Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Winter Break Update

Hey guys! Sorry that I haven't posted in a little while, but there hasn't been a whole lot to post about really. This will just be a little update about whats going on in my life right now. First of all, I am on winter break which I am loving! I get almost a full month of winter break since I am in college now and that's about the longest winter break I've ever had. So far i've been on winter break for a week. I've been sleeping a lot better because I have less anxiety and less tics when I am at home, but i've still been having a fair amount of stomach issues due to anxiety even though i'm at home. I do have a party on Friday at one of my best friend from high school's house. Even though she is my best friend, I haven't been to her house since sophmore year because she lives so far away and driving out to her house takes so long so it's very exciting for me to be going over to her house again.

I'm excited to see my other high school friends and to be at her house because it'll be just like old times and it will probably bring back a lot of old feelings and memories. Some of the memories it brings up will be of wonderful times, but of course some will be more unpleasant memories of my high school days. I'm not really going to get into that though.

I have to get my wisdom teeth out on the 10th of January which I am really nervous about. I will only have 4 days to recover before I have to go back to school and I'm really hoping I won't still look like a chipmunk when I go back to see my college friends. It makes me feel better that i'm seeing such a great oral surgeon though. My mom said today that she trusts him with her life and he did my mom's dental implant and she had to go under general anesthetic and she came out just fine. I've also had 12 teeth removed previously surgically so I know i'm find under general anesthetic so I really shouldn't be all that nervous. I think writing about this is helping me calm down. I'm sure I will be fine even if I am a little nervous.

I also see my OCD therapist tomorrow at 10am. My OCD is probably the best it's been in 3 or 4 years but i'm still on a maintenance program with my therapist to make sure it stays that way. I'm actually glad I will be talking with her though because it's really the first time I will be able to say that my OCD isn't really interfering with my life that much right now. Sure I still have a whole list of things I can't do because of my OCD and things I have to avoid because of my OCD and things I have to do because of my OCD but I really still feel as if it's not a huge problem for me right now because of all the rituals and compulsions I knocked out over the summer in the summer intensive program and it's just been getting better as the year has been going on.

I only wash my hands after going to the bathroom really even though I still wash in a very ritualized way and for more time than most people do. I can do my laundry and touch dirty clothes. I touch all door knobs besides bathroom door knobs (and even some of those I have been able to touch). and I could keep listing all the things I can do now and all the things that are better because my treatment for my OCD has been successful to a large extent but I won't keep listing because that would take way too long.

Thanks for reading! I know it wasn't the most exciting post, but I will post more exciting posts later I keep going forward. Also, if you follow me here on my blog and enjoy reading my blog posts be sure to follow my facebook page about TS and OCD which you can come "like" and read by clicking on this link:

Saturday, December 8, 2012

My New Therapist For Anxiety at School and Suggestions for Anyone who has Trouble Sleeping

Well I promised I would post about my new therapist I saw for anxiety at school so that's what this post is going to be about.

I was really kind of nervous going to see her because she's a therapist on campus through student health services and for some reason that made me nervous. Besides my initial nerves though, it really went well! She is so nice and I really like her so far. She gave me some really good strategies for dealing with my anxiety and sleeping problems such as focusing on deep breathing and focusing on monitoring anxiety  provoking thoughts.

I've already tried using some of the strategies she suggested and so far they really help! On Friday I had two tests back to back and I did a lot of practice with the deep breathing she taught me before the tests and while I was talking the tests and it really helped me to feel more relaxed and less anxious overall.

Another neat thing she is having me do is to try to help with my sleeping problem is that before bed I write down three things that happened during the day that I am grateful for. When you do this kind of memory recall it apparently activates the frontal lobe and while the frontal lobe is activated, the part of your brain that creates panic and anxiety (the amygdala) can't be activated simultaneously. I've only tried this a few times, but it's actually been making a difference with helping me sleep so far!

So if you have trouble sleeping due to anxiety or tics or whatever, try this tactic of writing down three things that happened during the day that you are grateful for. It might feel weird at first, but trust me it will help!

Then when you're in bed, try putting your hands on your stomach and pretending there is a balloon in your stomach. When you breathe in and breathe out, you have to feel the balloon in your stomach inflating and deflating slowly and try not to move your chest up and down at all. Count to 4 when you breath in, pause for 2, count to 4 when you breathe out, then pause for two again to make sure your breathing is slow and regular and it will really help!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Seeing a new therapist for my anxiety

Hey guys! One thing I really haven't written about on here yet is about my general anxiety. I guess I was busy blogging about Tourette's and OCD! Anyway I have a lot of generalized anxiety since I do have GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) and lately my anxiety has been getting worse here in college with all the new stress. I worry about a lot of things on an almost constant basis such as my friends, my grades, my family, and my own health and sleep. Lately since i'm in college i've had a lot of anxiety about friends and grades in particular.

