After the catastrophe that was September 2020, and the major screw up with my medication change, I decided I needed to see a psychiatrist, or at least, a doctor that had more knowledge about mental illness and medication that affects the brain.
I wasn’t thrilled about the prospect, since I already knew; I have generalized anxiety, always have. I didn’t really care to be hyper-diagnosed, by a woman that didn’t know me OR my lifelong anxiety journey. Plus, my mom kind of freaked me out, with cautionary tales about psychiatrists just trying to push all the drugs on you, whether you need it or not.
It probably won’t surprise you that 45 minutes into our conversation, she told me that she thought I may have OCD, and I thought about punching her through the screen (I was in a BAD place people!) I was so frustrated. I don’t obsessively turn knobs 3 times, I don’t open and close the door 6 times (on purpose), my volume doesn’t have to be on an odd number or an even number. I DO check that my straightener is off like 8 times before I leave the house.. but I have determined that is a normal/healthy safety measure.
So, I was pissed. This woman, whom I was desperately reaching out to for relief, was making up more conditions for me. She wasn’t hearing me and I just needed someone to listen and CHANGE my mental state, stat.
This just goes to show how little I knew about and understood OCD. I know the stereotypes. But I had no idea that most people’s OCD doesn’t actually manifest in obsessive cleaning, loyalty to certain numbers, and unusual tics.
OCD looks like a downward spiral for me. One gigantic, twisty slide into Doomsville. It’s intrusive thoughts. It’s absolutely paralyzing fear that something bad is going to happen to me or my loved ones.
OCD looks like unanswered calls turning into a full blown panic attack that my mom is missing. It’s calling all my mom’s sisters and my dad to try to track her down. It looks like going through traffic alerts and listening to the KC scanner, to make sure I don’t recognize any cars that have been reportedly wrecked. It’s calling hospitals to make sure she’s not a patient. Seriously, it has happened.
OCD looks like endless vet visits and constantly being convinced Lucy is going to die of cancer. It’s panic attacks in the parking lot of the vet office and tears. It’s requests for unnecessary blood work and X-rays. It looks like money that my dad would argue is (wasted) but also my only solace. I can’t sleep or eat or if I think she’s unwell.
(I do blame Harley for this one, FYI)
It’s mulling over conversations when I should be sleeping. Worrying that I was misunderstood or made someone angry. It’s worrying that a lack of response via text message means I’m in trouble. It’s worrying that my communications were misconstrued or that I didn’t say what I meant.
It’s worrying when friends and family members have check ups. It’s timing how long it should take my loved ones to get somewhere when they’re traveling. It’s watching flight paths and monitoring flight conditions. It’s weather alerts, in every single state, county and city where my loved ones are located. It’s crying when the weather is bad and I don’t want my family out in it.
It’s crying every time I leave in KC, because it “may be the last time I see my parents”. It’s begging my friends to never drink and drive, because I don’t want to lose them.
It’s worrying that my truck is going to explode on the highway, but my dogs miraculously escape, only to be hit by a car on the highway. This one is new, the car explosion in my backyard did NOT help me out.
It’s freezing when I don’t know exactly what to do or how to fix something. It’s being afraid to make a mistake. It’s avoiding certain things because it’s easier not to do it, than flounder.
It’s almost uncontrollable, my mind is truly more comfortable spiraling to the worst of the worst, and convincing myself it’s going to happen, than rationalization. OCD is living in the shadows of the worst-case-scenario, begging God to protect my loved ones, and straddling the line between a complete mess and a functioning human being.
The worst part: knowing that I have been so blessed with the health and safety of my loved ones, that Lucy is healthy and well, and being absolutely terrified that God is going to punish me for not being “appreciative enough” for all he’s given me and how well he’s protected me.
I thought this was normal. I thought this is how everyone felt. I thought it was okay to be prepared for the worst-case-scenario at all times. I thought it was okay to be afraid that God will show me true loss and true pain, because I’m stuck in this state of mind.
That’s silly and it’s irrational, but OCD is silly, irrational, and just plain evil sometimes.
OCD has forced me to live in fight or flight mode, nonstop, for years at a time. It has convinced me to sit on the sidelines of my own life, to preserve my own safety. OCD has turned me into the crazy “mother-hen” to my family and friends. It has caused me so much stress, and anxiety, and heartache. I have spent hours mourning things that haven’t happened, and quite honestly, may never happen. Allowing myself to feel this way.. is just stupid, and frankly, I’m tired of it.
Bad things are going to happen, it is inevitable. But instead of sitting here, waiting for the metaphorical shit to hit the fan, frozen in place and time and not really living at all, I can choose to live. I want to live, but not like I have been.
It’s time to change the game, change the habit, and teach my brain to channel positivity. At the the end of the day, I know I am strong. I know that 99.9% of the time, the worst-case-scenario rarely happens & even if it does: I can’t stop it, all I can do is live through it, grow from it, and love as hard as I can.
I refuse to live in fear anymore, I’m robbing myself of my happiness. Mistakes happen, accidents happen, tragedy strikes, and people still survive. Living doesn’t mean living in survival mode 24/7. And I want to live! ❤️
Sunny daze ahead, sweet friends (absolutely).