Little Miss Muffet

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When I was little my mom always would ask me if I wanted english muffins. “Yes,” I’d always say. Then I’d hide them under the couch cushions for her to find later. I must’ve loved hide and go seek then. She’d find them in about a week and there was never just one in there. I’d ask for two every day so she’d find about a dozen in there. She still laughs about it. I love when kids do stuff that you can’t get mad at because you start laughing. I think that’s what I miss the doing the most, is laughing. I used to always be joking around and having fun and then everything got so damn serious. Do we turn a certain age where the world just seems different all of the sudden? Or are we following the world that is constantly teaching us to to be different towards them? I always promised myself I wouldn’t cave. That I’d keep my light heart and would laugh uncontrollably for ten minutes once more. It hasn’t happened yet but I have hope that it will. I hate things that are too serious! Why am I so serious now?! I sit with a blank stare trying to think of things in life that make me smile and it used to be just the simplest thing! I’m quite klutzy and am always tripping and falling, or like I mentioned in another post when I was taken on a blind date horseback riding. Not paying attention and getting hit in the face by a branch. “Whoopsie!” Was one of my favorite words. Looking back from today, I think my most popular saying is “I’m sorry” now. What?! That can’t be. It is though. I got married when I was 21 to an abusive guy and I think all I ever did was apologize just because. Then, I  knew that when I apologized we could move on. That was his routine when we’d fight. He had to hear me say “I’m sorry” all of the time. Nothing else was routine about our fighting either except that it was all routine of domestic violence. And I paid a heavy price for it in the way he treated me, and I also grew distant from many of my friends. He was this secret I had to keep because it was my mistake and I couldn’t admit how mean he was to me and how he was one of the biggest regrets of my life. So I sucked it up and stayed.

I grew up in a close knit group of friends, I think in 7th grade was when I started to get to know many more of my classmates and would soon think of them as family growing up. I love my own family so damn much too but growing up was more stressful than it should’ve been. Shit, this whole life seems like that. As if this is my hell on Earth and I have to work my way back to Heaven. But like all of us, no one gave me directions. And while my family and friends were on one train I was too busy trying to stand in front of it too realize that it had already passed through. Without a horn they all went on to live their lives unsure about what I was doing in my own that nobody stopped to ask…”Are you doing ok?” Some did while others’ stare or silence showed judgement with each wake. Wake of a wave I unknowingly created. I thought I was just here to be me. And If I do anything it’s to stay genuine to who I am, I’d tell myself. But my actions would show a different sort. The kind of person I’d not know, the kind that would’ve been deaf to any horn to begin with. I wish I could go back. Back to the days of the muffins. The simple pleasures that make glee in a day. I want glee. Even a genuine smile would be nice. So I wouldn’t have fear in the night. For the nightmares would surely come.

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It’s Personal

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I don’t wish out loud anymore but I’m always silently pleading for my secret desires to come true. Please sweep me away wind. Take me wherever it is you go just not into the eye of the tornado. I put my hand up in the wind and let the gusts push it into a curve going up and down. Where is everyone? It feels like the story, It, without the storm and no scary clowns.

Ah, but maybe I am the storm. The walking disaster you shouldn’t come close to unless you know what is is you are dealing with. Keeping company with the echoes in the street at night…reminding you that you are alive. For the people that do come close, know that I warned you. I sounded the alarm and instead of hiding, some of you danced. Something I wish I could do again. Dance in the street while taking a walk around the neighborhood. Letting the insides of myself fly out as music notes fill the streets, and suddenly I am lost. Who cares? No need to ask for directions being I didn’t like the place I’d come from to begin with. The dark streets have no more echoes.

There are still no cars as I try to enjoy the peace surrounding me but can’t. I’m so lonely. Depression makes sure you’ll find out that it’s suffering is a one way ticket and a one person ride for a one way kill to my genocide. The lights go out. I wonder whats in the woods I come across. I’m terrified a spider will walk in front of me and I wont know. Yuck. Luckily I’m wearing a necklace that lights up. Ok, I can faintly can see my house. I wish the wind would act like an escalator and escort me back. I also wish I could stop wishing things were different. That maybe if I hadn’t done this or that, then maybe I could seize the damn day instead of waiting for it to be over with. I stand alone, still in the night and waiting for the crisp air to bite and wake me up. I always want to sleep and make time go by faster but its turned me into some pile of nightmares with no safe house to run into, away from the tornado. And damnit it’s getting too close to home. It’s just getting too personal.