I worry and am anxious about if my new friends really do like me and really consider me to be one of their friends. I worry about if they think my tics are annoying or if they wish I would stop but can't say anything to me because they know I have Tourette's. I worry if they will get fed up with my tics and eventually will decide they don't want to put up with it anymore. I worry that they don't view me as they view other people but instead view me as a person with a disorder/disability. Even though I really have no proof that they think these things and these thoughts just come from my own head I still worry about them a lot. I also worry that they don't think I'm mature enough or interesting enough and will eventually decide they just don't like my personality.

I also worry about my grades and homework and studying. Sometimes just doing my homework causes so much anxiety that I avoid doing it and just surf the internet or working on the documentary or being on facebook. I know, that's really bad. I do it eventually, but I don't spend as much time on it as I could have and I don't try as hard as I know I could. I know I could be studying harder and doing more work but its just too anxiety provoking for me. Even though I'm at a very prestigious college and am getting pretty decent grades, I know I am capable of even more but I just don't want to push myself that far right now because of my anxiety.

All of this anxiety makes me feel really tense all the time. Sometimes I feel like I can't breathe very well because my throat is so tight and the muscles around my throat, face, and neck are so tight. I clench my jaw really tight as well which I'm not sure if this is a tic or a result of my anxiety. I've also been having a lot of trouble sleeping lately because of my anxiety. I don't want to try to fall asleep because the process of falling asleep causes so much anxiety for me so I stay up until 12 or 12:30 just avoiding turning off the lights and putting my lap top away. Then once I do start trying to sleep my tics get really bad from being anxious, I worry that I am bothering other people in the dorm, I worry that I won't get enough sleep and that i'll be tired the next day, I trash in my bed and can't stop my brain from thinking in circles about things that make me anxious because there is nothing to do except lie there. It takes me between 2 and 3 hours to actually go to sleep and then once I am asleep I have these awful nightmares. Luckily I usually stay asleep until the morning though.

Then the next day i'm tired and take a nap but when I take a nap I don't have any anxiety about sleeping. I really enjoy the nap but never am able to enjoy sleeping at night.

So anyway the point of all this really was to say that I'm going to be seeing a new therapist/counselor here at my college specifically for my anxiety. I'm actually kind of excited. I haven't had great luck with therapists in the past and I've really only had three therapists that i've actually liked. Well for most people that might sound like a lot but for someone like me who has seen more therapists in their life that they can count that's not very good. Well maybe I actually can count....lets see...I think i've seen 14 therapists in some form or another throughout my life! Wow that's really a lot. I guess I didn't realize I've seen that many therapists in my life. I'm going to have to do a whole different blog post now on all the different therapists i've seen and what I liked about that/didn't like/etc.

Anyway each time I see a new therapist I have high hopes that I'm really going to like them and connect with them and they're really going to understand me like no one else ever has. Maybe I get my hopes up too high really. I haven't had that therapist yet who has changed my life and even though I don't think this new therapist is going to change my life or anything, I am just hoping that she will be someone who will help me lessen all this anxiety i'm dealing with and maybe as an extra bonus she will really understand me and at least be someone I can talk to openly and give me some positive feedback when i'm talking to her. I hope she's nice and I hope she will be able to understand all this stuff I deal with on a level that my peers and parents can't understand.

I'm still seeing a therapist off campus for my OCD but I only see her once a month now on a maintenance program just to make sure i'm maintaining the gains i've made with my exposure therapy but right now i'm not pushing forward with my OCD because in my opinion my OCD is pretty under control right now for the situation i'm in here at college. I know i'll have to do more work with exposure therapy in the future but right now i'm just focusing on college.

I see the new therapist here on campus for the first time this Thursday at 9am. I even am getting up at like 8:30 to go see her so that tells you something. I don't get up at that time of the morning in college like ever but i'm willing to do it for this. I will let you guys know how it goes with her and I will probably do a post about all the various therapists i've had and my experiences with them. Wow that will be a long post. Maybe i'll break it up into a part 1, part 2 kind of thing.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

More Tourette's Awareness Pictures!!

So lately i've been editing and making Tourette's awareness photo's for people on facebook who send in a picture of their child and a quote they would like me to use with it. These are more of the pictures I have made! I think they are pretty wonderful and I have been getting a lot of fantastic feedback! Feel free to share any of these pictures on facebook or anywhere else! Also if you want me to make one like this for you or your child simply go to my facebook page: and send me a message that includes a picture of you or your child and a quote you would like me to use with it and I will make an awareness picture for you! Hope you enjoy the ones I have made :)