Shut up…You don’t have OCD

I have written about OCD before…quite a bit, since I have lived with it in varying degrees since I was a child.  I’m not talking cutesy perfectionist shit.  Real obsessive compulsive disorder requiring real treatment.

I came across this article on Facebook today, and I only hope it gets the reads it deserves.  As I have mentioned before, and what is concisely stated in the article by an actual doctor  (if my word isn’t enough):  OCD differs from idiosyncratic quirks and/or having an obsessive personality in that it causes actual distress to the sufferer and oftentimes interferes with their ability to function on a day to day basis in a normal fashion. (One example-which is not to say all people with OCD would manifest in this way: have you ever been late to work because you wanted to be sure the stove was off even though you stood there looking at the stove knob clearly in the off position?  Your brain still sends you signals of doubt and stress so much so that you can’t even believe your eyes.)

“‘Obsessive’ is a personality trait. It doesn’t get in the way of your functioning, it’s something you prefer. What people are meaning to say is, ‘I am obsessive rather than OCD,’ ” says Jeff Szymanski, executive director of the International OCD Foundation. “You’re now mixing a distressing psychological disorder with a personality preference, and when you mix them, you lose the severity of the disorder.”

With OCD, there are obsessions (unwanted thoughts, impulses, or images that repeat in a person’s mind) and compulsions (acts that a person repeats in order to “get rid” of these obsessions). These compulsions are often done in a desperate attempt to protect oneself from the wave of anxiety the obsessions bring, not because the person actually wants engage in the compulsion. (source)

It’s not even about being oversensitive (although it is insensitive to downplay someone else’s suffering.)  It’s also about awareness.  As stated, there are varying degrees of this illness, and some people can live with it untreated (although they likely have their own personal rituals or adjustments to their lives that allow them to do so, some people may benefit from behavioral modification techniques (supervised by a professional,) and some, like myself, may never feel comfortable enough to be off medication.   Some people suffer in silence for years, ashamed, afraid…generally miserable captives of their own runaway anxiety and relate compulsions designed to alleviate said anxiety.  Howard Hughes, American aviator, engineer, industrialist, film producer and director (1) (2), was notorious for his bizarre behavior which was eventually attributed to OCD.

People with OCD, we’re not crazy (although we certainly feel like we are going crazy sometimes.)  There is nothing “wrong” with us, at least nothing that should be stigmatized or judged.  I really view it as no different from someone who must take insulin everyday to survive.  My body lacks a specific chemical/chemical reaction that most “normal” people have.  It may not be preferable, but it’s how it is, and I feel lucky to live in a time where there are medications to help me manage this issue.  However, even in this age, there are some people that have a startling lack of knowledge about a fairly prevalent illness.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, OCD affects about 2.3% of the United States population age 18 to 54 years (ie, approximately Americans). An additional 1 million children and adolescents have the disorder. (source)

The point is that, undiagnosed people who suffer from this likely feel alone, confused, and afraid, so instead of people being glib or using OCD as the punchline in some kind of joke, wouldn’t it be better to try to help by spreading awareness and offering assistance?

I’d also like to point out that as with many “mental illnesses” in this country, people who suffer from OCD are not usually a danger to anyone, except for maybe themselves if they feel they can no longer handle their anxiety and the resultant compulsive behaviors.

Anyway, I can’t think of a neat way to wrap this up so I’ll just say, unless you’re feeling particularly distressed by your obsessions or quirks, (in which case, I feel for you and the are people who can help,) you don’t have OCD so stop telling people you do.

What’s in a name?

