Monday, June 29, 2009

First Swim Lesson

Today was another test for me. I found that all of those old familiar knots in my stomach were still available anytime I need them. They were quick to spring into action just as soon as we walked through the doors of…(ominous musical background)…swimming lessons.

To say that we walked through the door isn’t really fair. We crashed through the door like 2 little bulls and one tall OCD bull in a very quiet china shop. It’s an indoor pool, by the way, which is why there are doors. It is also why every sound that my little destruction parade made echoed. But I’m cool now. I don’t get all nervous about people staring and hating me like I used to. But honestly, could the Cavetts have been any louder in announcing our arrival to the rest of the peaceful children waiting for swim lessons.

Their swim instructor expected me to immediately turn over my only two off-spring to him just like that without life jackets or anything. I was slightly hesitant mostly due to the large barbells that pierced through each of his nipples. Because that is what I want to explain to my 3 and 4 year old.
“Mama, why does my swim teacher have earrings in his boobies?”
“I don’t know and don’t look directly at them. You’ll go blind. Trust me.”

Holey-Nips actually did a really great job with the lessons. I guess being retarded enough to voluntarily let someone shove metal through your man-nips doesn’t make you incapable of effective teaching. Well, you learn something new everyday don’t ya’?
I was also dangerously close to an unexpected anatomy lesson thanks to the ultra high cut swimsuit of the young woman teacher. Not really so much anatomy, as…let’s call it…grooming? Yes, I just went there. But seriously, I’m not trying to explain that to my kids yet, so let’s keep it clean people.

We only had a minor heart attack moment when Lily was playing on the safety bar/platform thing while Holey-Nip took turns floating the kids on their backs. Her feet got swept out from under her and she was just barely hanging on to the bar and flailing around like a wet cat. I saw it happening, but apparently I was the only one. I tried waiting for a few seconds hoping that someone in charge would help her, but I quickly mom-ed out and ran over to the side of the pool. She’s fine and totally un-phased. I, on the other hand, could use a tranquilizer right at this point. Too bad I left them at home. The rest of class was uneventful. Now we just have to do it again tomorrow.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

I completely missed Thursday

I didn’t skip it or anything, it was just a really long confusing week for me. I changed medications yet again. I didn’t actually start taking anything new, I just adjusted the doses. I should have first clued in to something being weird on Sunday morning. I had a difficult time sleeping the night before, but when my alarm went off at 7 I got up to get ready for church like normal. It’s my job to wake everyone up so we can leave the house by 8:30. No sooner had I gotten out of bed when suddenly Luke was shaking me with a mildly freaked out tone to his voice.

“Are you OK? Is everything OK? Why is it so quiet?”
“What are you talking about?” I asked him.
“It’s 8:30,” he informs me. It was, in fact, 8:30 and I was still in my PJ’s, both children were in bed asleep, and I was on the floor. Apparently sometime after getting out of bed, I laid in the floor and went back to sleep and had no memory of it. So my dear husband walked me back to bed where I slept for another 3 hours. Maybe this should have been a clue that my sleeping patterns were not exactly surviving the dose change.

Everything was going great until Tuesday. All of the sudden I felt like my legs had been attached to a car battery. There were jolts of pain and I was just jerking around like the scarecrow in Wizard of Oz. Because of the crazy little involuntary dance my body was doing, I didn’t sleep. For 50 hours. I dozed here and there, but never slept.

By Thursday I finally called the doctor in a near panic, because that’s what I do; I panic. It’s all part of the disorder, remember? But he was very nice and very calm and changed my drugs and found a way to help me sleep without adding extra medication. God love him.

That is why this week I am thankful for sleep. You never know how important sleep is until you don’t have it. I understand now why sleep deprivation is used as weapon. If you thought I was nuts before, you can only imagine what being awake for 50 hours did to me. But the important thing is that I did finally sleep and plan to do so at normal, appropriate times from here on out.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

It's just not as fun when everyone else is sleeping

I made some changes to my medication this week which has unfortunately had some negative consequences. Primarily I can’t sleep when I’m supposed to be sleeping and I can’t stay awake when I’m supposed to be awake. It’s very disruptive. So last night I decided to keep a little record of what I did all night long.

11:30pm: I am already feeling all revved up like electricity is bolting through me. This doesn’t look too promising for a good night’s sleep, but I’m going to lay down and try anyway.

12:30am: Well that lasted about 2 seconds. I tossed and kicked and rolled over and tried to get comfortable and just never could. Luke was sleeping like he was in a coma and the sound of his deep peaceful breathing was just making me more agitated. I got out of bed and have decided to try to read for a little while.

1:00am: The book was mildly interesting but I feel like I need to do more with my hands to stay busy and get all the energy out, so I have decided to work on one of my writing projects.

2:15am: I am an awesome writer in the middle of the night. I am way better at getting stuff done when I‘m a little delirious from lack of sleep. But after a solid hour of writing, it’s time to try and lay back down and actually fall asleep.

3:15am: Dang that kid and his peaceful breathing! “Oh look at me, I can just fall asleep and stay sleeping. I’m soooooo special” I’m going to get up for a minute to re-group.

3:30am: OK, I’m ready to face his smug sleeping self in there.

4:00am: I tried doing all of the relaxation techniques. I took good air in and let bad air out. I relaxed each muscle group individually. I pictured serene scenes. IT DID NOT WORK.

4:15am: I am going to try to beat my high score on Scramble since stupid Scramble decided to reset all my high scores a few weeks ago. Not cool, Scramble.

4:30am: I am a genius and I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner. I am going to download Enya to my iPod, because what’s more relaxing than Enya? Nothing, that’s what.

4:45am: Super pumped about my new Enya tunes. I have been inspired to listen to my Enya songs while watching the sunrise which is only a little over an hour away. I know because I looked it up. I will write until then.

6:25am: Dang it!! After I finished writing, I played Enya and stupid Enya put me to sleep for like 30 minutes. Just long enough to miss the sunrise. I knew that Enya was relaxing. I should have used more caution while listening to Enya!!

6:30am: I figure since I feel asleep for a few minutes, I should be able to safely go to bed for real now.

