Vocabulary Vixen

January 23, 2010

Yeah, it’s kinda like “Monk”

I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I am one of those inconsistent bloggers. The bloggers that people seem to like, and really have a lot of potential, but probably won’t ever reach the Superstar Status of Heather Armstrong over at Dooce.com, or Rachel Robinson at The-F-Word.org. I do, however, still carry with me this relentless compulsion to write, write, write, about what is going on, and that has recently taken the form of pelting my friends, family, and workplace with e-mails. Yes, I type very quickly. 80+ wpm, and I can get a LOT of thinking out in a very short period of time. It was recently brought to my attention that this is a problem in The Workplace. I didn’t realize how big of a problem it was until I got gobsmacked in the face with the startling realization that: “THAT COUNTS, TOO?!?!!!!” As in, that ALSO counts as an obsessive-compulsive act?

And so, I realized that this OCD monster has gotten way out of hand. So far out of hand that it has literally affected EVERYTHING I do, and every single facet of my life. Now that I am aware of the issue, that is helpful. What isn’t helpful is that honestly, sometimes Ignorance is Bliss. I was HAPPY knowing that I could just send a quick 5-page e-mail to my boss and let her know every single key that was awry at the coffee shop. Problem solved. I felt that it was completely justifiable to send this, because I’m sort of the one that’s out “on the front lines”, and if I don’t tell them, then they just plain may not be aware of the problem. And I would then feel horrible if something awful happened and I had this knowledge that could have prevented disaster all along. So, I’d send the e-mail, and then I’d feel better knowing that I’d passed along that knowledge. The intent was good. The actual execution, and the reason behind that intent, I’ve come to realize: ***BUZZZZZZZ*** WRONG! NOT SO GOOD!

If anybody out there is familiar with the torment that this disease causes, well, you know that it’s tough. If you’re not familiar, it is Hell on Earth. There are so many obsessions, compulsions, and rituals that we go through on a daily basis that the majority of the world out there isn’t even aware of that it’s ridiculous. The problem and realization that I’ve been facing this week is confronting HOW BAD IT’S GOTTEN. And then, further, HOW BAD IT’S GOTTEN WITHOUT MY REALIZATION!!! I go from Thought => Compulsion almost instantaneously, and I don’t even think about it. Yes, I’ve been vaguely aware of “Yeah, I’ve got OCD. It’s not THAT bad… anymore… Now that I’m working through some issues, it’s abated a little. Cool.” What I hadn’t realized was that I’ve gotten so efficient at dealing with it that I just DO these things without even THINKING about the anxiety and dread that I will feel WHEN I DON’T do them…

The catalyst for all of this? I went bowling last Monday night. At the time, I didn’t even think about how disturbing it was to me that I had to wash my hands between EVERY. SINGLE. FRAME. of bowling. And that when I went to grab some snacks, I specifically used my LEFT hand to eat, because I knew that my right hand would be “infected” by whatever greasy grimy things living inside that awful, dreaded bowling ball. Um. Yeah. I didn’t realize that this was really that much of an issue until the next day in therapy. And then it hit me: “Oh.” Oh. Crap. Double Crap. I don’t even FEEL anxiety anymore because things are so automatic. I don’t really feel anxious about my hands tingling because I take care of it right away by washing them. And that, the obsessions and compulsions change on a regular basis. I can recognize some of the more disturbing ones: cockroaches, bugs, etc… but there is a lot going on in the background that I’m just not aware of. And that there are a lot of things that I’ve been doing that ALSO qualify as obsessions and compulsions… And that it’s THE SAME DAMN THINKING PATTERNS, just different shit for my brain to latch on to.

My reaction? “Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.” And I’ve done a lot of crying since then. I’ve come to realize that I’ve lost a LOT due to this horrendous, horrible DISEASE. I’ve been mourning that loss. I’ve been mourning the fact that I never really went to spend time with my grandmother, who passed away nearly two years ago, because of my DISEASE. I’ve mourned the fact that I don’t go home much to see my parents BECAUSE OF MY DISEASE. I’ve mourned the fact that I’ve not lived life even CLOSE to my potential because of this bastard.

I felt like a character at the end of a movie or TV show that suddenly realizes that THEY are the ones that are insane, dead, or hallucinating. That THEY are the one that’s been living in a delusion, and were perfectly happy living that delusion until the end. I felt like House at the end of the last season… That episode where he realizes that he completely hallucinated his tryst with Cuddy. It’s a horrendous feeling. The character that looks back at ALL of their actions pertaining to that particular delusion, and then finally sees everything clearly.

Truth be told, I was a little happier being ignorant to the severity of my problem. The door has been opened, though, and now I’ve got to face it. I could keep kidding myself into thinking that I can handle it, and then I would get locked up into more obsessive thinking and resulting compulsions.

The thing is, that when I tell people this, people don’t know how to react. The normal reaction is: “Well, everybody’s a little OCD. We’ve all got our quirks.” Do your quirks take up every waking moment of your life? Do you find that you HAVE to do these things, and that if you don’t, you will feel sick? Do you feel a tingling sensation 7 minutes after the last time you washed your hands, and do you know that in order to relieve that tingling sensation, you must wash your hands again? Are your hands then constantly cracked and bleeding in the winter? Or, another reaction is: “Oh, kind of like Monk, right?” Yeah, I guess so. I’ve never watched that particular show, namely because there are certain things and ideas that I shouldn’t expose myself to. Or, the actor has never really tripped my trigger, and watching things about OCD people makes me uncomfortable. So, yeah, to answer the question: “It’s kinda like Monk.”

