The Innocent Gorilla

The big news story right now is a little boy that some how ended up in a gorilla habitat at a zoo and the gorilla was killed because of it. I obviously was not there but it saddens me that the gorilla had to lose its life because of the situation that played out.

I have no idea how the boy could possibly have ended up in the habitat. Parents should have been watching the child closely. Plus, the viewing area is quite a ways above the enclosure. Surely the boy did not fall because he would have been badly injured. So it probably took him time to get down there and his parents never noticed that he was gone until he ended up in the water?

Once the boy gets down there, it appears that the gorilla is trying to protect the little boy. It probably was a little frightened by all the people screaming above. Reports said that the boy was dragged a little but every video I watched that part was edited out. However, the gorilla did not ever try to kill the little boy and he had every chance to do so.

Because of some dumb actions of the parents, zoo keepers, and the little boy, an innocent gorilla had to lose its life. I know the reports said that tranquilizers would take too long but there are lots of people that interact with gorillas. How else did that one gorilla learn sign language? There was no need to kill the gorilla, especially since the little boy was not even seriously injured.

Graduation Dress Code

Lately in the news, there have been a couple stories of high school students that did not want to follow the dress code set by their school for graduation. As a result, they were unable to participate in graduation.

The first student was a female that had graduated early and joined the Marines. When she returned from graduation, she wore her uniform instead of her cap and gown. She refused to wear the cap and gown so she just did not get to participate. The girl belonged to the Marines. She should know that following directions is important. She should have also learned the importance of a dress code while she was gone. If she is unable to follow directions, she will probably not last very long in the Marines.

I am glad the school did not let her participate. Graduation is not a military event. The military has several other days and events in which to receive honor. Graduation is supposed to be about the class as a whole, not one individual. It really would not be fair to draw attention to this one student because other students will go on to do great things in their lives. However, they did not graduate early and have yet to accomplish anything past high school. Their turn is coming though.

The second student wore some kind of garment worn at important events in Ghana and was actually arrested because of the event. The student claimed though that he had no connection to his African ancestors. Because of that, I do not believe the cloth held any sort of significance for the student. The male was later arrested but since I was not there, I do not know if his actions at the ceremony were worthy of being arrested. He could have been very difficult about the situation.

If the student was wearing the cloth for religious reasons, it would make sense to wear it. But since he said he had no connections to his ancestors, it meant nothing to him other than a way to make him stand out from the rest of his graduating class. Again, graduation is about the class as a whole. The cap and gown worn by all students is a sign of unity.

High school graduation should be a time to celebrate the accomplishment of finishing high school and enjoying one final moment with the class you have been with for the last thirteen years. It will be the last time the whole class will be together. However, the unity is lost when one student feels the need to stand out and be difficult.

Offensive Facebook Game

Last night, my best friend from high school posted the numbers 1-30 with little padlocks beside each number. She said that you needed to pick a number and something would appear in your inbox. I am not one for that kind of Facebook stuff but I was curious. And since it was from my former best friend, I knew there would be nothing wrong with responding. I was expecting some cute picture or saying to appear. Instead, I got 30 questions and was told to answer number 14 because that was the number I picked and send it as a private message to her and then I was to post the same post with the numbers 1-30.

My question was about a childhood memory and I felt no need to answer it. I also saw no need to repost the same status (I never post statuses, just pictures) because some of the questions were extremely personal and some were very offensive. I could not believe that my friend who is a strong Catholic would go through with such a thing. I do not care if she responded to a different friend’s post. That does not mean that she needs to continue the game.

There used to a time (back before I had Facebook but when I had email) that if it said to send to some many people otherwise something bad would happen I would do it. It is not that I actually believed it because God is in charge and would never require someone to send a dumb email multiple times. But because I have OCD, I did not want to take the chance. I have changed since then and do not post things just because it says to.

As a Christian, I am not going to pass the stupid offensive post on. I am still astounded that my friend would actually do it too.

I’m a Survivor

My counselor told me several times that I was a survivor. The first time she said that, I was instantly reminded of the song by Reba McEntire. I do not know that much about Reba but if her life is anything similar to the TV show, than I would definitely classify her as a survivor. After all, on the show, she went through a divorce and ended up raising her kids, one of who was pregnant in high school and then she got married and her new family lived in the same house. Reba went through so much on the show that I would say she is a survivor.

After thinking about the song, I moved on to thinking about people that I do classify as survivors. People that have come back from war or were in the Twin Towers or went through a terrible car accident are survivors to me. I may have struggles but these people went through physical struggles and to me, they are survivors as well as heroes. With my mental problems, I did not put myself in the same group as these people.

My counselor told me I was a survivor many times and each time I knew that it was not true. I thought she was just trying to make me feel better about all the problems I have experienced because of my mental problems.

Even though I quit counseling over a month and a half ago, the statement has been on my mind several times throughout this week. I decided that maybe there is some truth to what she had been saying. I may not have experienced physical trauma that nearly took my life but I am a survivor to mental illness. There are several times that I have considered suicide but did not follow through. I am a survivor in a different sense. And with that being said, I have to continue being a survivor because my battles do not end. Every day, I choose whether to continue being a survivor. There are days when I feel that I have made the wrong choice but that just strengthens my point: I am a survivor.

