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Hope Comes in a Quiet Whisper

So as part of the OCD conference attendees were asked to be an advocate for OCD. To tell people there is hope for those with OCD. Everyone who wanted to could be filmed saying “There is hope for those with OCD” and something else if they wished.

I thought long and hard about this. I wanted to say something meaningful. I wanted to help others. Of course I totally blew my session in front of the camera just b/c I became so nervous about the whole ordeal. But one of my sentences Jeff Bell said was beautiful and asked me to repeat it for the camera.

“Hope Comes in a Quiet Whisper.”

Honestly I have no idea how I came up with this. But it is completely and utterly true. I was just thinking of what I would write if I wrote my own Memoir and that sentence would be the title (and perhaps will be the title if I ever decide to write one…which I am actually contemplating).

This is what I wrote when I was first trying to decide what I would say to those who felt hopeless from OCD. It is basically a very summarized memoir (some of it comes straight from this blog..just in case why you are wondering a part or 2 sounds familiar):

Hope comes in a quiet whisper, a whisper that if you are courageous enough can change your life.

I’m 22 years old, and have had OCD since I was at least 8 years old. I didn’t know though that I had a disorder until September 2011, when I was just a few months from turning 22.

From around the age of 8, I remember having obsessive thoughts of contamination (contaminating both myself and others), thoughts that if I didn’t do or say certain things that I and who ever my thoughts were aimed at were going to hell, thoughts that if I didn’t do certain things in places that made me feel uncomfortable that I was going to die, thoughts that I was a bad person, and that, no matter what, I would never be good enough. Of course these obsessions were partnered with elaborate rituals (such as writing ‘I Love God’, ‘I Love Jesus’ on the shower wall with my finger, touching my nose to ensure that I was breathing and not dying, avoiding certain situations, petting my dogs in the exact right pattern, etc).

When I was young I tried to speak to my parents once or twice about it, but I was too afraid that they would institutionalize me or try to perform an exorcism. I truly believed I was demon possessed. I can’t express to you how torturous these thoughts were to an eight year old. I was convinced that my parents would no longer love me if I let them see what I believed was the ‘true me.’

I don’t think I can say that I went into remission. But as the years went on I found ways to cope. One way was even hiding it from myself. I would have OCD difficulties but would make myself forget them right after they happened. I didn’t want to acknowledge it.

My illusion that I was ok held pretty well throughout middle school and high school. The stresses of college though ripped my illusion fiercely apart. In addition to all that I outlined above, I went into a spiral of morbid obsessions and perfectionism. I honestly don’t know how I survived my undergraduate career. The thoughts debilitated me, but I was able to keep it hidden. I thought it was only a matter of time before someone would notice and institutionalize me. My compulsion though for my morbid obsessions was avoidance, so it was easy to hide: I just simply refused to let people touch me, because I was afraid that I would do something to them. Living a life in academia also made it easy to hide perfectionism, because who doesn’t want to be perfect to get into the best programs? All of this only got worse when I entered graduate school. Especially morbid obsessions, perfectionism, a high sense of responsibility to all of those that I came in contact with, and contamination issues.

I can’t describe to you though the constant pain I was in. I wasn’t dying a little everyday. All of me was dying everyday only to be cursed to be reincarnated into the same person the next day and the next.

I was in a silent prison screaming. It was all I could hear, but no one could hear me. One day though I heard something that was not characteristic of my constant scream. It was a whisper that broke through. A whisper of hope.

At this point in my life I no longer cared about myself. I didn’t believe that I deserved to ever be happy, feel comfortable, feel wanted, or feel loved. But because I had a high sense of responsibility for all those around me I knew I wanted to help others. Before OCD hit me in undergrad, I was enthusiastic about community service. All I ever did was want to make other’s lives better, whether or not someone knew it was me making their lives better.

So my whisper of hope disguised itself as a whisper of a memory, this idea that I could make other’s lives better. If I truly was a horrible person, I wanted to spend the rest of my life (if I could leave my house) counteracting it.

After one particularly bad OCD episode in which I had convinced myself that both my roommate and I were going to die from the chemical residue of the cleaning supplies I used to decontaminated our bathroom (I needed TONS of reassurance from my roommate and my parents that you can’t die from cleaning products), I finally sought for a therapist.

I knew something was wrong with me, and a therapist would know whether there was something mentally wrong with me or if I needed to be locked up as a psychopath.

This is when my hope extended and transformed into my therapist. He gave me hope. He explained to me that I had something called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and that in fact I was NOT an evil person. He didn’t judge me.