Needless to say, I’ve been a little bit pissed off to realize that my disease has literally taken over my life. And even MORE pissed off to realize that it’s done so without me even realizing it. Why? Because that’s the way it is. Will I ever be “normal”? Uh, I don’t know. I know what normal sort of feels like, and I know that I want to go back to that feeling of feeling good… I may need more intensive therapy than I’d ever even realized, though, and THIS is something that I’m NOT happy about.

Must I resign my life to a constant awareness, a consistent, and relentless vigilance about this monster? I hope not. Now that I’ve had a TASTE of something better, I want more. I crave more. I’m addicted to being normal. I’m addicted to higher brain function. I’m addicted to being smart, talented, and witty. It FEELS GOOD to NOT be chained down by these monsters. I’ve had brief moments of this, and like the drug addict, I’m hungry for more. I hope that these moments of happiness haven’t been due to me completely and utterly deluding myself into thinking that I was okay. Therein lies the trick to all of this.

How do I go about fixing all of this? I don’t know. I don’t know the first thing about it, apparently. I do know that if I get rid of one obsession, there is always another ready to take its place. It is wily and deceiving to the largest degree, and now I have to be aware of that, too. There’s already enough shit that I have to take care of, WHY THIS?! They say that knowledge is power. Sometimes, I disagree with that. When the OCD is running out of control, I think of all the articles I’ve read, all of the 20/20-like exposes on “How germy IS your world, really?” That’s bullshit.

I think that overall, our society has become TOO sterilized, and TOO phobic, and that does not help individuals like myself. I can turn anywhere and see: “Antibacterial THIS! Get rid of your germs HERE! Germs are Evil! They will Contaminate you and YOU WILL DIE!” Rationally, I’ve also read enough to know that germs are a healthy part of us, and that we’ve put WAAAAAY too much stock into this War on Germs. I also know that we survived for thousands of years BECAUSE of the symbiotic relationship we have with germs. I know this. Rationally. I find comfort in knowing things rationally and logically. Finding a rational and logical solution for something is what keeps me sane. Knowing that the OCD is NOT rational, or logical by ANY stretch of the imagination and that I will have to exhibit PATIENCE with myself as I poke this beast and get rid of it, or manage it effectively, does not make me feel sane.

I want the OCD to not be a part of my life. I’d rather just ignore it and hope that it will go away. Now that I’ve opened that box, though, I can’t. I’ve got to full-on FACE this thing, and learn how to deal with it so that I can live my life fully. Because what I’ve been doing? Functioning? Mere function ISN’T GOOD ENOUGH. Ignoring the problem? NOT GOOD ENOUGH. I want to be FREE OF IT. Or, at least, as FREE AS I CAN BE. I want to go to the store without having to come home and wash my hands of all of the other people that have touched my groceries before me. I want to drive my car without needing to wash my hands when I get home. I want to go more than 7 minutes without feeling the urge to wash my hands. I want to quit fucking worrying about whether or not people have gotten things taken care of. I want to just not have to deal with this.

I want to be free. There’s too much life to be lived without this shit.

June 17, 2009

In Search of Sanity

Filed under: Reflections — VocabularyV @ 12:27 PM
Tags: , , , , ,

Oooh, yeah. That’s a tricky subject to traverse. Some days, it’s like walking a tightrope. Others, it’s an easy stride.

So what exactly is this thing called sanity? I know what it isn’t. It isn’t having to fight myself and bring myself back from the depths of darkness. And what, exactly, is the price that I have to pay for it? I don’t really want my creativity to cease completely for it. I want to be more than barely functional. So, I play the careful dance of figuring out how exactly to balance the medication so that I can function at this higher level, and I can do so without completely losing it at a moment’s notice.

I figured out the cause of my most recent meltdown. A cause that I was not anticipating for at least another 5 days or so. I love it when my period shows up early. It throws me off. Especially the whole GOING BAT-SHIT INSANE on a dime thing. I noticed today that throughout the course of my shift at the coffee shop, I was feeling better and better. Needless to say, I was happy about this. A little confused, yes, but still happy. When I went to the bathroom, lo and behold! My period started! A BIG GIGANTIC A-HA! THAT’S WHY I WENT CRAZY!! WOHOOOOOOOOOO!!! Now that I’m back to being a normally functioning human being, I can reflect back and easily say that “Oh yeah, duh. That whole psycho-hormonal bit.” Yeah, this is why I’ve got SPECIAL MEDICATION during this time. The thing is, I’d sort of been off my meds (bad, bad thing, but I was feeling pretty good overall), and then PFFLOONK! I’m down in the tenth level of hell with no prior notice. I’m talking screaming, crying hysterically, my-head-is-rotating-and-spewing-pea-soup crazy.

These things fly at me sometimes without even a moment’s notice. And it sucks. It blows fainting pygmy goats. I have been able to recover, but only today, 5 days after the original incident, do I feel like an actual human being. I’ve had to put a screeching halt on *everything* I was doing (aside from the coffee shop), and just go into quasi-functional mode and hope for the best. This is when I get sidelined by a little condition called “PMDD”. I’ve mentioned it before, and it has been the source of some very, very nasty going-ons. I see now that it’s just completely weird hormonal flux that has a sudden and extremely adverse effect on my mood. But when I’m in the moment, I can’t differentiate between reality and my warped version of reality.

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