Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


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Control

Photo Courtesy of Author

Yes, I’m a bit OCD, but I feel like I put it to great use. First, there is my organizing business. Second, my house is in pretty good order. After dealing with a leaking roof, we took our already fairly organized storage rooms and made them even better.

There are worse vises to have, right?

I did see an online post that said, “You call it OCD. I call it put it back in its damn place.” Well, there was a harsher word than damn, but I cleaned it up for you. At any rate, it makes me feel better. Seriously, what’s wrong with being organized?

As the months keep going by, there is more and more that seems out of our control. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t think our world is a bit of a mess right now. Most of the time, there is nothing we can do about it. That’s why so many folks struggle with heightened anxiety.

Why not control what little we can?

I went away overnight to a friend’s cottage. I actually invited myself because I was desperate to escape for 24 hours. At one point, she and her friend went shopping and I stayed home.

It took about ten minutes and then the crying started. (This bodes well for the silent retreat I want to take soon.) I couldn’t describe it. The only phrase that came to mind repeatedly was, “I’m just not well.” I’m a depression veteran so I recognize it when it hits. There is some added dynamic I can’t pinpoint so I just credit the pandemic.

I’m not well. I’m not myself. I’m discombobulated. Thanks 2020.

A friend sent me a video that gently reminded me to access the greatest Power of all. It was talking about how “it depends on whose hand it is in.” You put a nail in your hand and it’s a tool. You put a nail in Jesus’ hand and we know that’s a different story entirely.

The ending message was to put your worries in God’s hands.

I’ve been trying to envision that regularly. I see God’s hands as these ginormous things. I hobble right into them like I’m trying to climb out of a pool. I figure to heck with putting my worries in God’s hands. I’m just plopping my whole body in there.

My entire self feels broken down and exhausted right now. God’s hands are big enough to handle it. Right?


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Block Schedules

When you are a little (or a lot) OCD, you might like to live by lists. I have lists for everything. There is nothing more gratifying than deleting something off your list. I would say 95% of the time, I don’t finish the list, but I usually come close.

On spurts where I have too much on my plate, I know completing the list is hopeless. I don’t even set up the expectation in my head. I know a big chunk of the list is getting moved to the next day. The next day is already over-filled but it’s getting another chunk of stuff anyway.

This last spurt has lasted a while. Because I know I have a tendency to be a workaholic, I also build things into the list to balance my life. The problem has been that many of the things that recharge me are not practical during a pandemic. All things added together, it’s a sure-fire recipe for my “Treatment-Resistant Depression” to flare up.

Sigh.

Today I sat for a while just looking at the lists. You know you’re in trouble when you spend more time rearranging lists than doing anything on them. I didn’t do that today though, I just looked for themes. Ok, I did rearrange the lists, but that wasn’t my endgame.

So I’m trying block scheduling like they do in high schools now. I divided all the desired (and not-desired) tasks into categories. Then I’m giving each category a block of time. There are a bunch, but some of them are work (thus this blog finally being written), the house, the yard, and yes! Personal care. I’m figuring out even little things like having a cup of tea to somehow get my gas tank off of “E” where it has been hovering for far too long.

You know that feeling when your gas light goes on and you know you need to stop soon so you don’t end up stranded. If you’re like me, you hope you get to that one gas station you really like so you push the envelope a bit.

That’s the feeling I’ve had inside for over a month now. I’m on “E” and I’m not sure if I’m going to make it to the station in time before the car dies. It’s an awful, anxious feeling.

There is a silent retreat weekend coming up for me. I don’t know when/where it will be, but I hope to set it up today. It’s on my “self-care” block. It will kill me to be alone and silent, but I think it’s the surgery I need.

So here’s to block scheduling. At least for the weekend. I’m hoping it has good results for this Type A, OCD, Workaholic, Treatment-Resistant Depression, worn out girl.

Isn’t it ironic that it’s Labor Day weekend?


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Full House

I guess I’m on a game card streak. At least as far as titles go.

My quiet house was turned upside down this weekend. My daughter Emily, her husband, and my two grandkids came into town Friday night and stayed until Wednesday morning. Emily hadn’t met her niece yet so Matthew and his wife made an effort to bring the baby over as often as possible. It hit me about 10 PM Friday night. Hey! I have all four of my kids under the same roof. And all three of my grandkids too. I couldn’t have been happier.

The pool was a hit. The water was only 62 degrees, but the kids didn’t care. I don’t go in until it’s at least 74, but I prefer 76 or higher. An even bigger hit was the hot tub. Colin said to me at the end of the weekend that if he never hears the words pool or hot tub again, that would be fine with him. They were relentless. But look how darn cute they are! Frankie was a proud uncle all weekend.
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Now don’t get me wrong. I am still OCD. I actually did pretty well. My house and yard looked like a tornado had hit. I find I can do about a day and a half completely ignoring it. Then I flip out and have to do a massive re-ordering so I don’t go crazy.

We had a big fire Saturday night and my neighbors came over. The next morning was Parker’s 8th birthday party. At 9:45 AM I woke everyone up who was still sleeping and cracked the whip. My neighbor popped over later and said he couldn’t believe it. It only took about an hour and a half with all of us, by the yard was completely transformed as was the house. There were two lawn mowers going, the kids were banned from everywhere possible, and soon everything was party ready, including the feast that Emily had prepared. I told Colin it would be amazing if we had that much help every week.

By the time they left, I was utterly exhausted. My house was trashed. My yard was trashed. There were moments when I thought I would go bonkers. But overall? Overall, I was thrilled to have my house full of life and people and relationships. If only I could figure out how to make it happen more often.