New Blog!

Hey, everyone!!

I mentioned awhile back that I would be changing up my blog this summer.  It’s hard to change an old blog, so I am just going to start a new one.   That being said, I am not deleting this blog, at least not right now.  I don’t want to lose all my old posts, and I’m not up for copying and pasting them into Word documents just yet. :P  I also still want people to be able to find my old posts, if they want to.  :)

What you can expect on my new blog:

Posts about faith.

Posts about OCD and depression.

Posts about life.

Book reviews.

Pictures!!

Posts about exercise and food.  (I need to get back in shape for field hockey season!)

Here is the link to my new blog!  It’s called Obsessive-Compulsive Takes On The World.  Please check it out! :)

Dear God…

Oh Lord!

How far I have fallen!  Why do I choose the way of death, when you are the way to abundant life?

Day in and day out, I have the option to follow you.

Time and again, I choose to turn away.

I choose temporary pleasures over true joy and contentment.

I deceive myself by pretending I have everything under control, when in reality my life is only under control when I put my trust in you.

I ignore the hurting.

I selfishly refuse to share the financial resources you have blessed me with.

I can’t be bothered to crack open your Word, the book that leads to life.  

What keeps me from you, Father?

What is better than you?  What is strong enough to prevent me from following my true desire?

Oh, Lord!

Hear me now.  Forgive me, even as I write these words.

I’m sorry, Lord, for picking the world over you.

I’m sorry for allowing myself to be deceived.

I’m sorry for depending on my own strength to survive, for burdening myself with things that only you have the ability to handle.

I’m sorry for not following you, for being a hypocrite in my words and actions.

I come to you, burdened and broken.

I come, humbled and repentant.

Forgive me, Father!  Cleanse me!  

Save me from myself.  Save me from Satan’s grasp.

My life is not about fulfilling the desires of my flesh.  

It’s not about having the most fun.

It’s not about being successful in the eyes of the world.  

It’s not about being the best in academics or sports.  

It’s not about receiving attention, good or bad.  

It’s not about being praised.  

My life is about you.  I recognize that now, Lord.  

Help me to love you like I’m meant to. 

Help me to be who you have called me to be.

Help me to live in you, through you, and for you.

Amen.

 

OCD or Tourette Syndrome?

Some of my OCD compulsions have confused me for years.  Usually, people with OCD have an obsessional fear that causes them to do a compulsion to alleviate the anxiety they are experiencing because of the fear.  Some of my compulsions fit that description.  For example, I have to set my alarm clock a certain way over and over again before I go to bed because I’m worried I will set it wrong and I won’t wake up at the right time.  I might miss work, classes, etc.  However, some of my compulsions do not fit this description.  For example, I repeat words over and over and over again, all day, every day.  I’m not repeating the words to make some obsession I have go away.  I just know that I have to do it.  I have to repeat the words until they feel “right.”  If I don’t, then I experience anxiety.  I can hold off the repeating for a little while, but eventually I just have to give in.

 I thought I figured out the answer… The doctors I have seen in the past used to tell my parents and I that I just had a very high level of anxiety all the time.  I thought that repeating the words brought that anxiety level down to a more manageable level  But then, I discovered this.  It describes the difference between OCD and some related disorders, including Tourette Syndrome.  Tourette Syndrome would explain the reason why I repeat words.  If they were tics instead of compulsions, they would make a lot more sense.  (Or at least, as much sense as repeating words over and over can make!)  I’ve spoken to my counselor and the psychiatric nurse practitioner I saw a little over a week ago about it, and they think it makes sense, too. Some of my symptoms fit OCD, and some fit Tourette Syndrome.  There is something called Tourettic OCD, which may explain my combination of symptoms.  Tourette Syndrome and OCD are treated somewhat differently, so if we can determine exactly what I’m dealing with, it might help me figure out better ways to combat my symptoms.  

