Looking Back I Guess…

…I was doing it wrong. I always just assumed I was wrong…inherently wrong. There was no hope for me short of medicating myself into a stupor..and what kind of life was that anyway?

So my doctor tells me that the issue here is the way I think and feel about situations, and then how I act on them. I thought that was nice in theory…nice for other people who fit in that mold. But not nice for me…me who was inherently wrong…sick in the head…a miserable person. I couldn’t think of any situations that made me crazy…I just was crazy…it was my brain.

But I figured I’d think about it a bit more…just to try and pinpoint exactly when I became crazy. Exactly what made me crazy. Was I always crazy? Let’s find out. So I went back to the corners of my memory and I remembered the point when OCD attacked me like a machine gun. It was horrific. I was in 4th grade. I’ll need to write a blog devoted to OCD at another time but this episode was the first time I remember feeling crazy.

Did I think and feel about a situation in a way that brought on the OCD? I’m not sure. I’m sure my brain mis-fired and mis-interpreted and went haywire. I’m sure something triggered it, but I am also sure I am genetically programmed to have OCD..and depression and anxiety. I don’t think my 9 year-old self had any power over OCD…OCD was going to rear its ugly head no matter what. Even if Cognitive Behavioral Therapy was in vogue at the time, I am not convinced I would have had the skills to alter my thinking patterns. I mean, you are programmed to respond in a certain way and I do think that we can train ourselves to think differently to some extent, but even as an adult this is extremely hard and in contrast to a mentally ill persons’ nature. We can pretend…and we can subdue some anxiety…but we can never really be “cured”. Gaining coping skills is great…but that is what we are doing…coping.

Maybe I’m just not there yet on my journey…maybe I am weak…but I think CBT is simplistic in nature. I’d rather find a way to work with my angst and use it for good..rather than try to change how my brain thinks. But again, maybe I am not there yet. I am only at the stage of realizing that I have been affected by things I never realized affected me..that situations were a part of the equation..not the whole equation, but a part of it.

So back to the point…I looked back and remembered 4th grade…moving from the house I loved in the neighborhood with the kids..to a new house with no neighborhood. I remembered living in a motel while we waited for the house to be built. I remembered there was a stray cat that roamed around that I took a liking to, because I loved animals. I remember that this cat had an awful skin condition on his neck…that was hairless and scabby. I remember patting the cat anyway…because he came over. I remember my mother having a fit..making me wash my hands because the cat would make me sick…he had “scabies” she said and she put the fear of God in me that if I touched him I would catch a disease. I can still see that cat’s neck as clearly as if it were yesterday.

Maybe I reacted in a detrimental way to this situation. Maybe I should have thought differently…shouldn’t have let a few stressors and a mom’s admonishment turn me neurotic and trigger me to eventually wash my hands raw to avoid contamination. But my 9 year-old self was destined to acquire OCD…it wasn’t if, it was just a matter of when.

I started this post to chronicle the many events in my life that I’ve come to realize impacted me profoundly..but now that I have veered toward my childhood OCD…I think I’ll be done for now and save the other glorious moments for another post. OCD makes me so sad…I wish I never met him. And yet…I am OCD..I can’t imagine who I’d be without him. And so I need to embrace him, as crazy as he makes me.

It makes me sad to think about when it all started…that scared little girl facing it all alone..and not knowing what “it” was. I can offer her some healing now, but I wish I was there to catch her when it all began. I want to hold my 9 year-old self and tell her everything will be alright..that she doesn’t have to be so scared….when she’s lost she can look and she will find me…time after time.


~ by imasurvivor2013 on April 26, 2013.

2 Responses to “Looking Back I Guess…”

  1. I just read a really good book about a guy with OCD – “Triggered: A Memoir of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder” It was easy to relate to, whether you have OCD or not..

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