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The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway…

Frozen.

I don’t know how many times I’ve written in this blog or talked to my friends about feeling “frozen”… having a cold heart.. unable to warm… unable to feel…. but yet there is nothing I want more than to thaw out what is frozen…

I’ve never loved and hated a movie as much as I love and hate the movie Frozen. I’ve been putting off writing about it for a couple months now, because I still don’t know how to articulate how incredibly connected I feel to this movie and how much I hate Disney’s happy ending to this story. But I’m sorry Disney… the happy ending that you created was too unreal. It doesn’t matter that their was magically talking creatures in this movie or the power of an individual to create snow… no the most unrealistic aspect was the end.

… I am Elsa…8208481_6221277_b

Never in my life have I been able to identify with a character to the degree that I identify with Elsa. No I do not have the ability to magically make snow and ice appear, but I too was born with a gift that was misunderstood and became feared.

I’m not sure how presumptuous this makes me, but I have always felt that my greatest gift that I was born with was my ability to care and empathize with all that I meet. My parents have told me that they saw this gift within me even from a young age. I had such a loving heart towards everyone I met.

I don’t know how statically accurate this following statement is, but those who have been diagnosed with OCD  are usually those individuals who care most about others. Today, most of my OCD revolves around my fear of doing something that hurts others (whether physical or emotional), because I care too much.

Because of my “power” to care for others, I “developed” what I’ll call a “side effect”… my OCD… fearing too much for myself and for others. I couldn’t go to bed at night without ensuring I did certain rituals to ensure that I and my family didn’t die in the night… my parents knew there was something wrong with me… but like Elsa’s parents they begged me to hide it.

Elsa- “Don’t let them in, don’t let them see. Be the good girl you always have to be. Conceal, don’t feel, put on a show. Make one wrong move and everyone will know. But it’s only for today.”

That could have been my life’s mantra. I had to conceal… I had to put on a show… so that no one but my family would know their was something wrong with me. And like Elsa… I had to hide my hands… I didn’t wear gloves (that would raise more questions in our society), but I couldn’t reveal my bloody dry hands… I couldn’t let people see my rituals… it would take away from everyone’s view that we had a perfect family.

In fact, growing up I was able to conceal it so well… that except during OCD moments (hand washing, freaking out and doing rituals while going up escalators, freaking out in large buildings (such as churches, movie theaters, and malls), freaking out if I didn’t pet the dog in a certain pattern, freaking out when driving, freaking out about failing, freaking out about not being perfect)… I convinced MYSELF there was nothing wrong with me.

The biggest reminders though would be when my middle sister (who is completely Anna in this situation) would want to “build a snowman” and I would shut the door in her face. I couldn’t do ANYTHING that might make the OCD reveal itself… and it would hurt her sooo deeply.

Anna: Elsa?

Do you wanna build a snowman?
Come on lets go and play
I never see you anymore, come out the door It’s like you’ve gone away

We used to be best buddies and now were not I wish you would tell me why
Do you wanna build a snowman?
It doesn’t have to be a snowman

Elsa: Go away Anna
Anna: Okayy bye…

Once we got to college the OCD became worse… but my sister was occasionally able to coax me away from my room and build a snowman… but these were rare occurrences….

I can’t tell you the amount of times I thought about running away just like Elsa… how better my life would be… and in fact in some ways I did run away… I ran away to my isolated places… b/c I knew that if I was alone I couldn’t hurt anyone… just like Elsa… she ran away so she wouldn’t hurt anyone…

The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen
A kingdom of isolation,
And it looks like I’m the Queen

The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I tried

Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well, now they know

Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door

I don’t care
What they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on,
The cold never bothered me anyway

It’s funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me
Can’t get to me at all

It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
I’m free

Let it go, let it go
I am one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go
You’ll never see me cry

Here I stand
And here I’ll stay
Let the storm rage on

My power flurries through the air into the ground
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
I’m never going back,
The past is in the past

Let it go, let it go
And I’ll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone

Here I stand
In the light of day
Let the storm rage on,
The cold never bothered me anyway

I don’t care what they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on
The cold never bothered me anyway

While this song seems so incredibly empowering, it makes my heart break… because this moment of empowerment is all based on the fact that she will be lonely forever.

“The cold never bothered me anyway”= “Being alone never bothered me anyway.”

