Sunday, April 29, 2012

Have a Secret to share? Get to Know the Person Behind the Blog Week 2

So, I am a bit late in posting this, but I am trying to make more of an effort to follow through with things I want to write about, so I am going to try to keep this going. The first week of "Have a Secret to Share? Get to Know The Person Behind the Blog" I shared a secret about my lack of domestication. Each week I will share a secret or just fun facts about me, the person behind the blog, so my readers can get to know me better.

This week I am going to share a secret about something I have briefly mentioned on the blog, but have never really talked about in detail. This is not an especially easy post for me, but it is real and it is part of who I am, so I do want to share it. OK, deep breath, here it goes.

I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), depression, and anxiety. I also have panic attacks and severe social anxiety. 

I never really knew what was wrong with me when I was a child. I had these weird "quirks" that no one seemed to really notice. For instance, if I walked past a table and my leg touched it, I would have to step back and do it again. I would touch something, say to turn on a light or open a door, and suddenly I would feel like I didn't do it right--so I would go back and do it again. I was anxious all the time, and I would worry often. I moved to a new school district when I was in middle school, and I went from having a few good friends to having no one. I was bullied and became very depressed. I saw a few counselors when I was younger, but no one helped me. They either thought I should be put in a psychiatric facility or they wanted to put me on a ton of medication. I now know how helpful medication can be, but back then, my mom was not happy that none of the doctor's really wanted to help me--they just wanted to give me medication and not do anything else.

I hid a lot of my depression, anxiety, and weird quirks from everyone. I remember having a panic attack in front of my friends when I was older and they were so scared they flagged down a cop. I needed to hide it, I didn't want to be crazy or different. I didn't want to get taken away from my mom, like other doctors had threatened. I learned to lie and to hide it. 

I even hid it from the man I met who would be my husband one day. He knew I had mental health  issues, but he never expected how far it would go. We started a family, and that was when I couldn't hold it together or hide it anymore. Maybe it was hormones, maybe it was the fact that I now had a new life in front of me that I loved so much and wanted to protect, but I spiraled out of control. I obsessed over everything and I worried all the time. I nearly fell apart. This has gone on after two of my births, where I spiraled so far out of control that I wasn't sure my marriage would survive. I honestly wasn't even sure I would survive. I would wash my hands constantly and do repetitive behaviors. I was terrified of something happening to the children and my social anxiety became worse. I feared everyone and everything. Grocery shopping was such a chore for me. I wore medical gloves in public and at home. I thought everything was contaminated. If I saw a spot on the ground, a door handle, a box, or on anything I immediately thought it was blood or some substance that would harm me or my children. Everything, including me, could be contaminated in my mind. Contamination from other people was only one worry, as I also did not trust other people, especially around my children (not close family members, but many other people).

My social anxiety made me not want to go anywhere, unless I really had too. Driving was also difficult, as I was always afraid of getting into an accident, a tunnel collapsing, being forced off of a bridge, etc. I rarely went anywhere where there may be a lot of people. Being in a crowd makes me feel like I am drowning.

My mind races and spirals in thoughts like a tornado. I will look at something and think of something else related to it, and then think of something else, and this continues until I end up saying something really random that makes no sense to anyone with me (well, except my mom). I obsess over anything. When I have one obsession under control, another quickly replaces it. Sometimes, I obsess over the doors being locked and will keep getting out of bed to check them. Sometimes, I obsess over the way I touch something, and if I touch something and it didn't feel right, then I have to do it again and again. I also have very dark intrusive thoughts that never fully go away. I won't share the details of my thoughts, but they are disturbing and intrusive. They invade my mind and there is no escape from your own mind. 

I have known that I will never hurt the children. I think some people automatically think I have some type of psychosis that will cause me to harm the children. In reality, everything I did was to protect them. They are my life and I would never hurt them. I do know that my obsessions and compulsions have an effect on them, as I dislike crowds or people touching me (or my children), so I don't often go to crowded places. This means my children did miss out on being able to do things other families did. I still obsess over things, and it does worry me that it will effect my children. I think some of my thoughts are just being a normal parent (not letting them go over someone's house I don't know, not going certain places, etc.), but my husband would probably disagree, since he thinks most of what I say, think, or do is related to OCD. He has been very supportive, but I think it has now become something he just doesn't want to deal with anymore. It is not easy to have OCD, but it is also not easy to live with someone who has OCD.

I am getting better. I have controlled my repetitive behaviors, and I don't check things as much as I used too. I also do take my children out places as much as I can, because it isn't fair to them to have to miss out because of me. I work on my OCD everyday, even if other people don't think I do or don't see it. My priority is to be the best mom I can be, so I need to overcome some of my personal obstacles to ensure they are taken care of. 

I could probably write a book on this topic and my experiences, but I think I have rambled on enough for now. If you made it this far, thank you for reading.

If you are a blogger who would like to share a secret about you, please feel free to link up below! Last week's theme was something related to being domestic (I shared my lack of cooking abilities), this week's theme is mental health. If you are willing to share a story about you or a loved one who has had mental health issues, please link up below. If you have an older post that would fit the theme, please link that up, as well. 

Also, if you are a blogger and would like to co-host this weekly hop with me, please feel free to send me an email at jessica at arebutterfliesticklish dot com.

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