I had a dream a little while back where I was young, maybe 2 years old, and my mom was throwing a costume party. Everyone was dressed up like Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland or something and having a grand time, except for me. In my dream, I was scared. Terrified, even. I couldn’t breathe because I was crying too hard, and that scared me too, and I couldn’t talk to tell my mother why I was scared because I couldn’t breathe. I remember her picking me up and putting me on her hip, but she was mad at me, because I was being rude to her guests.
It was a very vivid, emotional dream. Unusually so.
I told my mom about it, because we tell each other stuff like that, and she was like… that actually happened. Of course, I blew the whole thing off and turned it into a joke about cupcakes at the party, and this was all via text message, otherwise we might have Actually Talked about it and what happened when I was a kid.
Now, I know my mother. I’ve always known what my mom was/did. I don’t quite remember what I witnessed that particular time, but I know what it had to’ve been. No toddler should be in that setting, but I was.
I’m 40 years old and only just now coming to understand why I am the way I am. My diagnosis with OCD last year continues to be eye-opening. The more I learn about it, the more I understand nearly everything about myself.
I don’t like to be touched. The sole exception to that is my husband, but after our kids were born, when I was pregnant and/or nursing for five years straight, I always was being touched, climbed on, poked, screamed at… I mean, yeah, that’s what being a mother is like. It’s not a big deal. I love my kids! But after being groped by them all day, I wanted nothing to do with my husband.
It wasn’t his fault. I tried to explain. But I know it hurt his feelings when I would physically cringe away from him when all he wanted was a welcome home from work kiss. And just forget about anything else. We had a number of rough years, but we’re better now. (thanks in large part to my therapist who is the best)
But what made it worse was our (now ex-) best friends turned into the same thing as my mom, only to the nth degree. It was bad enough the way my friend made me feel like our marriage was so much… less… than theirs because we don’t go out and do all those things/people. But part of ocd (at least for me) is the judgement thoughts, and the two of them are the most self-righteous, racist, anything-other-than-themselves-shamers you never want to meet. It got to be where just being around her made me feel awful about myself, although she never insulted me directly. She spewed a constant stream of judgement of others at me, and I couldn’t help but to apply it to myself.
It was always her faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat cousin (and if you could have heard the tone of voice she would use…) or the morons she worked with, or her dumbass son/daughter/husband, or the groids and gresses (to avoid calling them niggers she’d say negroids and negresses, but shorten it so it wouldn’t be recognizable to anyone else).
I think back and wonder why we were friends for so long when I stopped liking either of them a long time ago, and I guess it was partly habit, partly because they were a package deal, and mostly because the men were friends because the women were friends because the men were friends because the women were friends… and since neither of us ever commented on the fact that we didn’t really like our friend, we were just staying for the other person, when neither of us wanted to be there.
The bigger problem as far as our marriage is concerned was her man. He’s a very unpleasant person, and I stopped hanging out with him a long time ago, so it was always me and her, and our men, and the kids. What I didn’t realize… although I knew it on the surface… was all the things he was filling my man’s head with. And I don’t mean ideas, I mean regarding his own self-worth. Especially with me rejecting him (unintentionally, but still).
This past year, we’ve opened up to each other over the hurts of our past for the first time, like, ever. We both cherish what we share together, and it’s really special to be in love with someone who loves you back. I love to love my man, and that’s a Wonderful Thing. We’re helping each other overcome our own lack of self-worth, and it’s been this bonding, growing experience to find physical joy in each other again. Or, maybe even for the first time, because it was never like this when we were in young-and-stupid love.
Getting to this point has been a hard road. The split with our friends was difficult, but it’s a Good Thing to move on from people who are bad for you.
On top of dealing with them, I have lost FOUR pets this year. My 16 year old girl cat died of old age. I miss her, but she lived a good, long life, and she was ready. What I wasn’t ready for was finding her maggot and bug infested body three days before my 40th birthday.
Guess who got two new kittens for her birthday! Well, technically we got one for me and the other for our kids.