Social Anxiety

Growing up, I had always been shy. I hated meeting new people. However, once I got to know them, I was all right. As I got older though, the shyness took on a new meaning. It was difficult for me to meet friends in college. I expected them to come to me. It took awhile for me to realize that if I wanted friends, I was going to have to go out and meet them. That was difficult to get out because I did not know anyone at college events. Eventually though, I made friends and I started going out more because of t hem. I really did not like to  go out by myself and as time went on, it got worse.

Once I moved out on my own to a tiny town in the middle of no where, I found myself alone. I knew absolutely no one. People were constantly introducing themselves to me and inviting me to many events. Though I was pleased with the invitations, I often turned them down because I was too anxious about going to unfamiliar events with people I really did not know. I did not want people looking at me or asking me questions.

And my anxiety got only worse from there. I found it difficult to go to the grocery store. I would avoid eye contact and rush through the store as quickly as I could. I continued turning people down even though I know knew these people and would have really liked to go out. However, I was much safer when I was alone in my apartment. If I did go out, I was extremely anxious.

I do not have a lot of friends. If I do end up at these uncomfortable social situations with them, I always stick very close. I feel like I am bothering them by ignoring the rest of the people there and sticking like a shadow to my friends. It is extremely difficult to put myself out there and talk to other people. I often stutter when I am talking even though I do not have a problem normally. I also find myself talking rapidly and finding it difficult to explain myself.

I one time found this joke online for people with social anxiety only to me, it really wasn’t a joke. The joke said that a person would cross the street just to avoid talking with someone. That is basically me. I avoid eye contract. I refuse to go out if I see someone close by. I do not like using public restrooms with other people in there. I don’t like to even say hi to someone that passes me, even if I know them.

My social anxiety does hold me back. I wrote about some of my other problems holding me back and someone commented that that only happens if I let it happen. I do not choose to live this way. This is the life I have been dealt. And yes, I do sometimes go out of my comfort zone. I go out with my friends. I will go to church and the grocery store by myself even though it really gets my heart to racing. However, it is a difficult problem. It makes it difficult to go on job interviews because I cannot compose my thoughts or be open and friendly.

Inside my house, alone, is safe. The outside world is full of scary social situations.

The Problems with Cutting

I had a couple of rough days last week and ended up cutting. Because of the warm weather and the fact that my scratches did not look like cat scratches but actual cuts, I have been covering them with a bandaid. This evening, I decided I needed to take the bandages off for awhile because my skin was starting to itch. The scabs are attempting to fall off and they really itch. I am really tempted to pull the scabs off but I do not need more scars to symbolize what I have done. And tomorrow, I will have to put more bandaids on because it still looks like deliberate cuts.

The other day, I was wondering why I have never dealt with really hiding my cuts. But today, I figured it out. Last summer was part of my eleven months where I did not cut. There was another summer where I had tried to give up cutting and was successful for four months. I guess this is the reason I needed for quitting.

Surprisingly, nobody has asked about my ‘injury’ despite having to wear two bandaids to cover the cuts up. My friends would automatically figure it out. And with my students that are usually very curious, I would tell them the cat did it. Thankfully, I have not had to be honest or lie at all.

OCD Medication

Last week, my doctor decided that I should take my OCD medication twice a day instead of once a day. I was not happy to hear that. I used to take the medication at night but after awhile, I asked if I could start taking it in the morning because I was having trouble sleeping. My sleeping greatly improved after I made the switch. But now that I have to take it twice in one day, I have to take one pill at night. I made the switch four nights ago and I have only slept ‘decently’ for one night. I decided this morning that I am going back to one pill in the morning. It did help for a short time. And I will be leaving in a couple of days to start my summer job at the amusement park. Because of the different environment, I am hoping that will help since I have ordering OCD.

The Secrets of OCD

“I am so OCD about chipped nail polish.” “I like things to be a certain way. I guess that must be my OCD.” “They are a neat freak. They are so OCD.” “People who wash their hands a lot are OCD.” These statements all pertain to obsessive compulsive disorder. While I do not like to judge, probably none of t hose people have OCD. Some of the statements also use the term OCD incorrectly.

For a while, I had suspected that I was exhibiting signs of OCD. However, since so many people like to throw the term around, I was in denial. Plus, when I thought of OCD, I always thought of people who washed their hands frequently or kept their house extremely neat. For me, it started off as just having a pen in a certain spot on my desk because otherwise I would fail a test. Slowly, it just progressed from there. Soon, there were more things that needed to face a certain direction or be in a certain spot. If things were not just ‘right’ then I believed that bad things would happen like I would get fired from my job.

Even with a lot of research, I was still in denial about having OCD because I was expecting to fit a cookie cutter mold and from what I read on the Internet, I was not like other people suffering from the disorder. However, after awhile, I began to be extremely controlled by the placement of objects. There were so many rules associated with them too. For example, there was a certain order involved with showering and if I did not do it right, than I would have to reshower. That is when I talked to my doctor about having OCD.