I asked the psychiatric nurse practitioner if he thought my symptoms fit Tourette Syndrome better, and he said that it was Tourette’s, but that it seemed more complicated than that.  He explained that if it was just Tourette’s, some of the medications I have been on in the past should have helped my symptoms, and they didn’t.  He wants me to get a neurological exam (CAT Scan, MRI, EEG, etc.) to determine exactly what I’m dealing with.  I don’t know if that’s something I’m going to do yet, but at least it’s an option.  Hopefully this summer, when I don’t have to focus on school, I can spend some time trying to figure out exactly what things I do are tics and what are compulsions, so that I can treat them the right way.  :)

A Poem About OCD

Life is uncertain.

Not everything can be controlled.

Most people accept this uncertainty, this lack of control, as part of life.

But for the OCD sufferer, life can be controlled.

So they construct a bubble around themselves,

To control as much of their life as they possibly can.

They think that by having control of anything and everything,

They can protect themselves from all danger, all hurt, all pain, all fear, all anxiety.

But the bubble also keeps out love, joy, spontaneity, laughter.

The bubble keeps out people, prevents relationships…

And the bubble can do nothing to keep out the hurt inside the person.

Now Choose Life…

“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.  Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.  For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” –Deuteronomy 30:19-20

 

I remember the cold tile of the hospital floor; the salty taste of the tears that cut trenches down my cheeks during my every waking moment; the pale blue of the gowns they gave us to wear when we couldn’t be trusted to stay safe wearing our own clothing; the looks of pity and the ignorance of the staff… their commands to quit overreacting and their dismissing of our pain.

I remember the locks on every door that led to the outside word; the giant fence that surrounded the balcony to prevent us from jumping to our deaths; the feelings of entrapment; the fear that came from knowing I had no way to escape – this place…or my own tormented mind.

I remember the rigid routine, how our meals came at a specific time each day; how they called all of us up to the little window – similar to a movie ticket window, minus the joy – to receive our medications.  And I remember how the medications were powerful enough to numb all feeling and quiet fits, but never enough to fix the hurt that had built a home inside our hearts.

I remember the dull ache that welled from deep inside my soul and ate away at my desire to survive.  I remember the decision I made to quit – to quit getting up each morning, to quit smiling, to quit pretending the life I had was worth the effort.

I remember the pain I caused my loved ones, and what it felt like to become a lost cause, a diagnosis, a patient, another name on another doctor’s list – everything but a hurting child.  I remember feeling like a hindrance instead of a valuable member of society – a victim of depression.

And I remember the decision I made to allow God to break the iron chains that had kept me bound for so many years.  I remember finally realizing that I had to choose – to make the muscles in my face curve up instead of down; to laugh instead of sob; to pray instead of ignore God; to get up when everything in me said to stay in bed, hidden from the outside world.

I remember choosing to replace my nightmares with dreams; choosing to listen to the truth coming from voices I trusted instead of listening to the lies coming straight from the pit of hell.

I remember choosing to depend on God’s strength instead of my own.  I remember choosing to live.

And I will never forget the precious gift that is freedom in Christ.

 

Finding Peace and Meeting God on the Field of Dreams

I took a walk on the Field of Dreams tonight.  The weather was absolutely amazing!  (After a little while, the wind picked up and I noticed the clouds were dark.  I felt a few drops of rain, and decided to cut the walk short.  I didn’t want to get caught in a thunderstorm!)

I spent much of my walk praying to God.  I find that spending time on my own quiets my mind and relaxes my body.  Even the tics and compulsions let up a little bit when I go on walks on my own.

I took a few photos while I was out there.  (I am NOT a photographer, and I do not have a smart phone or a good camera, so my photos are pretty poor quality.  But I wanted to capture my time of peace, so that I could go back to it when things got chaotic again.)

God is so good to have provided me with some time to get away.  I am thankful. :)

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I think this is part of the Genessee River…you should have heard the birds chirping and the rushing of the water! It sounded like Spring! :)

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I love this tree!

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“Lord, I need you. Oh, I need you! Every hour I need you. My one defense my righteousness. Oh, God, how I need you!” (Matt Maher, Lord, I Need You)

As I walked, I began to sing Matt Maher’s song, “Lord, I Need You.”  It echoed what I felt in my heart.  Click here to listen to it on YouTube.  (I actually don’t know who originally sang this song.  When I searched it, Chris Tomlin’s name also came up.)