I’ve been preparing to get my business license and launch my dog training business.  But I am finding myself stumped when it comes to choosing a name.  It should be easy, right?  Some people said just use my name (Jane Smith’s* Dog Training.)  Not only is that kinda boring, but I have other reasons for not wanting to do so.  I have, however, been advised not to choose anything to generic or general (a friend of mine who is also a trainer is constantly having to threaten other people who “come up with” and try to use her business’s name because it is so obvious.  For this reason, I have considered including just my initials in the name.  I have come up with some possibilities– one that may appeal to my area’s demographic in terms of southern appeal (Downhome Dog Training), and some that sound very high brow, albeit still rather generic, (Excel Dog Training), some designed to elicit a sort of emotional connection with the increasing desire for more progressive dog trainers over traditional compulsion based training, while also implying a manageable basic level training (KinderTrain (Is it Kinder with a short vowel or long?)) and even some that are supposed to appeal mainly to people’s sense of whimsy (Hot Diggity Dawg Training.)

Maybe I should just call it Cujo Academy.  Can I get sued for that?


This dog is ready to learn!

This dog is ready to learn!

“Excuse me, sir, but your stupid is showing”


Ah, Mr. King, you’ve done it again. I have been waiting to get my hands on some of your most recent novels, but, poor as I am, have had to be content with staring longingly at the book section of Walmart. Last week, I finally got my copy of Mr. Mercedes. As usual, I find in your writing a refreshing blend of humor, uniqueness, and, of course, captivating plot and characters. Some people might call you strictly a pop fiction writer, but I would wager they hadn’t read enough of your works, especially the later ones, to be able to discern your true talent. For instance, the tying together of a meta- plot arc spanning basically the whole of your writing career in the Dark Tower series took epic writing chops, so sayeth this humble writer. Some reviews have no doubt referred to your writing in “literary” terms, and I think this is more accurate, because you don’t just write stories, you write characters…real people. Yes, I am fully aware I sound like a gushy fangirl, but, believe me, I am coming to a point (I think.) I read and love your writing so much I know it has influenced my own, from the “artistic liberties” I take with sentence structure to the very tone of my writing. Your stories make me think.

Mr. Mercedes is no different. I am still in the thick of the novel, but the villain in Mr. Mercedes has gotten me thinking, and… I think, therefore I BLOG. Although I have some educational background in criminal justice, and have done quite a bit of reading on sociopathic killer-types, I really can’t say for sure what your “typical” villain might be like. Brady Hartsfield seems to fit a lot of the established characteristics (and maybe some stereotypes?) for sociopaths. He’s arrogant, narcissistic, seems socially underdeveloped yet is great at faking proper social interactions. His moral compass is completely off kilter (he still thinks he knows right and wrong, but his morals definitely don’t conform to social norms.) He’s also fairly intelligent…and perhaps also predictably, he does consider himself smarter than the rest of us sheeple.

And yet, like most criminal/villain types in pop culture, he is stupid. Not in the intellectual sense, so much as the moral sense, I suppose. As if we didn’t have enough reason to dislike Hartsfield for committing mass vehicular homicide (and then writing a letter to brag gleefully about it,) you wrote him as a casually unapologetic racist. While he doesn’t overtly go out of his way, at least not that I have read yet, to commit acts specifically for a racial agenda, throughout the narrative of his internal thoughts, he displays his tasteless views on everything from inter-racial dating to black people with “white names,” and peppered in there, in case you need more convincing, is his flagrant use of the N-word.

Now while all of this of course did achieve the likely purpose of causing me to dislike him even more, I found also that it put me off of his “character” as well. What I mean, I guess, is that many readers may dislike a villain for his actions, but like the function he serves in the story. Let’s face it; some characters make good villains (Hannibal Lector immediately springs to mind as an iconic good villain.) They have flare, charisma. They’re clever. Some of them even start out with sort of sympathetic reasons behind their villainous actions.

This douchebag, Hartsfield, while admittedly “clever” in the sense of planning and execution of his crimes, has sort of lost any credibility (with me, at least) as a good villain. As intelligent as he may be in some ways, the fact that he displays such racist ideals just proves his ignorance and selective use of intellectual and logical thinking, and thus causes him to go down in my estimation, even as a villain. While this may seem like an obvious statement (uh, duh, racism is stupid) what was more curious to me was how this changed my dislike for him, from simply thinking of him as a nut-job with a murderous agenda to thinking of him as a narcissistic, weak-minded brat.

