked. To which my reply was, “What?” I was a docile cow as the young woman stuck me at least 3 times without finding a mark, but my mother, a retired nurse, got cross. She asked for another nurse who got my blood the first try. Mama said later that people my age don’t have rolling veins and that after the second try on someone she always got another nurse to try. It didn’t particularly hurt, but I was feeling a bit annoyed.

The nurse practitioner was nice and I gladly report I didn’t scream, though I had to ask her for a breast exam. Um third inclination. Fourth inclination was when I returned to be told I was fine except my good cholesterol was too low, I had to wait 2 hours in the waiting room and I thought for certain that meant I had bad results. Fifth inclination was that if I didn’t make another appointment by phone, I could lose my Medicaid, which I knew was a lie. I never returned again, but no big loss because shortly after the clinic shut down for fraud. Big surprise there.

Image taken from (w/o permission):

http://www.adamhershposters.com/storefrontprofiles/DeluxeSFItemDetail.aspx?sid=1&sfid=43435&c=505559&i=233147815

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