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

More Mental Malaise, Less Donald Trump

Is That a Wal-Mart on the Way to Hell? — November 9, 2013

Is That a Wal-Mart on the Way to Hell?

Kinda sorta maybe wondering if I’m going to die like my mother did. I got a cold in early October and only got  over it after two weeks. But did I get over it? I was hoarse and sometimes still coughed. Now I’m coughing a lot more and feel a little bad. Maybe I just have another cold. Or AIDS. Or lung cancer. Or pneumonia waiting to poison my blood.

Someone once said I’d die by 48 if I kept eating the way I do. I’d write it off, but he did predict my mother’s death. He knew she was dying. He said to me as I visited him, “Are you and your mother OK? Have either of you been to the doctor?” “My mother has a cold is all,” I said. I’m sure he sensed a death imminent. I caught my mother’s cold. My mother, however, was dead within a couple of weeks of sepsis from pneumonia. Coincidence maybe, but he had predicted things to me several times before. I’m only 35 now, heading fast for 36.

I did something bad the other day, and maybe karma is about to bitch slap me for it. I was at Wal-Mart with my friend one night and after dark is when things at Wal-Mart get all peopleofwalmart.com. As I looked for cans of Friskies and cat litter, a couple came up to me. They reeked of cigarette smoke, even the woman who appeared pregnant ( but hey, my mother smoked while I was in the oven and look how great I turned out!).

“Oh we hate to  ask you this, it’s soooo embarrassing but we’re stuck here and we’re out of gas. All we have is a Wal-Mart gift card for $100.00 that my mom gave us to come visit her, but the Wal-Mart gas station is closed. We’ll sell you our gift card for $60.00 and prove it’s got  a 100.00 balance on our phone,” said the distressed damsel. Then she reiterated how embarrassing it all was.

I knew they wanted drugs. I knew the Murphy gas station was wide open at 9 pm and were it not, the gift card might be usable there anyway at the pump. I also knew that the balance on the gift card really was $100.00 because they let me hear the balance on their phone. I looked through my purse, had $49.00 in cash and bought it for that amount. Maybe they really needed help. Or maybe I just  helped a mom  make her kid a crack baby. I’d probably still buy that gift card if they approached me again since I don’t really know, which makes me scared I’ve become a terrible human being deserving death.

Other than me possibly dying and ending up on a permanent vacation in a much hotter climate, I’m OK. How are you?

 

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Poetry Pot Luck: The Perfectionist — January 11, 2011

Poetry Pot Luck: The Perfectionist

 

Yay! Another OCD poem!

 

Okay, I will try not to write more  ‘kill a buzz’ poetry next time, though y’all were awesome about the last one. It even got published on http://katemclaughlin.net, a successful author’s mental health blog. Coolest. Thing. Ever. Y’all won’t hold it against me if I break out into a stirring rendition of “Fame! I’m gonna live forever!” Shoot, I even feel as though I’ve got “Bette Davis Eyes” and that “I’m Walking on Sunshine, baby, yeah.”

I’m feeling so magnanimous today that I’m going to share one of the things that OCD does to virtually everyone who has it:  Rabid perfectionism. Cujo-trying-to-attack-style. Just when my mind thinks I’ve figured out a way to do something, that I’ve planned it out perfectly, Nervous Nelly will interject, “Nah girl, you ain’t doing that right. Try harder, loserrr.” If it ain’t Nervous Nelly in my head saying such, my mother is apt to say something that I will misconstrue as a criticism, which will turn me all ‘Sybilish’ and my mom and I end up having words. I want to be perfect and as good as everyone else, but my standards for myself are wayyyyyyyy too high. The really fun part is therapy and antidepressants just dampen it a tad. I can’t seem to stop. Irksome! But anyway, here I drop a rhyme about it for this week’s Poetry Pot Luck at http://jinglepoetry.blogspot.com . Tell me the truth if you don’t like it , in a nice way, of course!

 

Some people ask me why do you do such a thing?

Can it really be a comfort, or are you just not listening?

Nah, it's you. Definitely you. Or maybe me.

 

Are you just being difficult?

Are you just trying to make us mad?

 

No, I’m not. Yes, I am.

No. Yes. Maybe.

I’m not sure? I hope not.

I don’t think so…

 

I am difficult  and I am crazy

in my own convoluted way.

Well, you should stop, they say.

 

I don’t think you understand.

All people are driven forward by their minds.

I move forward but I’m three steps behind.

You go your way, but I must stay and listen to my mind.

 

It started around the age of six.

Staring at a piece of paper,

I knew I was in a fix.

Your name. Write your name.

No, no, it has to feel just right.

Instead I just sat there,

and the teacher marveled at how

I could be so dumb.

I didn’t know how to explain,

not to anyone.

 

In religion, I made the decision

to be as perfect as Jesus.

No everlasting flames for me!

But if I prayed once,

soon I’d pray again.

Oh Jesus, too much is a sin!

 

But you know better now, right?

You know you can’t ever be

a freaking deity?

 

Do I?

Yes, but maybe no.

Maybe I always knew,

but I was just a kid.

 

Now I’m an adult.

I only want to be as good as everyone else,

Perfect that without  completely erasing me.

So to myself I say,

Today will be the day I do nothing wrong.

I’ll please everyone, even you.

I might see the forest,

but all those trees are blocking my view.

 

Then tears, screams, I must begin anew.