8:00am Nope. Enya only worked her magic for that tiny period of time. I can’t be mad at you Enya with your smooth, silky Irish vocals and hypnotizing instrumentals. I will spend the rest of today running on a wing and a prayer. And a coffee and an Excedrin.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

That would be the lamest superhero ever

Something totally new happened yesterday. Luke came to therapy with me. It was my idea in the first place, so its not like he just jumped out from behind the couch and yelled, “Surprise!” I asked him to go because I figured that I needed a little more accountability. So that way we avoid this:

Therapist: This week you need to practice driving to an unfamiliar place alone. Then go inside of that place and stay there for a little while.
Me: I don’t wanna do that. That sounds horrible. And crappy too.
Therapist: But you have to because that’s how you get better.
Me: No, I don’t wanna. This is a terrible idea. I can’t just go walking into places. Remember? That’s why I’m here. Because I don’t go in places. I might die. Are you saying you want me to die?!
Therapist: You won’t die, and you need to do this.
Me: I’ll think about it, but I’m am not going to like it and I do not want to do this.
Later at home:
Luke: What is your ERP assignment for this week?
Me: Nothing. Nothing at all. Why are you all interrogational? She says I’m fine so quit judging me. I don’t like this line of questioning!

So this is why I thought it was a good idea to bring my husband with me to therapy.

As it turns out, therapy waiting room had a demented surprise in store for me this week. I touched the door correctly and walked in to find a Barbie doll head and neck growing out of the end table. It was seriously like the size of a normal head which is weird when its made of plastic and absurd amounts of nylon hair all tangled in a mat. Apparently little kids are supposed to fix its hair or put make-up on it or sacrifice cats to it or something. Why would you do this to me therapy waiting room? Don’t you remember that we are all here in the first place because we are mentally unstable? And someone thought that enlisting the help of a voodoo priestess to grow a disembodied Barbie head for us to play with would be helpful? Fail, therapy waiting room. Fail.

Our hour was way less eventful than the initial Barbie head trauma. Luke did totally throw me under the bus though. He was all, “She’s not even doing everything you tell her to.” And later I was like, “Dang it, Luke! Why are you doing exactly what I asked you to do by coming to therapy and making me be accountable? Other women have husbands who ignore them, or call them names, or don’t get involved at all. Why you gotta be all supportive and loving and encouraging in a firm but gentle way? Ugghhh!”

Lesson learned. If you don’t want accountability, then don’t bring along Captain Rule Enforcer. He’s going to make me accountable all the way to leading a normal, OCD and agoraphobia managed life because he loves me. Jerk.

Monday, June 22, 2009

I'll call it "Sanity Hunter" or "Angela plus 8 (counts and touches)" or "What is Wrong With That Tall Girl?"

There’s a new show on A&E called “Obsessed.” It’s basically a show that each week follows someone with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. They start out without a diagnosis or any kind of treatment and we get to see how they live their life. Then they go see this therapist who specializes in Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Exposure Response Prevention. They do this for 12 weeks and then we get to see if they are all cured or whatever.

When I first saw the commercials I thought, “Well this should be interesting since I have OCD and I’m doing CBT with ERP.” Side note: Today Bulls Eye and I were talking about our respective ailments and it occurred to me that you know you’re in trouble when they reduce your ailment to just letters. For example: Staph infection is bad, MRSA is worse. Gonorrhea is bad, AIDS is worse. Back to my point, I wanted to watch the show to see if these people were like me. This was a bad idea.

So right away in the first episode the girl has a problem with driving. She can’t drive on the highway. She can go all sorts of other places and just walk right on in, but not the highway. Also it only started after a car wreck when someone she loved died. This instantly made me feel like a crazy whack job. I can’t drive on the highway and I don’t have the benefit of a catastrophe to blame it on. I can’t just go right on in anywhere I want. I can go safe places with safe people. So she’s nutty enough for a one hour show; I guess that means I’m good for at least a mini-series or straight to DVD movie. Then she starts checking all her oven knobs, locks and so on and so on which causes this little exchange:

Me: What?! Are you kidding me?! Do I look that insane when I’m doing that?
Luke: (no hesitation whatsoever, not even a little to spare my feelings) No, you look way crazier than that and you do lots of other weird stuff too that she doesn’t even do.

The episode ended with her doing the CBT for only 12 weeks and then get this: She’s cured. Just like that. I hate her. OK, I don’t really hate her. But by the end of the episode I was compulsing like crazy and crying because it’s not fair that she got all healed up and normal while I’m still here all touching and repeating.

OK, episode 2. I had a week to convince myself that I really do want to watch this show even though it makes me feel like a nutter. I was ready for the flood of emotion this time. The woman this week struggles with obsessive thoughts about accidentally hurting people. I didn’t even make it through 30 whole minutes of the hour. Her ERP was too intense for me. I don’t even know if she was cured.

I told my therapist about this horrible little show that makes me feel like I have the craziest OCD ever and her sensible advice was, “Well, don’t watch it anymore.” But I did anyway. Again and again. It makes me feel terrible every time. For 2 reasons. 1) It makes me feel crazy because it appears that I am way deeper in an OCD hole than any of these jokers and 2) they all get cured in 12 weeks! With no meds! Well I just give up then. It’s time to embrace the disorder. It’s not going anywhere. I’m here waiting for my show A&E. Whenever you’re ready to show up and film it.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

There's a bright golden haze on the meadow

Since today is Father’s Day it stands to reason that I should write about my dad. Luke is going to get his own post later on this week, because honestly I totally forgot that it was Father’s Day until last night. I didn’t actually forget, but I was convinced that I still had another week left. When I saw all of the people at Target buying cards I thought, “Well Holy cow, aren’t they just regular old Patty Planners” then when Luke bought his dad a gift I thought, “Well, that’s weird. It’s not his birthday.” So I don’t know how I missed the mark, but I blame Gary England. He should have kept me advised. So I decided that I’m just gonna go ahead and celebrate Father’s Day with Luke next week because that’s when I thought it was.

Anyhow, I could write all the stuff about my dad teaching me how to ride a bike, right from wrong, loving the Beatles, coming to all of my choir concerts, cleaning my cuts and bruises and all that good heart warming stuff. There would be plenty to choose from. But I’m going to take a different approach. Here are a few of my fondest memories:

Once when we were on a long car trip, I saw a sign that said “Watch for Falling Rock” posted on the highway. I asked my dad what that meant. He spent the next 20 minutes telling me the old Indian legend of the Princess who lost her long lost love, and there was some kid of battle, and her dad was the Chief, and there were many adventures, and now in the dark of night when the moon is full and the wind is still you can still hear and sometimes see the Chief on the mountainside. Chief Falling Rock was his name. Watch for Falling Rock. I was like 20 when I realized what those signs actually meant.