Oh, my precious boy :”””'( My soft boy. My cuddly ball of fur and love. My therapy cat. My reason for laughing again. When the first kitten died, the vet said she probably caught the virus (FIP) from her mother. It’s an awful virus because there’s no test, vaccine, or cure, and it’s lethal 100% of the time… but they said it wasn’t likely he would have caught it from her. She died in my arms.
A month later, my dog got hit by a car. My kid found her body walking to the bus stop. Then some lady yelled at me for walking too slow in the parking lot after taking her to be cremated. I wasn’t even in her way. Mean people are just mean.
When we adopted my boy, the people at the shelter said he had been sick, but he’d been treated for the parasite, and was all better. He grew, climbed, and fetched; he ate, he pooped/peed. He was fine. But he wasn’t. He never was quite healthy, although there was also never anything definitive that was wrong.
Well, that’s the thing with FIP. That’s exactly how it works. All the other tests are always negative because it’s this virus they can’t really test for.
It has two forms: chronic and acute, like many illnesses. Either way, it’s lethal. We believe he had it in its chronic form from his mother, which is why he was never quite healthy, and gave it to the other kitten (different litters, age, breed, but both shelter kittens) where it went right into the wet/acute stage and killed her fast. It’s not a painful virus for them. He wasn’t hurting. I couldn’t put him to sleep. When he couldn’t drink on his own, I kept his mouth moist with water from a syringe (you can get needleless syringes for feeding babies from pharmacies, just fyi). I tried giving him baby food chicken that way, too, but he lost interest in it quickly. There wasn’t really anything I could do other than keep him comfortable and clean. He always wanted to be near me and died pressed right against me. :'(
So, yeah. That was the crappiest ending to a really hard year. I’m still grieving, but I don’t seem to be as angry anymore.
I… wasn’t very nice for a while, and I do feel very bad about lashing out at people who didn’t deserve it, but don’t really know what to do about it at this point that wouldn’t make things worse.
But good has come of this year as well as bad, as I always believe happens in the balance of the universe. Not only are my man and I closer than ever, my relationship with my children is better, and my kids themselves are, too. Since I know and understand my ocd, I can recognize the signs and help my oldest, who has been dealing with it before I knew what we both had. I only recognized myself before, and that something was distressing both of us.
Apparently ocd runs in my family? My uncle has a tic disorder, though I never asked him about it.
I was talking to my mother about my things, and one reason why I never recognized what I do as ocd (aside from not being a psychiatrist) is because I don’t do a lot of the hallmark tv things like counting, and she was like, oh, I count. And as I talked to her, I watched her, and our fidgeting was identical. The awkward way we would sit or whatever, it’s not an easy thing to describe, but we were mirroring each other in the same way. That’s when it dawned on me.
I. Am. My. Mother.
Everything I’ve been fighting against in myself has been her, and that makes me feel horrible because I love her and don’t want her to feel bad for who she is.
And yet, I remember her rages and hating them, her blatant sexuality and lack of boundaries, her impossible to reach standards (for everyone and everything) and it’s all the things that have me in therapy now.
Learning to accept me as I am is hard, but I am good enough, and even if I could be better, I don’t have to be and never will be perfect. And that’s okay!
I have ocd, general anxiety, and hypomania, which means I cheerfully worry about the same things over and over at high speed all the time.
I like music most of the people I come across irl consider strange, but that’s okay! We don’t all have to like the same things. Differences are what make the world beautiful and interesting.
I like to sing. I think I have a decent voice. Not everyone agrees, but others do. I’m learning to not be afraid to sing where people can overhear.
I never know what to say when people compliment me. Or what to say to people in general.
I don’t trust people. (especially when they’re nice)
I believe everyone completely. (especially when they aren’t nice)
I can like what I like, and don’t need to be ashamed when I find enjoyment in something, whether other people also like it or not.
I’ve made mistakes, but I’ve learned from them. It’s how we grow. I will make more. Writing all of this is probably not one of them.
I want nothing but the best for our friends, who I believe meant us no harm, but it’s okay to also want nothing more to do with them.
I love my mom. She’s a good person who is only muddling through life like the rest of us. I’ve learned a lot from her and because of her, mostly how to love and accept myself and others. She’s my mom, and I think I turned out okay, so I’d say she got something right 🙂