I still had a hard time believing this hope. But this hope was there. Waiting patiently for me. A little louder than a whisper now that I heard a trained professional tell me it was going to be ok. My hope then continued to transform into my parents, who continued to love me even after I told them all of my ‘horrible’ secrets. Like a blooming flower, my hope opened wider to encompass a few select friends who offered me support. Hope then manifested in the form of humor. Humor that kept me laughing at myself and my crazy compulsions.

Finally, my hope grew to embrace me. I now began to believe in me. I finally believed that the OCD was not me and I could be the beautiful person I always wanted to be.

Hope manifests itself in so many ways. It will transform and materialize in the ways you most need it. You just have to be brave enough to first listen for that hint of a whisper.

There is hope for those with OCD.

…..

I’ll write about the conference tonight! I promise!

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Finding my Life again…

I wish life had a restart button. A restart button that would allow you to start again all the way from the beginning, a year ago, a month ago, a week ago, etc.

Unfortunately that doesn’t exist, so we have to move forward from where we are at and make something out of it.

Recently for some reason… the OCD has been winning… mostly the Pure O type but then I have the compulsion just to avoid life and hide in my bedroom.

Part of it is that I am overly tired and I’m stressing about my Best Friend’s wedding b/c it really is the only thing that is currently occupying my time. As we’ve discussed before I’m always tired… they think I may have mild narcolepsy but they can’t say for sure… either way though I need a new sleeping regime b/c what I’m doing isn’t good.

I’m at my parent’s house for the summer… who believe in waking up every morning between 6 and 7am… I’m not used to waking up till 9am at the earliest. You think though that if I just went to bed earlier this wouldn’t be a problem… but it is hard to b/c when my parents go to bed is when I can have my “alone time” which I desperately need… especially from my parents. And sometimes I just love it so much I extend it late into the night. I love my parents and don’t want to hurt their feelings by needing my alone time during the day with them… but I think I am going to have to start doing so in order that I actually sleep for 8+ hours at night.

I know I need to start working out again too… I’m just too tired to find the energy… but I need to force myself. I also need to start preparing for my PhD programs by casually reading articles and ardently working on my Spanish skills. As of right now I’ve just been reading and playing video games… which I LOVE TO DO but it doesn’t give me the structure that I need in life… that my OCD needs in life… which I think may have been what made this past year more difficult than it should have been… I just didn’t have any structure b/c I was giving everything up b/c my OCD was in the way.

So I’m putting into writing that I am going to do this and I need you guys to keep me accountable. PLEASE. Also if you have suggestions for anything that I should do I need to know… b/c I really have no idea how one starts to “work out” and eat well and such… so I’m just going with the basic walking/jogging in the morning, trying to eat right, and having things to do throughout the day.

Ok… So I’m publicizing the following…

Current Height: 5’7″

Current Weight: 145    Goal Weight: 130

Current Loose Weight Plan: 3 mile walk/jog in the morning… Hit two birds with one stone by taking my puppy with me for part of it. Also record everything that I eat.. try not to eat over 1500 calories.

Activities: Find Something Creative to do (apparently this helps OCD people to do something creative). Work on Spanish 45min-1 hour a day. Read one to two scholarly articles a day (depending on length) or one to two scholarly book chapters (depending on length). Play with puppy!

I’ll post more as I think of it or if anyone gives me tips!

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Musings…

So I know I said that I was going to write about my connection with the Lady of Shalott… but I currently have other things on my mind.

Prior to going into these musings though SPOILER ALERT FOR SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN. DON’T SAY I DIDN’T WARN YOU IF I ACCIDENTALLY REVEAL TOO MUCH ABOUT THE MOVIE FOR YOU. I don’t think there is actually any spoilers but just in case you’ve been warned lol

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So obviously I went and saw Snow White and the Huntsman with my best friend yesterday. It was a FANTASTIC movie. Seriously. I was extremely surprised, especially since it starred Kristen Stewart (which is why my Snow White pictures in this blog is of Snow White in Once Upon a Time and not Snow White and the Huntsman lol). Don’t get me wrong I do love most of the movies she is in (yes I’m a Twilight fan don’t judge lol)… but she can’t act. I’m sorry she can’t. All of her facial expressions seem to say “I need to go throw up now.” lol. But we will save my Kristen Stewart rant for another day. BUT ANYWAY all the other actors, the plot line, the computer animation, and the set were just SO amazing that I couldn’t help but absolutely love the movie and the character of Snow White (let us pretend she isn’t Kristen Stewart).

