Thursday, May 17, 2012

Whole Foods AND Alabama Symphony Dates

Good Thursday morning!

Thank goodness it is Thursday. I couldn't handle another Wednesday right now. No, sir. Not another Wednesday.

So I am looking forward to Thursday... my favorite day!

The Boy is coming home from Maymester this afternoon.

I will watch the Season Finale of Gray's Anatomy tonight.

I'm fixing Roasted Lemon Garlic Herb Shrimp for dinner.

There are a lot of good things happening today. A LOT!

I'm going to share some nature shots with you today. Peaceful, colorful, beautiful nature shots!

Mrs. Faulkner always plants a beautiful flower garden in front of their equally beautiful vegetable garden.

See what I mean?

Equally beautiful vegetables!

RANDOMNESS #1 - The Chick is trying out for the basketball team today. I don't know about her, but I am just EXHAUSTED!

This has been a very, very stressful and emotional week.

As is our tradition, this afternoon, we're going to a favorite store and we are purchasing an "I made the volleyball team" summer top or dress.

And because I'm every bit as stressed out and exhausted as The Chick, I think I'm going to purchase a new summer top and/or dress for me, too.

Don't judge me. It's how we celebrate.

RANDOMNESS - Josh's Journey - Part Two - I'm re-posting Josh's story with his permission. This was first written and posted in 2009. I'm going to post throughout the weekend (Saturday AND Sunday) posting the "old" and some of the "new." The "new" will include details of our lives with OCD the past three years (ages 16, 17 and 18).

This is where Josh's story becomes more difficult. I decided to put some of it in number form to make it less voluminous and readable, but bear with me. Our "folder" we started when Josh first became sick is several inches thick with information, e-mails, meeting notes, etc. This does not include his file on our computer which we have not printed and put in the "folder" yet. It is, in a word, overwhelming.

Today, as I thought about what I wanted to share, I had at the top of my list to explain exactly what OCD is and the many way it manifests itself. There are many, many people with Obsessive Compulsive tendencies (myself included), but what makes those people different from Josh is they are functioning. Josh stopped functioning. Some of the things you can have along with OCD are as follows:

1. Washing
2. Counting
3. Checking
4. Generalized Anxiety Disorder
5. Scrupulosity
6. Tic Disorders
7. Depression
8. Rituals

OCD is a real illness... just like epilepsy or asthma or diabetes or any other chronic illness. It just doesn't "show" like other illnesses. There is a specific part of the brain where chemicals are not connecting with other chemicals... like a short-circuit. A little over 50 years ago, some patients with severe OCD were treated with lobotomies with disastrous results.

If you saw someone having a seizure or an asthma attack or fainting from lack of insulin in their body, you would immediately want to offer assistance. Not so with OCD. Because it has to do with mental health, there is a very real stigma attached to the illness. (DISCLAIMER - Please remember what I wrote yesterday. I do not categorize OCD with life-threatening illnesses in any way, shape or form. However, the illnesses I mentioned above as examples are used because they are not going to go away and have to be treated with medication during an entire lifetime in many cases. They are "chronic," as is OCD.)

Also, while it is socially acceptable for a diabetic to be treated with medication to "balance their blood sugar," medications for mental illnesses are sometimes thought to be optional. In our case, we had no option. We just had to find the right "balance" of medications which would work.

Josh is a washer. He checks on occasion, and could at some point in his life become a checker, but as of this date, he has never checked obsessively. He has severe anxiety and scrupulosity. Scrupulosity is where the doubts regarding his salvation come into play.

One of the reasons OCD is such an awful illness is because when highly intelligent, logical people suffer from the illness, they know their thoughts and actions are bizarre and illogical. It is maddening. For three years, Josh has had no peace about where he will spend eternity. No amount of praying and no amount of Bible reading and no amount of attending church gives him any peace regarding this issue. At night, when everything gets quiet, it torments him as he can think of nothing else. For this reason, he exercises all the time. He runs, shoots baskets, does push ups, sit ups and runs some more. Anything to make him tired enough to naturally doze off and sleep.

You can have one or a combination of the things listed above with different degrees of severity.

