Short Change

I feel like I go into everything half blind. Too anxious to figure it all out, or maybe too scared to know the answers before me. I feel constantly afraid in a world I used to revel in the unknown. But all that’s left in me is the fear other’s instilled so long ago. Being the sufferer of things like mental health disorders brings an open invitation to those who like to make harsh judgments even when they know that it’s this party they weren’t invited to. I always believed that to judge someone is to say you’ve walked in their shoes and know better what to do then them, and that isn’t possible so you should never be able to judge. Who wants to anyway? Judgments are always harsh, bring about pain and in the end have no positive recourse. But society is always a part of them and I can never figure out why. Why do people think that those with mental health issues are crazy? Or that were not really suffering? Or event that were using it as an excuse? Do any of these really sound plausible? Would I really be out for attention when all I do is try to hide the suffering I go through? Just to make sure you don’t have to have pain by dealing with me, I conceal the one thing halting my growth. You said karma cut me clean, but karma came and gave me a life unknown that I had to pay for. I didn’t think that anyone should have to live a life of suffering when they had already lived their lives trying to keep others from suffering in the least. Where’s the balance here? Is there something I need to figure out that is a bigger reason than just me? Was there a point to all of this? Or did I need to learn some lessons that I constantly was studying for anyways? I wonder what makes some of us more susceptible than others? But for all of those that judge, they think I must be weak in the first place to be calling my disorder a disorder. But it’s true, because the order is so out of whack when you suffer. There is no rhyme or reason to anything except this: Only the strongest are the ones to truly suffer because the weak wouldn’t be able to handle what it has to offer.

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Judgement Day

Depression is about being lonesome and unworthy even when youre around all of the people in the world and should feel like a million bucks. Its not about being sad. Being sad would be a great day for us. Its about feeling like the world is ending and youre its ultimate demise.Today I am not sad but I spent 15 years in the prime of tears when I should have been in the prime of my life. Everything was halted. I couldnt work, couldnt maintain friendships and simply couldnt get out of bed. I held down jobs on and off again but was always on the finest line of being fired while barely still employed. And some angry at life people thought I used my sickness on purpose to get out of work, thought I used it to be lazy or just thought I used it to use it. Some of you are mean. Because as I got better and better and still didnt have a job, quite frankly life without one suddenly became boring. I did feel lazy. But before I felt like the days took eons to complete yet went by so fast all the same. I couldnt keep up. The thing I’ve come out seeing the most of was judgement. People really do like to judge what they dont understand or what they dont want to put the time into its comprehension. I beg of you to not be ignorant of the lost soul you may not see beside of you. We are out there in vast quantities not wanting to be noticed. Trying to be invisible until life will let us go all the while wanting it to end as fast as we can blink. Dont be ignorant. People say they dont know what depression is but people are just playing dumb. We all know what its like to have bad days and we all dont want them. So if you multiplied that feeling to the Nth degree and add the judgement that comes from others and at times some bullying…youve got it. No you wont know what it feels like but everyone has an idea. A microscopic view of what MDD (major depressive disorder) can bring you. And it doesnt come by itself. It comes with more diagnosis to add and is never alone. So please beware the next time you tell someone to find a hobby, or that its just a bad day. Because you’ll never know how humbled you may become when you are suddenly in the drivers seat of it all. Thats how fast it comes on as well….within that one blink. So the next time you think about mental disorders, please remember the strength in its suffering. Sometimes its tears you cannot blink away.

About OCD

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.

I wish more people knew about OCD. I wish I’d known about it and maybe I wouldn’t have been so ashamed of it my entire life. But that’s the thing about OCD, is the shame that belongs to it. In my lost and found array of feelings and emotions I have so much hatred for OCD, and so much ire for the people that don’t know about it, yet constantly judge it. It does happen to anyone. It can happen to everyone. But only the select few. The ones I’ve come to think of as the stronger ones, are the ones so sadly in their suffering.

My current Doctor diagnosed me with a bunch of illnesses, then my new doctor didn’t believe me. Why? Because I’d gotten some of my symptoms under control? I have no idea. But my shame multiplied when having to defend the fact that I had OCD. 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 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. 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.