A Rememberance of Things Past: Remembering 9-11 Through My First Post — September 11, 2010

A Rememberance of Things Past: Remembering 9-11 Through My First Post

I’ve been blogging now since March, and since my very first post mentioned 9-11, I’m going to excerpt it, but also give you a link to the whole post should you not have read it. Here is the link to the whole post:

https://ocdbloggergirl.wordpress.com/2010/03/25/in-which-nervous-nelly-explains-how-ocd-thinking-isnt-always-a-bad-thing/

For those of you who would rather not read my whole post, here is the part pertaining to 9-11, plus some background from my childhood:

Example Two – Lisa in “Well, At Least the World Isn’t Ending”

When I was little I was afraid of the world ending, and particularly that either my mom or I  would be roasting in hell-fire for eternity. I went to a Christian school, mainly because the school had afterschool care, and Mom figured I would mainly be saying my prayers and learning about Jesus.  Um wrong.

I learned that I was A SINNER and God spared only those who were true Christians and had the Lord in their hearts.

But I was a SINNER, EVIL, EVIL SINNER and off to Hell I would go where I would suffer eternal agony. Forever and ever. This is a tad much to swallow at the age of 6. Especially when our teacher would say such comforting things like, “If you think you see or hear things in the dark it’s just the devil trying to scare you, but if you’re a Christian he can’t hurt you.” Well joy to the world.  It would have been a comfort to me IF I was sure I was really a Christian. BUT WHAT IF I WASN’T  REALLY A CHRISTIAN???  What if I wasn’t saved? Maybe I didn’t say the prayer right? Maybe I might not love Jesus as much as I am supposed to love Him?

And so I prayed.  And then I prayed, and when I got done with that pretty soon I prayed some more.  Same thing every time. ”Please come into my heart, please forgive me of my sins.”  I didn’t feel Him inside my heart literally or figuratively.

One day, when I was safely delivered from the good teacher and her views of the devil, etc., the end of  the world occurred.  We had a new teacher because thankfully our first teacher got mad and walked out in the middle of class  when her best friend got fired. I  was so happy. God was in His heaven and all was right with the world. This woman actually liked me, where as the previous teacher despised me. In fact, this teacher almost worshipped me. Never before and never since has anyone liked me that much (I don’t think she could have children and me being the odd one out, I sparked an overwhelming  desire to have a child , and my mom worried she would kidnap me -but all that’s another story for another time). Yes, she loved me and it was wonderful, so I doubt it was artifice and she really did think the world had ended.

One day the sky seemed thick and cloudy, and an orange haze filled the air. In fact, there was even big ashes snowing down at intervals. Everyone speculated that the world was ending in our little school, and if the teachers believed it, then it was true, right? I remember being very afraid. What if I never saw my mom again?

Yes, the world was ending…..That is until the principal’s husband showed up and told how there was a bad forest fire in the next county and the wind was blowing ashes and smoke all the way over here.  Jeez, I was a stupid kid, but at least the adults were dumbasses too.


Well enough of this childhood trauma stuff and fast forward to being 24. By that time I had made my peace with Jesus. I now believed that Hell didn’t exist, that a loving God would not condemn  the world to being rotisseried for eternity. I had no interest in judging others when I was such a flawed person myself and believed (and believe now too) that Jesus was a bleeding heart liberal like me though he was cool with the Republicans too.  We’re all people, right? (Except Ann Coulter maybe, heh).  So this is my mindset on that awful day of September 11, 2001, though I still prayed to excess on my simple goal of being perfect, the world ending got filed in the back of my mental filing cabinet of fears.

We hadn’t had the TV on all morning. It was now around 1:30pm and my mom was driving me to class, so I turned on the radio to listen to some music. I had it on an R&B station, but instead of the usual waiting to hear a half-way decent song,  the announcers were talking about praying for the nation and how Washington was under full alert.  No planes in the air, they told, and they don’t know if we’re being invaded or how many thousands might be dead.

Now may it never be said that I claim to be the sharpest nail in the toolbox. What did I think was happening? I had no idea, but it was awful. The sky was finally falling, Chicken Little, like you always knew it would. It flashed in my mind that the world was ending. I felt like that 6 year-old I once was, waiting to be left to hell in the final judgement.   So when I heard what had actually happened, that the world had not ended, Lord help me at the relief I felt.  It was like “Oh, thank God the world isn’t ending. It’s just a terrorist attack!” And in this way. my OCD once again spared me from reality by expecting the worst of the worst and numbing me to the thing that was almost the worst of the worst. I stayed home from school for a couple  days since the state port and federal courthouse are near the community college, but I remember no real panic on my part for myself, but I also could have been in shock. I didn’t have to think the  horror until it was a little easier to take. Numbed by my joy that the world was not ending I didn’t have to think about the things that would later become vivid and terrible in my mind. The terror of the passengers on those planes.  The picture I would see of the priest being carried out lifeless when he had been there giving the last rites to the dying.  Not knowing whether your family and friends were alive. Would I have followed orders and stayed in the second tower like bosses had told their employees?  And the worst one…..having to decide between death by falling out of a window or being burned alive. So I’m grateful for the OCD and/or stupidity that spared me a bit on that awful day.





OCD Trip to Family Dollar — August 16, 2010

OCD Trip to Family Dollar

Family Dollar
A Family Dollar. How Quaint!

Started on Fri the 13, finished post today.


Our van is out of commission for a while until we absolutely need to go somewhere. The muffler is holding on by the skin of its teeth, so we dare not take it somewhere now. It’s always something isn’t it? This morning, however, we needed a few things.

