When OCD isn’t obsessive cleaning disorder

I have OCD. Memes about it are a dime a dozen and I could write a whole post solely about the memes. “I wish I were OCD so my house would be cleaner.” “OCD quirks are so cute!” “I’m OCD but I call it CDO so the letters are in the right order.” “Wow, how can you be OCD and not be a clean freak?”

These attitudes are outright dangerous to those with OCD. OCD is both obsessions and compulsions. So for me, it may manifest as repeating a convo in my head I had YEARS ago over and over. Worrying about one little word I may have misplaced on a Facebook post, over and over. Being irrationally afraid  of one of my friends getting hurt. They’re obsessions, and they’re intrusive. They’re a major part of my life.

Compulsions are the other part. It isn’t that I don’t think I locked the door. It isn’t that I keep looking at the door for fun or getting up to check because I want to. I have to. I will literally lay awake until I can check it. I will worry myself to the point of throwing up if I don’t check it. I check my DVD folder and my game folder on a regular basis to make sure everything’s in the order it’s supposed to be. Even if I haven’t touched them otherwise in days, they’ve still got to be just right. The photos on my wall have to be hung just right – to you, they may not look straightly hung or odd but I require them to be a certain  way.

Liking your DVDs or books lined up just so is not OCD. It IS OCD when it interferes with your life. OCD is not a preference. It’s the way your life is. You literally cannot function unless they are in your so-called preferred order. Being nervous about something is not OCD. Replaying it over and over in your brain, not being able to escape from it, IS.

I am not a washer. I am not a germaphobe. I am not obsessed with keeping things clean. But it doesn’t mean I don’t suffer from OCD. Just because you do things a certain way and like it that way, doesn’t mean that you have OCD. It’s all comes down to do you WANT it that way or do you HAVE to have it that way? When you have to have it that way, it crosse from a quirk into something that makes life more difficult.

Please don’t make jokes at our expense. Please don’t claim you have OCD when you don’t.

Invisible Illness: Mental Health Edition

Image is of Chronic Illness Cat - a siamese with blue eyes. Text says "Anxiety? Depression? It's all in your head. NO SHIT."

Image is of Chronic Illness Cat – a siamese with blue eyes. Text says “Anxiety? Depression? It’s all in your head. NO SHIT.”

So. Apparently  it’s invisible illness week. I’m going to do two posts. My first one here is about the mental aspect of my chronic illness.  Tomorrow, I’ll do the physical one.

I have depression.

I have PTSD.

I have OCD.

I have GAD.

To many, even me, it looks like an alphabetical clusterfuck. I take three different medications a day to try and keep my brain from frazzling out. I am in therapy – I have been for four years and a half years and will be for the foreseeable future.

Some days my future is bleak.

Some  days I can’t leave my apartment.

Others, I can’t leave my bed.

Some days, I am fully functional.

It isn’t a one size fits all.

There is no cure.

I only learn to live.

To adapt.

To change.

And to grow.

But, I’ve accepted it. These things suck balls, that much is true.

But it doesn’t change the fact I’m an awesome and compassionate friend.

It doesn’t change the fact I live and laugh and love.

It is just a part of my brain chemistry. The way I am.

A peak into my life

I don’t remember how old I was when my depression started, but I was fairly young. I’ve been playing Russian Roulette with anti depressants for as long as I can remember, just having them shot at me in hopes that one would work. I’ve been hospitalized. I’ve been in group homes. I’ve been in group therapy. I’ve been in outpatient therapy for years now. And yet, I’m still fucked up in the head.

I feel overwhelming hopelessness. Does it ever get better than this? Is this the life I’m destined to live? Let me tell you, life with depression is sucked. I have confirmed GAD, ED-NOS, PTSD, and Major Depression. If that looks like alphabet soup to you, that’s general anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, and an eating disorder. I also have OCD, or obsessive compulsive disorder. I’m currently on two medications. And they’re not helping. I’m in therapy. And it’s not helping.

What more can I do? What more do I do? Let me give you a peak at what it’s like. Let me give you an insight of what it’s like. It’s like you’re trying to reach out your hand for help, and you can see someone, something, anything in the distance, but it’s just barely out of grasp. You reach and you reach and you try to grab onto that something – that hope, that thing in the distance you’re hanging on for, but it’s just out of grasp. You can’t cling it. You can’t grasp onto it. And you’re feebly trying to hold onto it, but instead you’re just grasping at thin air.

It’s like you’re standing in the middle of a crowded room. People all around you, but you’re ignored. You’re invisible. No one sees you. No one sees the pain you’re hiding. The grief, the sorrow, the agony, the heartbreak.

You weep and you cry, alone. You’re broken. The pieces of the Lego kit don’t make the castle, it makes a broken puzzle. You try so hard to be whole, you try so hard to be COMPLETE, but something is missing. Something just isn’t there. You want it to be, oh, you want it to be, but it’s not.

You’re empty. Completely empty. You try to find things to fill you up – cutting, drinking, video games, movies, school, but nothing fills it. Instead, you become even more empty. Even more withdrawn. Even more depressed. Everything falls apart. Everything falls at your feet. You try so hard, so hard to hold it together, but you can’t.

You panic over everything. You freak over everything. You count things. You arrange things. You make things just so. You replay everything over and over in your head. Rewind the video tape, start it over. You check things constantly, because what if you didn’t lock that door? What if you didn’t turn off that oven? You taunt yourself with every possible thing that could go wrong, and you’re driving yourself nuts inside your own head.

Suicide sounds appealing. Not because you want to die, but because living is just too much. At times, it’s at the point where you don’t want to live but you don’t want to die. You just want to cease to exist. To pull into a cocoon, and rest and rest and rest. You want everything to go on around you, while you’re just hiding from the world. But at the same time, you want to be out in that world you’re hiding from. You want to be free from your thoughts and your chains and your baggage and your bondage and your past.

Sleep isn’t even a rest, sleep isn’t even a solace. Nightmares taught you, you struggle to fall asleep, you struggle to stay asleep. Tossing and turning, fear and panic. This is your every night. This is your life. This is how you are.

And this is what life with my mental health is life. This is just a small peak. I could go longer, but I doubt anyone gives a shit enough to read it. This is how I have to function. And I hate it. I hate every moment of it.