OCD to the … oh…

I have OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Back in 2018, it had progressed so much that it was actually debilitating. The agoraphobia part of it especially had increased in intensity, and I couldn’t get myself to go almost anywhere, including to the store for necessary food/groceries.

But, that summer, I started seeing a holistic nutritionist who had mentioned in a presentation that my mom had attended – I had not attended it, as I had been too scared of the idea of going somewhere unknown with an unknown situation and unknown bathrooms and chairs and floors and smells and all the rest – that he believed OCD was from hormonal imbalances. He did a bunch of muscle testing on me, and he got me on a regimen of specific supplements to take mornings and evenings daily. Within six weeks, I was a completely different person. Rather, I was a person again. After six months, I was unrecognizable in my behavior. And, what’s more, all my menstruation stuff had gotten loads better, too… which suggested even more so that my main issue had been hormonal imbalances in the first place.

Now, these supplements that I take, they are straight up a few bizarre plants and seeds and oils, but mostly the odd parts of animals that we tend not to eat anymore as a society… liver, intestine, gallbladder, etc… (I don’t actually remember if all those are in there, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they were.) The things that elite athletes and health folks keep trying to get us to cook up at home or eat raw a few times a week, I am already taking in a powdered, capsule form. Pretty bizarre yet cool, right?

Well, I had thought I’d had two weeks of my supplements put together, ready for me to take. I found out at the end of the week that it was only one week’s worth put together. Now, it takes me a few days to plan out and make it happen to put my supplements together each time. It takes a while to do, and it isn’t something I can leave out if I haven’t finished. So, I kind of have to plan for it. And I didn’t do that this past week. It, therefore, took me several days to figure out when to put them together. And that time kept getting pushed to the next day, for various reasons…

Alas, about a week went by without my taking all the supplements. And I’m about to start menstruating, so my hormones are going absolutely nuts right now, I imagine.

I had to force myself to put the supplements together yesterday afternoon, though, as I could feel my entire body struggling, as though I were almost getting a cold, and I could see how my OCD was showing up all over the place, stressing me out and preventing me from doing things I needed and had wanted to do. It didn’t help that I was eating crappy foods this past week-ish.

So, this morning left me with almost no food of any kind – genuinely had green juice to take my supplements, then ate Girl Scout cookies and a few bites of sausage and gelato as my breakfast and lunch, as I had nothing else at the house. I didn’t go to the gym at my usual time, because I was scared of going and hadn’t slept too well, anyway, which was the official reason. I had intended to go to the store to get food for breakfast after the workout, but switched it to ‘once I got up’. I avoided getting up as long as possible, though the sleep was so restless (from midnight onward, really), and eventually got up at eight. It took me hours just to fold two small loads of laundry and pack them up. And I didn’t make it to the store until after noon.

I kid you not, as I walked into the store, I was close to tears. It was both out of stress and fear of going into the store itself – going into the agora – and it of frustration at how ridiculous it was that I was so stressed and scared at s bunch of nothing(!). Yet, there was nothing to be done about it aside from just doing it (and eating well and taking my supplements, though those weren’t valid at that particular time and place).

I got the green juice – Aka green water – and some food to cook later, along with the needed cleaning supplies, and I made it to the apartment. My flat mate was there, and I shared about my current state and morning – we haven’t seen each other much in the past week, surprise surprise. Then, of course, I cried loads. She very conscientiously asked if I wanted a hug or not right then, and, after considering a moment, I told her that I actually didn’t want to be touched at that moment, and we laughed about it. (Because I am such a toucher!) It took me a bit of adjusting, but I knew I was on a time limit, so I managed to get to work cleaning. I got most of it done, and left the bathroom and bedroom smelling of bleach, but airing out well. I felt very accomplished and positive about it all.