Snow White (at least in this rendition) is everything I ever have wanted to be: innocent, pure, fair, beautiful inside and out, courageous, fearless, putting others before herself, active, wanting to change the world for the better, strong, willing to love all, gentle, kind… and so many other qualities.

It is characters such as Snow White, Wanderer from The Hostand Edith from The Inheritance that I long to be.

I don’t want to be who I am… lazy, tired, scared, fearful, self- centered, forgetful, and unkind. I want to change and be just like them. But I don’t think I can. Or at least I don’t know how one can go back to “innocence” and “purity.”

I think I was once like Snow White for a period of my life. After I got into a huge blow out with a friend in high school about myself… I decided to change my life around. Care about others way more than me. Put others before me at all times. I stayed that way until the end of my 2nd year of undergrad… then OCD pulled me under its grips.

Having OCD has made me feel like I lost my innocence… my purity… because of the thoughts that plagued me. I became self-centered because I had to be careful of my actions at all times so that I didn’t ever hurt anyone. As I mentioned the root of all my OCD is really my fear of hurting others in terms of something just as simple as hurting someone’s feelings on accident or something ridiculous like accidentally contaminating them because I didn’t wash my hands enough or accidentally poisoning someone because I wasn’t paying attention well enough to the cleaning products I used and got it in a cup or something (ridiculous I know but it is something I fear).

My problem is is that I cared SO much about everyone else that I wanted to take myself out of the game of life in fear that I would accidentally inconvenience someone. So in a way its a bit of an oxymoron I became solely focused on myself, because I became fearful of what I may do to someone else’s life that might accidentally make it worse.

Snow White though… is so selfless that she never thinks of herself and always does good for others. Never does she do something that isn’t for the good of all mankind. And when the evil queen’s small army that went after Snow White after she escaped set fire to the village she was staying in… Snow White tried to stay to help the others, but it was the towns people who needed her to be safe. Needed her to continue on so that she may heal the rest of the world.

Snow White showed love for all. Forest creatures, the dwarfs she met a long the way, her huntsman, and her child hood friend. She even no longer hated the queen but felt sorry for her. Snow White is not one capable of hate.

I don’t think I am really capable of hate either. I think its wrong to hate anyone and that everyone who asks for it should be given a second chance. But there is one person I hate… myself. And I don’t know how to get over it or if I ever will. I’m too terrified to be selfless because what if in trying to help people I accidentally hurt someone?

Plus I’m not someone who people are just automatically drawn too. I read books and watch movies about the type of pure, innocent girl who so many love (both in terms of friendship and romantically) and I have never had that. Even during that period when I think I was most like Snow White… I never had followers or people drawn to me. I was always behind the scenes away from the lime light because I never wanted it (though secretly I think I did want it.. but wanting the lime light kind of scared me b/c that meant I cared too much about myself)… but neither do the “Snow White” type of women, but they still get it.

Taking a quote from A Great and Terrible Beauty 

“It’s not Kartik’s longing that hurts.  It’s my own. It’s knowing that I”ll never have what she has- a beauty* so powerful it brings things to you. I fear I will always have to chase the things I want. I’ll always have to wonder whether I’m truly wanted or whether I’ve just been settled for.”

*I’m interpreting beauty here as both inner and outer

I’ll never be the Snow White type… no matter how much I want it. I’ll always have to wonder if my presence is even wanted because I’m not the type of girl I want to be and other’s want me to be.

I long to be beautiful, to be pure, to be innocent, to be brave, to change the world for the better… But I’ll never be Snow White… I’m just always going to be me… and that isn’t good enough for anyone, especially me.

If I ever was once Snow White… OCD was my poisoned apple… and sadly I will never be woken by true love’s kiss… but forever stuck in a sleep full of nightmares

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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[untitled]

“‘Because you don’t notice the light without a bit of shadow. Everything has both dark and light. You have to play with it till you get it exactly right.’”

“But forgiveness… I’ll hold on to that fragile slice of hope and keep it close, remembering that in each of us lie good and bad, light and dark, art and pain, choice and regret, cruelty and sacrifice. We’re each of us our own chiaroscuro, our own bit of illusion fighting to emerge into something solid, something real. We’ve got to forgive ourselves that. I must remember to forgive myself. Because there’s an awful lot of gray to work with. No one can live in the light all the time.”

“When the music is over, she keeps her head down till she finds her seat again, and I wonder how many times each day she dies a little.”