One of the ways to get me annoyed is talking about money , or lack thereof.  It’s my bad and everything to feel that way, but I feel my frustration building. I get the feeling it’s all my fault and Nervous Nelly is telling my head, It’s all your fault for being such a fucking, worthless piece of shit on fucking disability. You never do anything right. You should just fucking die. The Nervous Nelly part of me that lives in my head is not a very nice person, and she curses like she’s got Tourette’s as she serves as my personal ‘life sucks coach and anti-motivational/verbal abuse speaker.’  With thoughts such as these talking over my mom asking me if this and that are showing up on my rinky-dink credit card’s online statement I feel one step from a fit. This is a perfectly reasonable question to ask considering we have a limited amount of funds available and needed to refresh our supplies. What can I say? Sometimes I’m a total mental midget. More fodder for my ‘pile of things that make me feel guilty.’

With the heat index near 100 degrees at 10:30 in the morning, I decide the right thing to do is go myself, then as we sort of bicker over it, she suggests we go together. “No, I’ll go.” After all, I see no reason for both of us being miserable. “Just let me go brush my hair and teeth.” I ran a brush through my hair enough to push it a little down earlier, but not enough to go past my patio and certainly not enough to get all the fuzz from my blanket out of my hair.

“I’ll just go,” she says. That did it.  Angry….angry…..ANGRY! It doesn’t take that long for me to brush my hair and teeth…granted I do ritualize it like everything, but it isn’t like it could take more than 10 minutes. It may just be I’m mental, but I interpret her as always trying to run my life and if she would just let me do what I want how I want we would get along better. I don’t think my request was that bad, especially since I was going. Now she’s all “I’ll go” and “I’m going with you” in a voice with a decidedly martyr lilt. We’re out in the hall so we have that added advantage of airing our sundries for whoever wishes to listen just like some of our neighbors scream, when I bellow “I’m going, GOD DAMMIT!”

Great, now I’ve lost my religion too. Though I’m not as religious as in the days of old, I still consider myself a Christian, and still I retain a certain degree of scrupulosity. I remember that, if the Bible is 100 percent true, I will be held accountable for every time I get mad enough to drop the “GD” bomb. I even feel the slightest tinge of apprehension at writing what I said above, but the kind God I generally believe in no doubt understands ‘my art.’ Oh well at least I’m not like I was when I was 13. All sorts of superstitious thoughts and accidental blasphemies were the order of the day in my head, the remnants of my days in Holy Roller Christian Academy, which I left at the age of 9.  There is a fear of God and then there is becoming a total dumbass, which I fell into the latter. I didn’t give up my MTV or the fascinating world of 1990s rap music (which in the 2000s sort of went to hell like all music did -no pun intended). So I listened to Yo! MTV Raps and BET’s Rap City, delighting in it in my own WASPy ways, all the while doing nutty junk like making sure I crossed my ‘t’s at least at the midway point lest they look  like upside down crosses like devil worshipers favor.

But anyway….

I walked a swift pace, letting the energy of my indignation propel me to Family Dollar, about a couple blocks from my complex. We may live in a somewhat bummy part of town, but hey, it’s convenient to a bit of everything. I was still in a foul humor walking into the blessed air-conditioned store. I see that The Other Lisa is working and I feel a pang of guilt. The last time I spoke to her a few weeks ago I said something I shouldn’t have. The Other Lisa, I’m pretty sure she’s the same person my best friend and I used to hang out with, was describing her Missions  in Africa. How some of the men stood around with folded arms looking mad at them. And I said it before I knew I was going to say it and by the time I was back outside with Mom I knew I shouldn’t have. I said shyly  to The Other Lisa, “Well, wouldn’t you be angry if someone came to your country and tried to change you?” She had the grace to ignore me (yeah, the puns are intended. Who am I kidding?). Even if I were speaking the gospel truth I should haven’t said it. She saw it as I used to see it as a little girl…saving souls from the eternal fires of hell, perhaps thus saving her own. Faster than you could say infidel, my conscience had started panging me.

So I decided today I would do my best to be friendly and hope to ease the wrong I committed. We say hello and I’m off on the hunt for what I was told to get before and a couple other gluttonous things. Toilet paper. 3 boxes of dollar dry cat food that we keep out all the time because we only feed the cats cans in the evening -I get 3, Mama usually gets 2, but I have a bit of a preference for things in 3’s and we do have 3 cats, so it’s all fair and balanced, right? 6 pack of Hershey Bars -if I’m going to that part for gluttons as described in Dante’s Inferno, might as well enjoy the trip (feel a bit nervous writing that one). 12 pack of Cokes (you know,to wash the Hershey bars down). Done. I balance my treasures in my arms and head for the counter with the intention not to be counted as that heathen bitch from the other day. Living on a Prayer by Bon Jovi comes on the radio and she sings along. God likes irony apparently.  Pleasedon’tthinkbadofme.Pleasedon’tthinkbadofme.

Amazingly enough, I think I hold it in the road. Sure my naturally child-like voice is probably more child-like now because I’m nervous and I’m a bit stuttering, but we exchange pleasantries. As I leave , walk past the side of Family Dollar and notice a man in a jeep just sitting there. I’m immediately suspicious. The window is up, though it’s 90 degrees and I don’t hear the engine. I don’t dare glance too much just in case he’s one of those real-life ‘Evil Ones,’ entailing someone who’s a perv or mugger or something. He doesn’t look dead from my peripheral vision and I walk on, stealing a slight glance once. At the road, I realize I forgot something. Mama’s coffee! Back I go.

The Other Lisa is out at her car getting a pair of sneakers to replace the uncomfortable ones she was wearing. She asks me if something’s wrong.

“I forgot the coffee,” I say cheerfully, all the while thinking, please don’t think I want to steal something. One of my neuroses is the fear someone will think I want to steal, which I never would do, but my mind keeps telling me people think I’m about to snatch something. So when I get inside I set everything down except for my little wallet  with the tabby kitten on it. Tres chic,  non?

