Finished That OCD Study

J and I got home a little while ago from participating in that OCD study. It was much easier for me today because J was there, we brought some drinks, and while J was being interviewed, I got around half an hour out in the hallway by myself so I listened to a bunch of loud music and did some grounding.

I thought there were three more appointments, but it turns out that while there were five parts to the study, I did two of them when I was there the first time and the other three got done today.

So that’s it. They’re hoping to publish the results of the study by the end of the year – I think I’m going to keep an eye on their website in a few months and see if they found anything out.

If you’re a psych student or a psych or medical professional and have done studies or papers, thank you so much! As someone who is getting treatment for mental illness, the thought that there is active research going on that might uncover improvements in therapies or improvements in understanding the illness makes me happy and gives me hope. We’ve come a long way from treating mental illness by trepanning, lobotomizing, and balancing humours because people are applying the scientific method to the study of how the brain and mind work. There’s always more to learn and new treatments to discover!

Please keep doing these studies!

Stay safe.

Getting A Lot Accomplished

Song: “Red River Rock” by the Silicon Teens

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Several

Things have been going pretty well lately. I’ve been keeping myself very busy, which has been paying off both in how I’m feeling and in how productive I’ve been, which itself helps my mood. I’m making a lot of progress on quite a few projects, and have even checked some off my list!

Still have quite a few to do, though, and I’m adding more to the list pretty steadily. That’s actually a good thing, though, because an idle Mark is not a happy Mark. Plus, a lot of the things I’ve been doing are for other people, which makes me quite happy. The project I’m working on right now is a thermometer for J’s aunt. This is my third time taking a run at it, and now I’ve done it three different ways but I think I’m happy with the way it turned out this time.

My sister got those coin things I made today and she said they were exactly what she wanted so that worked out well, too. From a design, preparation, and printing time perspective, that was by far the biggest project I’ve ever done with the 3D printer. I’m really happy with that machine – 14 months now and it’s still working really well. I’ve replaced a few parts, but they were all (mostly) on my schedule so it hasn’t been dead while I’ve been waiting for parts or time to figure out what’s broken.

When I was young, my family used to pack into the car and drive for a couple of hours to visit my great-grandmother at her farm, and then later at the home she moved into. On our way home in the evening, we’d always stop at another house and visit with a couple. I remember she always had a box of rosebud candy for my sister and me, and they were always very friendly. I’m still not 100% sure how my parents came to know them, but they were good friends of the family, the woman in particular (he ran off with their neighbour at some point and died about a dozen years ago). Anyway, Mom has been in touch with her and she’s not doing so well. I wanted to make contact with her and say hello so I tried to write her a letter but six pages of nothing in I was getting bogged down and frustrated.

So I gave her a call. It was kind of surreal – I think the last time I spoke with her was over 25 years ago and a lot has happened to both of us, but we talked for a good half-hour about all kinds of stuff. She was very happy to hear from me and I was very happy to talk to her again. She asked at least three times when we were coming out to visit. Turns out she’s living in the same place that my great-grandmother lived in. I hope that my parents and J and I can get together and make the trip out there soon; if that doesn’t work out, perhaps J and I can get out to visit. Lots of memories out in that area, the last time I made it out that was was… I think 2009 when I took a day trip on my motorcycle to find and visit my great-grandmother’s grave. I’m going to make a point of calling her regularly to say hi.

We had some really nice days here lately. Just the other day it got up above freezing. I went out to check the mail and I could feel the sun on my skin – I know in six months that’s going to be the last thing I want, but right now it felt good and it’s a sure sign that spring is getting close!

This Friday J and I are going to do the second part of that OCD study. Hopefully it won’t be another long haul like the last one was, but just in case we’re going to bring along something to drink and a snack of some kind.

On Saturday, FA and I are going to have another geekfest and work on some stuff. I’m looking forward to it – we’ve put a lot of thought and time into the current project and it’s rewarding to see each bit of progress we make.

I may be volunteering at the church sometime later this week, too, but I’m not sure how or if it will work out yet.

Stay safe.

Still Busy But Still Good

Song: N/A

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 1

Ghosts: Pack

And another six days have gone by. I’m starting to wonder if I’m actually a robot and J is turning me off and putting me in a corner somewhere for a couple of days each week. Let’s see…

I’m still keeping busy with projects and stuff around the house. I’m almost done those coin holders for my sister – just waiting on some springs to arrive, of all things. I made a lot of progress on something DA wants, and I’ve done some work on the things FA and I have been working on.

This past Friday I went to do the first part of that OCD study. I’m still glad I did it, but it wore me right out. J’s aunt drove me there (bless her) and we had a good chat along the way like we usually do. The building the study is being done in is not what you’d call “modern” – everything is grey and worn and it’s like a maze with tons of tiny little offices. I was expecting to be there for an hour or 90 minutes. That changed to two hours, then two and a half… I finally stumbled out of the building a little more than four hours after the session started. The person running the study also ran the session, and he was very pleasant and friendly and reiterated that I could take breaks or leave whenever I wanted.