Hi, My Name Is…

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My name is Andrea and this is my attempt at finding some solace in my life because therapy’s been, well, a joke to be quite honest. So, I’m trying to therapitize myself with writing it all out. In the hopes it won’t come back again, but if it does at least there’s more paper to write along with it. People say that words lose power, when you talk about things so here goes…my attempt at my OWN therapy. So, “HA,” bad therapists. If I ever get better I want my money back.

Eminem says to “Lose Yourself,” but when you’re lost all you can think of is how desperately you need to be found. I am lost within myself, outside of myself and everything in between. And I’ve walked the 8 mile up the road and don’t like what I have to see. Where did it all the time go? And how in a world where everyday is so long did I get through so many of the years? I still feel like a teenager. All of the sudden I begin questioning everything I learned in school wondering if there should’ve been life lessons taught as part of the curriculum. We learned addition but all that I use that for is to add up all of these bad days…..multiplied by my negative feelings equals out to be the probability of a girl in the danger zone all of the time. My ADD is something you’d recognize when you really get to know me. But all in all, it’s the damn truth that I have it. With ADD you go from one subject to the next within a metaphorical minute. One minute I want to work out in the gym, then drop that just as fast, then I want a different job, then a different arraignment for my room. And let’s say that happens every day. Cleaning the house I’ll mush up all the cleaning chores instead of doing one, then the next and finishing each, I do some of one, then some of two and so on and so forth. ADD is about distracting the mind because it can only have a certain amount of time in an attention span’s mirth. I see it as a blessing and a curse. If I get down about something then I could be distracted so easily and quickly I’m off to the next subject. The curse however, is when it works backwards from being in a good mood switched to a bad one. Some days I’m in limbo all day long, I just hide at home. Moreover, I just try to sleep all day. My brains on combustion mode in each of the thousands of thought that come through with death underlying in each. I don’t think I want to die but I sure as shit don’t want to live. Not like this. Not in the grips of a life I can’t seem to understand. It feels like everyone else knows the secret. Like there was a turn in the 8 mile that I missed when I went the other way. Then something distracts me enough to not focus on it too badly. At least for now.

Snowstorm

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The days get longer within every night I conquer. “Where am I headed?” “Always a place of dread.” I’d think. I feel like I’m battling all natural disasters combined into one mind which will always take it to the Nth degree within. If I move left or I move right, “I can’t see. I just can’t see what to do!” The brain fed snowstorm is always there to heed my confusion. My impulsivity rises as I can’t make clear-headed decisions because, as no one realizes yet, my head is not clear anymore. I looked to the mirror today and couldn’t see myself. I felt my face as I stared the long stare into the big black hole of each eye. Not an easy feat as my OCD is hooking it’s reins hard these days. As I look to the mirror I can ONLY look at my pupils. That’s one of my rituals. If I don’t do it perfectly and look at the exact center of the pupil then I don’t allow myself to look away. And if I look somewhere else, I “have to get the rituals back on track”…I look, left eye, right eye, left eye, right eye. Over and over again until I’ve done it 24 times. Then, only if it “feels” right, can I look away. Otherwise, I have to start all over. “If I don’t,” I’d tell myself. “Then something bad will happen to someone I care about, even death.” That’s the toll of OCD…you can charge at it’s bridge and try to do otherwise, but the bridge always collapses when you’ve been doing rituals since you were four years old. You don’t need to go to jail if you suffer from OCD, it’s conformity will keep you behind bars in such a suffocating way, you’re already there.

Starlight Wishes

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If I were a wishing girl I’d wish for never ending happiness. For all to be well on each and every day, and polite beauty around every corner. Dread wouldn’t be found in such beauty of a wish, made upon a star one night so full of starlights.

In the nighttime skies of wishes not lies, I ask for this broadening spectrum of hope to keep ensuing. “I will be better,” I’d say to myself. “If I could just have a chance at it.” And low and behold the chance of the starlight mixed with the dark of night keeps upon me. All the while knowing it might be my only shot.

I haven’t felt mentally healthy in fifteen years. What do I even do with the chance I’ve been given, as I lay among the stars and the moon. I’ll have to try this forbidden thing called happiness, which is mostly shunned or dismissed too soon. It usually plays a game with my mind, this happiness. Giving me a peek a boo once in awhile. Just long enough to know that’s this is what I’m fighting for, yet, not long enough for me to say it’s been worth it. Life, without happiness feels worthless. Only to breathe is what I have ingrained in me. I will keep the dread of depression and mental illness at bay, but also as my coat of arms to protect me from all things unfamiliar. When the earth’s moons change, so will my new life. I hope, as I realize the darkness of the eclipse above the horizon. I don’t know what to do with happiness. I don’t know what to do with life, in fact, I just don’t know what to do. Do I ask for forgiveness once again and wish to go back to the normalcy I seek? No, I won’t do that now. I won’t bother the starlight tonight. I’ll just go on my windy road with fingers crossed, that, like the changing of the seasons or temperatures of the day, I’ll settle in to my new abode of a silenced “happiness,” peeking out in the moonlight. I’ll accept it without recall and know that the starlight is watching….always to know what goes on into the night.

