I figure, if you read my blog, you
a. love me unconditionally and won’t be swayed by anything I say. EVER.
b. have a child in my classroom and therefore know the importance of kissing up to the teacher in order to ensure that said child does not go hungry/thirsty/or abandoned on the playground during recess whilst in my care, so no matter what I write about you will think it is the work of a genius.
c. don’t know me at all and therefore not a factor in this decision, although I’m sure you’re terrific and you’ll see through my diagnosis and continue to read what I have to say because it impacts your life dramatically and without my blog you would lose all will to live.
d. This is your first visit and you have already clicked onto another better and more entertaining blog. So you won’t be offended when I say #$#$% you.
I was fifteen years old when I made the discovery, in the local public library in the Psychology section. One book, slightly disheveled and pulled out on the crowded bookshelf, caught my eye: “The Boy Who Couldn’t Stop Washing.” I yanked it off the shelf, even though I had no particular issues with bathing and spent what most would consider an average amount of time in the shower. But the book spoke to me and I was compelled to flip through it.
On the last page.
A checklist of symptoms.
The answer I had been looking for for years.
Finally in my hands.
A chance at some sort of explanation, understanding.
In a tiny book that made its way into my shaking hands.
An entire childhood redeemed by a few case stories that at least somewhat resembled mine.
I was crazy, just like I thought.
But at least there was a name for it.
And so that night, I crawled into my parent’s king bed, and with a mixture of relief and fear, tearfully told them that I had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. If there was a movie made about my life (hey. it could happen.) then this would be where the photo montage would be inserted; timeless depictions of a young girl struggling behind the smiles and crooked braids, an adolescent uncomfortable in her skin, the black eyeliner thick, the green eyes searching for something that makes sense. The Fray’s “How to Save a Life” would be in the background, powerful lyrics intertwined with pictures, another example of the Human Condition. Oscar nominated of course. I would wear a billowing green dress, my handsome husband on my arm, the diamonds dazzling in the sunlight…….
Sorry about that. I’m back now.
Anyway. I won’t give you all of the details. Not when I can write a book about it and make some money instead of giving it away for free all the time on this blog. What’s that saying? “Why buy the cow when she makes sour milk?” Or maybe it’s “Free milk makes for poor cows?” In any case, my parents promptly ploppped me down on the nearest leather chair in our local Psychiatrist’s office and I walked away more confused than ever and with a prescription for Anafranil. A drug made for people like me. Too scared to take it that night, my father, his shiny red cape blowing in the breeze coming through the kitchen window, downed a pill with me and I went soundly to sleep. He stayed up barfing all night.
But as my seratonin levels began to finally find some peace and quiet, my sweat glands started a party of their own, and as a fun little side effect of my tiny pills, I couldn’t walk the ten step staircase to Home Ec class without leaving a salty trail of sweat behind.
2. Social life way more important than relief from life-long OCD.
3. Quit the meds and began a tumultous and sort of fun career of self-medicating (read: Keg Parties and Parent’s Liquor Cabinet).
Enter my thirties. Why do I suddenly feel the urge to share all of this with you? It’s not sudden. It’s a burden of mine that I have carried since before that fateful day in the library. When I didn’t know why I had to say goodnight three times in a row and my parents couldn’t fall asleep before I did and I clutched my grandmother’s hand as we slept on twin beds pushed together for added protection. I silently suffered as I began my descent into a life filled with odd numbers and even transactions. I wrote gritty poetry that no one understood and hid behind bad choices, chain smoking, and burgundy lipliner that I reapplied in-between each class.
I found a boy who loved me and married me and to this day, almost ten years later, sometimes has to nudge me past a doorway if it takes too long for me to get through.
I birthed two sons, and suddenly I wasn’t that important anymore.
And the joys and sorrows of motherhood, the cries of autism and epilepsy, the triumphs and transgressions of everyday life with a full family began to silence the need to live perfectly on this planet.
And, as I turned down the volume in my own mind, I was able to hear the rest of the world; what I found out was more healing than anything the doctor could prescribe.
You’re just as messed up as I am.
Whether you know it or not.
It may or may not have a name, but believe me, you are out there.
Which brings me to my next point.
Don’t try and ride on my OCD coat tail because it’s all mine. I need it. I’m writing a best selling memoir remember, and a
crazy quirky clinically insane interesting author sells more books than someone who is….. boring normal.
Plus, now it’s all vogue to have chemical imbalances and so I wanna come out before the train leaves the station, if you know what I mean.
So. To recap.
You will read this post, feel sorry for me, then gasp in surpise at the fact that I have OCD stamped in my medical records (among other things….but one issue at a time please), then wonder if you will ever look at me the same way, then feel inspired and empowered by my story of triumph, then wish you were my best friend (unless you already are, in which case you will feel very grateful and superior to others) then tell everyone you know that they are morons for not reading my blog because not only am I witty and smart, but i am also unstable and how cool is that??
Crap. One more.