While she loves her beautiful gift to make beautiful ice and snow, she still hates it… its what keeps her away from others… it is what keeps her separate and different… it is what keeps her alone… I love my gift for caring for others… but I care so much that it sets off my chemical imbalance… so I rather be alone… so I can care for others from afar… so they don’t have to risk anything being near me.

It is like this whole song is her being in awe and amazed at what she can do and using it to convince herself that loneliness won’t be terrible… and that she will be ok… but there isn’t much worse than being completely alone… don’t get me wrong… I need days to be by myself… to recharge… after all I am an introvert… but I know most of my loneliness (especially before I finally started therapy 2.5 years ago) is self inflicted… and I really don’t want to be lonely.

Anna: You don’t have to protect me, I’m not afraid!

Anna:
Please don’t shut me out again,
Please don’t slam the door
You don’t have to keep your distance anymore

‘Cuz for the first time in forever,
I finally understand
For the first time in forever,
We can fix this hand in hand

We can head down this mountain together
You don’t have live in fear
‘Cuz for the first time in forever,
I will be right here

Elsa:Anna

Elsa:
Please go back home, your life awaits
Go enjoy the sun and open up the gates

Anna: Yeah, but –

Elsa: I know

Elsa:
You mean well, but leave me be
Yes, I’m alone, but I’m alone and free
Just stay away and you’ll be safe from me

Anna (Elsa):
Actually we’re not (What do you mean you’re not?)
I get the feeling you don’t know (What do I not know?)
Arendelle’s in deep, deep, deep, deep snow

Elsa: What?!

Anna: You’ve kind of set off an eternal winter.. everywhere

Elsa: Everywhere?

Anna: Well, it’s okay, you can just unfreeze it

Elsa: No, I can’t, I – I don’t know how!

Anna: Sure you can! I know you can!

Anna (Elsa):
‘Cuz for the first time in forever, (I’m such a fool, I can’t be free)
You don’t have to be afraid (No escape from the storm inside of me)
We can work this out together (I can’t control the curse)
We’ll reverse the storm you’ve made (Anna, please! You’ll only make it worse!)

Don’t panic (There’s so much fear)
We’ll make the sun shine bright (You’re not safe here)
We can face this thing together (No!)
We can change this winter weather
And everything we’ll be – (I can’t!)

Even after others found out about what was wrong with me… they felt like they understood and that they could help me… and to a large degree… I am MUCH better because of the support of all those around me… but this gets to my issue with the unrealistic ending of this movie… there is no escape from the storm inside of me… and I have so much fear… yes my once severe OCD is barely present and mild at its worse now… but I can’t control it… and I fear relapse soooo much… and even with others all around me… leaving my isolation “hand in hand”… it doesn’t make the fear go away.

The end of Frozen… Elsa realized that it was “love” that would melt the snow and ice. It was love that set her free. It was love that made her realize that her “curse” was a “gift”… all of a sudden she was able to melt everything and use her power for fun and good.

I find this so incredibly unrealistic.

Elsa would have still feared her power. Yes… she realized how to control it… but what happens when she is angry or hurt? Will she be able to control it then? She would be afraid… she would still have moments when all she wanted was to isolate herself from others… yes love is powerful… but so is fear… and her fear wouldn’t go away. Yes people now understood what she would go through at times… but what would happen if they made her upset and she accidentally hit someone with ice… like she did to Anna? Now that Anna knows what can happen… still doesn’t mean they won’t get in fights… or Elsa won’t have a “trigger” moment… accidents can still happen… it was an “accident” that froze Anna’s heart… how would Elsa ensure that an accident didn’t happen again?

Everything wouldn’t be perfect… it would still be an uphill battle…

Unless I’m missing something?

Is my battle supposed to be over?

Love conquerers all… and I felt the love from family and friends since “I came out” (so to speak) about my mental illness… but even though all they give to me is love… I still fear myself…

I mean on a day to day basis I usually feel pretty good and love life… but I still need to run up my north mountain and be away. My happily ever after still hasn’t been reached… fear is still present…

I will always hate my frozen heart.. even thought it is what i use to protect others from me and to protect myself… yet I will always want it to be completely melted so that I can care for others the way that I was meant to… the way I was gifted to.

But you know what? The cold… the loneliness… it never bothered me anyway…

…. where is my happy ending? how do I make the fear go away to get it?