Stormy Weather

Does anyone notice how much talking we do and no one hears what it is we are saying? I think im here with four others that are all talking at once. I sit in silence as the noise rings through. I wonder if this is the life. Should I just be happy that this is the biggest problem of today? My problems of death seem to diminish with each week. I no longer think of it as my way out. But what is a good way out now? What should I think of in the bad moments? And when do the moments feel as if they’re ringing true instead of ringing through my ears?

Does anyone notice how much talking we do and no one hears what it is we are saying? I think im here with four others that are all talking at once. I sit in silence as the noise rings through. I wonder if this is the life. Should I just be happy that this is the biggest problem of today? My problems of death seem to diminish with each week. I no longer think of it as my way out. But what is a good way out now? What should I think of in the bad moments? And when do the moments feel as if theyre ringing true instead of ringing through my ears?

Ive accepted that I am not meant to die anymore and quite frankly and sick of even bringing it up. I want to speak of happier things. I want to reach for the things resembling the stars and to be an affordable diamond. I want a life. To stop saying I know how sorrow feels just dont know where I begin. But how do I convey to other people that I am home? That ive been through the ringer and got flown back out in the midst of a tornado? Someone please tell me it will be ok and that this worry of tonight doesnt have to be carried out like the depression of my heart once screamed. How do you transition from one being to the next upon this one life meant for your one soul and your one walk down memory lane? Im on my way home and I love it but am growing impatient. Please hold my hand as I walk and tell me youll go down any isle I take and will still be there holding. Please. Just stop the storm.

Diagnosis

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.

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.


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.

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 Name Is…

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 brains on combustion mode in each of the thousands of thoughts 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.

Doses

42

I started out with seven diagnosis….MDD, ADD, OCD, Anxiety, PTSD, Insomnia, BPD. Im now down to two…MDD and PTSD. But going through seven made me think I was down for the count every singe day. Today I actually have energy. And today like all of my days are full of more life than I ever thought I could see from the dark ones. Today I was supposed to be dead. And looking back I realize I was. At least for all of my yesterdays I was. And all of my days were filled with animosity. Animosity from me, from all of the bad things and from all of the good that I saw, as the bad. It’s like I couldn’t live in the moments because living IN the moment meant living IN the pain. And they can’t prescribe a pill for this pain. Holy crap they tried. Alas, I’d have to wait it out in the timeliest fashion like watching paint dry. The days just got to be so long. I’m almost at the point where I might consider a day to go by fast but not quite yet.

“Well, they make a new medication now that could really help with your symptoms,” doctors would tell me. And I was always the first to know about new meds being tried, something new to prescribe in place of the one that didn’t work or a new one to add on to the other I was already taking because it was supposed to really “be effective.” You’d think they would’ve stopped around seven or so but doctors don’t keep track of how many medications you take. At least mine never did. Even when I’d say 13 was too many…it’s not like anyone was going to listen to the suicidal girl with tons of diagnosis. “Be proactive,” that’s what we get told. But be proactive to who? I’d take anyone that would listen. But no one did. Even after I’d stop taking them and then try to take my life. They just thought it was another reason to add another pill or replace one. I was on upwards of 15 at one point. I’d had about just as many suicide attempts.

Then we have my back. The meds I spoke of before where only my psych meds. I haven’t yet told you about the Percocet I was prescribed for my back problems. As far as I knew it was a herniated disc. That brought on the kind of pain that makes your back feel like it’s breaking in half every day. It was preventing me from doing everything. And I never knew herniations could hurt so badly. So when I took the Percocet too quickly and was quite harshly judged by the first doctor, who was filling in for my regular doctor too. But my regular doctor decided to prescribe me fentanyl. Which I had no idea about at the time. The opiod crisis wasn’t in survival mode quite yet. And it wasn’t that she prescribed me fentanyl, and the strongest dose that they made, it was the doctor after that who prescribed me Vicodin along with it. Even with the fentanyl I would get cramping in my back but it was hardly anjything to scoff at and I just thought the more pills would make it all go away. “That’s the point,” he said.