Following that same line of thought, my dad has the ability to effortlessly fabricate a life history for anyone. All you have to do is say, “Who is that guy?” and you will be treated to an intricate story that may or may not be true.

When we were growing up there were certain things we were not supposed to do. Things like leave on lights, or leave wet towels on the floor. If you were caught doing (or not doing) one of these things the punishment fit the crime. Once I had to hang my wet towel up 50 times in a row. Not only hang it up, but walk the length of the house, hang it, take it down, walk back and start over. I have also turned off lights hundreds of times, and carried my dishes to the sink enough to wear a path in the floor. So now that I’m all grown up and what not I have found myself having this conversation:
Me: Holy Crap Luke! Are you crazy!?
Luke: Whoa, chill out. What?
Me: You left your towel on the floor?! You can’t do that!!
Luke: Easy. It’s just a towel.
Me: No you can’t leave them there. I don’t know exactly what will happen but it must be pretty bad. You just can’t leave them there like that. I don’t want to carry it to the towel rack 50 times! Please just hang it up!
Luke: Do you need one of your pills?

When we took family vacations we were not allowed to let any grass grow under our feet. Vacations were for sight seeing, not relaxing. So because of that, I have an entire album of blurry NYC, Colorado, and Atlanta. “Keep moving kids. You can look at the pictures when we get home!” The only place we stayed for an extended period of time was at Mt. Rushmore. We stayed there for 6 hours. Honestly, how long does it take to see Mt. Rushmore? We did get to see lots of Presidents homes along the way which was actually really cool.

There are 2 songs that I will hate for the rest of my life. “Oh, What A Beautiful Morning” because every morning at the crack of dawn we were serenaded in a bellowing baritone until we got out of bed. This wouldn’t be so bad if my dad wasn’t an opera singer. I also hate “Uptown Girl” because every time any of us girls made a slightly snippy or ugly comment he would change the words to “Hormone Girl. She’s been living in her hormone world…” You get the picture. Honorable mention goes to “Hard Knox Life” from Annie which was sung frequently for obvious reasons. He would also say things like “People in hell want water” and “People in prison want out” and “I want a million dollars” whenever we complained about wanting something. And last but not least he said “Nice to meet you hungry. I’m dad.” The worst part about it is that I find myself saying these things at least once a day.

My dad drove me to me summer babysitting job every morning. We had to drive past a large colony (colony?) of prairie dogs to get there. Every single morning he would encourage me to wave and say hi to the prairie dogs and he would wave and talk to them. When I was in high school, he managed to get the entire bus carrying the youth group to wave and say hi to the prairie dogs. Why am I the only one that doesn’t get this?

I need to throw in a couple memories of my granddad too while I’m at it. Once I was having trouble swallowing a Tylenol. He told me to open my mouth and he would put it on the back of my tongue. So I opened my mouth and he fastballed it right straight down my throat. No need to even use water. It was gone. Somehow several weeks later, he convinced me to open my mouth again so he could see how loose my tooth was. Since I never learn, I did, and he ripped the tooth right on out. Never trust my granddad if he asks you to open your mouth even just for a second.

Honestly, I couldn’t ask for better memories. I have the coolest dad in the world. I love you!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Don't worry about tomorrow

There are days when I think I’m better. On those days I can get up and go about my business without being hindered by nagging thoughts or compulsions. There are sometimes entire weeks or even months when I think to myself, “Hey, this isn’t so bad. I can do this. I can manage this disorder. And I’m pretty dang good-looking too.”

Then there are days like today.

Days when anxiety wakes me up before its really time to get out of bed. That old familiar knot in my stomach comes roaring to life and chews me up from the inside out. Days like today. Days when it is clear that I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Days when I can’t forget that I have agoraphobia. Days when Obsessive Compulsive Disorder gets tired of being “managed” and forces its way into every corner of my behavior.

Days like today.

Days when the medicine feels less like a blessing to hijacked mind, and more like a ball and chain. I remember on days like today that I am bound to my medications and my disorders. These are the days that I remember that I am not like everyone else.

Many months ago I decided to let all my junk out of my overstuffed closet. I decided not to lie, hide, or try and keep any secrets. I have OCD and I’m going to have this battle in the light of day. But on days like today…it would be nice if I could fit all that stuff back in the closet for a while. It all comes out so easily, but you can never get all that stuff back in there the same way. Once it comes out, it stays out. It would be nice to be regular on the outside even if I’m shattered on the inside on days like today. Instead, I spent most of my day shattered out it public.

On days like today I remind myself that I have been allowed the challenge of these disorders by God Himself. He wasn’t on a coffee break and somehow I accidentally ended up with someone else’s order of mental illness cocktail. I remind myself that this is the day the Lord has made so I will rejoice and be glad in it. On days like today I will also be tense, weary, physically ill and hanging onto serenity by a thread, but I will be rejoicing for the opportunity to learn from it. And slowly but surely today becomes tonight.

And then there are days like tomorrow.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thankful, Stinky, Thursday

I can’t even set this up properly so…let’s just dive right in, shall we?

1) Bleach
Bulls Eye loves her some bleach. I mean, I love the woman and all, but her obsession with bleach has always weirded me out. Just a little. OK, no…a lot because I hate bleach, and the way it smells, and how it can make you blind if you get it in your eyes, and ruins all your stuff when all you did was pour it in the wash like it said in the directions and its not my fault your product is defective. But I developed an entirely new appreciation for bleach today.

It all started with 5 little girls who were swimming in our backyard pool. I will keep their identities secret to protect the innocent and/or digestively challenged. I was the only adult for the afternoon, and all 5 kids were actually playing well together. I was rocking my bikini and reading Sookie Stackhouse when I first became aware of the smell. I thought for sure that one of those little ladies had started messing with the pool filter and was letting dirty water escape. I checked the filter, pumps, chlorine distributor, and everything I could think of to find the smell. No luck. I figured it must be swampy grass puddles or something. Then I realized the pool was kind of cloudy, so I made a mental note to have Luke check all the filters and pumps later in case I missed something. This went on for about an hour.

