I havent felt "normal" at any point in my life that I can remember. I was diagnosed with depression as a teenager, but there always seemed to be more to it than that. After starting my family at the early age of 16, I put all of my needs on the backburner and simply concentrated on being a goodmom and wife. However, over time my "quirks" really began to interfere with my relationships and ability to perform normal tasks. My biggest fear and obsession I think, has to be the phone. I dont like it, I dont like answering, I dont like calling. I am a completely different person on the phone, wether Im talking to my husband or a bill collector. I will talk your ear off face to face, but I struggle to string words together over the phone. Thats not all, I rarely answer the phone if I dont know the number. Heck, I rarely answer ifI do know it. The second it rings my heart races and my body gets tense as I automatically send it to voicemail. There are even times I mean to answer but my body impulsively pushes silent. In my younger years, it wasnt too big a deal. Really all I needed to do was occasionally schedule an appt for me or the kids, and after a few days of obsessing about it I would do it, and feel relief. On top of feeling stupid for being afraid for so long. However, as I get older, sometimes those calls are from my kids friends, their parents, or my kids AT friends homes. I cant tell you how many bills Ive had go to collections simply out of fear of talking to these people to set up arrangements. Which creates a whole new set of problems and obsessions as you can imagine. Text messaging and email have been a god send for me. If only everyone would just send me a text. At one point, my husband and I split up. As a single mom of 2 little girls, I needed work fast and a friend convinced me to get a job at a call center. WHAT WAS I THINKING?! The 4 weeks of training were cake. It was actually being on the floor. "its easy" she said. "Its all inbound calls, no selling, just people calling to setup up satelite service". Easy my @ss. I broke down in tears after/during several phone calls, had minor panic attacks daily, and after about 6 weeks, broke out in a stress rash all over my arms and neck. I quit. The only thing that kept me there that long was the picture of my 2 beautiful babies on my desk that always managed to kick the anxiety down a notch. I was there so I could take care of them.

This post wasnt meant to be all about my phone obsession, but more what lead me here. My mind is my worst enemy. I thought for awhile I may suffer from a personality disorder. This had to be more than depression and "normal" anxiety. If people only knew what went on in my head…cause thats where most of my OCD takes place. In my head. I thought. Recently I was watching a show about OCD on TV. There was nothing else on, whatever. The more I watched, the more alarms went off in my head. I do that. I do that. Im afraid of that. Holy crap I do that. Maybe not to the extremes that the people on TV were doing it, afterall, it wouldnt be "entertaining" if they didnt show the most severe cases, right? But regardless, I started on my quest for OCD info. I never thought of OCD as more than severe germaphobes and checkers (ala MONK) or hoarders. Turns out there was a whole world of OCD that I didnt know existed and I seemed to fit right in. Me. Fit right in. Those are words Ive never put together before. I was so happy. As I right this I cry because Im so happy. Maybe that sounds crazy in of itself, but Ive been searching for so long, trying so hard to find whats wrong with me and fix it. I had given up and nearly resigned myself to the idea that I was just nuts, and no one would ever understand the pain that I cause myself mentally, and sometimes even physically (Dermatillomania). I want so badly to be able to do things I cant do now. I want to answer the phone when it rings. I want to let my husband drive the car with me as a passenger. I want to go to a movie without thinking about how to get out shouldthe theater catch on fire. I want to ride rollercoasters with my kids instead of panicking they will fly off the track (sure, people rarely die on rollercoasters, but Im sure everyone that has didnt think it would happen to them, right?)

After making this discovery about myself, I decided to talk to my mom. She is usually the one who tries to knock the sense back into me. My aunt is severly Bi-polar, and my mom has been her rock since their own mother died 25 years ago so shes no stranger to mental illness. When I brought it up, expecting her to say blow it off, I was met with the response "hmm. Maybe you do" this threw me through a loop. Shes never accepted any mental illness in me that I have set before her, other than post partum depression. Next, my best friend. her response? "Ya think?" hmmm. Another unexpected answer. Almost to the tune of, 'of course you do, and we both know that.' But I didnt know it. My husband "ya, Ive known that for a long time." Really?? Finally, my aunt. Yes, shes severly bi-polar, but as bread winner of her family, shes always managed to function as needed. Shes been in therapy most of her life, and even hospitalized. Why do I mention these things? Well, shes gone through her share of mental illness. Shes well read on all things mental illness, and spent time with many other people suffering from a variety of things. Her respons? "I think you do. Ive thought that for a long time." Finally, I couldnt take it anymore. "How does everyone around me know I have this, yet no ones ever mentioned it?!" I asked "sometimes you have to learn these things on your own" she says. Hmmm. I dont know if I agree or not. Would I have listened if someone close to me said something? Didnt they know Ive been searching for answers all these years? Of course they didnt. I dont open up. I dont let the crazy out of the bag very often. My husband doesnt know the things I think about. I always feared that if I told him what was going on with me, we would divorce and he would use it all against me and take my kids from me. I wasnt sure there was something truly wrong with me or if I just had ALOT of irrational fears. I even sometimes thought everyone had pages of things they were afraid of and obsessed about, we just dont talk about it.

Knowing I have OCD (well, not officially diagnosed. You know that whole phone thing really gets in the way of that type of thing) has helped me so much already. Im excited to begin down a path of healing, and feeling good.

2 Comments
  1. sdluna 9 years ago

    Your story was very powerful and moving for me.  I had felt the EXACT same way my entire life until I was diagnosed.  I hid everything from everyone and felt very alone.  I too have a hard time with the phone.  My husband does all of the calling on the bills, etc.  I too found myself wondering how everyone knew except me.  It's amazing how much I relate to your story, it brought tears to my eyes because I felt your pain and frustration as if it were my own.

     

    My journey has been wonderful and terrifying since I was diagnosed.  I'm much better now, and I function on a whole new level.  For the first time in my life I actually feel comfortable in my own skin.  I'm so glad you know.  The next step is to make an appointment with a therapist and get formally diagnosed.  It's very hard, I know.  I was a basket case every single time I went to the therapist, but it was well worth it.  I never missed a session and I worked very hard over those months and it paid off.  I'm done with therapy and I feel like I have a new lease on life.  Not everyday is a good day, but most are a million times better than they used to be.  Good luck and keep in touch!!

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  2. chez 9 years ago

     Welcome to the tribe.

     

    Before i found out i had OCD i too thought i was going mad and didn't really know anything about OCD i managed to hide what was going on for three years i thought no-one would understand and they too would think i was mad and just lock me up so when my family did find out it was such a relief how much support i got from them well my mum anyway.

     

    Now you know i hope you get the help you really need and things will get so much better for you. Good luck

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