The eight things mentioned above do not list the obsessions you have with OCD. These vary from person to person. People with OCD are like snowflakes... no two are the same. Josh has been obsessed with many things over the past three years (ages 12 through 15), but the constants have remained the same... tornadoes, school shooters, football, other sports, card collecting. You would probably tell me now if we were talking, "Everyone is afraid of tornadoes and school shooters. And most people have hobbies they enjoy like football and card collecting." This is just so much more. It is 24/7. It never stops. There is no joy in the "hobbies," and the fear of tornadoes and shooters is unrealistic and quickly becomes sheer terror.

Something else we learned very quickly regarding OCD is how in one day an obsession can suddenly disappear and be replaced with a new one. Josh would play football non-stop for weeks. Then, on a Wednesday, he would put the football down and pick up a basketball. He "would not be able to touch" a football until the basketball obsession ended. It would end just as quickly as the one before it, and we would be on to another obsession. Skateboarding, soccer, running, baseball, playing the guitar, X-Box, etc. The list could go on and on and on.

As Josh's condition worsened after we met with the psychiatrist, the only way he could finish going to school is if I sat in the van beside the 6th grade building. The school worked with us during this time allowing him to get his assignments or take his tests and then check out. During the last two weeks of school before the Christmas break, he continued to make As on all of his work. We were relieved when the break came because we thought the 20 days we were out of school would be enough time to see some improvement with the medications.

We were wrong.

Looking back, we believe the medication (which worked for so many others) had the opposite effect on Josh and made his OCD and other symptoms much, much worse. He couldn't eat with the family. He couldn't watch TV or play games. He couldn't read a book. He cried and screamed out constantly, holding his head because of the thoughts he would have. He prayed out loud without stopping for hours asking for forgiveness for things he had not done. He would say "Amen" at the end of a prayer up to 15 times until he "felt like he had gotten it right," each time louder than the last.

This was also the time when we couldn't touch him. I was washing nine or ten loads of laundry a day... comforters, sheets, shower curtains, bath rugs, Austin and Roxie's clothes if he thought he had brushed up beside them, my clothes, Mike's clothes. He would change clothes multiple times a day. He would lay in bed at night moaning and crying, and Mike and I would not be able to touch him, hold him or comfort him because it made everything so much worse.

He would stay in the bathroom washing for two to three hours "until he felt clean." He never felt clean. His hands and fingers would bleed.

Every day, instead of getting a little better, it got much, much worse. We stayed in contact with our new psychiatrist who continued to tell us it would take a while.

During this time, I was sleeping on a twin bed in Josh's room during the week and Mike took turns on the weekends.

Austin and Roxie were aware and present for all the things happening to Josh. I've received several kind "criticisms" from time to time for "putting them through the beginnings of Josh's illness," and I have struggled with the guilt associated with that decision. But through it all, the four of us (Mike, Austin, Roxie and me) were the ones who knew best what to do for Joshua. We worked as a team. We pulled together and it made us a stronger family. I now realize it could have had the opposite effect and totally torn us apart, but as I said yesterday, God wasn't surprised about any of this. Austin, Josh and Roxie are our children for a reason. It was no accident or mistake they are each other's siblings.

There were many times Austin would get a book and sit on the floor outside the bathroom while Josh washed for one or two hours allowing me to sleep on the living room couch for a few minutes. (Always his suggestion.) Roxie knew at any given time where Josh was and what he was doing. We were surviving, trying to wait for the medicine to make the illness better. We were not thinking of ways we could improve our situation, and our doctor wasn't suggesting anything.

The worst night of his illness came on suddenly. We heard screaming in his room and ran upstairs to find him writhing on his bed with his eyes closed and holding his head. Mike ran immediately to get the phone and call the doctor because we had never seen him act in this manner before.

I held him as tightly as I could, but he didn't know I was there. Finally, we were able to understand what he was screaming over and over. "I'm dying. I'm dying." As suddenly as it started, it stopped, and with eyes that had no sign of Joshua in them he looked at me and said, "It's over. I'm dead." He lay very still, closed his eyes and slept. We now believe this incident was hallucinations caused from the medication... not a part of his OCD.