Finally, it was time to get dried and dressed because parents were going to be arriving soon to retrieve their children. I herded all 5 children into the bathroom and told them all to strip. (They’re little. Things like that are still cool.) I noticed as they came inside that all of them smelled like dirty swamp water and I figured we REALLY need to check that pump because the water is nasty. I was putting away wet (stinky) towels when I heard the commotion from the bathroom. “POOOOOOOOOOOOOP!!!!!!!!” I rushed to the bathroom to find 5 naked girls all skating around in gloppy, sludgy poo water. Apparently one of these dear bearers of sugar and spice had liquid-pooed (or number 3 as Luke calls it) in her suit. When she took off the suit, what was left of the poo hit the ground like a water balloon and artfully decorated my tile, shower curtain, cabinets, and all 5 nude children. One of these lovely young flowers had decided to clean the poo water with towels from the linen cabinet. Since she was unsure of how many towels proper etiquette calls for in this type of defecation situation, she just used all of them. I realized at that moment that the rest of the poo must have been seeping out into the pool throughout the entire afternoon. And shortly after that revelation, it occurred to me that all of the girls had been swimming in that water and therefore had poop hair. THEN, I logically concluded that I also had poop hair. Because I swam in the pool too. If I get scurvy I’m going to be very upset.

I stuck all 5 kids in the bath and hosed them off as efficiently as one can do that sort of thing. Then I tackled the bathroom, suits, walls, and so on and so on. Which brings me to…the bleach. I don’t even keep it in my house because I previously thought of it as toxic, so I called Luke and he brought some home, God love him. We took turns scrubbing, washing, and de-pooping and I took the hottest shower on record. I took some big deep breaths for you Bulls Eye. I cherished the smell, because honestly it’s better than poo.

2) ER’s that are close to home
About 24 hours prior to the poo party, Grace woke up having trouble breathing. This wasn’t the first time, so I knew enough to kick the nebulizer into high gear. But she still couldn’t breathe. So we did another treatment. And that one didn’t work. So we headed to the ER at 11pm. She got the medicine she needed and went home 2 hours later. I am so thankful for great medical attention being no more than 5 minutes away. So many people are not that blessed.

3) Calories
As soon as we left the ER, I had one thing on my mind. I wanted, no…NEEDED a burrito like a crack addict needs crack. It was the middle of the night and Taco Bell was like this glowing oasis of awesomeness. Grace was totally into it too. I was like “Hey, I know you were all sick and couldn’t breath but now that the meds they gave you have wired you up like you’re in high speed, you wanna get some burritos? The doctor at the hospital said we should get some, you know, for your recovery” She was like, “Yeah, cool. Let’s do it.” That is why she is awesome. She didn’t even question the idea that doctors would actually prescribe burritos. If only they did…

Those burritos were the best burritos ever. EVER. I am thankful for junk food calories getting me through a long night. Bulls Eye, I ate one burrito just for you. I really took one for the team. Best. Burritos. Ever.

4) VBS
This week wears me out every year. But you don’t even know what fun is until you have jumped around with 60 Kindergarteners while they scream “Yes, Lord. Yes, Lord. Yes, yes, Lord!” Technically, I teach music class, but it could really be considered 2 hours of cardio. Which is why I allowed myself the extra calories, see? In fact, this year we danced so hard that one of my music class teachers went into labor…kind of. I am taking at least partial credit for it. It really is a cool week, and the kids learn more about Jesus then even they realize. I heard my own kids reading Bible stories to each other today. That is totally worth all the exhaustion, sweat, and surprise births.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

You’d think it would be all fun for old people but there is stuff for younger people too. But old people do love their blacksmithing and crafts

I needed an entire day to recover from the excitement of driving. After I had washed my mouth out with soap a few times and had a good night’s sleep, we were ready to tackle phase 2 of “Mission: See-if-we-can-get-Angela-either-cured-or-commited-because-either-one-will-be-an-entertaining-challenge.” We loaded up our kids and headed to Silver Dollar City, or the SDC as we call it on the streets. I opted for the passenger seat this time around which made it a G-rated drive as opposed to a late night cable drive.

SDC is a funny little place where all of the employees wear old-timey clothes and pretend that it is 1880. The old folks love all the tool making and glass shaping maybe because its like when they were kids on the prairie or before there were Home Depots where you could just buy tools without all the fire and hammering. The black Nikes are a dead giveaway that it, in fact, is NOT 1880 unless the pioneers had a penchant for fashionable yet highly supportive athletic footwear. Also the pioneers apparently had tap dancing Swedish guys who also do stomp dancing and make music out of household objects. I think they came over on the boat with Pocahontas and set up camp with Michael Landon. I’m not sure. I’ll have to google it.

We headed straight for the little tiny people rides, because that’s why we were there; to entertain the little Cavetts. We rode the spinning teacups right away (which I’m sure are in no way meant to resemble any spinning tea drinking dish at that other park because these were pioneer teacups, so…totally different). This resulted in several different outcomes. Grace: Had a blast, loved every second and wanted to spin faster and faster. Luke: Quite possible threw up in his mouth just a little. Me: Unable to walk in a straight line for the next 15 minutes. Lily: Deeply implanted trauma of being forced onto the dreaded teacup despite screaming as though being stabbed and crying throughout the entire ride, “I’m done! Get me off of this!” as mom and dad ignored her pleas to be rescued.

The rest of the day was pretty much without major incident which is not what you want when playing a rousing game of “cured-or-committed” so we decided to head into the lightning round. Let’s start with several areas of colored sand designed for pre-schoolers to be all creative and playful. Let’s add said pre-schoolers desire for a snack. And let’s top off the equation with their daddy being kind enough to buy them each their own ice-cream cone. Apparently the ice cream shop has a special method for dipping cones (or “ye olde ice cream shoppe” because that’s how pioneers would spell it. Pioneers didn’t have the educational system that we do now). They take the height and weight of the child and make the cone exactly 3 times larger. They also add some kind of chemical that ensures half of the ice cream will already be melted down the cone before you even place it in their tiny, unsteady, previously clean hand.

I was OK when 4 little hands were covered in Cookies and Cream. I was OK, but no longer allowing contact when arms and legs became covered in sticky melted ice cream. I was OK, but not touching, and standing no closer than 10 feet when the shirts, shorts, socks, and even shoes were covered. I endured the dirty looks from the people around me who are evidently OK with interacting with their own dirty, sticky, disgusting little children. Don’t judge me. I refrained from rolling my eyes at your “I used to have a six pack, but I drank it” T-shirt, mullet, and man crocs, so technically I’m the bigger person here. And incidentally, I think the pioneers would frown on your attitude.

