Monday, November 19, 2012
On OCD, Roger and the Crazy in All of Us.
I am candid about my anxiety. I am neither ashamed nor proud of it. It is just there. It is a part of me.
Like right now. I haven't taken my meds. As I was going up the stairs my heart beat skipped a little. Today was one of the days I was able to beat my urges "holistically", sans my Lorazepam. Other days I'm not so lucky.
It starts with a fluctuation. Has this bump on my neck always been there? Has this mole always been this dark? Has this cough lingered too long? Once this thought enters my head, it typically resides until I take my medication or slowly incapacitate myself. I become consumed with Web MD. I prepare for the worst. Sometimes I can't eat. Sometimes I can't breath. Sometimes I drink a little too much. Sometimes I talk about it a little too much. I reach out for help. I try to find that person who will reassure me I'm not dying. I don't care if they think I'm crazy, because sometimes I think I am.
The thing is I know that I'm not being rational, even when my heart sinks when I read a worst case scenario on some online forum, and this just angers me. I know it is a chemical in balance, but sometimes I get so frustrated that I can't do much else besides curse my misfiring brain.
My OCD has impacted my personal relationships. I realize I'm not the easiest to deal with. I also realize that I've become "that girl" and that my behavior is construed as attention seeking. In a way it is. Like the rest of us, I just need someone to tell me that I'll be o.k. I just need it more than the average person.
I do try. I've gone to therapy and have learned some tools, other than medication. I write (see poem below) , I take a walk, or I throw myself into my work. Sometimes they are successful, sometimes they aren't. I let myself down every time I reach for the Ativan bottle. Sometimes it is the only thing that will get rid of Roger, that elephant that sits on my chest. Sometimes it is the only thing that will allow me to breath.
I've been told that anxiety is just an excuse to take medication, and that by succumbing to it I am weak, and I feel weak. I know this is wrong, and the science backs me up on this, and it is my sincere wish that no one struggling with anxiety were to feel like this. Yes, there is a problem of over diagnosis and over medication. However, just like taking too much medication is dangerous, not taking it when necessary is dangerous too. I have the battle wounds to prove it. I think I have permanently damaged the lymph nodes in my neck. My breasts hurt so much from the constant checks. My weight fluctuates to the point my metabolism is shot. This is all because I tried doing it alone.
I admit that I can be irrational , but you know what? We all are. We all have vices and life style choices others will deem crazy. Some people drink too much, and some people take not drinking at all to an extreme evangelism. Some of us hoard, some of us conserve to a point of obsession, and some of us are obsessed with minimalism. I'm not going to apologize that my brain happens to make more Serotonin than average. Humans are never 100% rational. That is what makes us human. Sometimes being human just comes with excess ivory.
Ivory-An ode to Anxiety
They like to explain away the pressure
I know really
It is only Roger
The small elephant who keeps me company
Whispering helpful reminders
You forgot to lock the front door
Repetitions will turn the oven off.
Are you sure it isn't cancer?
But one night poachers came
And took his trunk
So that he could no longer speak.
His presence lingered
Reminding me to breath
With his formless urgency.
The next night his ears
Until finally one day Roger was gone.
I'm pretty sure
My doorknobs are made from his teeth.