The truth is that lately I keep trashing drafts of sad blog posts in lieu of more hopeful ones. The truth is this is more of a fake-it-till-you-make-it scheme and a way for this website to be a place of light and not darkness. But the truth also is that vulnerability is always what has made space for healing in my life, so this post is going to be the truth.
I’m taking a new medication, one where I take a week’s worth of the medication on one day. I’ve chosen Saturdays because the next 36 hours are full of fatigue and, for me, irritability, moodiness, low self-esteem, feelings of failure, and so. much. crying.
Today I went to Target. It was raining and I had to find a semi-dry cart. The lady in electronics wasted my time, which annoyed me, then in the 30 seconds it took to print a gift registry, someone took my cart.
On a normal day, this would have been annoying– maybe even funny!– but today, in the hours following my medication, it triggered a near-meltdown. I abandoned three of my four tasks, then started sobbing in my car. I was angry and sad and warm and I felt ugly and unlovable and like a failure.
This happens basically every weekend now. I basically sleep for a day and a half, and in the times I am awake, I cry.
I know, I know. I’m working with all my doctors on it. It’s honestly been hard to nail down exactly what the issue is, especially when I have so many new meds. Getting three major diagnoses in the course of several months has been SO GOOD, but also, well, overwhelming.
I have to remind myself constantly that I am a work in progress, and the fact that I never give up is the best way for me to judge success right now. If I were judging by pain-free days, anxiety-free days, great self esteem, weight loss, how much time I dedicate to writing, etc., I would feel miserable. So I am clinging to the fact that I persevere.
OCD has flared up.
Fibro has flared up.
Arthritis has flared up.
Depression has flared up.
It feels like an onslaught.
But I persevere. I plan, process, do my best to encourage friends. I try to be honest with myself, I rest when I need to, and I research solutions. I ask for help.
That one’s huge. Asking for help.
So there you have it. That’s the truth about how I’ve really been lately. Those other posts aren’t lies. I have had many happy days, I’m getting great sleep, my friends are the most incredible people.
And sometimes it helps to write about tulips instead of tears.
But I’m in the business of sharing first. I want to give others the gift of saying, “Me too.” So: I have been having awful weekends, a lot of physical pain, and pangs of OCD and depression. That’s where I’m at. How about you?
So sorry to hear you’re having such a rough time. I have no doubt you’ll persevere. Thank you for your transparency. Prayers for you! ❤️
Thank you so much! You’re so sweet. ❤
❤ It WILL get better Jackie.
It ALWAYS does. Look back at the previous very hard times in your life. Eventually, they ALWAYS get better. This time will be no different. At times like this I think of three words that I find very powerful in difficult times: Patience, Perspective, and Acceptance. Be gentle with yourself. Stay close to The Serenity Prayer.
You are not alone in your very difficult struggles. Between 2000 and 2001, OCD took my marriage, my career, and my house which I loved and I had hoped to die in. Yes, the home was just a material thing, but it was my dream home: architect designed and exactly what I wanted.
Fast forward to 2006. My mother was diagnosed with dementia. Ever since then I have been living with her eight months of the year…trying my best to help care for her while I manage my OCD and cope with my own losses. Fortunately I have a brother who gives me a break from being a caregiver the other four months of the year.
I am relatively stable now, but there is very little joy in my life. All my energy goes to helping my mom and coping with OCD. I have almost no time left over to pursue my hopes and dreams. Mom is 93 now. Her memory is very poor. The one silver lining is that her life “in the present moment“ is still worth living. She is physically doing OK (for her age) and she can enjoy reading, watching golf on television, going to church, and looking out the window and watching the world go by. Two minutes later she forgets what she has been doing, but the key is that she can enjoy “the present moment“.
I suspect that within the next 12 months I will no longer be able to care for her without serious professional help. Right now we have a caregiver who sits with her 35 hours a week so that I can get out of the house and take breaks. Unfortunately I usually only get out of the house about five hours a week. OCD prevents me from taking advantage of the other 30 hours.
Despite her memory, Mom provides me with company and a good amount of emotional support. My two best friends live four hours away and I only see them about three times a year. I have no friends nearby. My brother and his wife live about 8 miles away and they are my primary support system.
So as you can see it is been a long 18 year battle. Actually it’s been 28 years because my OCD was bad 10 years before I got divorced. I started treatment 1990.
I cope buy holding onto dreams for a better future which may or may not become a reality. On a weekly basis I attempt to “buy happiness” by purchasing material things which I don’t need. Now I own too much “stuff”, and taking care of it all is starting to become a new burden. I saw this coming and I don’t buy as many unnecessary toys now, but I need something… ANYTHING…to look forward to. So my addiction to material things continues.
As you can see, you are not alone in your battle with big challenges.
I will close with a quote I read in 2000 when I got divorced (my ex left because living with my OCD became too much for her. I really don’t blame her. She tried very hard for 10 years).