I was still nervous going to the gym from there, but I showed up and worked out anyway. Naturally, I felt good once we got started after the warm-up, and it has been smooth-sailing the rest of the evening and night so far. Before getting ready for bed, I had cooked dinner and prepped my food for school tomorrow, and I had taken my supplements for the fourth time in two days (the right number of times), and I was already noticing differences in my behaviors – improvements. In particular, I peeled a bunch of shrimp that had been in a soupy mess I’d made when cooking them, I bagged up and threw away their peelings, and I cleaned up everything and turned the faucet on and off multiple times all without having any panic. And only the peeling itself had kind of gotten to me a little bit, because there were just so many of them, and I was running out of space in the peelings bowl and the sauce kept squirting around all icky-like. But I just had to breathe and keep calm, and I was able to make it through all 30+ of them before cleaning everything up.

Just this morning, I was having major struggles just turning off a faucet. (Every time I went to turn it off, if I touched even the slightest bit the wrong way, I had to turn it back on and re-wash my hands and try again… I usually got it within three goes, though that was a huge sign that alerted me to my hormones’ being off in the first place the other day. Tonight, however, I didn’t struggle like that. I barely even thought about it.)

All that being said, I’m going to stretch and read and go to bed now – I’m exhausted. And I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow, I do expect.

Post-a-day 2022

Not mine

I am growing increasingly fond of my own home. I say this cautiously, as I have a tendency to avoid the world outside, so to speak, when I reach that intense panic point of my OCD. However, that is not the same experience as what I am currently discovering and referencing. This current experience is one of noticing that I enjoy being in my own home, and that I prefer it to staying in other people’s homes (like my mother’s or my aunt’s house). I am not afraid of staying elsewhere or going elsewhere – there is no fear or overall stress involved in this experience. It is ease and delight that guide this experience for me, instead of agoraphobia or any other phobia. I just enjoy being in my own home.

I like tidying at home, or rearranging furniture, or just plain lying on my floor. I like having a space where I am surrounded by intentionally selected items, all of which, to some degree or other, bring me joy. And not, I have not yet completed the KonMari method. But, just from what I have done already, I can feel the space as one in which I like to spend my time. The only reasons I really even go to the common areas downstairs are because 1)that’s where the bathroom is, 2)that’s where the kitchen is, 3)my barbell just wouldn’t work on the third floor of an old house, and 4)the daytime lighting is spectacular down there. Otherwise, I’m not sure I ever would bother. And, on many days where I get to stay home, I don’t. I’ll spend almost the entire day up in my space. I supposed the only down side to this is that it is a lot harder to get myself outdoors when outdoors is neither very visible nor very accessible, three floors below. But I have been working on that lately.

Anyway, that’s just something I’ve been noticing tonight. I think there is an important balance between loving what I have around me and being attached to what I have around me. I have actively pursued appreciating the convenience of my own things while allowing other things to be what I use, and I feel that this has benefitted me greatly (as opposed to being upset at not having my own something or other, I make it work with what is available to me where I am, and acknowledge that, while my stuff would have been great, the current stuff will suffice for now).

At that, I’m off to bed in not my bed in not my house. I hope I sleep amazingly tonight and awaken rested and blessed with health, vitality, and energy for the day.

Post-a-day 2020

Hormones and brain cells aligning once more

I feel that I am very close to being back to normal again… almost there…

It was actually really cool and then funny when, earlier today, I had completely forgotten that I hadn’t been normal lately – I was just so normal, and didn’t even consider that this normal hadn’t been my normal until the past couple days.

When something a little odd happened, as I considered how I hadn’t yet done something on the mental list of today’s tasks, and whether I would do it at all, it suddenly occurred to me that, until that moment, I had been being completely normal for myself… and it was a fabulous realization.

Sure, I was noticing it because I was entering into a tiny state of my miserable not-normal from the past few weeks, but that didn’t even bother me… which shows how close to normal I have come as of today.

I voluntarily worked on and almost completed (I genuinely didn’t know three clues) a Tuesday crossword puzzle, I did the extra assignment before an online workshop, I helped multiple people over the phone, I exercised without prompting from my friend (and she apparently skipped her workout today), and I even went out walking for a bit, despite the rain.

As I mentioned, I certainly had some struggle points today, but most of the day was not struggle…, and that was and is an immense relief for me.

I’m a few more days, I am hoping, I will be completely comfortable in my skin and life again…, and I am comfortably looking forward to it.

