I have never had pets.
We now have two kittens.
I can’t breathe.
I love them so much. The first day I left them, I was shaky and tearful all day. I was petrified. I had visions of what could go wrong. I was certain that one would get hurt, the other would get stuck. So scared that a glass would be knocked over, and I would come home to blood, and death. I couldn’t breathe. I almost left work, multiple times. I cried when I finally got home from work and saw that they were okay. I thought they’d be dead. I worried that by thinking they’d be dead, they would be. My fault my fault my fault.
And now, a few days later, I can leave them without crying. But in every moment, I panic. What if I accidentally let them out while I was leaving? What if I go back and check to make sure they’re there, and THAT’S when they get out? What if when I close the bathroom door I close it on them? What if they jump up to get onto my dresser and fall and hurt themselves? What if I’m not feeding them enough? Are they starving? Am I a horrible caretaker? Am I so awful that I’m starving my kittens? What if I’m giving them too much food? Are they eating drinking sleeping peeing pooping enough? HOW DO I KNOW??? Why did she just meow? Is she hurt scared sick sad content bored? Why did he hiss at her? Is it friendly, is it rough, is she afraid, is he scared? Am I putting them in harm’s way by putting them with each other? Do they even like each other? They’re not from the same litter. What was I thinking? I can’t do this I can’t do this I can’t do this. Are they sick? Are they okay? How do I ever cook with them around? What if they jump onto the stove? They’ll get burned they’ll get hurt they’ll die it’ll be my fault. Spinning thoughts but REAL FEARS AND WORRIES.
Most nights this week I had to get out of the house. A walk, a yoga class, just out. I trust my husband to take care of them but I don’t always trust myself. I can’t breathe when I’m around them and can’t breathe when I’m not.
And yet I love them.
My husband said, “I have all of those fears, too. I’m terrified. So I can’t even imagine what it feels like for you, it must be so magnified.”
Look, call it OCD, call it anxiety, call it first-time-pet-owners. I don’t care what it’s called or why it’s happening.
But I can’t breathe. And I love my kittens. And I’m terrified. And I’m better. And I’m panicky. And I need to figure out how those can all co-exist and balance each other out.
It’s been years since I’ve written on this blog. Consequently, I’m fairly positive that nobody reads it anymore. And that’s okay. I don’t need anyone to read this. I really don’t. I just need a place to release my head before I explode. I don’t want to write it in a journal, I don’t want to type it in a word document. I don’t want it anywhere where my fiance or anyone could find it and tie it to me. I just want it out, but I want it private. And this is the only space I have.
I am struggling. OCD has reared its head, probably the strongest that it has in over a year. Oh, I’ve had anxiety, panic, tough times. But this is really really fucking hard. And scary.
Thoughts and beliefs I haven’t had in years are back. I am afraid, I am panicking, I’m not sleeping well, I’m needing to take some meds to get through the day, I’m crying, I’m yelling, I’m arguing. I feel crazy. And that’s possibly the worst part.
I have spent a lot of time this summer with a new friend, a coworker that I have gotten extremely close to. Because we share a lot of the trauma memories. We have a lot of the same past experiences. I’ve never had anyone in my life who gets it the way she does. So we’ve spent a lot of the summer talking. It started as me listening to her, because she had never, in 40 years, spoken honestly and candidly about the horrors she endured. But it ended with me sharing, too. And now it’s a dialogue. And things are coming up for me that I haven’t really thought about in years. I was naive. I thought I was past it, over it. But I guess I wasn’t. I guess I dealt with it years ago when I needed to, but I now need to deal with it again. I told her things that I have never told a single soul, used specific words and phrases that I have never written, let alone said.
And it’s been so helpful and wonderful. And also very anxiety-provoking. And as I should know by now (blah stupid compassion nope not now) when anxiety rears its head, it’s a perfect time for OCD to swoop in without me realizing it. And grab hold before I even realize its presence.
My thoughts and fears right now are mostly in the “realistic” category. That is, I’m not worrying (today) about being a racist, or a murderer. I’m only slightly worrying about being a sexual deviant. I’m more spinning, tangling, obsessing about my fiance leaving me. About my new friend leaving me. I told her about OCD, I was candid about my thoughts and spins. And she assured me she doesn’t think I’m crazy. And I do believe her. But I also don’t. And I’m also scared. Because even though it was years ago, so many fucking people have said that they would be there and then they weren’t, and I’m afraid. I’m afraid she thinks I’m a burden. I’m afraid my fiance is going to decide I’m not worth it. I’ve spun to him, cried to him, I cried so hard Thursday night to him, after such a shitty day, that I was dry-heaving. He told me to breathe, he hugged me. But all the while I just thought, This is reinforcing to him how crazy I am. I wanted to self-harm that night. I haven’t done that in years. I didn’t do it. But I wanted to. I really felt crazy.
I want to check, to text every single friend I have and apologize for being a burden, apologize for reaching out too much and talking too much. I want to ask them over and over again if they’re upset with me, and never stop asking because when I stop asking, the fear just grows back. I want to get down on my knees and beg my fiance to not leave. Beg my friends to not leave. Tell them over and over again that I’m not crazy. Although just by saying that, they will think I’m crazy. I can’t win.
I’m struggling with sex. It is hard for me to even write that. It’s been in my brain for a while, knowing it, but I haven’t spoken about it. Because if I speak about it, what if it means that I don’t love my fiance? That there’s something wrong with me, that I’m a lesbian, that I’m attracted to someone else, that my traumatic experiences fucked me up more than I realized? That he would deserve better, that he should leave? So I’ve ignored it, pretended it’s fine. But with everything going on, I need to talk about it. I need to. But I don’t think I have anyone I can talk to about it. Well, that’s not true. But I can’t talk about it to those people without worrying they’re going to think those same thoughts. So I either hold it in and explode or talk and then spin and spin and explode.
I felt crazy driving today. I was afraid of hitting something.
I’ve had the urge to check the apartment locks a million times.
I really am trying. I am I am I am. I’m stretching and going to yoga and talking with my friend when I can and coloring and sleeping. I’m trying to be gentle with myself and trying to breathe.
But I’m still scared, I’m still tangled, I’m still spinny, I’m still terrified.
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.