Rosemary Bushey currently lives in New Hampshire with her husband and two daughters, Lauren 16 and Amelia 13. She is a 49-year-old runner, coach, and vegan Instagram influencer. Rosemary was born in Columbia, South America and has lived in New York for most of her life. She is currently completing a master’s degree to work as a bilingual Clinical Mental Health Counselor. She is pursuing this degree because her older daughter was diagnosed with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) at age 14. Rosemary has always been passionate about food, fitness, and the body/mind connection. Two years ago, she adopted a vegan lifestyle, and is avidly exploring the connection between mental health and nutrition. She shares vegan recipes and gorgeous photos of the food she has prepared on her Instagram page, @simplyveggielicious. Lauren loves to write, draw, and sing.
Song credit: “idontwannabeyouanymore” by Billie Eilish, sung by Lauren Bushey
RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
International OCD Foundation
HOUSING FOR FAMILIES
Ronald McDonald House
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
EXCERPTS FROM THE INTERVIEW
You are welcome to share the wisdom from this episode. Please be sure to credit: “Ep. 8, Rosemary Bushey, Courtesy of Wisdom Shared Podcast with Carole Blueweiss.
QUOTES FROM LAUREN:
I always struggled with my OCD, so I always knew something was wrong, but it was so normal for me that I was kind of used to it
OCD feeds off of stress. So whenever I’m stressed out about something, the OCD just gets much worse.
I always had urges to ritualize. And when I felt uncomfortable, I’d have to fix things a certain way.
I had these fears of my family dying. If I didn’t move something a certain way in my room, I couldn’t leave my room until I fixed everything a certain way, which took a while.
For the kids that are struggling with this, you know, trust your parents, they’re trying to help you
You have to help yourself and you have to work towards bettering yourself and you can’t give up.
Stop refusing to take other people’s help. I was refusing to take my medicine because I was too scared. Even the smallest steps can make such a big difference. You have to think of the future you want for yourself. You have to think about how it’s going to help you in the end. It might hurt now, but push yourself.
It gives you more power over your mental illness by feeling free to talk about it with other people, like to be able to learn about it and inform others about it, and really just know everything about what you’re going through.
I feel like the foods that are in the vegan cuisine are much better for your mental health.
QUOTES FROM ROSEMARY:
When she was diagnosed with OCD, I had to jump through so many hoops in order to find help.
A lot of her OCD started manifesting in the way her shoes needed to be in certain way.
We had no clue that we were dealing with OCD… it was exhausting.
She would come home and do homework for hours and hours in a way that wasn’t normal. She kept erasing. If a letter wasn’t completely perfect, she had to erase it and do it again.
I kept seeing the compulsions but I didn’t see the obsessions. The obsessions were hidden.
As parents, the most difficult thing we had to deal with was feeling guilty. The feeling of guilt because I kept saying, “Oh my God, how could I ignore the signs?” I knew they were there, but she was functional. And all her doctors said, “there’s no way you could have known. There’s no way anybody could have known she had OCD,” but I kept blaming myself and saying, “Oh my God, I wish I would have found help before.”
She was looking for me to repeat the same phrase in the same tone of voice exactly the same way I said it before. There were times that she needed to repeat or make me repeat things three times or five times.
There was no way anybody could communicate with her. There was no conversation, no communication.
She couldn’t dress herself. She couldn’t choose what to put on. She was overwhelmed by choosing what to wear. And then it got to a point where she couldn’t help herself dress. She would be very stiff and we would have to dress her, but she couldn’t help. She would scream and get into a panic and anxiety because she wanted her pants put on a certain way. But she couldn’t move her legs. She had to be stiff. It was extremely weird, bizarre behavior. Then she couldn’t brush her teeth because she wasn’t supposed to move her arm.
For Hispanic people, it is a huge stigma mental illness. They don’t talk about mental illness. In this country too, there’s a lot of stigma related to mental illness.
Last year, I put her basically on a plant-based diet and its helping her and she feels better. She feels good about what she’s putting in her body.
She is so mature and so knowledgeable about her disorder. It really makes me proud.
My beliefs were aligned with my nutrition, with my choices.
As a parent, and I could say to any parent, we are the best advocates for our children.
Just knowing other parents are going through the same or similar situations can be very comforting and can help a lot.