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Posted by on January 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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A Hero in the Twilight

When I was younger, I always felt that I was destined for greatness. I wasn’t sure how it would play out. I didn’t really have a “hero” per se growing up… but I think my future self, who I knew I would somehow end up being, was my hero…she was the person I aspired to be… but I had no idea how I would get there. Plagued with OCD for much of life and just the general way I was brought up, my life was limited to say the least… but still I aspired to be a great woman making a difference in the world… someone who was truly special inside and out… someone who stories would be written about and other girls would look up to…

When my OCD hit hard in undergrad and then again during my MA that aspiration was wiped out of my mind. Secretly I hoped that I was still someone worthwhile… someone special… but I didn’t believe it beyond a tiny hope…

Now that I can see beyond the OCD… now that I am beyond the OCD… I don’t understand why I am not the woman I wanted to be. I want to be a woman constantly pouring and radiating out love and light… but I don’t know how nor if I can… I’ve seen my share of darkness and I don’t want any part of it… but as I try to live in the light the dark is always there in the back of my mind twirling unwanted thoughts around and attempting to make me fearful of life… I don’t want to live in fear of myself anymore… although my OCD is practically gone… I fear the OCD… I fear that monster returning… I fear that darkness will take over not allowing me to live any life…

So its like right now I’m in the twilight… either its about to be dawn or dusk… and with all my heart I just want it to be the dawn… but I fear that it will be the dusk… so I keep running staying in the twilight so that I don’t have to find out if the sun is rising or setting… so I don’t have to take the risk… but if I loose the gamble, I could loose everything…

I lost myself once before to the darkness of OCD… I honestly could not loose myself again… because I fear that I would never return from the dark…

I live in fear of the bad… I live in fear of the obsessions…I live in fear of the fear….

But I also live in fear of the good… fear that my run in the day will bring the night crashing down around me like it did once before… fear that the day won’t last… the light won’t last…

All I want is love… all I want is life… and every time I try to grasp for something it seems to fall away…

I feel lost… I don’t know who I am right now… I don’t even know who I wish to be… I don’t remember that hero… or maybe I do… but the aspects of her that I most remember require me to not fear and I don’t know how to do that yet.

I lived in fear for so long that I honestly can’t answer what would I do with my life if I didn’t live in fear? I don’t remember my passions anymore… I let them slip away because I didn’t want to allow myself to want for anything I knew I couldn’t have…

So maybe that is what I need to focus on… if I was completely OCD free and I lived with no fears… what would I be?

… I honestly have no idea…

Maybe I should just try to make myself feel content to live in the Twilight… but the problem is that I know I was  made for the day by a loving God. He made the day for ME. I know its where I belong… but I’m too terrified of falling into the night…

My Lord and God, do not abandon me; remember my need, for many evil thoughts and horrid fears trouble my mind and terrify my soul. How shall I pass through them unhurt? How shall I break their power over me? You have said, ‘I will go before you. I will open the gates of prison.’ Do, O Lord, as you have said, and let YOur coming put to flight all wicked thoughts.”

– The Imitation of Christ

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Peanut Butter and Moving on…

So one of my biggest OCD issues I have, which I have yet to be able to deal with, is Peanut Butter.

Peanut Butter terrifies the living daylights out of me. No I’m not allergic… but other people are!

What if I am eating a Peanut Butter Sandwich or Reese’s Cup and get some on my hand… then not paying attention I get it on the desk at which I am sitting in the library studying and eating said Peanut Butter thing. What if next person to sit at said desk is allergic to Peanut Butter??? and they touch the Peanut Butter I accidentally left behind and they start to have an allergic reaction and possibly die???

Yea I know not very probable… but there was that girl in Canada who died from Kissing her boyfriend who had eaten a Peanut Butter Candy Bar!

Yes most of the time people with peanut allergies have EpiPens for occasions like this… but it didn’t seem to work on that one girl…

I just don’t want to be the accidental cause of someone getting sick and having a horrible allergic reaction because of me!

So what do I do? I avoid Peanut Butter like the plague.

This isn’t exactly the best thing to do in life, because for those of us who aren’t allergic to Peanut Butter it is actually really good for you. My doctors keep recommending that I eat it because it is a good source of energy (which I lack), but I just give them a look and they remember my fear.

But I know I need to work on this. Even though I didn’t want to.

