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.

Stage Fright

Now, it’s like I walk from point A to point B all the while wondering what the point was from the beginning. I breathe because it’s the last thing I know how to do, and just do. I don’t have to think about it. But if I were on that stage that’s all you would hear. Breathing. One breathe after the other, until someone would finally make me out and realize, wow, she’s living in fear of even herself, and that’ s the last fear she has is of that last breathe. That it won’t be to a beat she danced to by herself or with the whole room, living the life she’d always wanted. Never to care if anyone was watching, and knowing that to breathe was to live, and that in itself was owning any stage

When I was a little girl we used to have a sailboat. My dad would blare oldies and I’d get up on the bow and swing with the best of them, I’d shake my little ass and boats that would pass by would laugh and start mimicking me, waving in delight. That was me. Nothing terrified me, and nothing could. I wanted to try it all, get into it all, and be all that I thought life would allow at the time. Fast forward twenty years and I can’t even attempt suicide it’d draw too much attention. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve almost tried it once, but the thought of people even looking in my direction makes me want to shy away now.  I constantly wonder what people are thinking when they look at me today. “What’s going on inside of you?” I’d think. “Are you in the same place I am, just looking for another person to fly solo with you?” Because if there are people out there that are going through this, I never met any. And the internet wasn’t as popular when I was nineteen, so isolation was doubled back then. All I was ever told was, “You should really go see someone.” And so I would. Another therapist just meant another basket case, I’d come to realize. It seemed like all the ones I was destined to see were almost worse off than myself. So then I decided to start writing, because nothing else was getting me anywhere. It felt like no one got it. Like no one understood how lonely loneliness was. And I realized, I wasn’t necessarily looking for someone to lend an ear. I just needed to vent. Vent to everything that things seemed to be bullshit. People aren’t as becoming anymore. The world is full of one disaster after the next. We all talk about the dramatic news vs the news of people doing great things, it seemed like. And no one was being real. Then I started reading blogs, and I liked that I could anonymously read as much or as little as I wanted and actually find some great advice. But still, all I had was me, me and the only thing that would never cease to be at my side, my depression, anxiety, OCD, ADD, PTSD. And every time I’d see a doctor, it wouldn’t work out. Either they were, like I said, a little more off than I could handle, or they’d retire shortly after me seeing them. Either way, I was always left to hunt another one down, and the new one would always argue my diagnosis, thinking it wasn’t possible to have so many at one time, then to see me some more and finally agree. It was like they didn’t trust each other, which made me trust them even less. Until I realized, no one was fighting. No one was fighting for me at least in those offices, and I couldn’t seem to fight for myself. The only one who was doing all of the fighting was the depression itself into all that I had left.

Depression carries the weight of its word into life right away. To be depressed is to have a compression somewhere or an indent strong enough for the eye to see there’s a concave “spoon” looking thing that is actually depressed. Maybe that’s why they say it’s happening to people. Our mouths go from a smile to something sad happening and our lips forced to go in a half circle downwards. Reminding the mind of a concave “depressed” shape. But that’s not the only physical repercussion of depression. There’s many more that doctor’s don’t talk about, and many that they say will go away with medication but I wish there were the ones that would tell me the truth. That there is a possibility that nothing can help. That time, is really your answer. Then there’s the inner part of depression. The part that starts off almost as an itch, grows into a full blown body rash that you can never scratch away. “Why am I feeling this all over?” I’d think. I could feel it everywhere inside my body. My brain suddenly wasn’t the only thing sucked dry. My legs weak, thighs much heavier and a head literally strained to keep it upright. All you can do is try to figure out what’s going on. I’d heard of depression and thought, “well, all I’ve heard about it is being sad all of the time and I am, but there’s so much more. They never talked about more.” What about doing absolutely anything to get through each day as it falls deeper into the shell of depression. This shell however, would only echo tears if you put it up to my ear.

My anxiety gets worse and hits strong. I suddenly always feel like I’m the one woman show on stage and I’m supposed to be funny but the only joke I can think of is one that I’d heard years before where a woman wants to start looking good so she tell her boyfriend she’s going to lose weight and start exercising, but her man says, “Yeah, but you can’t run your face off.” It still makes me laugh to this day. Probably the only thing I find remotely humorous anymore. That and when other people fall.

Now, my anxiety is at a whole new level. I’ve started blacking out when I have to get up in school and talk in front of people. I’d start off a sentence and then everything goes blank. It’s literally dark black in my head and I almost feel faint. People used to think I was really outgoing and I am…when I’m in my comfort zone. If you’re in my comfort zone, you can expect someone super goofy and out there. But for the most part, being out there is just sitting in the background, hoping not to be noticed now. If I just don’t talk maybe no one will talk to me. And for the most part it works. It’s weird how I used to be such a social butterfly. I was on the phone so much that when the internet came out my brother gave all of us screen names and mine was Onphn247. I never stopped being a chatterbox whether it was in school or out. But since I was 19, everything has slowed down to the point that my age surpassed long ago. You’d think I was ancient.  The thought of getting in front of people is almost worse than seeing a spider and I never thought I’d find anything worse than that. I miss my friends. I miss my parents. And I really miss my brother. I’ve isolated myself from everything I can think of. Hell, I actually miss who I was. I was a good person, once. I felt worth something. I’ve never been easy on myself but who is? I’m my own worst enemy and some of the critiques I give myself are a little brash. That’s my one woman show. How to beat yourself to a pulp, by Andrea. Exiting is my best feature. Man, do I know how to walk away or run from things. I’m just great at getting off of the stage. It’s the lack of hope inside of me that leads me on there in the first place. It’s like I’m frightened of people that look at me, frightened of people seeing the real me, hell, I’m frightened of getting on that stage and just reminding myself even, that I am here. I miss the days where dancing by yourself was ok. When you could dance like no one was watching because you weren’t taking everything so seriously. Now, it’s like I walk from point A to point B all the while wondering what the point was from the beginning. I breathe because it’s the last thing I know how to do, and just do. I don’t have to think about it. But if I were on that stage that’s all you would hear. Breathing. One breathe after the other, until someone would finally make me out and realize, wow, she’s living in fear of even herself, and that’ s the last fear she has is of that last breathe. That it won’t be to a beat she danced to by herself or with the whole room, living the life she’d always wanted. Never to care if anyone was watching, and knowing that to breathe was to live, and that in itself was owning any stage.

Circles

As I look up, you let me down. When I pull you in, from the lost and found. Whether the day is good, or my mindset bad. You turn away now, getting all mad. And I sacrifice, while you take it all, never knowing when the day will call, the guards away to seek me afraid, once so happy to be, sentenced with good in the day. Youre the one who taught me, and told me so. To lead on from behind and to just let go. Remember me and the words I say, always to you, from a heart that’s at bay. I will leave and you will heed, the words of a girl, that once you would need. Only to quite her and say you didnt mind. That day you went away, from a world left behind. From a place unknkown, undone and unshown, is me, from behind, the glasses you see, stark and unkind. From the remnants of you, turning this world into the blue. And in the darkest of minds is someone so true. Ready to come out, to be unveiled. To be seen, and shown, and at last curtailed. To a world from which I see, in a heart so failed, in that which is me.

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.