So many people are quick to throw around the idea of OCD. Everyone has little quirks about him or her but that does not classify them as having OCD. OCD stands for obsessive compulsive disorder. In order to have OCD, a person must have obsessions and compulsions. Most people think that they have the disorder even though they only have a compulsion.

I often wish that people could take a walk through my mind in order to get a sense of what it is like to have OCD for a day. I begin and end my day with objects being placed a certain way and having a very strict routine to follow. There are so many rules to life. The whole time I am following the rules and routines, there are thoughts going about in my head that tell me that if I do something out of order or have an object facing the wrong direction then I will be fired from my job. A large part of my day is spent following these rules in order to relieve the crazy thoughts going on in my mind. Then, I get to repeat it all again the next day, the day after that, and every day following that. Even though I know that these ideas are irrational, I cannot stop myself from following the rules.

Many people say they are OCD and that is of course, incorrect. A person cannot be OCD. A person cannot be a disorder. However, a person can have OCD. For me though, OCD is not an adjective. It does not describe me. There are many other terms that define me but not a disorder. Plus, for all those people I quoted above, their problems are easily fixed by taking off the chipped nail polish or washing their hands or straightening a room.

There are so many misconceptions about OCD and it really bothers me. First of all, not everybody is extremely organized. I may have to have objects face a certain direction or be in a certain place, but I am not actually extremely organized. My room can get messy and I really do not care. I also do not feel compelled to wash my hands a bunch of times a day. While I do wash frequently, germs are not something that I obsess about all day long. I have a different form of OCD related to the order and arrangement of things.

My OCD reached a point where I needed to be put on medication because it was reaching the point where the thoughts were consuming me. I would be running late for work because there were certain things that had to be done before I could leave. That is something that many people do not understand when they classify themselves as having the disorder. The medication is not fun either. I find it extremely difficult to sleep after taking it. But it is a fate that I have accepted because it is better than dealing with the obsessive thoughts that control my mind.

Obsessive compulsive disorder is not about hand washing or cleaning. It is not a few odd quirks that make a person unique. It is a disorder that controls a person’s life and makes it difficult to actually live when there are too many compulsions to carry out. If a person could take a walk in my mind for a day and see what OCD is really like, I am sure that they would be quick to stop calling themselves OCD.

Rejected

I was upset when I got the call the other day that the school I had just interviewed at decided to hire another person. However, as much pain as it caused me, I also knew that God had bigger plans for me. Besides, I did not want to teach fifth grade. And, I had a different school in mind. There was an opening at the school where I had done my student teaching. I had asked my cooperating teacher to put in a good word for me. She warned me that there were some local people applying but I figured I would at least get an interview and then I could actually prove that I was better than those other people. However, I got the rejection letter in the mail today and it really hurt. I hate this place. I often think my mental problems are related to this horrible town. Maybe if I lived closer to my family and to an actual city, I would not be so tempted to kill myself. Because here, I have absolutely little reason to live. I should be used to this kind of rejection. After all, it took me a year and a half to find a job once I graduated college. And, I have a job right now. However, I have dreams for myself that obviously God does not share.

Everyone is Out to Get Me

I feel like the whole world is against me. Or maybe it has just been a long week (which it has). It is just one of those days where everything is just supposed to go wrong. I got my prescriptions refilled. It just took a lot of text messages between me and my doctor. The bad thing is that I am coming off one of my antidepressants and increasing the medication I take for OCD. I was very depressed last time I came off my antidepressant. And I hate my OCD medication because it makes it hard to sleep. I guess on the plus side I did not have to drive thirty minutes to the next town to pick them up. I had a friend do it.

I got called by the school I interviewed at on Tuesday. I did not get the job. I guess I really do not care because I really did not want to teach fifth grade. But I really did want to move closer to home. I think the worst part is that the entire school seems to know that I went on an interview and asking when I would hear. Now I get the joy of telling everyone that I got rejected. They won’t understand how difficult it is for me to interview. They don’t see the social anxiety and depression because I hide it.

Also, I had noon duty today and the kids were out of control. I guess I should have expected it since it is the last Friday of the year but it is still frustrating. And then, I was not going to get a break because the specials teacher was absent but thankfully she returned. I just needed a break from the kids because they feel that it is time to shut down.

On top of all that, it seems like nobody can talk to me very nicely. I have just been asking questions which I think should be done when the answer is not obvious. I did not ask to be talked to rudely.

The last thing I had to deal with today is the cuts on my wrist. They looked extremely bad and it was too warm today to cover my arms up. I ended up covering them with two bandaids with the intention of telling my students that my cat scratched me with his back claws but surprisingly they never asked. They just ask about everything else though.

I guess I should be celebrating that I have gotten my medication, nobody knows that I am a cutter, I am done with noon duty for the year, there are only three days left of school and I am expected to attend a conference for one of them, that I did get a break today, and that I will not be teaching fifth grade next year. Maybe I will feel better after a good night sleep (hopefully).