I accidentally started working on it in February without planning to do so. My now ex-boyfriend and I met for the first time to see a movie, and what yummy treat did he sneak into the theater for us to share? None other than Reese’s Pieces… It was so sweet that he brought them for us to share and we had just met so I couldn’t explain to him that I was terrified of Peanut Butter. So I swallowed my fear and ate them with him… and you know what? I felt safe and I felt that everyone around me was safe from the peanut butter too… my ex was awesome like that… without even realizing it or doing anything he made me feel safe…

And after dating for a while I just picked up that he was a bit obsessed with peanut butter and anytime we shared a candy it usually had peanut butter in it. I even once bought us Peanut Butter M&Ms for us to split and when we couldn’t finish them all I took them home and ate them by myself!

I know for a normal person that doesn’t seem like a great accomplishment, but believe me it was. Yea I hadn’t started to eat real peanut butter that wasn’t in something contained… but this was a step in the right direction… This Wednesday it will have been a month since I had last seen him and three weeks since he broke up with me… I hadn’t touched peanut butter since…

I don’t have that amazing guy to make me feel safe anymore…

But you know what? I should feel safe by myself… and even if I can’t muster that courage to feel safe by myself yet… I should feel safe because God is with me… and will keep me from accidentally getting Peanut Butter somewhere that a person with an allergy might touch.

So what did I do today? I went and bought my favorite cereal in the whole world: Peanut Butter Captain Crunch… yea its still not real Peanut Butter but its a step up from just eating it in candy… and yes… I ate it. I was really hesitant at first and kinda scared when I first started to eat it… but I didn’t feel any anxiety about it after only a few minutes.

A great accomplishment I think.

I’m heart broken that he left me. I’m anxious about Peanut Butter. But I’m not letting either stop me… I’m moving on with my life and with Peanut Butter on my own.

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Decisions, Decisions

So yes… I am partly writing this post in order to avoid doing work… but also because I need to figure things out…

In a month and ten days I leave for field work… and I am terrified…

It was the last time I was doing field work (Summer 2011) that made my manageable OCD become severe… it was during field work that I realized that I no longer wanted to live (when my OCD was bad… not now… I def want to live now)… it was during fieldwork that my world fell apart… not that it had really been together… I mean the year before was really manageable (Fall 2010- Spring 2011), actually it was pretty great… but I must admit even though I didn’t know what it was then the year (Spring 2009- Fall 2009) before my good year my OCD was moderate/severe… and thinking about it… it was worse when I was doing field work…

I’ve actually only had one pretty good OCD free field work experience (Spring 2010)… well actually two if you count another time but it was only for two weeks and it wasn’t the aggressive kind of field work I normally do…

but this time around I will only be doing a week or two of the aggressive kind of field work… but its during the less aggressive field work of Summer 2011 that my OCD reached its peak of badness…

Sorry for all the talking in circles… it would be SO much better if I could just describe to yall what I actually did… but my academic field is too small and I fear being discovered lol

Its just my OCD has been really good… I mean in part it might be because of all the drama that has been happening in my life which has been distracting the OCD brain… but I just don’t want to chance it…

My therapist and I started talking about this on Thursday…

and man did my OCD go wild of thinking of all the things that could happen in the field… like it got to the point where my therapist and I were laughing about it… it went something like this..

“And what if I have to throw a battery out while there because its explodes? but you can’t throw batteries out down there because it will leak into the ground and get into the water… and yea it would be a small battery and wouldn’t hurt anyone… but maybe it would cause someone to get cancer! and it would be all my fault that someone would get cancer! and this area is really poor so like they wouldn’t be able to get any treatment… and they would die from a horrible disease just b/c I came down there and my battery exploded!”

and it just kind of goes on and on..

I mean part of me feels like I just need to get back on the horse… but… as my therapist pointed out… sometimes people aren’t ready to get back up on the horse and they try and just make it extremely worse…

I’m scared… I’m scared of getting there and realizing I can’t be there and having to come back… because that would also mean I’m totally done in this field… there would be no return for academia because you can’t have that without the field work… they go hand in hand…

I’m so scared of quitting though… I don’t know what to do with my life if I quit… I don’t know who I am if I quit… I’ve been chasing after this dream since the third grade… I have a 6 page Curriculum Vitae!