“I Am Alive. I Will Survive.”
Your Faith is much stronger than mine. That is a blessing. Take full advantage of that (without overthinking it)!
Eat your veggies, be gentle with yourself, and keep taking baby steps in a positive direction.
You WILL be OK.
Things WILL get better.
They ALWAYS do!
Peace and Blessings,
I saw another excellent quote recently which I also find useful. It was written by a man who has been dealing with a nasty version of cancer for many many years. I don’t know this gentleman personally, but I was very touched by his words:
“Don’t Spend so Much Time Trying Not to Die That You Forget How to Live.“
Clearly, this guy has it rough. However like you and like me, he is trying to stay strong and fight the good fight!
Thank you, Paul, for the kind words and gentle advice. Means so much to me!
PS: I apologize if I have posted “my story” too many times on your blog. I know you have heard much of it before. I will try to pay better attention to that!
PPS: I am 110% in favor of tulips! 😉
Jackie – just thinking of you and holding you in my thoughts and prayers. And I can so related to sobbing in the car after someone took your cart in Target. – Angie
Praying for you, girl. Trying to find the right cocktail of prescriptions for multiple diagnoses is completely awful. My last year has been a series of dilemmas deciding which side effects are worth it and which ones aren’t. It’s lose–lose–lose–lose–infinitesimal-win. It’s playing detective and seeing everything as suspect. Right now I’m interrogating fluoridated water!
I hope you can find relief for your pain and relief from your tear ducts relieving themselves 💛
Thanks, dearie. “Lose–lose–lose–lose–infinitesimal-win” feels so damn true that it breaks my heart for both of us.
Both of us could use a dam. You for your tears, me for my flooding basement. ANY DAY NOW JESUS
Awwww, i was almost tearing up when i read this. You will be fine. The fact that you are still writing is testament alone that you will be fine. Finding the courage to talk about how you truly feel and what you are going through, means you are one damn tough girl and will be just fine! I am sending you some hugs from over here. Much love Jackie.
Thank you SO MUCH for your sweet words. They make me feel so empowered, and that means everything right now!
Hi! I’ve been reading your OCD posts for the past two years, to keep my head above water, but lately I’ve been curious to see what else you’ve been writing! I am truly sad to see that you’re struggling, and I wanted to tell you that you’ve helped me (and so many other people) with all of your posts! You truly deserve the best in life, and I hope that what you’re going through now is just a “pit stop” before things really turn around and go well for you! I cannot imagine anyone more deserving of life’s gifts than you. Wishing you all the best:)
Leah, thank you so much for your sweet comment, which came at the exact right time. Your well wishes make me tear up every time I read them, and I’m so grateful that you took the time to say hello. I agree– this will be a “pit stop.” I refuse to stay here– it’s just hard while I am, you know? God bless!!
I totally understand where you’re coming from! The dark thoughts feel unbearable when you have them, and you feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel, but there IS:) I am happy to hear that you too have faith in yourself, and that my message came to you at the right time! Sending you hugs, strength and a lot of positive energy:)
Thank you for your honest post on a bad day. My daughter is having a rough go of it lately and I like reading about others that are having similar situations, overwhelming and intrusive thoughts that will not go away, fear of everything. Depression.
It will get better!
Thank you so much for reading it and for your kind comment. I’m sorry to hear about your daughter. If intrusive thoughts and anxiety are ruining her weeks, please do read about exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy on my site. It has given me ten years of almost symptom free life!
“So I am clinging to the fact that I persevere.” — perfect
I’ve blogged about my health challenges, so I won’t recap here, but I am proud of you for being willing to do the work even at its most frustrating and challenging. I keep myself sane by reminding myself that as long as I’m willing to do the work and then do it, the answers will come. So, yes, perseverance is the perfect thing to celebrate. I hope you find what works for you soon.
hope you are ok now.
can I reblog this post?
you absolutely can!
Reblogged this on and commented:
You want to know what it’s like to live with OCD?
You want to read the truth?
Here it is.
I am grateful to her for giving us a glimpse in her life it takes tons of courage to do so.
with a lot of other things she writes about OCD on her blog, please do check.
I cannot get over the fact you were prescibed to take a week’s prescription in one day. The impact as you say is horrendous. For me it is beyond belief. Bless you dear in this. I would suggest you try Valerian it is natural and there are no side effects. See my post on Valerian and read how it helps with depression, anxiety, apathy, melancholy etc. It is up to you at the end of the day how you chose to treat yourself. This is just an alternative you like to try sometime.
Thanks. Yes, this is a very powerful med usually used for cancer. When used for psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, it’s dosed this way– taking it daily can kill someone who is not taking it for cancer. So it’s the common procedure for this particular med. It’s more damaging to the liver cells to take it daily. I do not take this med for depression or anxiety but for arthritic pain. God bless.
Your welcome dear.