The plan was for me to finish earlier in the day and go for lunch with FA and DM and then hang out at their place and talk and/or work on projects and/or geek out. Even though it was over two hours later than I’d expected, they still picked me up and we went to the burrito store in their part of town, then back to their place to have lunch. Despite me being in kind of rough shape and certainly not at my best, I had a good time hanging out with them and was happy to have finally made it to their place for the first time in… two years? Something like that. They are very good friends and I really appreciate that they still picked me up, still wanted to hang out, and weren’t irritated or put-off when it’d take me ten seconds to respond to a question. Thanks, you two!

After I got home on Friday, I didn’t do all that much. J and I hung out and talked a bit, and I stayed up for a while after she went to bed. I thought a lot about the day and was happy (and a bit embarrassed) about how the afternoon had gone, but I was still glad to have gone to the study. When I finally went to bed, I put my head down and that was it – I was out. I don’t remember waking up even once either Friday or Saturday night. No nightmares, no worrying about things… my poor tiny brain was worn right out.

My Dr C appointment today was good but tiring. I drove again and things went pretty well. It was my first appointment since J and I visited both of our parents and she wanted to know all about it: how things went, what was going on in my head, what I did for coping, etc. She was very happy to hear that it went well and said that it’s normal that I was so tired afterwards. We also talked about the study (apparently a four hour session isn’t that out of the ordinary), and then spent the rest of the time working on sleep stuff again. I’ve got more homework to do, and hopefully after the next session we will start making changes to my sleep schedule. The intent is for me to get more sleep (I seem to be getting anywhere from 5.5 to 6.75 hours over a usual night) and to adjust my sleep schedule so I’m getting to bed and waking up earlier.

After my appointment, I went and picked up a package from the local post office, and got gas for the truck for the first time in almost 11 months. I’d like to say it’s because the truck gets great gas mileage, but no – it’s because the poor thing has sat in the garage all sad and lonely. I like the truck.

I don’t know what’s going on for the rest of the week. Now that one of my bigger projects has reached a milestone, I’m tidying up a bunch of the stuff that’s spread out all over the dining room table. This is good, because it was even starting to get to me – I’m kind of surprised that J didn’t just elbow it all into a garbage bag and throw it out. Once the table’s cleaned up, though, there’ll be lots of space for another project!

Oh, and my computer just dinged at me – some of those springs I’m waiting for just shipped and should be here tomorrow. So that’s another project that’ll be done soon!

Stay safe.

Good But Very Busy

Song: “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Pack

I just looked at the date and I can’t believe that it’s been two weeks since my last blog post!

The last two weeks… well, I’m not sure where to start. So, uh, I’m going to cheat and go with bullet points:

  • Time has flown by!
  • I’ve been keeping very busy during the days. Working on lots of projects, all of which have been interesting and enjoyable. Electronics, printing, writing, thinking and figuring… all kinds of stuff!
  • Found out that a family friend isn’t doing very well. We used to visit her when I was a little kid, she was always very friendly and would give us rosebud chocolates every time we visited. I’ve started writing her a letter to tell her about all the stuff that’s gone on with me since I last saw her (which was probably around 30 years ago).
  • FA and I have been getting together to work on stuff and geek out pretty regularly, and it’s been great – we’ve been to the hardware store a couple of times recently and have eaten lunch at the burrito shop twice now!
  • I’m still volunteering once in a while at the church down the street. Not sure how much longer it’s going to go on for, but it feels good to get out and talk to people during the day.
  • Dr C heard about an OCD study and mentioned it to me (with no obligation or strings). I thought it might be another way I could help someone down the road so I signed up, and, after a phone call I was screened in. I have to go to a psych lab at the university to do it and my first meeting is tomorrow morning. After I’m done at the lab, FA is going to pick me up and we are going to get burritos and geek out in her side of town for the first time in quite a while. It’s going to be an interesting day!
  • Had a Dr W appointment yesterday, probably the longest one I’ve ever had. He was very happy to hear about the trip to see my parents and wanted to know all about it and what was going through my head over the whole thing. He’s also very interested in the OCD study.
  • Forgot to take my morning medication once last weekend. Didn’t notice much at first but as the day went on I wasn’t feeling quite right – very irritable and couldn’t concentrate. Found out in the late afternoon and started to feel better again after taking them.
  • Did I mention that time has flown by?

I know there are dozens of things I haven’t written down here but I’m having trouble concentrating on anything aside from the study tomorrow morning. In some ways I’m looking forward to it; in others, not so much. But that’s okay. The day will be good!

Stay safe.