It was over for me when ice cream and sand combined into one huge blobby mess of a child who at that exact moment wanted to hug my leg. I love you sweetie, but don’t touch me. I’ll love you from over here. Then my dear husband left me alone with my two children covered in some sort of newly formed cosmic space mud, while he hunted down wet paper towels as if paper towels could even make a dent in that mess. The sandy ice cream goo actually laughed in my face at the idea of being removed by means so primitive. We were going to need a fire hose. No joke, I was actually compulsing like a mad woman while still trying to pretend that I wasn’t compulsing so I wouldn’t draw attention to myself. Fortunately, between grandma, Luke, and a whole lot of determination, I was finally able to re-establish physical contact with my kids as long as it remained hand to hand only. The clothes they had on are a total loss.

The good news is that I, the agoraphobic, spent an entire day amongst people in public. That was about all I could handle for one day. Check one more milestone off the list.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Believe it. This just happened

We took the vacation for grown-ups when we went to the Caribbean so it was time to let the little Cavetts have some of the fun. We planned on going to Branson. More specifically we were headed to Silver Dollar City. It was an easy decision because A) we can stay at my dad’s house which is free B) my sister is in HR for Silver Dollar City so the tickets are free and C) Luke’s family was getting a condo that same week so we could swim for free. Are you picking up on a little theme here? One small problem; I forgot to actually call my dad and tell him we were staying there. It turns out that my sister and her whole crew were already staying at his house. But we just all crammed in there anyway. Also we choreographed a dance to “We are family. I got all my sister’s with me.” No, that’s not true but I am totally going to suggest it for next time.

I had been mulling over a decision for several weeks before we left. I didn’t tell anyone and I really tried not to even dwell on it too much in my own head. The time came to leave for the trip and I just did it. I jumped in the driver’s seat. Luke knew enough to not even say anything about it. We just started driving. And then we drove a little further, and a little further and before I knew it, we were on the turnpike. I won’t say that it was without incident entirely. I was a little bit jumpy and my mouth was a little bit volatile. This resulted in a situation like this.

Luke: Hey, you’re doing it! You’re driving!
Me: Shh shh shh shh don’t talk about it. Don’t talk about it.
Luke: OK
Me: (eating lots of Doritos) (long period of silence)
Luke: Good Doritos. I love Doritos. Especially the nacho ch..
Me: S***!
Luke: Dang it woman! What?!
Me: Nothing. I thought that car was going to hit us.
Luke: Calm the heck down. There isn’t even a car anywhere near us.
Me: Yeah, OK got it. Calming down. (back to eating Doritos and drinking Dr. Pepper because it takes a lot of calories for me to keep my nerve up) (long period of silence)
Luke: So anyway, at work this guy was…
Me: F*** Holy Mother S***!! (So sorry for cursing God. Please forgive me. I honestly can’t control it. I’m like the love child of OCD and Tourettes.)
Luke: Woman! Cut that out!

We just kept driving and driving. Well, I kept driving and driving. Just taking one mile at a time and suddenly we had been on the road for 3 hours already and really I had only cursed a handful of times and only cleared visions about 4 times. What!? That’s awesome! I should just quit while I’m ahead, right? Of course we had to stop and go to the bathroom which should have totally blown my momentum. But somehow I got back in the driver’s seat and just drove right back onto the turnpike. This is God at work! Even though I curse as part of my coping mechanisms, He helps me anyway. In no time, an hour had passed. Well that’s not true; in 60 minutes an hour had passed. But either way, I drove ALL THE WAY THERE. Go ahead and take a few moments to be impressed. I’ll wait.

Weekend milestone 1: Drive all the way to Springfield. Check.
Weekend milestone 2: Go into Branson and spend the day at Silver Dollar City. To be continued…

Saturday, June 13, 2009

You can renew your wedding vows...at the Titanic museum

We are up to all kinds of no good this weekend. All of our family from all sides has descended upon one poor unsuspecting town. We have seen, heard, and experienced all kinds of things that are just too good not to tell you about. But we aren't done weaving our path of destruction just yet. Here's a little preview: my kids destroyed things, Dixie Land outfitters, the big salad, the drive here was HUGE, and you can renew your wedding vows at the Titanic museum. Because that's how I want to celebrate my love; in front of a monument to one of the greatest tragedies in history. Maybe we could have the reception at the Holocaust museum.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Hey, Thursday. When did you get here? This week has gone by so quickly. I had all of these plans and goals. I pretty much didn’t get any of that done. But I did do lots of other things that weren’t on the list like finish a crochet project and start a new one. Also, I got a stomach virus. That was definitely NOT on my list. But as always there are things to be thankful for even when your guts are not cooperating with the rest of your body.

1) Luke taking care of me
I got to go with Luke this week to cheer on Team Kickball Team in the last two games of the season. I don’t usually get to go because it is crazy far away and I can’t get a babysitter every week for that long. Between games we decided to grab quick dinner and settled for Taco Mayo. I LOVE Taco Mayo, so forget about calorie counting. I was quickly very sorry that I had eaten so much. But good news; it turns out that it wasn’t the burritos but just a stomach bug that made me so sick. I cannot accept that Taco Mayo would ever make me sick. TM and I have a very special relationship built on trust and respect. All that to say that 24 hours after the burritos, I had not slept at all and was just laying around like a whiny bump on a log. Luke sprang into action and volunteered to tae our kids out to eat so that I wouldn’t have to look at their food AND I could try to sleep. I wasn’t able to sleep, but it was so nice to have a little quiet time to recover. He kind of freaked me out a little bit. I keep thinking there must be a catch somewhere, but so far he hasn’t tried to cash in any favors.

2) A diagnosis
I had a busy week. I could feel my mental illness coming from the inside out. I could feel OCD in every corner of every thought. I was forced to work really hard to keep things in check. But good news; I have mental illness. I have OCD. I have anxiety disorder. This is good news because I no longer have the added stress of hiding, lying, and feeling scared and confused by my own mind. I know what it is now and it’s not so scary. Plus, I can just tell people why I am the way I am. That is an awesome relief. And a huge blessing to be thankful for.