I come back to the counter and say, “This was my main mission coming here.” Then I think to myself, Oh no, I said mission. She’ll think I’m making fun of her.

But if she thought I was making fun of her, she didn’t show it. She said,”In third world countries where they don’t got a lot to eat, they still be drinking coffee. Like when we were in Africa, they be drinking like Starbucks.”

“Really?” I say, hoping to make it sound like that was the most interesting thing I’d heard in years…Well, it was interesting, but I felt it necessary to show approbation. “I’m glad I remembered before I walked halfway home.”

“You live at Shitzville?” she asks (I’m using an assumed, but pretty apropos name for my apartment complex).

“Yes.” Before I leave I confess that I don’t even like coffee.

Something happens when you’re walking home in 90 degree weather with a big bag of groceries and a 12 pack of coke balanced in your arms. Anger melts, almost in a literal sense. I trudge past the weirdo in a jeep and the shopping center that at separate times housed an illegal gambling spot and a doctor who sold prescription drug subscriptions of the patient’s choice for $100.00 until they got shut down. Past the house I think is suspicious, the one with no windows in the front…People are outside talking, but pay me no mind. Past a couple of women waiting for a bus. I force a “Morning” out of my throat at them and hurry away. Past the apartment where those folks killed themselves in a sexually explicit way. And I’m home.

PS, I’d be an epic fail as a missionary unless the “Secular Humanists” are evangelical. I posted this on a young woman’s blog once who was afraid to admit she’s an atheist. I think somehow though, Jesus might approve:

Hi there!
Great post. I believe in God and Jesus and all that, but I believe the Bible was mostly the product of the men who wrote it and the era. Jesus wasn’t a hater, so I still believe in Jesus. And I believe that if you go around hating people, you generally got the wrong idea about the whole being a Christian thing.

That being said, look at all the positive things about being an atheist (think if I was an atheist I’d prefer ‘humanist’ too):

You know you’re a good person because you’re a good person, not from a fear of some divine punishment. You are able to decide who you are as a person without the constraints of religion, you can look at spirituality, politics, and science objectively and take what you want from it. You may be in the minority of people, but I see atheism just as another ‘religion,’ something to tolerate and accept, not condemn.

Also, that being said, I’m not saying don’t ever think about there being a God either, because spirituality definitely has its blessings and gifts too.

Anywho, what I mean to say is “Being an atheist doesn’t make you a lesser person, just a free-thinker. And your dad isn’t in Hell, for Heaven’s sakes. But the person who said that should go to Hell -figuratively, of course.

*Image taken from

http://www.riggscorp.com/Development.htm

Used without permission.


The Various Trials of Nervous Nelly, from a Visit with her Therapist to Nearly Being Locked in a Cemetary Overnight — April 27, 2010

The Various Trials of Nervous Nelly, from a Visit with her Therapist to Nearly Being Locked in a Cemetary Overnight

(This post was started April 16 and only finished today, the 27th. Segments, Lisa. You must learn to write in small segments. )

Dear most appreciated blog reader,

Regarding my “Can’t Say No” post, I have yet to be hauled away for the crimes of Little Hippie /Fundamentalist  Woman, so perhaps she wasn’t a criminal after all and just  a gal who really needed to write an email or two. I have a vivid, abominable  imagination.  So for now we must file this worry away and send our neurotic heroine Nelly on to other fabulous adventures, like chasing windmills and shit.

It’s Wednesday and I’m late as always to my therapist. I can’t for the life of me be on time for anything. One day I will be late to my own funeral, you just wait and see.  Assuming I don’t die penniless and bereft of friends and family, I will be cleaned and dressed sans my rituals and won’t try to do 3 or 4 things at the same time. Then, since you can’t take it with you when you go, I won’t be searching frantically for whatever the ‘it’ is of the day that I wanted to take. So who knows? I might make it on time for my funeral sometime in the  future (hopefully the distant future), but as it stands I won’t to the therapist. And the ‘it’ that I need to take with me is my fucking purse, which I forget at home, and helpfully  remember 15 minutes down the road. We debate on returning for the purse. I didn’t pay my Medicaid co-pay the last time because it was the end of the month and money was mega tight in March, but to  let the payment go twice in a row is positively horrifying to me, especially since now I can pay for it just fine.

Nervous Nelly here is a dependent personality if ever there was one. I can’t bear the thought of telling the sweet, non-threatening receptionist to ‘put it on my tab.’  I can say hi warmly, flash something akin to  a smile, politely answer questions, set up an appointment, pay, and wish her a good day each time I see her, all the while  avoiding eye contact as much as I can. But the words, “I’m really sorry, but I forgot my purse at home. Could I please pay you next time?” like someone climbing Mt. Everest to me. Not impossible, but who wants to be so high up in the atmosphere you can barely breathe?  Not I. Hellll no.

“If I have to not pay my $3.00 twice in a row, will you please tell her,” I beg my mother.

Ok, seeing this in print is really showing how stupid this is. Oh, man. There is inside this woman, me, a little girl who never grew up and she wants her mommy.  She fights with adult me, who is a bit of an old lady.  So this perhaps is why I don’t ever quite fit in, can’t be 32…I can have the emotional maturity of a 6 year-old and sometimes  I’m 62 (I am so screwed).

What clenches the purse-fetching debate is the gas tank is almost on empty and we will need to get gas pretty soon. I feel my frustration scale about to go through the roof. I hate messing up, hate it. I regard forgetting  my purse as some terrible flaw in my character, a sign that I’m a total fool. How disgusting. How ridiculous. How abnormal. How imperfect! The little things in life get me, as I’ve told you before,  and this little thing has sent me into a rage at myself. I covertly pinch my arm hard trying to get a grip. I tell myself under my breath what exactly I am. “Stupid, worthless piece of shit.”