Mike had talked to the doctor who told us to immediately take him off he medication. (We later learned you never take someone off the medication all at once. You have to wean them off.) As the night wore on, Josh would wake up moaning again and again, highly agitated. We called my Mom and sister. My sister took Austin and Roxie home with her, and Mom stayed in case we had to take him to the hospital.

We were fighting this as hard as we could. Taking him to the Children's Hospital Psychiatric Ward would separate him from us. We would only be allowed to see him at designated times. Mike and I both felt separating from him as sick as he was would do much more damage. We tried calling our doctor three or four more times, but he failed to return our calls. We didn't know what to do.

Mike slept in the living room. I slept in Josh's room and Mom slept in Austin's room. Early, early morning while it was still dark outside, I finally knew. I got up and met Mike in the hallway coming to me. "I know what we have to do," I told him.

"I do, too," he replied.

We were of the same mind... exactly. This was just one of the many, many times, God carried us through this journey we had not chosen.

Tomorrow, I'll tell you the next part of our story which is truly amazing. Unfortunately, it shows once again how I fight and try to do things my way... but when I let go and let God handle a situation, things finally fall into place. If I had to name my story for tomorrow, it would have to be "My Angels, Jenny and Laura."

NOTE - If you would like to comment, please feel free to message me on Facebook. Josh has given his permission for me to re-post his story, but it would probably be better to keep the comments private. Thanks!

Blog Linkage - I haven't been very adventurous the past few weeks about visiting new and exciting sites. I've been content to visit the ones I always frequent. This week is no different.

1. Go to and read the last two posts. Be sure to watch Nella's first day of ballet class video. It is precious.

Also, Kelle spent her Mother's Day on the Isle of Capri. Obviously, it is a special little island close enough to her home to visit on a regular basis... just for the day. It is beautiful.

And to be able to say, "I went to the Isle of Capri this past weekend," would just be icing on the cake.

2. Please, please, please go to Nesting Place under My Blog List and read yesterday's post entitled "The (African) Elephant in the Room." The Nester is home from Africa, and this post is very, very good.

That is all. Get busy.

Whole Foods AND Alabama Symphony Dates

Do you remember it is NATIONAL Date Your Mate Month? How many times have you dated your mate so far? I know. That is a personal question. Mikie and I have only managed two dates, and the month is half over.

However, if you live in the Birmingham area, thanks to Birmingham Bargain Mom, I have a perfect date for tomorrow night.

Whole Foods Market is having a national one-day sale this Friday, May 18.

The Buck-A-Burger one-day sale is back. Ready-to-grill burgers will be on sale for just $1 each. Arrive early. It is a great chance to stock up on patties to please your family.

NOTE - You can make this ONE date into TWO dates if you do exactly as I tell you.

Meet your mate at Whole Foods. Walk around and try all the tasty free samples before sitting down at the Grille in the middle of the store and enjoying a wonderful meal together.

Before you leave, purchase your $1 patties and plan a night in the next week or so to meet on the deck to grill and eat under the stars... just you and yours. And for dessert? Get in the car after dinner and go to Hamburger Heaven for a Caramel Shake. That's right. I said Caramel. It is beyond description!

I also told you last week, I would start listing the FREE Summer entertainment specials each Thursday.

Personally, I am not an Alabama Symphony kind of chick. I admit it. I am a Barry Manilow/Michael Buble'/Tim McGraw kind of chick.

However, if you like the Alabama Symphony, and I know many of you do, they are having a FREE concert June 1 (Friday) at Railroad Park.

The first performance begins at 8:00 p.m. and features Mozart's Overture from the Marriage of Figaro, Mozart's Symphony No. 38 in D Major (Prague) and Dvorak's Symphony No. 8. (I almost feel asleep typing that!)

Again, it is FREE!

Have a special Thursday. I'll be back tomorrow with Weekend Happenings, Part Three of Josh's Journey AND a few leftover pics.

Take care, and I'll talk to you in the morning.


The Enchanting Belinda


  1. Thank you for posting today and yesterday's beautiful posts. It's truly A-mazing!

    1. Thank you, Andrea. It has been a journey we would never have chosen for one of our kids, but it has really opened our eyes and hearts.


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