3) iTunes

From road trips to VBS, iTunes has saved my life this week. My iPod is full of all kinds of instant downloads. The good news; I don’t have to drive and go into a store with people I don’t know. I can get everything I need from my iTunes. And can I tell you how much I love iTunes genius. I love it. I didn’t even know I liked some of that stuff. Of course, its not entirely accurate in its suggestions. Today it recommended me tobyMac and Texas Fight. No, iTunes. Just…no. But usually there are some really good tracks there. I don’t know where I would be without it. Probably sitting outside of a store trying to convince myself to go inside.

4) Get Togethers
The Cavett house was busy this week. We had all kinds of excellent cookouts with all kinds of cool people. Some of these folks we hadn’t seen for a good long while so it was awesome to catch up on things. The good news; I can wear my PJ pants and be barefoot. It’s just weird when I do that at other people’s houses. Also, I have my own bathroom, which is good because I usually won’t go anywhere else. And now that I’ve told you that I feel all self-conscious. Stop judging me! Anyhow, I love having people over, so come on over sometime and we’ll have a cookout. But call me first.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

If it had spoken Spanish, I could have asked it where the library was

The new tiny bikini has become a staple of afternoons in the backyard. Every afternoon Lily asks me if I’m going to put on my pink heart panties so we can go play outside. Then I lay by the pool while they invent some sort of crazy game of duct tape and chairs. The rule is: Don’t splash momma unless I ask you to and other than that, go crazy”

The whole reason for the bikini was so I could have a way to tan the middle of my body to match my arms and legs. It is strictly for the backyard only. This particular afternoon I decided that since my tan was looking so good, it was time to start getting rid of the halter top tan lines left by the suit. So…I took a deep breath, and I untied the halter straps. I VERY carefully laid myself back, covered myself precisely with the remaining fabric of the top, and made sure no one was jumping on any trampolines anywhere close by.

So far so good. I was kicking back letting the sun do its work when the first shriek came. A flipping massive wasp chose that moment to dive bomb my chair and our pool. Of course I leaped out of my chair, untied halter straps flying behind me like a banner. Actually, leaped isn’t really a fair assessment. I had been laying flat on a lawn chaise, so I kind of rolled, flopped, and groaned my way up and over the side of the chair which became top heavy and crashed down like when the skinny kid jumps off the see-saw and the fat kid slams into the ground. I did all of this while using one arm to hold the bikini top on and in case any of our neighbors were unaware that I was almost semi-nude, my 2 children were alerting everyone in a 3 block radius to the fact the a wasp was trying to kill us with screeches so high pitched I’m pretty sure dogs were having seizures.

While they were crying and hysterical and saying things like “He’s gonna land on me and eat my head!” I took a moment to dart in the house to grab our wasp spray. In the meantime, apparently the wasps divided like gremlins and now there were 3 wasps. I couldn’t find the wasp poison, so I grabbed the only thing close I could find; all-natural clove small insect killer. Basically this stuff smells like demonic pumpkin pie and is designed to kill things like gnats and house flies - not enormous wasps. I get back outside, still clutching my top and still both girls are shrieking and I don’t see the blasted things. So we wait. Then I saw one of the little buggers. I waited…and waited…and I sprayed it! And then it just looked right at me like “Oh girl, no you did not just make my wings all sticky with that nasty smelling stuff” And I was like “Who, me? No, I didn’t do it. The little one. She did it. Yell at her” So NOW the wasp is chasing us around because I have not managed to kill but instead to seriously agitate it, but it can’t quite control it’s flight path on account of the sticky wings so its just bumping into things and probably wasp cursing because I think I heard like tiny high pitched profanity coming from the wasp.

With my top still untied, and my arm still holding up the only barrier between the elements and my bare skin, I managed to chase off all 3 wasps. Or at least, I ticked off the first one so bad that they just bounced and found a more wasp-friendly neighborhood. Or they went somewhere to plot their revenge. Whatever. So of course before I can re-secure myself into my top, a dragonfly decides to join our little party. Not just any dragonfly. No, this is the one that they took the DNA out of to make dinosaurs. It’s probably like 4 feet tall and has about 18 wings and speaks some sort of ancient Mayan dialect and has tribal tattoos. It seriously was like some kind of freak nuclear accident science project. And I was all out of sticky spray. So basically we all 3 (me still holding on my untied top with my arm) ran around in the yard and squealed because the dragonfly was blocking the door and I don’t speak Mayan so I couldn’t reason with it to let us in. Finally, it just had enough of our antics and took off, but not without first buzzing my head in one final attempt to make my top come all the way off.

We all survived, I somehow managed to stay decent, and I promptly tied my top securely back in place. Lesson learned.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I’ve come so far. Aren't we there yet?

Remember how way back at the beginning of my blog I said that this was going to be about everything good, bad, hard, and otherwise? Well this week has covered pretty much the entire spectrum of emotions, challenges, triumphs, set-backs, full blown relapses, victories, and questions. Here goes…

I started new medication this week. Could this be to blame for my extreme ups and downs? Could be. I went to a baby shower this week with lots of people I didn’t know in a house I’d never been to. I had a good friend to support me (and drive me) and I count it as a victory. That evening, I relapsed into checking, repeating my words, touching and having visions. I let myself do this in front of people who had never seen it full out before. It was a conscious choice and it was challenging to let go like that. I spent years actively hiding all of these compulsions. I forgot how much physical energy it takes to have obsessive visions. I only felt compelled to clear a few of the visions and even then I only cleared them a handful of time. Is this a victory because I decreased the number of times I cleared, or a relapse because I had visions in the first place? Victory because I let people see OCD for what it is or defeat because the compulsions still take over?

Sunday I taught Sunday School for the first time since coming out of the crazy closet. I felt the anxiety attack crawling under my skin for several hours. I was ready to run at any second. My breathing was labored and my mind was racing. It never materialized. Victory for holding it together, or relapse for having anxiety in the first place?