Ok, let me step back a sec. That’s embarrassing to relate, dear reader. I wouldn’t say that to anyone else or pinch anyone but myself.  I am my own worst enemy.  In situations like these I don’t just dislike myself, I loathe myself. I don’t hate other people and seldom get really mad at others. Guess I save it all for myself. I hope you don’t think I’m crazy. I don’t hear voices, see things, or think I’m Joan of Arc. I know it’s  totally irrational and yet I can’t seem to stop.

Ok, intermission over. Back to the story.

Back at the apartment, I grab my purse, all the time berating myself.  I pop an ativan (those are only for emergencies and I deem this fit an emergency) and back out I go.  At the therapist’s, I go in with extra apprehension for being almost 15 minutes late.  I am supposed to meet the eyes of my therapist, but I’m ashamed for being late, and ever since my antidepressants  seemed to start failing me ( a couple of months now), I can’t make the effort for her or anyone. I’m ashamed and afraid for being.

I have an implicit trust in my therapist and can tell her anything. I knew her when I was 15 and in a group for teens with various problems. I saw another therapist one on one in those days, but my current therapist was one of the leaders of the group, and to be honest, I liked her much more than him.  My male therapist, besides the fact he was a man  and I distrust men, I felt was too critical of me. He wanted to change my personality and I felt he secretly didn’t like me much. But I can thank him for many things, one is I knew where to go when I needed help again, my current therapist. Another, is I met my best friend of 17 years there and half the time she’s more neurotic than I am, though hers is more from her life experiences and not an anxiety disorder. Yet another is that I learned that no matter how bad things are, there’s someone who is in a far worse situation than I am. You never know what someone is going through or what made someone become who she/he is , and it is vital to realize and be compassionate. I wonder what happened to those kids. Did that girl who kept a knife under her bed for when she decided to make another suicide attempt live to adulthood? I hope she is alive and well, the poor thing was only 14, and no child deserves such unhappiness. My best friend and I were the poster girls for good mental health compared to the overwhelming majority of those kids.  So awful.

But anyway….

My therapist says I must stop beating myself up for simple mistakes. NO ONE IS PERFECT. FORGETTING STUFF IS NORMAL. It’s hard for me to not try to do things just right, though, because I’ve done this in one form or another since about the age of 6.  She tells me to continue going for walks everyday. Besides being good excercise, she thinks if I’m out among people I will become less nervous around others. I’m just so afraid of making an ass out of myself , of committing the great social blunder of 2010, and I feel they’re thinking about how I look.

Lastly, my therapist tells me to remember to do more stuff that will make me more independent. I am peaceful as I hand my money over to the receptionist. She tries to schedule my next appointment still in April, but I say best make it May since it’s getting toward the end of the month and money is tight. To which the receptionist answered, “If you ever need to see her, it’s ok to wait until later to pay.”

Note to self: Lisa Ann B., you’re an idiot.


It is Thursday, a beautiful spring day in the southeastern coastal town where I live. The flowers have burst forth. Spring’s trademark is stamped everywhere. Dogwoods, other flowering trees, and  azaleas are exploding with color. There is no more beautiful time of the year as when the azaleas pop out, but don’t blink too much because within two weeks they will have wilted away until the next year. All this renewal of life freed from the clutches of  winter by Mother Nature makes me want to…..makes me want to plant a garden? No! ……Makes me want to go to the cemetary!

Well, this is not just any cemetary. This one goes back to antebellum days. I don’t actually like to think about those times (except for the beautiful Scarlet O’Hara dresses)  because I hate to think of the atrocities done to slaves . But I mega dig Victoriana. And anyway it’s  not so much the graves that  attract one to the cemetary, it’s the azaleas. The azaleas are everywhere  in the background of the monument-like graves of  the élite families of our town.

In fact, this cemetary, and the two others next to it, give a glimpse of society from around the Civil War to the present. The azalea-ridden cemetary with its monumental graves is a  memorial to what wealth will buy. It’s rich, white, and prestigious. Filled with people with interesting lives and even more interesting deaths.  Just a few:

The Sea Captain’s daughter who gave up the ghost while far away from home, so they nailed a chair down inside a barrel.  Then they tied her mortal remains to the chair and filled the barrel with liquor. When back home, they buried her still in the barrel. If that keg is made of wood, I bet she is no longer pickled. If it is metal, maybe she’s down there still sitting in her chair if it hasn’t rusted away (which somehow is even more creepy to me than her just being bones).  And to add to the sorrowful tale is that 4 months after his daughter died, the sea captain’s  son washed overboard and drowned. Now talk about your bad luck!

The Confederate spy who  put her bag of  gold  coins (royalties from her memoir) around her neck so she wouldn’t lose them when the boat she was on capsized. Unfortunately she didn’t lose her gold when her lifeboat flipped and she was weighed down and finis.

The volunteer fireman who was buried with his dog. The man and dog died together when he was pinned down in a fire and rather than leaving his master, the dog remained with him  and perished too while trying to drag his master to safety.


Next to Rich White Cemetery is the  African-American Cemetery, historical in its own merit because people were buried there since the days of slavery too. In the Black Cemetery, the socio-economic barriers that permeate the Rich White Cemetery do not seem to exist much. The poor people are differentiated by the quality, flourish, and size of stone on their graves. The Black Cemetery is kept up in a minimal way, the grass cut almost everywhere, the dirt path bumpy and hard to pass through but passable.  The edges of the cemetery are what screams lack of care. These parts of the cemetery have grown up with grass and brambles, with stones just peaking out showing someone is buried there. These are the people gone and long since forgotten. Shame on our city, when this graveyard is a part of our history as vital as Rich White Cemetery! I consider our coastal southern town fairly progressive, but some things are hidden just underneath the surface in our turbulent past. The city that I live in had a violent race riot in the  1970s and even a coup d’état in 1890s by overthrowing the majority black government in our city.