Stuck

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Walking along the side of the road it is blustery and quiet. No one makes a sound except the rare car in the distance. It’s eerily quiet tonight, but I love it. Sometimes my life feels like I’m at the busiest intersection in town but I’m the only one here. Oh, how I love the nighttime. I’m always more awake and always seem to feel a little better when it’s dark out. Maybe it’s because I don’t feel like I stand out as much, who knows? I walk alone around my neighborhood missing my old best friend that used to walk with me. Him and I grew up together in this place and now all I have of him and everyone else is the memories. And I hate it because the memories are even starting to fade. Is that what happens as we get older? We have children and simply fade into the night? I hear an ambulance turn their sirens on. “Maybe their coming for me.” I’d think to myself. Maybe they’ll come and help me find a new life. Where did the old me go though? Usually outgoing I’ve turned into quite the introvert and am always anxious. My normal self is playing the longest game of hide and go seek. I’m so ready to go to the hospital where it feels safe. No one is their to make you miserable when you go to the hospital. And I’ve been to the hospital for this. Years and years ago. I hear gravel scrape on the ground as I take my next step, of course it’s stuck in my shoe, that’s just the way my life operates isn’t it? If something bad is going to happen then that someone it will happen to, is me.  At the hospital people are so nice to you and it doesn’t even seem like it’s because their paid to be that way. My first experience was filled with genuine concern of theirs and them actually trying to set me up with the right plan. But the problem is, what if you turn out to be suicidal quite a bit and don’t know what to do but go to the hospital. And this was when they didn’t put people in inpatient unless the situation was dire. Am I dire? Hell no, but having suicidal thoughts or even thoughts of harming yourself is. So what happens when that just won’t go away? That’s what they mean when they say the word “ideation.” Suicidal ideation is when you think about suicide a lot but don’t necessarily feel the need to go through with it. I tried to refuse the ideation’s service but the demon had already nustled up in my head. It didn’t even knock so I couldn’t say I don’t do anything door to door. My Dr. that I’d unloaded to about the depression advised me to go. No one wants to go the the hospital to spend their entire day away waiting. But isn’t that all I do anyway? Wait? Be patient to wait.  Oh, wait, wait, wait “miss….please have seat and wait.” UGH! Sometimes wait 24 hours, sometimes more. Then they release you and tell you to be good. What a crock. THAT’S your suicide prevention plan? Restraining me to a bed? “Don’t put me in restraints!” “What is this for?” “I haven’t even done anything.” Pleading with the Dr.s and nurses. “This is for your protection as well as ours,” they say. But I voluntarily came to the hospital asking for help. Except for the one time I overdosed and it took seven doctors to restrain me. I get fiercely protective of myself when it’s other people out to “handle” me. But why when it’s myself preying on my inner self do I just let that go? I fight til the death when I feel I’m the prey but I’ve been my mental prey all along and simply fall weak to it. Man, I hate this. I hate myself even more after realizing what I just wrote. Why don’t I fight for myself more? Or maybe I am fighting for myself by going to the hospital and not sitting at home hurting myself. But that’s not what one social worker had to say. She was the ‘bad cop’ out of the mostly good ones. Or maybe had the power trip she’d been longing for because when she got to little old me, oh did she prey. And hook, line and sinker I’d take the bait. But, like me, that’s neither here nor there. I sway from the in-betweens of life and limber. Sway to and fro in my easy going mentality with others, but fierce when it comes to myself. Constantly, I battle with who I am and why I am. The why’s of life unbeknownst and the who’s, undecided as I step up for battle after battle, in life and limb.

I’ve watched things become very different at the hospital over the years, they don’t restrain anyone anymore unless it’s really necessary for people with suicidal ideation. My ideation in having those bad thoughts showed me I was nearing the end. It was just a matter of time that the compulsions set in. I used to have suicidal ideation all of the time. It was daily and mostly all day. It really haunted me. I had to take the ESL of brain chemistry because my mind suddenly became foreign. My thoughts were morbid, I was thinking very irrationally, and all I kept trying to do was to figure this thing out. Blood became the forefront of my mind, replacing all things happy. Morbid, morbid things I’d attach to as it was the only thing I could relate, and therefor rely on. It actually calmed me down sometimes to think about killing myself. The world I lived became such a far off place, to this day I have a hard time understanding it. And I didn’t have to think about it on purpose. Morbidity was always in the wakes, casually waiting to be exposed.