Luke took Grace to get a snow cone one evening this week. I stayed behind to put Lily to bed. After an hour they weren’t home yet and suddenly OCD overwhelmed me. The visions almost knocked me to my knees. I truly believed that I must have caused something terrible to happen because I did not have positive images while they left. I knew that I had not prayed when they walked out the door and I suddenly was convinced that this was the reason they surely had found harm. So I did what I haven’t done in weeks; I started calling. No answer, so I called and I called and I called. And while I called I allowed the visions to flood me. I cleared and I cleared but the visions only became stronger and louder. I couldn’t breathe and my heart was racing and I chanted my prayers hoping with everything inside me that I was doing it right this time because I must have caused harm by not praying at all when I had the chance. I called again. But I actively waited 5 minutes between calls. Those 5 minutes were agonizing and filled with rituals but I waited. I only called a total of 5 times. It turns out that they ran into friends at the snow cone stand and stayed to chat while the phone was out of earshot. When Luke finally answered, I cried like a crazy person. He apologized for putting me through it and I apologized to him for dragging him into it. Is this a victory for waiting so long between calls or a failure for needing to call? Is this a victory for being honest about this incident or a relapse for having it at all?

I went to watch Luke’s kickball game. It was a long drive in rush hour traffic to get there. I have always struggled to be “normal” in groups of people I don’t know very well and this group is no exception. Let’s face it, it’s hard enough for me to be normal in groups of people I know well and trust wholeheartedly. I am accustomed to feeling like I am attached to thousands of volts of electricity when trying to interact with groups of people. I feel tension in every nerve. I am petrified to speak because I know I will say something idiotic. I am scared of accidentally doing one of my weird things in front of someone. I know that when I choose not to do the compulsions in front of people, it will feel horrible and make me tense and irritable. When I do speak, I spend the rest of the time analyzing what I said and imaging all the horrible things everyone must be thinking of me. But this night, I was normal. I talked and I laughed and it wasn’t work. I spoke and once the words were out there, they were just out there. They weren’t echoing in my head becoming increasingly stupid. I had real fun, not just gave an impression of fun. Victory because I can be among new people in a new place and actually like it or defeat because I can’t do it without medication? Victory because I enjoyed myself or failure because I can’t do it without my safe person? (Luke is my safe person by the way in case you didn’t read my post “Interview with my safe person”. Check it out)

I guess my experiences this week have ultimately led me to a gray area. How far can I expect to go? Where should I settle? Should I aim to be completely medication free and still be functional or should I accept medication as my new normal? My therapist tells me that my OCD is like diabetes. My brain is broken and just needs a little help to work correctly in the same way that a diabetic has a broken pancreas (or whatever it is that is wrong with diabetics. I’m not a doctor). Diabetics don’t apologize for taking the medication that their body needs in order to function. Should I just accept obsessions and compulsions as who I am? Should I aim for OCD management or total eradication?

The only thing I know for sure is that once I leave my mortal tent behind, there won’t be any gray area in my perfect Heavenly body.

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”
1 Peter 4: 12-13

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Look peaceful while feeling like your legs are on fire

Yoga has been rocking my world lately. Normally, I’m a Pilates girl, but ever since the great “Less crazy, more fat” pill debacle of 2009, I have been re-vamping my workout. And by re-vamping, I mean doing it more than once every week or two.

I had already radically transformed my diet in preparation for a cleanse. If you remember, my cleanse was cut short on advice of my doctors, but it was extremely effective for the short time I did it. So I have basically eliminated everything good about food. I think that changing my diet before cleansing was actually the most beneficial part. Of course, then I hard core relapsed over a holiday weekend and ingested about 2 million calories in 3 days. My body pretty much kung fu kicked me in the stomach as punishment.

I have never been really consistent with my Pilates. I’m kind of a “that was awesome, but now I’m really sore so I’m going to wait a few days before doing it again, but now it’s been two weeks because the time just got away from me” kind of girl. But the crazy pill has required me to get serious. So I started doing Yoga with my Pilates.

Holy freaking Eastern philosophy deep breathing crap. Yoga kicks my booty. Literally.

I am using tons of different on-demand workouts, so I don’t have to leave my house and go places with strangers. I’ve been doing one particular work-out with a shaggy headed earth muffin who giggles the whole time. I just love him. I think I have a crush on him. Luke walks in and finds me in “downward facing dog” or “warrior pose” or “chair pose” which looks silly enough, plus I have a stupid expression on my face because the bed-headed tree hugger wants me to look serene while my legs scream in muscle toning agony. And of course, I am trying to look as serene as possible because I don’t want to disappoint the guy inside my TV.

I would like to point out that I am fairly positive that my Yoga is harder than normal for two reasons. First, I do my Yoga with the added challenge of a 3 year old and a 4 year old “helping” me. We start off with them “exercising” with me until they get bored. Next up is a little game where they add and fun new challenges to each pose. For example: Downward facing dog becomes “run underneath mom’s body because it looks like a bridge”. Warrior pose becomes “flick mom in the hand and see if we can make her holler at us while trying to look serene”. And last but not least, chair pose becomes “throw things at mom and see if we can tip her over.” FYI: they can tip me over. So I suggest to anyone who wants a challenging new level to their workout, that you should borrow my children for an hour…or twelve.

The second thing that makes my Yoga harder than normal is my injury. When I was 13 I tore my rotator cuff. How, you ask? Was I in some catastrophic accident? Did I get in a fight? Did I have a spectacular play in some sort of sport with a ball and equipment? No! I tore my rotator cuff…wait for it…growing. Yep. I grew so fast and so tall in such a short period of time, that my clavicle and my shoulder blade actually went at different speeds and tore my rotator cuff in my left shoulder. That is special. I did physical therapy, but never had surgery so it still gives me trouble. Usually what happens is while I am trying to hold my balance with my arms, my left arm just quits and I go crashing to my face. But I do it serenely.

I am really trying to commit to keeping up this momentum. I’ll keep you posted.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thankful Thursday

This week has been full. We have managed to stay busy for the entire week even though it is summer break. There are so many things to be thankful for this week. Here are a few:

1) New medications
In case you didn’t hear about it, my old medications were making me fat. Remarkably effective in attacking my OCD, but also remarkably effective in making me fat. Like 10 pounds in a month fat. Ewww. So that was not okay with me and I quit taking the meds. Just FYI : Crazy people should not just stop taking their meds it turns out. Anyhow, I went to see my little doctor guy and he was all “just quit eating so much and keep taking your pills so you don’t do anything weird” or something similar to that. He has a serious accent. But that was not helpful for me. Here’s the part where I’m thankful. Shortly after telling me that the solution to being fat is to just quit being fat, he tells me that his practice is moving and I need a new shrink (I wrote a whole blog about this you can check out.) So the new guy totally listened to my “I’m-still-nuts-but-this-gaining-weight-thing-is-making-it-worse” woes. He started me on some cool new stuff that supposedly should help my brain stop doing all of the bizarre misfiring without slowing my metabolism to a dead stop. So far, so good. I’m still gonna be touching and counting and repeating a little because you never really get rid of all of it, only now I can do it 10 pounds lighter. Yea!