The third cemetery,  separated by the African-American Cemetery from its richer peer, is Poor to Middle Class White Cemetery. Well kept, small but dignified, it’s better cared for than her black neighbor, but not nearly as interesting.

Now, after that impromptu treatise on race relations, back to the story!

So we’re looking at the flowers and eerie beauty of Rich White Cemetery and getting a tad lost, because this cemetery has planted folks here for around 160 years and some of them have huge monuments, mausoleums,  and whatever it took to be funereal chic  in the Victorian era. Apparently, the good people of Rich White Cemetery in their good sense, believe a decent cemetery should expel all living patrons by 5pm sharp regardless of time of year.  But the fun part is locking the gates without a glimpse for suckers who failed to read closing time upon entering. I wasn’t too concerned, though, since I  had my cell phone, not to say that would be too fun a call to make to the cops. I suggest we walk around, that surely somewhere remained unlocked, especially since I saw a not-so-paranormal-looking couple  just a few minutes ago walking.

Two gates locked, we’re padlocked in Perdition. We  keep walking until a third gate. This one looks a tad different and I walk up to it, a side entrance and the damn thing opens like the pearly gates to Glory.  Mama walks back to our ghetto fabulous classic 1994 Mazda MPV, me waiting so no one locks this gate on us.  I look at this gorgeous azalea I remember from last year, a dark red-purple flower about the size of a common magenta azalea but much darker, so awesome. I take a peep at the graves near the gate, all the while keeping my eye on said gate. No one, not St. Peter, not the devil, not a grounds keeper, is gonna lock that damn gate without me at least screaming loud enough to wake the dead.

Safely delivered from captivity, we go downtown to have a look at the teabagger rally, I mean the Tea Party,  that has gone on all day. We listen to Sean Hannity on the radio waxing rhapsodic about the noble Tea Party activists nationwide and Reagan this, Reagan that. Every time I listen to Hannity, I tend to think if he could dig up Reagan and marry him he would, anti-gay marriage or no.

So the noble tea folk are down at the federal courthouse at the river. Good for them, I suppose, since the joy of being American is the ability to protest for what you believe.  It’s WASP Party 2010 downtown and rather fun to look at as long as you recall everyone is entitled to believe as they like, that is until I see this one woman and I have my What the Flying Fuck?! moment of the day. She has this sign, “Obama, Go Back to Kenya. I Will Buy the Plane Ticket!”  Now, I could be wrong, but to me it sounds like some racist saying no more than “Go back to Africa.”  Sure, I get the whole Birther rumor popular among some people. But honestly? Honestly. Could Obama be from Kenya and a closet Muslim? Could I be an Ethiopian albino  and  a closet Hare Krishna? Anything is possible, but probable? Um no.  She has a right to her opinion and I have the right to think she’s plumb ignorant with a limited touch on reality.

Went to the Shrink and Found Out My Life Stinks, but Decide to Live It Anyhow — April 20, 2010

Went to the Shrink and Found Out My Life Stinks, but Decide to Live It Anyhow

Went to the doctor and guess what he told me, guess what he told me? He said, “Girl you gotta try to have fun no matter what you do,”  but he’s a fool….

-Sinead O’Conner

I am disheartened. Totally, completely disheartened. My anxiety has really been getting to me for about a month and the social anxiety is kicking me in the stomach. I can barely articulate it. I’m intimidated by my psychiatrist, little and unthreatening, but I’m afraid of saying too much. Something that will make her say go to the doctor. Something that will make her say, “Tsk, tsk. Sick little puppy.” I am afraid of her receptionist, a hateful British woman who demands payment before services rendered, as though she expects me to try to sneak out without paying, as though she’s saying, White trash.

” I think I need my meds adjusted”  I say. But I’m already on the maximum dose for Luvox, 300 mg., and she doesn’t want to increase the drug more. I understand this, but I hoped she would be able to let me take more or something.

She asks me if the Wellbutrin could be making me more nervous. I say no fast. The Wellbutrin keeps me from being ‘spayed’ by the Luvox. You might ask why would a  woman who couldn’t give it away at San Quentin would want to feel erotic feelings. Doesn’t it just remind me that I’m not desirable?  Well, I have a secret boyfriend. B.o.b. is down for anything when I like as long as I keep him supplied with 2 AA batteries. Doc Johnson introduced us at Spencer’s in the mall for $12.95  and  I won’t give him up!  

 That’s too much information. Let’s move on.

The psychiatrist asks if  I feel hopelessness. Not always but often.

How’s my mood? I was really depressed for a while, but it’s better now. While I’m not exactly ecstatic, I’m ok.

“Any suicidal thoughts?” She asks me this twice during the 15 minute session.

“No.” But I wouldn’t tell you if I did even though I like you.

Suicide is something I wouldn’t do, I know. I will wish I’m dead at times or that my sorry self was never born, but to actually act on these thoughts isn’t something I’m keen on doing. I do have some hope somewhere, I just misplace it sometimes. I want to live if only to spite Ms. Pink Pig, and I want to live just in case I surprise myself  and find a purpose.  Plus I’m not that selfish and I analyze the reasons I HAVE TO live.  My mother would be devastated, because she and I have not gone more than 24 hours without at least talking to each other on the phone.  She’s fairly dependent on me in her own way. We are symbiotic.

