The Voice – a poem about #OCD before I knew it was #OCD

My OCD reared it’s ugly head when I was a teenager, but I never knew what it was until I was twenty-six. I stumbled upon this poem I wrote…I’m not sure how old I was, 16 or 17 maybe? It is a very poorly written poem with forced rhyming but it captured how tortured I was. Knowing what I know now and reading this it is so clear to me what was going on, that it was OCD. But back then all I knew of OCD was hand washing, cleanliness, and order. I had no idea that OCD could be thoughts of family dying because I did something wrong, or fear of touch, or repetitive routines that took hours, or horrible thoughts of violence.

I am sharing this poem not because I think it’s great, trust me I don’t. But because if I knew what OCD really was back then I could have gotten help earlier. I share about OCD and what it’s really like so I might reach someone who is suffering and help them see why. And by knowing why they can finally seek the proper help they need.

The voice

I am the voice inside your head.
Do this.
No. Do this,
or you might end up dead.

If you don’t do this,
your sister might die.
But if you do that,
someone might cry.

Make sure you check the stove,
before you leave the house
Because if gas leaks, it’s your fault
you stupid louse!

Don’t let people touch you.
Don’t let them get close.
Even though you want it,
you shall think it is gross.

You will never have peace
cuz I’ll always be there,
telling you to do things
cuz I really don’t care.

when you’re in a small room
and nothing is wrong
you will want to get out
you can’t be there too long.

To many people,
all in one place.
You start to breathe fast.
You become a nut case.

Maybe you’re crazy.
That’s what I think.
Now you think it too.
You are crazy and you stink.

I am the voice inside your head.
I will not rest until you are dead!

#OCDWeek #FaceYourFear Post Four

I have made a lot of progress in my OCD recovery journey, to the point where the decision making is no longer a problem.(And it was a HUGE part of my day!)  But that doesn’t mean my mind is totally silent on the matter.

From time to time my mind will still label my choices out of habit, but it no longer causes me anxiety. I just simply pick the “bad” choice because I have retrained my brain to know that nothing is going to happen. By continuing to choose the “bad” one I am just reinforcing that discipline so that it doesn’t get out of hand again.

Daily facing my “fears” is something I will mostly likely have to do for the rest of my life. The goal is that the things I’m facing no longer rule my life, I RULE THEM.

#OCDWeek #FaceYourFear Post Two

Welcome to post two of #FaceYourFear

My biggest fear was that I would kill my children by making the wrong decision. So anytime I had to choose something (an item off a shelf, a cup from the cabinet, the order I hung clothes on the clothes line/rack, what to eat for a snack, flavors of ice cream…literally any decision) my brain would label a dangerous option which would behead my kids and a safe option. Sometimes I had to chose things I didn’t really like to save my kids.

Eventually, my mind would label more options. So there would be my kids, my husband, my mom, and then a safe choice. Grocery shopping would take forever because with every item I wanted to buy I would have to touch all of that item on the shelf to find the safe one. As you could imagine, it was very time consuming and stressful.

It got even worse when one day there was no longer a safe option and one was labeled “me”. So it got to the point where I was “sacrificing myself” with every small or large decision I made all day every day. It was exhausting.

So to start me out, since this obsession consumed my whole day, my therapist had me start with just one time a day. One time a day I had to purposely grab the item that would kill my loved one and be present in the the anxiety. I remember how hard it was for that first time.

But I did it.

 

 

 

Mental Health Monday – Scrupulosity

I had read on a few blogs online from other OCD sufferers that OCD can effect one’s faith. I did not , however, know that there was a term for it or that it was it’s own condition.

Scrupulosity : “A form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) involving religious or moral obsessions. Scrupulous individuals are overly concerned that something they thought or did might be a sin or other violation of religious or moral doctrine.” –IOCDF

When I went to my first therapy appointment recently, she asked me when I started to notice my depression coming back. I thought for awhile and said it was a year ago, when I started to doubt my faith. She asked me to explain my doubts and fears about it. As the session went on, I explained my OCD thoughts and compulsions, not realizing that the religious stuff was at all linked to my OCD.