I’m also realizing that I am scared of what happens if everything is good during field work? And there is no OCD freak outs? Does that mean I need to continue in this field? Does that mean I’m supposed to be in academia?

I’m scared of continuing… I’m scared of quitting… I’m scared of not knowing…

I’m scared…

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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I’m Done Waiting…

I’ve never been a particularly patient person… I know patience is a virtue and all… but you can’t live your life perpetually waiting…

Yes, some things take time to figure out. But in all the situations I am currently waiting in… way more than enough time has been allotted.

Waiting is just equivalent to fear.

“But I’m waiting for the right time.”
– If two years have gone by and you are still waiting for the “right time”… I’m pretty sure it has come and gone.

I know what I want. So why am I waiting? Is it just because I am terrified of failure? Terrified that I am ruining things because I will eventually be happy but just not right now?

There are moments when I am happy yes, but overall I’ve been miserable. I think my happiness is more important. I should chase after that which makes me happy.

I hate academia. So why am I still sitting here reading these articles for class and writing papers? Because I am waiting for things to get better… but waiting around isn’t going to make things better… I have TO DO something.

Eventually you can inhale so much oxygen you can’t take anymore. In fact it physically hurts to inhale anymore.

I can’t take anymore on this situation or others. My mind/heart/soul is worn out. I have to exhale.

I know what I want. I want to make a difference in the world. I know I am never going to make a difference politically or economically… my brain can’t wrap around those things…they are not my spiritual gifts, so I know my difference is going to be small… but if I can just get food on the table for someone who can’t do it for themselves… that is good enough for me. I don’t have to move to Africa or join the peace corps to do that… I can do that right in this very city in which I live.

Waiting is useless. Waiting is disappointing. Because NOTHING happens. You have to take action… follow your heart… do what you believe God is calling you to do.

So back to patience:

Yes, “Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone” (Proverbs 25: 15).

But, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

In order to love myself, in order to find joy and peace, to be kind and good, to be faithful to who I am, I must realize that my self control and forbearance is detrimental to me and all those involved.

I’m controlling myself too much so that I don’t do something that I think I will later regret. My forbearance is because of fear. Fear is not from God. Fear is in fact from the devil. God is love.

Yes, patience and self control are good, but not in the context of fear.

I’ve lived with OCD since I was 8 years old and I am now 23! I know what fear is. Fear and I have never been separated for long. But I am SO tired of fear. I can’t allow fear to control my life anymore… I want love. I want to love myself, others, and what I do.

My “so called patience” is completely fear drawn. Fear that I am going to ruin something. But if I can take down that fear… I can stop waiting and decide.

Anything that is driven by fear… is in no way from God. God is complete and total love.

Yes sometimes love hurts.

God loves us soooo much that He has given us free will. And what do we do with that free will? Screw up over and over and over again… It has to hurt Him so much to see us suffer… but He loves us… so He lets us make our own decisions.

So yes, I may hurt myself by dropping out of academia. But it is done completely and utterly out of love.

Love cannot exist with fear. I am tired of living in fear that I will die not contributing to society in anyway, fear that I will die alone, fear that I am screwing up the path that I am supposed to be on. But if this was the path I was supposed to be on… fear would not be a part of it. Because God is love and God creates the path He wants me to be on.

It is such an oxymoron for an OCD individual to say they will no longer live in fear. But I can’t do this anymore. It hurts too much. I have to exhale.

I am exhaling to release the fear, so that I can once again inhale only love.

Yes I know, especially with my OCD, fear will come back… but I will just keep exhaling it out. I only want to inhale love.

That is my greatest desire in life. Love. To love and be loved in return. But the only love I truly need is God’s. But I will do my hardest to love EVERYONE even if it hurts them… because in the long wrong it is what is best for them.

I’m tired of waiting. I will no longer wait in fear.

I know what I want, so I am going to go for it. I’m going to leap off a metaphorical cliff and sure hope that I will fly. But even if I end up crashing into the water below… God will pick me up again.. because He is always there to pick us up… He will put me on the cliff once more and nudge me in a different direction to jump or a new technology that will help my fly lol. He will always be there to pick me up. I can’t fail my life. As long as I believe in God, He will be there.

I feel like I’ve been ignoring His will for WAY to long. I just keep asking for “signs” and not getting them or getting conflicting ones or think I am getting them but not sure… but really the only sign I need is to know that He is love and He wants me to be happy.