As for now, gotta sleep ASAP, as I volunteered myself to drive my grandma around for errands… starting at seven AM… what’s with me, you wonder?

We all know I’m a late night person, a night owl more so than the early bird… Well…,

I am with me… at last.

Post-a-day 2020

Transition to adulthood(?)

Growing up, brushing my teeth was one of my least favorite things to do in my daily life.

That and showering.

I do not deny that I absolutely loved the feeling after completing either task – rubbing my tongue along my smooth, shiny teeth, or my hands on my soft, smooth skin.

I just merely disliked the whole process of getting to that point of delight.

So, I avoided them both, basically as often as was possible.

I remember specifically, regarding teeth-brushing, how I would sit in my Social Studies class in sixth grade (it was right after lunch), and I would scratch at my teeth with my finger nails, scrubbing them clean that way… and I’m not so sure I had brushed my teeth in the morning in the first place, unfortunately…

I did this in other classes, too, but it was a regular thing that I casually would scratch them clean in that class in particular.

One day, in a casual, lighthearted and playful, yet ever-so-biting comment, one boy (D——) mentioned how I sit there at my desk cleaning my teeth all the time (among other things about me, but that’s the one I remembered).

I was shocked that it had been obvious enough that anyone could tell what specifically I was doing… it always just looked a lot like I was biting or chewing on my nails.

It hadn’t occurred to me that he might have been paying attention to me on purpose, and thereby figured out what I was doing…, but perhaps he was watching me in the first place…

At the time, I just thought I was being obscene with my teeth scratching, and was embarrassed.

I might even have begun improvements to my oral hygiene because of that interaction and comment…, though I don’t remember for sure.

I just know that it has always stuck with me.

I’m not mad at him or anything – far from it.

He definitely wasn’t wrong – I definitely often cleaned my teeth by hand, because I hated the feeling of unclean teeth.

I just probably could have helped my case greatly by using a toothbrush and toothpaste more often in my childhood. 😛

Funnily enough, I still have my days of avoiding brushing my teeth, but I still can’t stand it once I notice the feeling of unclean teeth and I’m not actively eating.

I don’t scratch with my nails anymore, though, because I basically always have toothpaste, floss, and toothbrush with me, wherever I go.

I’ve become somewhat of a fanatic about brushing and flossing my teeth, especially after having to do it all the time with the invisible aligners I had for six months last year… they kind of brought to fruition my desire to have a clean mouth all the time, by forcing me to brush and floss all the time.

Now, it is normal for me to brush and floss after any time I eat, even without the aligners during the day anymore (only a retainer while sleeping, now).

I just so dislike the feeling of dirty teeth…

I sometimes brush my teeth if I know I’ll have to wait even a little while before continuing to eat… I have definitely brushed my teeth between appetizers and dinner on more than one occasion, I just can’t take it. 😛

I also shower every day now, but I hold back from multiple times a day due to a desire not to be wasteful with laundry (which I struggle to wash as often as is reasonable – many swimsuits have served as underwear over the years, you see) or with water, so I arrange my days as best I can not to have to shower more than once on the average day.

I had a panicked phase of showering too much at one point, but am grateful that that has ended, and I can function normally now (meaning I shower daily, but don’t have a compulsion to shower after every time I use the toilet…). 😛

Anyway, my retainers are in and my mouth is delightfully clean, so I’m going to bed now – I’m exhausted!

Post-a-day 2020

Wishes

What do I really wish?

Not just for all of this to be fixed and for things to be clean and perfect and fresh, and for everything in my life to smell good or odorless… as much as a large part of me desires that, something deeper within me wants something more…

This part of me wants to be free of that extreme-desire-slash-necessity altogether… sure, I want things to be clean and perfect and sanitary and beautifully scented (or scent-free)…, but I want that to be just a want, not a near-incapacitating desire.

I want to be free of that need for everything to be so clean.

I wish to be myself, not this brain-trapped version of me.

That’s what I really wish.

Post-a-day

No adulting for me, please

I have OCD, and I’m taking supplements to help rebalance out my hormone levels (because a lot of OCD is tied to hormone imbalances), and it had been making a noticeable difference.

