Thursday, November 18, 2010

On the Road Again

A large body of scientific evidence suggests that OCD results from a chemical imbalance in the brain. For years, mental health professionals incorrectly assumed OCD resulted from bad parenting or personality defects. This theory has been disproven over the last 20 years. OCD symptoms are not relieved by psychoanalysis or other forms of "talk therapy," but there is evidence that behavior therapy can be effective, alone or in combination with medication. People with OCD can often say "why" they have obsessive thoughts or why they behave compulsively. But the thoughts and the behavior continue.  People whose brains are injured sometimes develop OCD, which suggests it is a physical condition. If a placebo is given to people who are depressed or who experience panic attacks, 40 percent will say they feel better. If a placebo is given to people who experience obsessive-compulsive disorder, only about two percent say they feel better. This also suggests a physical condition.  Clinical researchers have implicated certain brain regions in OCD. They have discovered a strong link between OCD and a brain chemical called serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps nerve cells communicate.  Scientists have also observed that people with OCD have increased metabolism in the basal ganglia and the frontal lobes of the brain. This, scientists believe, causes repetitive movements, rigid thinking, and lack of spontaneity. Successful treatment with medication or behavior therapy produces a decrease in the over activity of this brain circuitry. People with OCD often have high levels of the hormone vasopressin.*

Today was a good day.  Pretty much any day when I have more energy than usual is a good day.  I got up today and went right into working towards helping clean up the house and move things into storage to get ready for the kiddos.

We (being my older sister and I) (yes we are speaking) (out of necessity, not choice) made two trips with the truck full of things to the storage unit, and put the crib together and cleaned it, helped with dinner by making the delicious apple waffles, then swept the kitchen and vacuumed the house.

I also went to Louisville twice - once to pick up Jonas and once to pick up Jamie from work.  They're having some car(s) trouble and they're without phones at the moment, so I'm doing whatever I can to be helpful, and I honest to God did not mind doing it one bit!  Being needed, however briefly, is nice.

When I have some energy to burn, I like feeling productive, and I definitely feel like I was productive today.  When I'm being productive, I'm also busy, too busy to think about my life.  Even in the little down time I had today, I didn't think about my situation at home, my minutely decreasing debt, or even the stress of telling my boss that I've been re-hired somewhere else.  I also didn't project.  Projecting into the future, and being worried about there not being enough time or enough money for me to accomplish whatever I feel I need to accomplish is my downfall, every time.  I'm not really thinking too far ahead into the future right now, and I like it.  I was thinking, when I was in the car with Phoenix, and he seemed totally thrilled to be in the car with me, how great it must be not to be worrying about the future all the time.  Phoenix doesn't worry about whether or not he'll eat again, or when he will get to go to the dog park again, or when he'll get his next rawhide, or even really when the next time I leave is going to be.  He's thrilled with the surprises and upset when he discovers I'm leaving, but he only reacts at the moment, not before anything happens.  Obviously I have to be thinking about food for my future, and money with which to buy that food, and money to keep a roof over my head, and money to buy Phoenix food, but really, that's all I need.  I like being surprised by my own actions and my own high energy levels, when they happen, and I don't like worrying about what is going to happen tomorrow.  I don't think it's possible to not worry at all, but I like the state of mind I'm currently in.  If I can figure out a way to prolong it, I will.  

And as much as I like(d) "Dane," I've found that my life is less stressful without him in it.  When I'm not being constantly reminded of some of the qualities I really like in him, I think less and less about him, and that's working for me really well.  I've also come to the conclusion that no communication with my ex for about the next year will be just fine with me.  I've been keeping in contact with him about once every few days, and dreaming about him.  I am not getting any kind of excitement from him that I even exist at all, and that is not okay with me.  I have plenty of people in my life that are excited that I am alive, and I'd rather give them the pleasure of my company and privilege of my attention than to waste it on someone who could give a shit.

Slowly, but surely, I am learning my own self-worth.  It's a lot of work on my part, and I've still got a long way to go, but I'm getting there.

*"NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness | Mental Illnesses." NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness - Mental Health Support, Education and Advocacy. Web. 18 Nov. 2010. <>.

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