Diagnosis

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Among each disorder is the basis of Anxiety. First, you have the realization that the disorder is attacking at that moment so you put the pressure on yourself to not fall apart in it. I don’t know about other people but It’s unbearable how much pressure I put on myself. I feel like I’m chasing that train steaming ahead for the life I’m missing. Only to get hit by the train this time, putzing along behind to remind me I’ll never be good enough. Anxiety is when there’s too many people in a waiting room. Or at a fair, or a concert, or even driving on the road. Anxiety is the crowded elevator. Everyone’s eyes are on me right? I’m the elephant in the room no one wants to talk about. Anxiety is bold and triumphant in all it does. The sweaty palms, hell, the hot flashes it feels like. The shortening of breath. The hand shakiness, dry mouth, mind racing, will do anything too be heard…anxiety.
Now OCD is the leading disorder of all that practices it’s malpractice in me. It never sticks to the “rules” you read about, or moreover, the symptoms labeled in it’s diagnosis. It loves chaos in the fact that it will go beyond the borders of even Dr.’s opinions of how it’s depth can be, to let you know always, whose in control. OCD wants every strategic move planted in a physical sense within rituals throughout the day, throughout the night, throughout the worst of the worst times. And when you actually have better times, you think it’s because you ritualized correctly that day. As is when you have a bad day, you think it’s because you didn’t ritualize enough, or ritualize correctly. Even when someone in your life passes away, you might think it’s because you didn’t touch the light switch the day before enough times. Sound crazy? Crazy is in the eye of the beholders thinking OCD isn’t true, because I assure you my friends, it sure the hell is.

My rituals take mere seconds to complete. But when you add up all the seconds, it adds up to hours. It began happening with every place I’d look, even. When I’d look at letters I’d have to look in the center of them. And something I don’t think people understand, is that yes, it’s a compulsion to do these things. I don’t stop until it “feels” like I did it perfectly. Compulsions are like the “musts” of the brain. You literally feel like you have to do it. Otherwise I ritualize the same thing over and over again until I get it right. I touched a light switch for ten minutes straight once, over and over again until I could get a set of the number “four,” correctly. I’d touch it four times, always directly in the center, then if it didn’t feel right, I’d do it again…and again…and again. When I was a little girl, my best friend Tegan and I were coming in from playing basketball at her house when I needed to hit the garage button to close it. Well, I couldn’t just do it once all of the sudden. I HAD to touch it again, and I HAD to touch it just in the right spot to feel like it was ok to move on with the day. I’d done it before around her but luckily I always waited until someone was out of the room or do the ritual casually enough that no one would notice….at least I don’t think they did. At least not until that day. “Andrea, why are you touching it so many times?” My face still gets red with the embarrassment and shame left over from that moment. You see, I always knew it wasn’t something the other kids did. I didn’t know how I knew it because I’d think about how they’d probably do it in private as I would, but it just felt wrong every time I did it. “No!” I stated back. “Why would I be doing that?” I saw her look over to my hand. Then, as she turned around, she sweetly just said, “um, never mind.” We were so young. I remember doing this when I was around six years old. I was aghast to think she didn’t make fun of me. That instant confused me so much, until we got older and I knew everything she was about even into adulthood. It was never about putting people down. She’s a Psychologist today. Hell, she was a Psychologist when we were kids too. I so wanted to talk to her about it, just be able to get it out there that I was really suffering in this weird way and in this weird silence. It was the first secret I kept from Tegan. I hated it. But if I didn’t ritualize, I’d worry about things like people getting hurt, or screwing up their and my day, or I’d even worry that someone might die if I didn’t do it. And if I talked about it, what if people tried to get me to stop and it was the only way I could control any of the things that were happening to me and to others? I couldn’t do that. Plus, whatever it was I was doing was wrong, very wrong, I’d tell myself. OCD was like living a lie. People still don’t know the depths that I go to to ritualize without being seen. It’s almost a lie to myself by my denial of it for so long too. I didn’t know I could be so mean to myself at six years old. I hated OCD and began to hate myself as well. I’m the one who brought it on, so I’d be the one to have to deal with it. Little did I know, I’d carry that theory out beyond any grasp I could’ve held. I’m 36 as of last week and it’s still there, all that hate. I still have trouble with ritualizing to this day. I’ve just cut a lot of it out however, within this last year. There’s certain things I haven’t been able to kick yet, but the battle of doing the rituals vs the battle of not doing them became so great that I was willing to keep trying as I’ve done my whole life to kick it. It’s best on the days my mind gives me some time off. Off of the morbidity, the hell. The peek and tease of happiness I still get sometimes. But I never really got a peek until these past couple of years. That’s when I decided to try again. Oh hell, I’m always trying. It still carries such shame with it. If I drink out of my water bottle and look someone in the eyes at the same time, I get so scared that something may happen to them. I’ve even done it when I shouldn’t have cared about what happened to them because they were an asshole, but nevertheless, I didn’t want that on my plate. A big one for me is that I have a terrible time sleeping at night, and I would think it was because I wasn’t ritualizing correctly. Low and behold, I have insomnia. But don’t tell the OCD that, it won’t believe you.

