TMI Tuesday, 25th October 2022

A pile of pebbles on a beach, suggests meditation, mindfulness, therapy. White text on black banner reads TMI Tuesday, 25th October 2022 - On Purpose

What Is TMI Tuesday?

TMI Tuesday is a series of questions generated by TMI Tuesday Blog. It is a great way to meet other bloggers and to share some personal thoughts and experiences. It is important to remember that there are no right or wrong answers to these questions, only the answers of the author –  and that’s part of what makes this tag so awesome!

How To Play TMI Tuesday

Copy the below TMI Tuesday questions to your webspace (i.e., a blog). Answer the questions there, then leave a comment below, on this blog post, so we’ll all know where to read your responses. Please don’t forget to link to tmituesdayblog from your website!

Send Me Your Questions!

Do you have something you’ve been itching to ask? Maybe something food-related, something a little bit kinky or something completely random? Have fun with it, then be sure to check back next Tuesday for my answer!

And now, onto the questions…

1. What are you focusing on in your life right now? 

a. finding greater purpose 

b. feeling less alone 

c. feeling more motivated 

d. improving anxiety 

e. working on relationships 

Probably C. I had quite a productive day yesterday but smashing my to-do list down has been a constant priority as of late, so we’ll go with C.

2. Select one thing that you value most right now: 

a. being a good partner or friend 

b. becoming your best self 

c. feeling happier, more fulfilled 

d. performing well at work 

I think B, because we should all keep working on ourselves. Nobody is perfect, though some of us are pretty damn close 😉

3. Which type of well-being tool is of most interest to you? (pick one) Why?

a. guided meditation 

b. life coaching workshops 

c. personal therapy 

d. social content 

C. Personal therapy…and for my wonderful and supportive readers and TMI’ers, it’s storytime!

When I was young I was a shy girl, painfully shy! I wouldn’t go play at nursery, I wouldn’t share toys with others (I wasn’t selfish, I’d just let other kids have the toys instead) and I wouldn’t talk to strangers, even the ones my parents said I could talk to. I used to hate banter because I used to think my parents and grandparents were arguing, and I didn’t understand jokes and teasing until I was into my double-figures. I got bullied at school for my shyness and because the bullies knew that I wouldn’t fight back (except for that one time I’d had a gutsful and I hit my bully clean across the chops with my faux leather handbag, but anyway!), they carried on picking on me. Even outside of school there was a time when I can remember some kids throwing half a brick in my direction, I can remember some guys asking for directions and then using their car to backspin gravel and dirt into my face and I can remember being beaten over the head with a wad of stolen scratchcards in a back alley. Oh, and there was the time in my teens when a guy approached me outside Woolworths and said “eww, is that a zit on your face?”, like no buddy, I’m just growing a twin in case I get bored and lonely. Anyway, my parents were quite controlling people (we sort of dabbed on that last week) and so my self-esteem was at rock bottom. I believed I was ugly and I believed I was unworthy of friends. That was the first time I got me into therapy, to change the way I saw myself and spoke to and of myself. 

After that came a child psychologist, to try and get me coping better with the bullies. I didn’t really like him, I just found a lot of his advice kinda useless. Ignoring someone when they call you fat or stupid is one thing, but ignoring someone when they physically attack you is a lot harder and that was the moment my Dad made me take up self-defence instead. Sorry Twisties, I’m forbidden from disclosing to anyone what disciplines I’m trained in, or to what level. Family rules. 

Next came the first lot of Exposure Response Prevention, to get me out and making friends. I hated that, I wasn’t allowed to ask my Mum to arrange my play dates anymore, if I wanted to hang out with my friends then I’d have to go with her (when I was young) and do the asking part myself instead. I absolutely loathed that, but it got me used to asking for what I wanted in life and that’s quite natural for me now. I still get shy sometimes, but that’s a whole other conversation!

There was an added bit here, because it also started to show my stubbornness and high tolerance to pain. Sometimes I’d just swallow the emotional pain of not seeing my friends then run off and go play alone instead. It wasn’t that I didn’t care for them, we’d still hang out at school, I just wasn’t going to be told what to do! 

Then we had family therapy, and if there was ever a therapy thingamy that was pointless, that was it. It was supposed to be about stress in the family, and how different dynamics in the family were causing issues. I suppose it was also the first time my brother and I highlighted that we might have been being abused, but nobody picked up on it and instead they said we were a strong, impermeable family unit. As to be expected, my mother cast herself into the role of the victim of life and my father was the protector, with two helpless, defenseless disabled children who they were just trying to love and protect from life. When I look back at things now then, unfortunately, I do think my father may have been emotionally abusing my mother, perhaps unintentionally and out of fear. Dad had a LOT of anxieties and insecurities (he was abused himself) and it still haunts me to remember hearing him cry as I lay ‘sleeping’ the morning after my flat fire. I do think my parents loved us and one another, but my Dad was possibly unintentionally abusing my Mum and my Mum was possibly, probably abusing us, borne out of her own frustration, her own upbringing and motherly love. I’ve done a whole heap of forgiving, deep-think and self-improvement since, but it’s all stuff that I’m still working on.