2) New shoes
So cute and only 20 dollars! Are you flipping serious?! Thanks to Luke for taking me shopping and letting me spend some of our hard earned money on super cute new summer clothes including a fabulous new dress which required new shoes. Black slides with a buckle and wood heels. Well, faux wood. (They were only 20 bucks after all.) Crazy comfortable too! I wore them all day even to go grocery shopping! Agoraphobia is always easier with cute shoes. The best part is the 4 inch heel with a 1 inch platform, so I am rocking out at around 6’4” with those suckers on. Go ahead and stare. I don’t mind.

3) God’s Grace
I get to teach Sunday School this week. Yea! Luke and I have been teaching Newlywed Sunday School for a while now, and I also have done a ladies’ Bible Study in my home many times, but my “mental illness” started to get in the way of my effectiveness. I co-existed with OCD/GAD and agoraphobia for a long time, but eventually it took over the show. So I have spent many months on a leadership hiatus getting help, medicine, and a sense of humor. I volunteered to fill in this week for the young married class we have been attending in the meantime. The lesson is all about never forgetting the Grace we have been given. It’s very easy to become complacent and sometimes think we deserve God’s blessings. We think that somehow we have earned the blessings and darn it we want them right now. But I have been reminded that Grace is freely given, not earned and especially not deserved. Thanks be to God.

4) 10 antral follicles
I have no idea what an antral follicle is. I don’t know if there are like, other kinds of follicles or just antral ones or whatever. I don’t even know where they are except that they have something to do with your baby-maker. I just know that Bulls Eye has 10 of them and that is not just a good thing, it’s an awesome thing. I know that 10 of these little jobbies is an answer to prayer in and of itself and might possibly hold even more blessings down the road. I also know that regardless of the outcome, these 10 little (or big? Are they big?) follicles are the work of God’s hand moving. I’m praying for those follicles of undetermined size and for whatever will come of them in the future.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A look into my medicine cabinet

I’ve been taking these medications to help control my OCD. Until recently, I saw a small little man who was very kind, but very difficult to understand. I spent a large portion of our time together saying “Excuse me? What was that last part?” and sometimes I would just nod my head and agree with him because I just couldn’t ask him to repeat himself again. A few weeks ago, he told me that his practice was moving to the north part of the city. He said I could continue with him there. “Um, hi…I’m Angela. I don’t drive places. Nice knowing you Dr. Accent McShorty.” So began my search for a new medicine man. My criteria was 1) take my insurance and 2) be as close as possible to my house.

That narrowed my search down to one guy pretty quickly, so I called and got an appointment. Side note: 5 months ago I was almost incapable of picking up a phone and doing things like making appointments. I had to talk myself into it for hours. Why was it so hard? Who knows? OCD is a strange little monkey. And GAD is the little hand organ it plays. Anyhow, I made the appointment and today was my first day to see him.

Good news. He was very easy to understand. I only had to have him repeat himself like 2 times and that’s just because I’m partially deaf in one ear. (That’s right. The fun just never stops with me) Also, I sat in his chair and he asked me to move. We decided that the meds I am currently taking are to blame for the startling amount of weight I have gained. I am not at all pleased about that side effect. So we are going to start new, these-aren’t-supposed-to-make-you-fat-but-are-still-supposed-to-treat-your-crazy-brains pills. I’m encouraged.

He also told me that my anxiety levels and OCD tendencies were noticeable. He said that I am reminiscent of Woody Allen I think because I kind of laugh at myself and I’m all jittery. So is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Maybe we could get one of those Driver's Ed cars with a brake and steering wheel on the passenger side

We went to the zoo. “Yeah, so what?” you’re saying. “People go to the zoo all the time. What’s the big deal?” Well, the big deal is that I drove there.

I have been in Cognitive Behavior Therapy for several months. We keep talking about all of this Exposure Response Prevention. Basically that means scare that crap out of yourself by voluntarily putting yourself in the situations that freak you out. It’s supposed to be all helpful and healing, but I think it’s just mean. But I’m putting myself through it anyway. For weeks now, my assignment has been to drive myself to the zoo. This is because I want to be able to take my kids places without relying on other people to get me there and back. So for weeks now I have started out really ready to tackle this assignment, only to quickly change my mind and talk myself out of it.

Finally, we made a plan to go to the zoo specifically so I could drive. Luke was going with me and we chose a time of day that wouldn’t have too much traffic. I tried and tried and tried to talk him out of making me do it. He was relentless. I’m not going to lie. It was really hard. I was full scale freaking before we ever got to the on ramp. Every sentence out of my mouth was repeated no less than 4 times, until that degenerated into the familiar chant of “OK OK OK OK OK OK OK OK…”.

We made it onto the highway! I wish my car had some sort of indicator on it like a student driver does. It could be a big sign on the back and sides that says “Exposure Response Prevention in Progress. Stay Back” or “OCD at the wheel. Use Caution” or “If you know what is good for you, you will stop riding my bumper or whipping around my car. I will touch, count, and repeat at you to within an inch of your life.” I made it onto the highway. I haven’t worked up to changing lanes or going the speed limit yet. I’m not like dangerously slow or anything, but I keep it about 5 mph under the posted limit.

I only cursed a reasonable number of times. I think reasonable cursing is defined as whatever helps me get through the driving assignment without pulling off the road or having a panic attack while still in motion. I think God understands that cursing is a somewhat involuntary coping mechanism. I think God still loves me. I did keep the curses quiet. The last thing I need is my kids teaching everyone curse words during Sunday School. God has infinite patience and love for me, Sunday School teachers and parents; not so much.

By the time we got to the zoo, I felt like I had run a marathon. Or at least what I imagine running a marathon to feel like, because I’m not ever going to run one. Get all sweaty? Ew. No. But I felt exhausted. Being that keyed up can wear you out. So we checked out all of the animals at the zoo. We rode the tram, and the carousel, and feed those nasty little ducks. I’m still working on my anxiety in public places. A few hours of the zoo kind of tapped me out. So I didn’t drive us home. But I did keep my eyes on the road. One step at a time.