Anyhow, usually, it’s within touch, cleanliness and putting things in a certain arrangement. For me, I had to touch things in sets of four. Four equaled an even lined square so not one part had more or less than the other. I was always looking for things to “even out.” And usually OCD sufferer’s use four or five as their number. People might argue to me that a triangle has equal sides as well, but for me, four is an even number, so that’s why I chose it, three is an odd number and I can’t handle the odds. Geez, I can’t handle the odds of anything. Two’s an even number but wouldn’t be able to make the lines form an equilateral shape if I had to draw it. I work very visually in everything I do. Especially when I try to explain things and I remember at a young age trying to think of how I would explain it if I ever had to. It’s so illogical and the craze one feels in their mind from such a disorder is just plain mean. This “thing” is making me want to keep doing it and doing it thinking it actually keeps the structure of a day going. I can’t explain how draining it is on the brain. Relaxation is out because wherever you are, you’re wondering if you’re touching things correctly, or needing to ritualize in some way. I waited tables in my 20’s and my good friend at the time would make fun of me because I’d do this weird thing with my hands when I’d walk. I’d always make a first, then rub my thumb on my first finger. He thought it was so weird and it was, I guess. But I was silently protecting myself from touching anything when I’d walk because I couldn’t afford to have one of my co-workers see me stop and ritualize. The saddest part is that I’d go along with him and make fun of it too. But it was the opposite of funny, it was awful. Feeling like you’re crazy, thinking so illogically. I never told anyone about it until my parents two years ago. But OCD is so hard to understand, even from the ones who suffer from it. Even harder to understand, well anything, is when people tell us of something we ourselves haven’t experienced. So no, I didn’t get a lot out of telling my parents. It’s really something, I should even still, get therapy for. But my past therapy experiences haven’t been that great either. Such is why I don’t jump at the chance. All we know is that we do it, and that it’s usually about trying to find control in a world where we need it. Mine started at a time when I needed it badly. I know it was right around the time of my mom’s affair, but that talk is for another night. We OCDers are good at hiding. We do things so inconspicuously you’d never know. But when we’re in private, we usually become more lax about it. And there’s the thing. The only time we become more lax about anything is when we’re alone, in private, where we can hide our shameful selves and take it out by ritualizing. Only to hate ourselves even more, every time we do it.

With the insomnia I fight, nighttime is the perfect time to sit with music and write. I get called a night owl but let’s be real about it…in my situation, this owl is exhausted! It shouldn’t take at LEAST three hours to fall asleep each night, that is if I can fall asleep at all. I’ve been known to be up for a four night stint on more than one occasion. And it’s hard getting through the day seeing spots, let me tell you, it’s not cool. Medication helps so much with my sleep. I’d count sheep and buy the time I got to 800, I was too bored at imagining them I finally would quit. What wasn’t a good thing though? Realizing at too early of an age what helps you sleep….drinking too much. Even when I took my first sip of alcohol. I told myself, “That shouldn’t have felt that good.” And little did I realize, it really shouldn’t have. But the nights would be sleepless without it, becoming a never ending cycle of yet another bad decision.

My diagnosis go on with PTSD from my marriage, but no one ever really believes that PTSD is true or fair to diagnose unless you’ve been in the military it seems like. People always brush off that diagnosis like they’re ignoring it, kind of like I’m going to do here because I don’t feel like writing about it. But coming from an abusive marriage, and all of these other things I’ve gone through. I can’t help the fact that I suffer from what I suffer from. I don’t like to define myself by my diagnosis, but I also don’t like my diagnosis to define me and with each day it’s seeming to be more true with every symptom I possess.