So, if there is a point to this whole excursion into mental diarrhea, I suppose it’s that (in my book at least), If you’re a villain, it’s okay to be a psychopathic killer… as long as you’re not a fucking idiot too.

Thanks for coming along, readers.


Boring Face Care Stuff

orig. date: 11/10/14

Hello, Gentle Readers. I’m sorry I’ve been away so long. I am still without reliable internet service. But today, I have a gift for you. Well, at least it may seem like a gift for those of you who followed this blog for my few and far between contributions to health and beauty. Once again, let me preface this by saying no one is paying me to endorse anything or whatever (I’m not important enough to be paid to advertise anything. Haha) This is just a product I stumbled on my chance, tried, and loved. And the best part is, it’s cheap!

As some of you may remember, I have suffered from regular bouts of hormone-related acne, probably since I had my daughter some four years ago. Not just pimples, but big, nodular, cystic type pimples that start deep in my skin and hurt like hell. I have had little luck controlling these outbreaks, which are usually limited to one or two zits at a time, but underground zits that nonetheless cause swelling and redness (which I often exacerbate in my attempts to bring them to the surface) that sometimes make me feel like Quasimodo the way they distort my face. The red marks and often some of the hard clogged nodule remain under my skin even after the infection portion of the zit has gone. By the time one is fully healed, often weeks later, a new one is cropping up.

It seems like my best defense thus far has been very frequent exfoliation. I have a generic cleanser with very tiny, mild scrubbing do-hickies in it, and then I usually use a mud mask of some sort a few times a week, as well as to spot treat individual zits with the mud. (I usually try those little single sized packets at Walmart in the HBA section to try out different things.) The mud works to purify pores and draw nastiness to the surface. Recently, during yet another breakout, I decided to try one of the Freeman brand packets that had an activated charcoal and black sugar mix. Charcoal is well-known as a detoxifier, and although I was initially hesitant to put anything like that on my face, I gave in and tried it.

The first thing I noticed when I smeared on the grainy substance was it did not go on specifically even, being not smooth like mud, however if applied generously, coverage was adequate. The second thing I noticed, dear readers, was a pleasant warming sensation on my skin that could only be the result of some sort of chemical reaction. The smell was very pleasant, and I could taste sugar in the spots where the mask was close to my lips.

You leave the mask on for 5-7 minutes, and are supposed to then “scrub” it for one to two minutes. I find the sugar grains too large to be comfortable to scrub, and I have also read before that a substance that is too abrasive can actually cause more trouble for your skin. I prefer to let the mask gently rinse in the shower.

But afterward my skin feels heavenly smooth. I do a full mask once or twice a week, but sometimes I spot treat my “trouble spots,” my cheeks right beside my nose, my nose, and chin with a dab or two of the mask mix in between full masks. It’s been about a month since I started using this product, and it seems like I have noticed a decrease in the number and size of blemishes. Plus, I just love how it smells and makes my skin feel. My only gripe now is that I can’t find a full-sized bottle in the stores near me so far, and based on past experiences, I expect placing an order for a four dollar product online would yield ridiculous shipping charges on most websites. Luckily, I can get at least two uses even out of those little packets.

Anyway, even if you don’t have acne issues, I recommend trying this affordable skin care option. You may just get as hooked on it as I have.

Now, I have a little bonus for you. I also found a moisturizer I am pretty happy with. My skin can never seem to make up its mind. It’s what most people would call “combination” skin I guess. It looks tight and dull when it’s dry, but if I dare to moisturize too much it gets greasy.

Also, as some of you may be aware, even cosmetic companies that have built a loyal following of people who swear by their products, and companies who market supposed high-end or “healthier” products often have ingredients that are either comedogenic or harsh (like surfactants) and may even further damage skin in the long run (denatured alcohol.) I have made it my policy to always read the ingredients list.