So I’m not sure how to title this post. I’m a little unsure of how this post will go in general. I’ve been at my sister’s house doing absolutely nothing but babysitting her dogs in a town I’ve never been in and no car to go anywhere. So basically I am bored out of my mind. But it has allowed me to do a lot of reading and reflect upon what I read.

As I mentioned I’ve been reading the trilogy A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. I read the first book many years ago when I was still in high school. At that time I wasn’t really ready for the book. I found it really dark and disturbing. Obviously I’ve reread it and I’m now in love with the book. I think my high school reaction was due to the fact that I led an extremely sheltered life and I couldn’t relate to anything in the book.

I couldn’t relate to the darkness that was within and the light that hope brought to it. I had never really experienced it before. Of course I had hardships growing up, I mean you can read this blog and clearly see that…. but the darkness inside of me I tried my hardest to hide and so I forgot it was within me.

As I mentioned before, OCD plagued me as a young child… I didn’t understand why I was having such disturbing thoughts. I didn’t understand that I wasn’t evil. As I aged though I found that the easiest way to deal with it was to ignore it. Pretend that there was nothing wrong with me, so there would be nothing wrong with me (even though I did some ridiculous compulsions… but I would just forget about it right after it happened).  But as Libba Bray puts elegantly in her book  “you can’t keep up the illusion forever,” …“No one has that much magic.” 

When I had my OCD melt down in undergrad…when my illusion finally broke… I can’t describe the constant pain I was in. I wasn’t dying a little everyday… all of me was dying everyday… only to be cursed to be reincarnated in the same body the next day and the next… to feel the constant pain and torment from the thoughts that plagued me. Thoughts of harming myself and others… thoughts that I was evil… thoughts that no matter what I did I was damned.

I fought it so hard. And with OCD… often the more you fight it without using the right type of therapy (which I wasn’t in therapy at all b/c I didn’t realize there was anything wrong with me beyond thinking I was evil) the worse it gets, because your brain gets stuck on repeat on the same horrible thoughts. Now that I know it was OCD that plagued my life, you think I could forgive myself… but honestly I still find that I can’t. What in the first place could possibly get those types of thoughts in my head? I had those thought… I couldn’t stop them… and what scared me even more was the constant thought it my head to stop fighting and to give into the thoughts and make them into actions. I’m proud and relieved to say that I NEVER acted on those thoughts… but the idea that I might act on the thoughts was a persistent OCD fear. I couldn’t trust anyone or anything… especially me. So really my OCD was like this: I would have a horrible obsession.. say harm obsession… then I would freak out that I would actually do it.. which would then make me obsesses over whether I was truly an evil person… and then my compulsion was to take myself out of the game and/or ask for reassurance. Confine myself to a life of academia and in my apartment so that I could never hurt anyone, as my obsessional thoughts were making me think I was going to do.

How can I forgive myself for this? How can I trust myself? How do I know that this really is OCD and I’m not evil? What person could possibly have these thoughts and still be a good person?

And knowing that it is OCD has honestly made me feel better… but also worse in some ways… I feel like I’m being desensitized to some of my horrible thoughts. When I realize one is rolling in I’m like “oh this is an OCD thought don’t pay attention to it.” I then begin to think of something else such as the weather outside. I let the “train pass by” trying not to give it a second glance so to speak. The problem is though… is that I realize that I have these thoughts still… and that they are just becoming a normal piece of my life… but I DON’T WANT THESE THOUGHTS EVER IN MY MIND. How can I possibly make them go away forever????? I don’t want to become desensitized, because what if being desensitized is what leads someone to taking action because it “really isn’t that big of a deal?”

Its like I’m constantly fighting the darkness within me. I don’t want to be dark at all. I want to help people. I want to make people’s lives better. I don’t care if my name is remembered or if my actions are known… I just want to bring happiness to someone who has never known it or heal the soul of someone who needs it. ….But… I’m too terrified of myself… I can’t bring myself to get close to anyone b/c what if I accidentally do something to hurt them?

So with the OCD… the obsessional thoughts have stopped thanks to medication.. but… its more like that I now have this haunting thought lying beneath all my other thoughts and motivations “what if my soul is really a dark place? what if I’m not good? what if I can’t ever control my thoughts?… and eventually what if my thoughts take over my actions?”

Maybe I should just continue taking myself out of the game. So that I can’t hurt anyone. Because what kind of life can I currently lead? I’m too scared of doing something wrong.