I hope you all spend some time with God on your own today! It’s well worth it.  :)

Love Always,

Carly

Knowing When to Let Go

This post is dedicated to my lacrosse team.  Let’s go, HCWLAX!!!

My mom has always said I’m never happy unless I’m going 90 MPH with my hair on fire, and for the most part, she’s right. However, with my OCD symptoms being as intense as they have been, and with depression threatening to take hold, I’ve realized that my crazy-busy lifestyle is hurting me more than helping me.  I started falling behind in my schoolwork, and became overwhelmed.  I started to dread lacrosse practice because my body and mind were so tired from the OCD symptoms that I didn’t think I could make it through 2 hours of practice.  I knew I wouldn’t have the energy to complete my assignments by the time practice ended.  I started becoming so nervous before lacrosse games that I thought I was going to throw up.  I wasn’t playing well in games because I simply couldn’t focus…my nerves and the list of things I had to do when the game or practice was over were getting in the way. 

My Coach suggested that maybe I should take a break from lacrosse.  I, of course, said no!  I made a commitment to my team, and they depended on me as their goalie to be at every practice and every game.  But the truth was, even when I was there in body, I wasn’t there in mind and spirit.  As much as physical activity has helped me in the past, being a part of the lacrosse team this year was causing me to become extremely overwhelmed and stressed.  

After a particularly rough game on Friday, Coach told me to think things through over the weekend and talk to her on Monday.  I met with her Monday before practice, and even when I left the meeting, I wasn’t planning on quitting lacrosse.  I simply asked Coach to give me a one-day break from practice.  Later, though, I realized that I would have to miss practice on Tuesday because of class, and we had a game on Wednesday, and I probably shouldn’t miss the two practices right before a game.  I asked Coach if I could still have the day off, and she told me I had to be either all in or all out.  She told me to not think about what anyone else needed or wanted from me and to just think about what I needed and wanted.  She was totally fine with me stepping down from lacrosse if it would help me succeed academically and if it would improve my mental health.  She had ideas on who to put in goal to replace me, so I didn’t need to worry about leaving my team without a goalie.  She supported me 100%.  In the end, I decided that I needed to stop playing lacrosse. I would get sick and start doing really poorly in school if I didn’t.  I broke down crying as I made the decision (and no, I was not in the privacy of my room…this conversation with Coach was taking place on the phone in the hallway of one of the buildings where classes are held.  Talk about embarrassing!)  The tears were a mixture of tears of sadness and tears of relief.  I didn’t have to play lacrosse anymore.  Freedom from that obligation lifted a weight off my shoulders, a weight I didn’t realize was so heavy until it was gone.

I don’t like quitting things, especially when quitting means I’m letting down people who depend on me.  I don’t like quitting because of my OCD or depression…it’s like, by quitting, I’m allowing them to win.  I don’t want to give the OCD and depression any control.  But the truth is, they have only won a small battle.  Ultimately, by stepping back from lacrosse, I will win the war.  

Not playing lacrosse means I have a chance at staying healthy.  Not playing lacrosse means I can take care of my mind and body.  Not playing lacrosse means I can spend more time with God.  Not playing lacrosse means I can put more effort into my academics.

Learning to let go is hard.  This is one of the hardest (and best) decisions I have ever made.  I am grateful for my teammates, who have stuck by me through all of this.  I’m grateful for Coach, who put my health and well-being ahead of lacrosse.  I’m grateful that I still get to be a part of the team in a small way.  I’m still team chaplain, so I can continue to help our team grow spiritually.  I am still going to attend most of the games (though not the practices.)  My role will no longer be as player, but as servant.  I can be there to help Coach set up pregame warm-up drills.  I can encourage my teammates on the field.  I can lift up those who are on the bench.  I can fill water-bottles and pick up Hammer Gel wrappers at half-time.  The stress of playing will no longer be on my shoulders.  I can now enjoy being a part of this team, instead of it causing a ridiculous amount of stress and anxiety.

 

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I am so blessed by these girls…my teammates!!

 

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This is Evlyn and Me…Evlyn is my Gospel Girl.  She’s such an encouragement to me!  Love you, Ev!!

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Another of Ev and me having a little fun! (And Nicole soaking up the sunshine in the background.)

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