So I’m tired of waiting in fear. I’m taking God’s hand this week and jumping off that cliff. I’ll let y’all know next week of whether I am flying or falling to the ground. But action is going to take place this week.

It hurts too much to not exhale.

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Not Alone

If you had told me this time last year that I would be in a PhD program with a great advisor, in a new fantastic city thousands a miles away from my parents, in great relationships with my family and friends, and living almost every day relatively anxiety free… I wouldn’t have believed you.

I wouldn’t have laughed. I wouldn’t have shook my head. I would just have completely disregarded you and gone back into my world of misery, fear, pain, loneliness, distrust, and lovelessness.

At this point last year… I was just diagnosed with severe OCD. My therapist who I had been seeing for about a month had explained it to me. Told me that I wasn’t evil. Told me that I wasn’t a bad person. And told me that these thoughts were not me, but OCD. And that through therapy, CBT, ERP, and medication that I would find my life again.

But how could I find my life again, when I realized I had actually been living this way since I was 8 years old (at least)? Who was I? How did we not know that I really wasn’t a monster who could hide behind the label of OCD?

It was like a Chinese Finger trap (this is actually a common way to describe OCD). I was trapped and the more and more I tried to pull away from the OCD and the horrible thoughts and compulsions the more I was stuck. The more I couldn’t move. The more I was captured and imprisoned in my own mind.

My thoughts were even if this was OCD… even if I wasn’t evil… who would allow these fears to manifest themselves in their brain? How did these thoughts ever even get there? Obviously I was a horrible individual. I didn’t deserve to live. I didn’t trust myself.

I felt that it was my duty to protect the world. It was a core belief. I should have moved that stick off the sidewalk. What if someone trips over it and hurts themselves? What if they trip over it and run into a wall and knock themselves unconscious? It would be all my fault they were hurt. I should have moved the stick. I should have warn that other person that there was litter on the ground. What if their shoe touched it? And then they tied their shoe? And then got whatever was on the litter on their hand and then got sick from it? It was all my fault they were sick. It was all my fault they were inconvenienced.

My life was inconveniencing everyone. I didn’t deserve to live. I never acted on any of my suicidal thoughts… but they were there. It was only my faith in God that he would pull me through this that kept me alive. But still even the OCD tried to take that faith away from me.

I didn’t deserve to be God’s child. Not that anyone did (it was only through God’s grace and sending his Son to take our place in death that we are given forgiveness)… but me in particular. I deserved to go to hell. I wasn’t worthy of God’s forgiveness and love. Even if he could possibly forgive me… wouldn’t I be taking away some of His time in which He could be worrying about His other children? Time in which He could be doing amazing things in their lives? – These were thoughts the OCD plagued me with. I should have never been created. I should have just been completely wiped out from existence.

I honestly don’t know how I got out of bed everyday. I had started taking medication at this point… it takes Prozac 8 weeks to kick in… but everyday was full of elaborate rituals (I probably spent 4-8 hours doing compulsions… whether it be showering, washing my hands, cleaning, or calling my parents for the nth time to ask for reassurance). I was terrified of all bathrooms, including my own. I shared it with my roommate. What if I accidentally didn’t clean something up and left the bathroom contaminated and my roommate got sick? What if I didn’t wash my hands enough… so someone got some germ that I somehow was carrying? Bathrooms, showers, and sinks were the scariest places in the world. Yes they were the place you went to go get clean… but you were dirty first.

I was even terrified of going to the kitchen b/c I was terrified of accidentally contaminating my roommate’s food! At this point I had stopped eating regularly. I could eventually convince myself to eat at home some days… but not without a ton of reassurance from my parents and roommate. But I could not eat anything out in public. What if someone was allergic to something I was eating and I get it somewhere and they touched it? They would then have an allergic reaction and be inconvenienced. Even though I am 99% better today.. I still can’t go anywhere near peanut butter… People who are allergic to peanut butter can die from it. I don’t want to be the cause of accidentally getting peanut butter somewhere and someone dying from it.

I usually went straight to school for my classes and went straight back home afterwards. The whole entire time I would be freaking out about something. I wouldn’t be able to concentrate in class. But I had to go to class… otherwise I might fail… and failure was just as bad as contamination in my OCD world. Maybe that is why I never ended up acting on any of my suicidal thoughts… I was too terrified of failing life. I thought perhaps I could still somehow redeem myself. Even though my parents tried to drag me home several times so that they could take care of me, I refused to let them… I couldn’t fail school… it is what I had dedicated my whole life too.

