Here we go…

“Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and awful it’s ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.” 
― L.R. Knost

I’m starting this blog after a couple of years of debating whether or not I should. My desire to share won out so here I am. I have devoted myself to improving not only my life but the lives of those around me and truly trying to enjoy each moment.

I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. 

Purely Obsessive OCD Decoded

Right before my oldest started high school her anxiety kicked up to an entirely new level. Not only was she worried about absolutely everything, she began to question her own behavior and whether or not she was “normal”. Then a new, even more frightening symptom appeared; endless thoughts and fears about harming others, particularly her younger sister. While she knew she would never carry through with these thoughts, she was terrified, as was I. We came very close to a trip to the ER.

As a person with a psychology degree who works with children with mental health issues I felt like this was akin to an anxiety disorder of some kind, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. What I did know was that it was debilitating. I began to do some research…if that’s what you call Googling things. I was prepared for the usual Google responses, she was either pregnant or had cancer. But what I found out shocked me: it was OCD.

But what about all those compulsions? The cleaning. The arranging. The checking the doors. She exhibited none of those. The occasional hand washing that took too long, yes, but I just figured she was worried about germs. It certainly wasn’t a level of hand washing that worried me much.

It turns out that there is a manifestation of OCD called Pure O or Purely Obsessive OCD. Many people are unaware that OCD comes with intrusive thoughts; these are the obsessive component of OCD. Pure O is OCD where the only real symptom is these thoughts. People with Pure O generally lack the compulsions typical of OCD. We were able to get her help and she has reached a point where she can manage it. We were also able to deduce that the trigger is stress, hence the uptick in behavior while she was stressed about starting high school.

I wish I had known that OCD could look like this. So I thought I would share with you some of the information that I found should your child be having these symptoms. It would have saved me a lot of time and tears to have this information up front.

Symptoms of Pure O include:

Guilt or feeling like a bad person for having these thoughts which are often violent or sexual in nature.

Avoidance of the situations that bring about these thoughts. For my kiddo she avoided outings with her friends around Halloween because of her violent thoughts and fears.

Answer seeking or repeatedly checking in with someone to make sure that what you are thinking or feeling is normal or acceptable. I eventually had to set a time limit each day for how long we could talk about her thoughts, which is a technique recommended by many therapists.

Please know that it is ok to need to take some space from a child who is dealing with this issue. Self-care is important to the preservation of your mental health during what is truly a devastating time as a parent. Being able to stay calm is also important to your relationship with your child.

For more information about Pure O please see the following pages:

https://www.intrusivethoughts.org/ocd-symptoms/pure-ocd/

https://www.verywellmind.com/pure-o-primarily-obsessional-ocd-4159144

This is me…

My name is Gina Castillo. At the age of 44 I have recently begun to examine just what I want my life to be. I have this great desire to build a life that I don’t need a vacation from. I feel like I am actually just coming into my own. The following quote from L.R Knost has been my inspiration for the past couple of years and is the inspiration for this blog.

“Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and awful it’s ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.”

I was born and raised in Colorado and still live there today. I adore Colorado…I just wish it had an ocean. I have a loving, very tolerant husband, 2 daughters ages 19 and 10 and 3 stepsons who are grown. Last year we were blessed with our first granddaughter. Combining families has been a challenge but definitely worth it.

These are my girls. Currently a 5th grader and a college sophomore.

I grew up in Westminster, CO. My parents still live in my childhood home. My children are fortunate enough to see my parents and their cousins almost daily. I attended Regis University and graduated with a BA&S in Psychology and Sociology. I worked residential youth treatment for 4 years before having my oldest daughter. I went on to work in an Early Childhood Education program where I worked with 2 year olds for 11 years. I eventually got my Master’s degree in Human Services from Capella University. I am now the assistant director of that center where I have worked for over 18 years. We serve exclusively homeless and low-income families and provide trauma informed care to the children who all have their own challenging histories, many of which include domestic violence, child abuse or addiction. I myself am a survivor of domestic violence and find helping the families that I work with especially rewarding.

All of that being said, I have an extremely creative side and the older I get the more I want to utilize it. I have always crafted, especially for my children’s birthdays, but I have recently begun trying to sell my knit and crochet items as well. I have also begun looking to find ways to use my crafts to raise money for causes close to my heart. These include social justice issues along with conservation, especially marine conservation. In addition, I am working to find work doing some freelance writing. Who knows? Maybe it will develop into something even more grand.

So what am I hoping to accomplish with this blog?

  • A place to share experiences and knowledge about parenting, career and life in general.
  • A venue to share my professional experiences and help others with issues related to child development and education.
  • A way to share my knowledge about issues that have touched my life such as homelessness, suicide, LGBTQ issues, OCD and anything else I hope that readers may find useful.
  • A place to share my crafts and ideas.
  • Discussions with readers that allow us all to learn from one another.
  • Whatever else readers would like to know.

This is my first blog so please be patient with me as I grow. Please leave comments and questions! Please share my blog with your friends! If there are any specific issues you would like me to address or questions that you have you can reach me at thesemomentsinbetween@gmail.com. My crafts can soon be found at thesemomentsinbetween on Instagram. I am working to get a Facebook page up and running as well.

Thank you all for taking the time to read my first post and I hope you will subscribe and join me on this journey.

Shout out to my daughter, KyLee, who designed my logo and has amazing art at _kynica_ on Instagram.