It’s really unfortunate that no matter how hard I try, I’m not a good enough daughter, friend, girlfriend.
I feel like a failure. In every sense of the word. Bad girlfriend, friend, professional, daughter, the list goes on.
My permeability is so high right now — everyone’s thoughts and emotions are seeping right into me, no matter how hard I try to block them out. I am a tornado of every thought and feeling of those around me.
I am checking checking checking everything and spinning and worrying. I know I’m doing it. I don’t remember how to stop.
I am not in my core. I’m so up in my head. I don’t have time to work on getting back down. I’m afraid to
reach out. I don’t know why. I’m a failure for not finding time. For not reaching out. For everything.
I’ve been looking at the search terms that have brought readers to this blog, and “Harm OCD” is a front-runner. It makes me think that so many of you out there are terrified, just as I always was, that you might harm someone you love, or a stranger, intentionally or unintentionally. It makes me wonder — what are you hoping to find when you type in that search term? Did you find it here? Were you looking for others who understood? Reassurance that you’re not crazy? Support and therapy?
I guess I’m just wondering — what could this blog do for you? We don’t blog every day, or even every week, but sometimes, at least for me, that’s because our current situations are status quo. I’m not so great at remembering to blog about past experiences or things that you, the readers, might be going through.
Is there anything in particular you want to know? Any questions you have? Any fears you want to voice? Tell us….we’re listening.
Ok, so I meant to be writing more often on how I’m navigating my way out of this hole. The quick update is that I haven’t skipped a meal since I went to therapy on that Friday (now 2 weeks ago). I’ve had a few close calls, but my healthy voice has won every time. For a few days I was still quite restrictive during meals, leaving myself feeling hungry at the end of each one. Last Thursday, Amelia came over. I confessed to her that I was still hungry all day. I asked for her support to add more to my lunch. Spending that time with her and having her specific food support really helped me to stop revelling in that hungry feeling. I have not yet added in regular snacks. I’ll get there.
Today was one of those close calls with lunch time. The time pressure of grocery shopping, taking care of my kids and being on time for my (therapy!) appointment, was such a trigger. I just sort of didn’t have lunch before my appointment. I was starving and was so tempted to just say screw it: I’m not eating. But! I didn’t give in. Did you hear me, eating disorder? I listened to myself, not you.
I’ve been thinking some today about how powerful the present moment can be. Bringing my mind to this second – this very second – makes everything that feels so complicated, so very simple. I have this feeling and image of “coming back down.” It is as if my brain is a storm of thoughts and worries. And when I feel like this, that is where I live. And every once in a while, I am reminded that is not my home. I remember that I can stop looking around up in my brain. I can stop wondering “what this thought means”, and “what if this”, and “who am I really”, and “why can’t I just”. I literally envision my head pulling down, breaking its trance with my brain, and calmly looking straight ahead. I feel the calm of my core and the simplicity of just this second.
I know I need to write. I know that once I do write, I tend to feel even a little bit lighter. But I’m not sure what to say. Nothing is really wrong, per se. Which sometimes makes me feel like I shouldn’t write at all.
Over the past month, I have been undergoing a medication change. It has been hell. The physical side effects of tapering off a medication I’ve been taking for years, and onto a new one, were less than pleasant. But the side effects in my brain – of not having enough medication in my system during this process – felt unbearable. OCD is generally treated with higher dosages of medications. That means that the tapering down of Med 1 and the slow increase of Med 2 takes a long time. And in the middle, I’m not getting that high, therapeutic dosage.
My brain needs medication to work properly. I am okay with that. So many of my friends hate being on medication, or don’t want to be on it, or refuse to be on it. It doesn’t phase me in the slightest. I need it to be okay, and that’s okay with me. That being said, it’s been incredibly frustrating the past month where I’m doing everything “right,” yet I feel like shit solely because of a lack of medication. I said, multiple times, “It’s just not fair! It’s not my fault!” Not that it’s ever my fault if I’m having a hard time, but it was so frustrating, just knowing I had to wait it out.
I vacillate between depression and anxiety. I used to think those were two separate diagnoses – and for many people, they are. For me, they’re just two points on the same continuum: the OCD continuum. When the thoughts/fears/spins/worries/obsessions/compulsions become too much, and take over my brain and my being, I become highly anxious – butterflies in my stomach, heart racing, on the verge of panic attack, etc. Or, I become depressed – shutting down, cloud of doom, pit in my stomach. But it’s all one in the same, really.
The end of last week and last weekend, I gave in. I voiced what was going on in my head to the two people who would understand and/or know what to do and say. I allowed myself to be hugged and nurtured and coddled. I gave up being in charge and allowed my boyfriend to truly take care of me. I told him when I was feeling anxious, when my heart was racing, when I had a scary thought, when I needed a hug. He encouraged me and supported me. He’s really the best. I don’t give in like that often – really just give up control for that many days. And you know what? It was really really nice. And it helped so much. I’ve been thinking about what exactly was so helpful and a lot of it just comes down to the fact that for those few days, I stopped fighting it. I stopped fighting where I was at, and just let myself be in it. Without judging myself, or hating myself, or wishing I wasn’t in it. I rode it through and let others help me stay afloat.
The trouble is, it’s now a week later. I have returned to work and classes and writing reports and studying and I’ve had to continue on with my life. But that doesn’t mean I’m all better. Yes, I think the new meds are starting to kick in. No, I don’t feel like I’m totally drowning anymore. But I’m still anxious. My brain is still a little too busy. I’m still a little too afraid. And a little too spinny. But I feel like my “being-nurtured-time” is done. I used it up last week and last weekend and now I have to move on and be strong. I know in my core that everyone deserves constant love and support and that I have a right to ask for anything I need. But what do I say – “No, it’s not an emergency, but my brain is a little spinny, and no, I’m not sure what you could do to help, and yes, it’s much better than last week but I just wanted you to know…?” How do I SHOW that although it’s not where it was last week, it’s still a little tough? Should I even show it? Do I have a right to show it? Or is it being needy?
What I’ve had to do between that Friday night and now is basically take one meal at a time. The first few days, I really did not want to eat. I basically had to because my husband (who from now on I’ll call Paul) now knew what was going on. At one point on Saturday, he fell asleep in our family room from about mid morning until lunch time. Suddenly I faced either waking him up to help me or muddle through lunch time on my own. I chose the latter, as the former is not only hard but would add to the accountability I would face. So, I made lunch for the kids and got the youngest down for a nap. Now it was 12:30 and Paul was still snoozing away. I was so angry that he had left me on my own. Did my rational mind know that he too needs his rest? That he needs self-care too? That I’m a grown woman who needs to care for herself? Yes, yes, and yes. But right then, did I want him to hold my hand through every second of the day? YES! I quietly retreated to our bedroom and climbed under the covers, hoping they would shield me from myself. My eating disordered voice told me that I could relax in the comfort that I would get to skip lunch. About a half hour later, Paul came into the room and immediately apologized. He knew that it was not good timing for me to be alone. He knew that I was not feeling capable of self-care on my own. He helped me pick something for my lunch and brought it to me in bed. Then, while the youngest napped, so did I. Sweet, sweet rest. My brain was still muddled and my heart was still heavy. But maybe, just maybe, ever so slightly lighter.