Family therapy is weird, by the way. You’re in a room with a one-way mirror and there is a team of psychologists and behaviourists on the other side watching you and your behaviours and noting stuff down throughout your therapy session. You don’t know what’s being said about you, you just know they’re there. It makes you feel like your conversation with your therapist is being invaded upon and so you become quite guarded. 

After that I didn’t have any more therapy until 2014, just after my “Pure O” OCD diagnosis. I wish it was as sexy as it sounds, but “Pure O” stands for “purely obsessional”, which means to say there is no outward compulsion like handwashing or rearranging things. Really it’s a bit of a misnomer because there are still compulsions, they’re just more psychological compulsions like reassurance-seeking behaviours or avoidance. I struggle with Harm OCD, which has to do with those weird and violent thoughts we all get sometimes. Everyone gets violent thoughts, but the difference between someone like me and the normal person is that most normal people would go “dude, the fuck? That was weird”, whereas my brain goes “ohmygoshwhatheactualfuck?! If I thought about it then that must mean I actually want to do it, I’m sick in the head and I need locking up!”, basically my amygdala is on overdrive. Believe it or not, then despite the nature of our bizarre thoughts people with Harm OCD are actually more compassionate than the average person and the reason we find these thoughts so abhorrent is because they go against our very nature. That’s right, they’re our brain imagining how it would be to do the very last thing we want to do!

There’s two things you need to understand here, OCD and ICD, and they sit on opposite ends of the scale. ICD, or Impulse Control Disorder, tends to be about having too little self-control, and they can include things like theft, explosive anger and lying. OCD, or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, tends to be about having too much control. People with OCD tend to be hypervigilant to the risk of a threat, and the compulsions are like an extra layer of security against the thing that, in all likelihood, is highly unlikely to happen anyway. I also have OCPD – or Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder  – as well as OCD, and they do often go together. OCPD is what a lot of people think OCD is, things like having to have books in a certain order or it makes them stressed out, but also perfectionism, all-work-and-no-play and rigidity around punctuality and rules. If there is an anxious thought that goes with having to have the books that way (ie, if the books aren’t in chronological order then the house will catch fire) then that is more likely to be OCD, but if it is about having to have them a certain way and getting upset if other people change it, that’s more likely to be OCPD. I need to have my spice rack in alphabetical order and my books and glasses shelf from tallest to smallest, I also can’t stand mess or undone chores, which is perfectionism. I hold my mother accountable for that with her military-style bedroom inspections. I’m learning to accept ‘good enough’ and not done now, but holy cow that bit is still one hell of a challenge!

I went into CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, you perverts!) and ERP for a second time in 2014 and I made huge progress, to the point that I’m okay-ish using sharp knives now (I threw them all out before, because compulsions) and I benefit daily from journaling, meditation and mindfulness. It was that therapist that told me to start journaling and Matt that told me that I should start blogging because of my writing, and now I’m here! 

I’m constantly working on myself through therapy tools and techniques, even to this day, and that’s why I highly advocate it to anyone. You can even get some really helpful self-help books and tools online. CBT is probably the best therapy in my personal experience, and probably the one that best helped me become the confident woman that I am today. 

4. On a scale from 1 to 5, How much are you enjoying your life? 1 = not at all 5 = fully 

5, easily. I love life and I love being me. Even if me is having a stressful day, I still love the life I  have and I love my ways of coping with stress. I look after me as best as I can, and that’s what matters. 

5. What have you been struggling with lately? 

a. feeling needed 

b. making friends 

c. improving mental health 

d. building career 

e. feeling supported 

Hmmm… maybe d., or e.? I think d. Because my blog isn’t earning me any money at the moment, and somehow I need to stop being so nice and change that. I’m worth a lot more and I give a lot of me away for free. I was actually discussing that with my mother a few days ago, about adding a donations page back to my blog. I had one at a time and it got used once and no more so I deleted it, but my blog has grown exponentially since then. I’ve been thinking about writing books and stuff as well, but honestly I’m just not sure if I have the time, at least not lately. Podcasts are also on the agenda, but again, not just yet. Lemme get my to-do list down a bit more first, then we’ll see! 

As for e , you know, that’s kind of a stinky one because I do do the lion’s share of the housework, but yesterday Matt helped me and we had a really nice day talking and cleaning, so there’s that. He’s off of work this week (holiday for his birthday last Saturday) so we’ve just been taking it chill and getting stuff done. I’m hoping that I can manage my to-do list a lot more once we’ve smashed it this week, but definitely feeling supported is something that I usually struggle with. I do the yardwork, the DIY, the decorating, so it’s not just the cleaning and the folding. I am a woman of many talents, as it were 😉 

Bonus: On a scale from 1 to 5, how hopeful do you feel about the future? 1 = not at all 5 = extremely

I’m going to go with 4 here. I’m a realist, so although I feel pretty optimistic about stuff like our common humanity, of course it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. 4 feels reasonable to me. 

That’s it from me for this TMI Tuesday! Join me next week for the next round. Do you have any questions for me for next week? Don’t forget to leave them in the comments below!

Until next time!

Stay safe & have fun,

My digital blog signature. All rights reservef.

Bonus piccies: A post-bath sploot, and if you haven’t seeen it already, my husband’s “6×6” birthday cake. Wicked? Who, me? 😉

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