My soul father (my favorite professor in college), not my biological dad who is dead and I never knew, would be sorry if I exited the stage even though we seldom see each other. He’s a sensitive person and I’m sure it would bother him a lot.

My best friend might need me. She has a huge circle of friends, but still, she might need me.

Someone else I know or am friends with might be sad or need me.  At least I hope that I might be needed by someone.

It’s unfair to throw my life away when so many young people who die too soon from illness or misadventure didn’t have the chance to grow old.

What if the evil God that I learned about in kindergarten is how it all really is and I’m banished to eternal damnation? I doubt it’s really how it is, but my early beliefs are still hidden in my psyche somewhere and I’m awaiting punishment.  It is totally against normal human nature to destroy oneself, so how would a just God banish to hell someone not thinking straight?

Even if I killed myself all neatly, pills so that I seem only asleep, wouldn’t that still weird someone out to find me even if I’m unknown to that person?  Or worse, what if  no one found me and my mom never knew what happened to me?

Even cremation is expensive. I’d hate to cost a lot.

Etc. & so forth…so no, suicide is something I won’t do.

The psychiatrist tells me to keep taking Ativan as needed, to eat regularly since my mood worsens when I’m hungry, and work on my anxiety with my therapist.

“See you in two months,” she says cheerfully.

I’m depressed. I’m angry. And where is the hopelessness? Oh yay, there it is!

“I’m going to be like this forever,” I tell my mother. All the anxiety. All the timidity. All the anger for not being perfect or at least normal.  I am nothing. Forever.

You can do this, Lisa. You HAVE TO do this. You can’t be this way forever. You have to will yourself out of this. I tell myself I will do better.  You will look people in the eye at least once per interaction. You’re a person too, no less than they are, simply for being a human you are no less of a person.  All people have worth, even you, Lisa.

I decide I will try to  be  as optimistic as Candide after I have a nap with one of my cats.

  

In Which Nervous Nelly Explains How OCD Thinking Isn’t Always a Bad Thing — March 25, 2010

In Which Nervous Nelly Explains How OCD Thinking Isn’t Always a Bad Thing

Well, my name isn’t really Nelly. It’s Lisa, but  “Nervous Nelly” hits the nail on the head. On the head and right between the eyes.  In the  32 virginal years I  have graced this planet, I can say much of the time is filled with “what if this or that happened and what would I do?” I ought to try to stop myself by now, as 90% of the time, the bad thing never happens, and if it does it’s seldom as bad as I thought. This is the good thing about being obsessive-compulsive I would say.  When the shit hits the fan, it’s not the giant sewer leak that is in my head. The worst case scenario becomes a peaceful stream thanks to my gargantuan imagination which envisions oceans in mud puddles.  I suppose I could give you examples instead of melodramatic metaphors, so I’ll give you two examples:  

Example One – Lisa and the Homicidal Insane Cook  

I worry about murderers, carjackers, rapists, etc. causing harm to my mother and sometimes to myself, but mainly to my mother when we are apart. Look at the news, awful things happen ALL THE TIME. But when something awful could have actually happened I was calm and I handled it.  

Ok, so 3 or 4 years ago we tried out a newly opened Chinese buffet. It was later in the afternoon,  just past lunchtime, so there was only a couple other patrons and they were in another section of the restaurant (this was before  the state made smokers into lepers and my mom could still smoke inside). We were eating, the food was good too, which makes this all the greater a tragedy .  Suddenly, one could hear yelling in the kitchen.  It kept up steady and seemed to stay in the kitchen, so I felt confident  in my safety at grabbing something else. Oh what to get, what to get. Soup? Or a couple of those slivers of cake?  

Oh, the possibilities! Oh…….. oh …….oh shit!  

The shit had now officially hit the fan.  The argument spilled out near where I happened was, no further than 12 feet. A man was  surrounded by 3 guys and 2 women, and boy,  was he ever pissed.  It was a good thing I don’t speak Chinese,  but some things are universal,  a psychotic rage is distinguishable from someone mildly miffed that he burned the General Tso’s chicken. Psycho Cook then took a soup bowl and smashed it on the floor, but this must have not been cathartic enough, for he soon lunged at another cook.  I remained unnoticed and began to deliberate what to do. I wasn’t panicked I remember, a little nervous and disconcerted, but panicking? No, not really. Would someone else have totally freaked out? I’m not sure . Perhaps they would have the common sense to be scared, not just a little frightened. So I weighed my options, a little list in my brain:  

A:) Every woman for herself, haul ass out the door and hope your mother will follow.  But I would never leave my mother if  if any harm could come to her, so scratch that.  

B:) Run past the offending party back to my mother. Run, fat girl, run!!! No, that didn’t seem sensible either. Let  the lunging crouching tiger become  aware of  Hidden Dragon here? Not a good idea in my estimation.  

C.) Act normal (or fake it in my case since  I ain’t never been normal, just seen the brochure once or twice). Yes this is the best idea. If  I ignore whatever the screaming, striking  cook is doing and act like an unconcerned customer I might have more of  a chance at not attracting the ire of  this poor guy.  Time to not be too particular, so I grab a bit of orange and start back, walking as far away from Psycho Cook ‘n pals as I dared. One of the waitresses sat at the table with my mom kind of hiding out.  The waitress said to us, “I hate Chinese people. All they do is fight.” ( disclaimer: She was Chinese or Malaysian herself, so she could say that I guess). She proceeded to tell us the story of  the restaurant. Appears a few guys got the idea of opening a restaurant together. Too bad that among the angry lot,  one was totally insane and off his meds.  Happens in the best of restaurants.  

Meanwhile, the fray  moved more towards the kitchen and another waitress came over. “We got to go now! He threatening to kill people.”  