So maybe this is where I belong… in a city where no one knows who I am… doing a meaningless task of taking care of my sister’s dogs… it affects someone right? so I am doing good somehow right? But I’m out of the game of my life… I don’t want the control of my life nor do I want my thoughts to control my life… but how can one really live that way?

Do I need to do as this book suggests and find the balance between light and dark? Realize that I really am the light… but sometimes darkness overtakes my thoughts? Darkness may lie in my thoughts but I need to fight for the balance so that only light leaves as an action out of my body.

After all  “you don’t notice the light without a bit of shadow. Everything has both dark and light. You have to play with it till you get it exactly right.’”

I can’t stop living life… so I must find a balance… between my OCD and who it is I am and want to be.. a light in this dark world and within myself. I must emerge as something beyond an illusion and become the solid person I am… bringing hope and compassion to the world. Now that I’ve had a taste of darkness… even just in my own thoughts… I feel as though I can now help those more readily who are still searching for some hope of light.

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The Door


 I want to be wanted. If I was to disappear I would want someone to notice.

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Wanting…

So another school year is currently closing. I turned in my MA thesis on Friday. All I have left is a batch of essays to grade by Tuesday and then Tuesday I receive Finals to grade. And then my semester will be over. My school year will be over. My MA degree will be complete.

I find that once again I am headed to the unknown. It isn’t something that is uncommon for me. This will be my 14th move… or 15th if you count that one time my family just moved to a new house in the same town.

I’m excited for the change. I’m in need of it. I don’t know what it is like not to change. The fact that I am about to go into a PhD program where I have to commit to being somewhere for 5 years scares me! (I’ve never lived anywhere longer than 3.5 years). But then again for much of that PhD program I will be in and out of the country.

I’m excited to once again be able to recreate myself from scratch. I’m going somewhere new where I know no one. No one will know I have OCD. No one will know that I am really shy. No one will know that I’m lonely.

I can be whoever I want to be.

I’ve always viewed change as a good thing. But I am realizing lately how really it hasn’t been good for me.

After I move somewhere there are very few people who I keep in contact with from my previous location. I mean yes we are Facebook friends. But really is a Facebook friend a “friend”?

As I am starting to pack up and getting ready to go… I’m realizing that there are very few people where I am at right now who I will probably end up saying good bye too. I have always found that the easiest way to leave somewhere is to just go. Tear of the band-aid. Saying Goodbye to people I know I will never see again…what is the point?

I let people go too easily.

To be honest though… I want stability in my life. And I can tell you right now that stability is not something I find in my family. Every time I get off the phone with a family member I wonder if I’ve done something wrong and someone will no longer speak to me.

I want to be wanted.

Just in terms of having friends. I always feel 2nd class to many of my friends. It is often because I am younger than most of the people in my cohort. So many view me as “naive,” but honestly I am not. I find that with many of my friends I’m like the little sister or even a pet.

Everyone loves me. Everyone wants to protect me. Everyone wants to play with me (in terms of making fun of me in a loving way, dying my hair, going to play on swing sets/ video games, random wrestling matches). Yet no one wants their little sister to come out partying with them. Or tell them their deepest secrets. I’m too fragile to hang out with them. I’m too pure and innocent to be able to handle what is in their lives (which is complete and utter crap).

I mean to be honest. I am the youngest of 4. So I do know how to be the younger sister and I am much younger than most of my friends, but still. For once, I want to be first to someone. Even just to a friend.

I know I lost many of the few friends that I did have this year, with my OCD melt down. I didn’t want anyone anywhere near me. I thought I was going crazy and I thought the more I distanced myself the less likely they would be hurt by me (one of my greatest OCD fears). But I was easily replaced. I was/am easily forgotten.

I have also never had a real romantic connection with anyone. As a lover of all Romantic movies this has always been a really depressing aspect of my life. I want to believe true love exists. I want to have it. But for some reason I can never obtain it. I can’t even get someone who isn’t a creeper to give me a second glance. I mean I am not gorgeous, but I am not ugly either. I believe I am a nice person and funny.

I’ve been in love with this one specific individual, for a very long time. I finally recently got the guts to let him know. I knew it wasn’t going to end well, but I just had to do it. So I did. But I shouldn’t have. Because it just makes me realize even more so that I always come in 2nd.

I want to be wanted. I want to feel wanted. I want to be in wanting.

But I’m never good enough. Maybe this go around when I move to my new location, I will create a new me who is good enough. I’ll be someone that someone will want.

Maybe I am just not deserving though…

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Video

Paradise is only found within my dreams

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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