Anyway, I digress, as usual. There is a line of products out now called “Simple (Sensitive Skin Experts.) I have already tried and really liked their toner (having read the ingredients to make sure there was no denatured alcohol in it. In case you may be wondering, Cetyl and Cetearyl alcohol are both okay.) It is mild but still refreshing and doesn’t seem to be over-drying. Recently I also picked up their “Ultra-Light Gel Moisturizer.” I had just been contemplating ordering a gel moisturizer from Mary Kay (no small price tag there for a poor chick like me,) so when I came upon this in the store, I pounced on the opportunity to try a gel moisturizer for a decent price. I paid around ten dollars, give or take. I love this stuff. It doesn’t feel overly heavy, and it doesn’t deliver a huge moisture punch, but then again, I have the ability to layer it with my sunblock when I go out and it’s also light enough that I feel comfortable putting it on before bed and knowing I won’t be greasing up my pillow.

Well, before I sign off, I’d like to just mention once again, I am not a paid endorser of any of this stuff. I just like it, and hope maybe some of you may find it useful too. Neither do I have any special knowledge or education in cosmetics or skin care beyond my own personal research and experiences.

Also, in the interest of full disclosure, I have recently added Clindamycin (topical antibiotic) gel to my face care regimen. (Although previously it didn’t seem to do much good, I think maybe I didn’t use it religiously enough and decided to try it again.) I have read it can take up to as many as twelve weeks to start working well anyway, so most of my skin’s improvement I actually credit to the charcoal mask. But, hey, try the mask a few times and you decide.

As promised…

Okay, I gotta be quick; my friend is graciously allowing me to use her phone as a hotspot. As promised, I saved up some blog posts for you on my hard drive and am uploading them now. Here is the first, and it is about none other than my dopey boy cat Methos. No time to link. If you’re curious, just type his name into the search bar on my blog. He is featured regularly.

Orig date:11/10/14
Clearly, my mother was right, and I have no fucking common sense. (Don’t tell her I said that.)
The cats have fleas– big, ugly, brown, hoppy bastards! We got some of that Hartz stuff and put it on their necks. (One of my vet tech friends told me I might as well have spit on them.) Maybe it’s worked some…maybe…but not fast enough. The cats (especially Methos–) have been driving me batshit with their scratching and biting and flaking bits of scabs and flea junk all over the place. Hubby and I are getting bitten. Darling Daughter prob is too, but she’s too happy being four to notice or care.
So yesterday my friend told me to salt the carpets and vacuum after 12-24 hours and she also gave me the [dubious] advice to bathe the cats in Original Dawn. Now, some of my more regular readers may already be shaking their heads and chuckling. They are no doubt recalling what I myself managed to forget (it was probably a defense mechanism,) and that is the traumatic event that was the last time I attempted to bathe Methos.
Don’t get me wrong; I knew it would be brutal. I even bought a pair of rubber dish gloves in preparation, a lame attempt to protect mine or my husband’s hands, (whoever was unlucky enough to have to hold him in the water,) until the fleas try to jump ship, so to speak.
Supposedly animals have three responses to fear; flight, fight, or freeze. With Methos, it’s fight and flight, and fuck up anyone in the way. He seemed to believe, despite our having taken loving care of him for almost eight years, that we intended to drown him– either that, or the water was lava.
Hubby had the gloves, (Methos still bit the shit out of him) and I ended up bleeding. DD wasn’t hurt at all but she still ended up screaming, in sympathy I guess, (sympathy with us or the cats, I don’t know.) I don’t think anything but his legs and tail even got wet. We chucked him in the cat room and shut the door, leaving him to recover emotionally.
Chloe was easier. She chose freeze (and cry.) Still, her undercoat never got wet. There was not a single flea in the water from either cat, but both were wet and upset, and we decided to just take the flea comb to them to see what we’d come up with.
As you may have guessed, the cats still have fleas.