Ever the scrupulous idiot that i am I tried to give them money fast, but they said not to worry about it. Fair enough, but I did manage to give the waitress 10 bucks at least and wouldn’t  take it  back.  This all happened really fast.  One or two of the men stayed with the wigged out chef and everyone else made for the door. When outside several people got into one car and left. The other patrons had already left before hell broke loose.  

Safely away my mother and I were like “well…that was….different.”  

And the even funnier thing is when I was 14, a crazy guy jumped out at my mom and me when we were walking at night. He was probably as scared as I was, maybe more, and I can honestly say I had never been more afraid in my life. So scared in fact that for the next couple years I had an intense phobia of men in general. Then the fear waned and now I’m not that afraid of crazy people, though I’ve always been a little scared of guys if I’m alone with them and I have mega social anxiety.  So there, go figure.  

Finally, second example. then I swear I’ll shut the hell up.  

Example Two – Lisa in “Well, At Least the World Isn’t Ending”  

When I was little I was afraid of the world ending, and particularly that either my mom or I  would be roasting in hell-fire for eternity. I went to a Christian school, mainly because the school had afterschool care, and Mom figured I would mainly be saying my prayers and learning about Jesus.  Um wrong.  

I learned that I was A SINNER and God spared only those who were true Christians and had the Lord in their hearts.  

But I was a SINNER, EVIL, EVIL SINNER and off to Hell I would go where I would suffer eternal agony. Forever and ever. This is a tad much to swallow at the age of 6. Especially when our teacher would say such comforting things like, “If you think you see or hear things in the dark it’s just the devil trying to scare you, but if you’re a Christian he can’t hurt you.” Well joy to the world.  It would have been a comfort to me IF I was sure I was really a Christian. BUT WHAT IF I WASN’T  REALLY A CHRISTIAN???  What if I wasn’t saved? Maybe I didn’t say the prayer right? Maybe I might not love Jesus as much as I am supposed to love Him?  

And so I prayed.  And then I prayed, and when I got done with that pretty soon I prayed some more.  Same thing every time. ”Please come into my heart, please forgive me of my sins.”  I didn’t feel Him inside my heart literally or figuratively.   

One day, when I was safely delivered from the good teacher and her views of the devil, etc., the end of  the world occurred.  We had a new teacher because thankfully our first teacher got mad and walked out in the middle of class  when her best friend got fired. I  was so happy. God was in His heaven and all was right with the world. This woman actually liked me, where as the previous teacher despised me. In fact, this teacher almost worshipped me. Never before and never since has anyone liked me that much (I don’t think she could have children and me being the odd one out, I sparked an overwhelming  desire to have a child , and my mom worried she would kidnap me -but all that’s another story for another time). Yes, she loved me and it was wonderful, so I doubt it was artifice and she really did think the world had ended.   

One day the sky seemed thick and cloudy, and an orange haze filled the air. In fact, there was even big ashes snowing down at intervals. Everyone speculated that the world was ending in our little school, and if the teachers believed it, then it was true, right? I remember being very afraid. What if I never saw my mom again?  

Yes, the world was ending…..That is until the principal’s husband showed up and told how there was a bad forest fire in the next county and the wind was blowing ashes and smoke all the way over here.  Jeez, I was a stupid kid, but at least the adults were dumbasses too.   

Well enough of this childhood trauma stuff and fast forward to being 24. By that time I had made my peace with Jesus. I now believed that Hell didn’t exist, that a loving God would not condemn  the world to being rotisseried for eternity. I had no interest in judging others when I was such a flawed person myself and believed (and believe now too) that Jesus was a bleeding heart liberal like me though he was cool with the Republicans too.  We’re all people, right? (Except Ann Coulter maybe, heh).  So this is my mindset on that awful day of September 11, 2001, though I still prayed to excess on my simple goal of being perfect, the world ending got filed in the back of my mental filing cabinet of fears.  

We hadn’t had the TV on all morning. It was now around 1:30pm and my mom was driving me to class, so I turned on the radio to listen to some music. I had it on an R&B station, but instead of the usual waiting to hear a half-way decent song,  the announcers were talking about praying for the nation and how Washington was under full alert.  No planes in the air, they told, and they don’t know if we’re being invaded or how many thousands might be dead.  

Now may it never be said that I claim to be the sharpest nail in the toolbox. What did I think was happening? I had no idea, but it was awful. The sky was finally falling, Chicken Little, like you always knew it would.  It flashed in my mind that the world was ending. I felt like that 6 year-old I once was, waiting to be left to hell in the final judgement.   So when I heard what had actually happened, that the world had not ended, Lord help me at the relief I felt.  It was like “Oh, thank God the world isn’t ending. It’s just a terrorist attack!” And in this way. my OCD once again spared me from reality by expecting the worst of the worst and numbing me to the thing that was almost the worst of the worst. I stayed home from school for a couple  days since the state port and federal courthouse are near the community college, but I remember no real panic on my part for myself, but I also could have been in shock. I didn’t have to think the  horror until it was a little easier to take. Numbed by my joy that the world was not ending I didn’t have to think about the things that would later become vivid and terrible in my mind. The terror of the passengers on those planes.  The picture I would see of the priest being carried out lifeless when he had been there giving the last rites to the dying.  Not knowing whether your family and friends were alive. Would I have followed orders and stayed in the second tower like bosses had told their employees?  And the worst one…..having to decide between death by falling out of a window or being burned alive. So I’m grateful for the OCD and/or stupidity that spared me a bit on that awful day.  

Well, now that I have totally bummed out myself and anyone else  who has the misfortune to read this, I will bid you adieu for now.  

  

Answering Service

 

   

  

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