After a while she finally stopped writing notes, looked up, and said that I definitely have OCD with emphasis on scrupulosity. After she explained that OCD is sometimes called the doubting disorder and that it lies and attacks everything we love and everything we are, it all started to make sense.

My whole life has been about God. I grew up in church, I became a christian at age 5, I was active in youth group and strong in my faith as a teenager. My whole relationship with my husband was based on our faith together and before started dating  we spent a month in prayer and seeking God’s will for our lives. If He didn’t exist, if my whole life was based on one big lie, then what does that leave me with? Does that mean my choices were all wrong? What purpose does life have? I was completely lost and alone and I felt like I could tell no one. No wonder depression had taken over my life.

Practicing my faith became very hard over the past year. I doubted everything I thought and everything I heard about God. I started tuning out the pastor’s sermons because with everything he said there was this little voice that would contradict and pick and cause doubt.

If I tried to pray, I was convinced God wouldn’t hear me because I doubted. I didn’t read the bible because I could no longer accept anything it said.

I was in the praise band and every time I played I would be berating myself inside.

“How can you be leading worship when you’re not even sure you believe what you are singing? All these people look at you and hold you to this standard that you are failing to meet. They think you are this great christian woman. You are a fraud.”

After a while I couldn’t do it anymore so I pulled myself out of praise band. I was letting everyone down and they had no idea why.

But now that I know there’s a reason for this doubt, that this is not me but my OCD, I can start to fight back.

I will be starting ERP soon. It is going to be a slow process. My therapist said it might be a while before we can address my faith based obsessions because they are huge and we need to start very small. But it gives me hope that I will one day be able to have a relationship with God again.

For now, I am going to take a small step on my own. After being out of the band for a while and not being able to play christian music, I am going to try to play a song for the Christmas season. I can’t promise I’ll succeed, but I am going to try and push through even when OCD is screaming in my head. I am not going to let OCD ruin who I am.

I know God is real. I know he sees my heart through all the doubt in my mind.

OCD lies. That is the truth that will keep me pushing forward.

Mental Health Monday – Seeking Help

Some of my readers may have noticed that I have been away from my blog for a while.

The truth is I was am in a dark place. I sunk so deep into myself that I could not see the light. I felt like I was trapped inside my mind clawing hopelessly at the walls of my skull.

My thoughts were so twisted I didn’t know what was real. My beliefs were shaken. Truths that I have know my whole life felt wrong.

The anxiety overwhelmed me. I felt like there was something wrong when there was no danger.

My OCD was in overdrive.

I had thoughts of not wanting to be here anymore.

 

Confession

I have not been seeing a therapist for quite a while because of a bad experience with the last one. It’s been over a year since I’ve sought out help. I had it under control though.  My depression had gone away due to diet and lifestyle changes. I was doing great. Until I wasn’t.

 

Taking action

After two breakdowns and a major panic attack I finally reached out to a close mentor a few weeks ago and after hearing my doubts and fears out loud I realized I needed to do something about them and soon. So I sought out a qualified therapist to deal with my conditions. Unfortunately I live in a tiny town with very little good-quality mental health resources so I had to look in towns an hour or more away. But I found a therapist that I’m hoping will be able to help me.

Today

Today is my fist session. I am so nervous because I have trust issues when it comes to therapists due to past experiences. I can’t let that stop me, although right now I want to crawl into a ball and “forget” about my appointment. The depressed little girl in me just wants to hide away where it’s dark and safe.

 

I am hoping that this therapist is the right fit for me because I don’t know if I have it in me to search out another one.

 

 

 

You can’t Ignore Me

Don’t go to sleep yet, sweet one.

Silly naive girl. You can’t ignore that nagging feeling you have.

Get out of bed and check the front door.

Again.

Again.

Again.

What about the stove? Go back down and make sure it’s off. You don’t want the house to burn down, do you?

That’s a good girl.

Lift those heavy lids, my darling. You didn’t say your prayers. You know that if you don’t say them just right your family’s deaths will be your fault.

Come on, start over. You drifted off a bit.

Start again.

No! No! No!

You said the names in the wrong order.

Start again.

That’s better.

Check the clock.

3:00am

You have to be up at six.

I’ll see you then.