I lost friends that semester. Only one friend knew I had OCD at this point and it was because she had told me the year before she had OCD and I was able to tell her. Even though I had told my one friend with OCD about my OCD…she had the same issues I had if not worse. I had someone to turn too… to be with… but since we were struggling with the same things… were were still both just as alone… but to everyone else … I was just a ghost of the girl they use to know. My professors looked at me in disappointment. They didn’t even try to get me to answer questions anymore in class. My friends… they tried to talk to me… but I couldn’t let them in. I was scared of what they would think. Long distance friends called me… but I refused to answer… eventually they got tired of their calls going to voice mail and stopped trying. The only things my friends at school noticed about me was my angry red and chapped hands that were often bleeding from all the washing I was doing.

It was the first week of October though that things started to turn around for me. One of my very best friends in my program who was basically like my big brother… forced me to talk to him. He saw me fading away… and his brotherly love could no longer take it anymore. He took me out to dinner… sat me down… and tried to get me to tell him what was wrong. He kept asking probing questions and I kept trying to avoid answering them.

Eventually though my defense walls fell down. The next thing I knew I was telling him everything. Everything that was wrong with me… How I knew there was something wrong with my since I was 8… how I was terrified of living… how I was terrified of dying… how I was terrified of not protecting the world good enough… how I was terrified that I could no longer continue on.

I had been in therapy for a month at this point… but there was absolutely nothing more therapeutic than talking to my friend. It was like a weight was taken off my shoulders. He sat and listened. He took in everything that I said. He actually understood… he struggled with his own mental conditions… he could relate.

I was no longer alone.

That was the key. This friend… he could relate in all the right ways but also was at a distance that he wasn’t alone in the same way I was.

He showed me friendship, trust, and love. He pushed me forward.

After I told him… I then felt better about talking to my other really close friends about it. The more people I let into my secret.. the more of me I was becoming again. Suddenly the ghost of the girl that I was was coming back into visibility. I wasn’t in color yet… but I think I went from ghostly to black and white.

I was able to create an amazing support system around me. My friends who were long distance called me and checked on me, after I talked to them about my OCD. They were constantly there supporting me. And my close friends at school were there to calm me down in the mist of a panic attack… telling me it was ok. That I would be ok. That they were there for me. That they loved me. It would all be ok… I wasn’t alone… I had them…

That is how I was finally able to begin shutting the OCD out. By not being alone. I know prior to this I wasn’t alone. I had God. I had my family. But sometimes you need the closeness of your very best friends.. to help you realize the love that God has for you and your family.

It was through them that I was actually able to turn back to God. Even though none of them were particularly Christians. I was able to conceptualize love, trust, and companionship because of the way that I felt it on Earth. That is how I was finally able to turn back to God to start being protected again by Him and allowing Him to love me.

My brain was my prison… so I had to escape. And it was my friends who helped me do it. I probably could have eventually dug myself out of my prison alone… but the more people you have to help you to dig… the easier and quicker it is.

Thinking back to these dark days… I never ever could imagine being where I am today. Getting great new experiences, experiencing love, becoming closer to my family, friends, and most importantly God.

That is why I started this blog… so that others wouldn’t feel alone. You are not alone… no matter what you are going through… I am here. God is here. Your friends are here.

OCD is not your friend. It is just a stupid chemical imbalance that makes your brain get stuck on repeat of your worst fears (it is very closely related to Tourette’s syndrome… but instead of stuck on physical actions you are stuck on thoughts). Those compulsions you do to make you feel better? They may make you feel better for a few seconds… but in the end they are extremely detrimental to you… they just reaffirm the thoughts… which are not you. They are your worst fears. But they are not you. You can escape them.

You are a beautiful person. Created by a God who loves you. You are not alone. He is here. I am here. You are not alone.

If I can go from practically bed ridden to thriving in a relatively OCD free world in a year… so can you. Do not let your OCD and fears win. You will win. You just have to keep going and know you are not alone. In the end Love always wins… you are love, your friends are love, your family is love, and God is love. Don’t ever underestimate the people that are in your life… God put them there for a reason… and that reason was to draw you closer to Him.

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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