 

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This story nabbed an Honorable Mention over at Flash! Friday. This excites me not only because there are so many talented writers (who, I can admit, are intimidating to compete with) every week that I consider it a privilege to be among the few chosen ones, but also because of the deeply personal subject I chose to write about. Last week was OCD Awareness Week and I submitted a few pieces to different competitions that had OCD themes, showing what it’s really like to have this disorder. I am elated that our wonderful judges Foy S. Iver and Holly Geely were able to see the true meaning behind this story. They seemed to be able to relate to it , whether it be from personal experience or second hand from a dear loved one (I don’t know for sure).

This disorder is so watered down in many cultures that it has become a joke. I am so glad that I can use my writing as a tool to spread awareness as I continue to fight the stigma attached to OCD.

Here are the judges wonderful comments on my story.

FI: I love a left-fielder! The ‘cost of obsession’ was a popular element but “You Can’t Ignore Me” sucks you in, almost convincing you that the voice is inside your skull. The syntax drives that impulse to heart-root, compelling you to get up and check the stove (did I turn it off?), or the lock (maybe I only thought I turned it). For me, it resurrected dead memories of compulsive prayers whispered in the dark, never good enough for the ears of God. Absolutely gripping, friend.

HG: You…wow…Whether or not it was the writer’s intent, this story captures the essence of Obsessive Compulsive disorder. I had to take a moment after I read this one, it strikes so close to home. Beautifully done.

 

 

 

The Cure – #Fieryverse

Photo Credit: Matt Brown via CC2.0

Photo Credit: Matt Brown via CC2.0

Where is the cure

for my obsessions?

the exit for this maze?

the solace for my weary soul?

Am I to be forever tormented?

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Written for #Fieryverse

Prompt: The Cure

Micro Bookends FIVE FAMILIES

Photo Credit: Enric Fradera via CC.

Photo Credit: Enric Fradera via CC.

For last week’s Micro Bookends I was inspired twice! That almost never happens. The bookends were FIVE and FAMILIES/FAMILY. Here are my two stories.

 

Less Than One Percent

 

“Five days? But it’s not possible, is it? I had a vasectomy.”

“Hold on…. Google says there is a less than one percent chance. Oh my goodness! Look at all these stories of pregnancies after vasectomies!”

“Did you take a test?”

“No, but I have one in my purse.”

“Well, what are you waiting for?”

“I’m not going to take a pregnancy test in a restaurant bathroom!”

“Why not? Aren’t you dying to know?”

“But knowing will make it real. Six kids, Brett! I do not want six!”

“It could just be stress from moving.”

“Stress. Yes, maybe. I can’t believe I ever wanted a big family.”

 

Mia’s Job

 

“Five, six, seven, eight.”

Wait, that’s not good enough. Go back and start over.

“Again?”

You paused on seven.

“No I didn’t.”

Are you sure?

“Yes…. I think.”

If you didn’t do it right, your sister will die.

“That doesn’t make sense. You’re lying”

Want to chance it? If she dies, it will be your fault. Now start over and DON”T step on a crack.

“But I’ve recounted 6 times, I’m already late, and people are watching.”

It doesn’t feel right though, does it? She will die; deep down you know it.

“You’re right. Ok. One, two, three…”

That’s it. Remember, it’s your job to save your family.

 

 

 

#OCDweek Video Contest – Last Day To Vote

For OCD awareness week the IOCDF hosted a video contest challenging those who suffer with OCD to create a video that shares about this misunderstood disorder. They have it down to seven finalists. Click HERE to view all the videos. To vote, go to the video on You Tube and like it.

Here are the three I like the best. I will provide the links to their You Tube pages so you can vote too! Today is the last day for voting!

 

“What NOT To Say To Someone With OCD #OCDweek” by Hannah Zidansek

 

“OCD not me #OCDweek 2015 by Nicola Stevens”

 

“The Stranger: #OCDweek 2015” by Emma Roush

Her Daily Torment – #OCDweek

Photo by: Bruce

Photo by: Bruce

Synapses surge. Neurons meet, electric. Her mind becomes (alive)
With images that make her writhe inside [fear all consuming]
Lights: Off, on, off, on, off, ….. On. Safe, for now.

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Written for #3line Thursday Year Two: Week Three