But having the OCD still sucks, and some days are just really sucky.

And I mean really, really sucky… like today…, and I just want to have someone who will come take care of me and do everything for me, because I’m already stomach sick, and I don’t want to deal with anything but curling up in bed, and the OCD is panicking because I am sick…, and I just don’t want to deal with any of it (by) myself right now.

Post-a-day 2018

Film ties

Sometimes, I see films that have a person as the main focus who struggles with certain situations, specifically socially.  (Current society likely would call them people with autism or asberger’s, or something of that sort.)  When I see these films, follow these people’s lives, I find it all too easy to fall into a similar pattern in my own life immediately after the film.  I think to myself, ‘But I am not like this.’  And yet the feeling is that the behavior is rather easy for me, as though I am at home in the behavior, in the odd habits.  I go back and forth between seeing how I am so comfortably ‘normal’ in the world and how I have intense emotions and ties within myself when I deal with certain OCD-related situations…, meaning I go back and forth between feeling like I am a ‘normal’, sane person and a crazy person.

And I always just end up being unconvinced of either one.

I’m a little bit of both, it seems.  And I think I’m okay with that.  I’m not sure that I like how it is – the OCD stuff can be utterly ridiculous even to me, and those situations are the worst, because they not only are intense feelings of needing to do something specific, but also the anger and frustration and embarrassment that I even have that feeling of need.  I think I might prefer having little “quirks”, instead… kind of like how most people likely think about my OCD stuff already, if they even notice any of it.  Yeah…, because currently, whenever I’m in a low rut, like tonight, after this film, if I think about the future, the feelings worsen.  I struggle to imagine ever finding a partner in life who possibly could accept, let alone embrace certain things that I do, certain things that currently feel as though I cannot not do.  But something in me has faith and trust, and drags me out of that rut… I will be okay.  I will be wonderful.  And I have no idea if this stuff will stay with me forever or not.  But, if they do, then I have many a plan for how to organize my life to minimize the struggle situations.

Post-a-day 2018

OCD for the win! (for once)

Tonight, the OCD within me has done me some good – by going that extra step with various cleaning tasks tonight, preparing for guests, I earned some “serious roommate points” from my housemate. 😛

Win-win situation for us, and it was caused by my OCD.

OCD was a good thing for once!

Post-a-day 2018

A small, small slice of (my) OCD life

‘Will you open the compost bucket?  I need to put this in there, and I have it all over my hands already.’

Hesitation.  And inward tug of panic.  A sigh.  I walk over, and hold open the bucket, then close it after she has dispensed of the boiled vegetable (from dying eggs).

‘Can I wash my hands?’  She moves over a little, so that I can use the running water to wash my hands (with soap, of course).  The water is hot, but I’d rather get my hands washed than mess with anything else.

I only had to wash my one hand, so I air dry it easily enough, and wipe it on my clothes for good measure, as I walk away from the sink and kitchen.

‘Crap.  Will you just move the whole thing over here?  This is all just going to drip, if I try to move it over there.’

A shudder runs through my insides, and a brief sense of paralysis overcomes me.

‘Oh, come on.  I just cleaned it.’

‘That doesn’t matter,’ I snap.  ‘I’m still going to wash my hands again.’  And so I walk back over, move the bucket to the sink, where I know she wants it set, but about which I purposely do not think, and I step away again quickly.  She blocks the sink, and asks for more paper towels on the plate.  I can barely breathe, but I carefully pull off two layers of paper towels, without touching anything else but those specific paper towels, and I drop them on the plate.  As I rush away, she fusses that they aren’t placed correctly.  I almost begin to cry, but manage to return and to lay them the way she wants them lain.  Finally, as I can feel the panic and the tears brimming, she moves to the side, and allows me to wash my hands.

I leave immediately afterward, because I don’t want her asking/demanding my help her do anything more.  I need to get somewhere where I can breathe.  Somewhere clean.

The kitchen is a dirty place, and I dislike being in it.  Even thinking of it is a source of anxiety for me, so I do my best to avoid letting it spend any time in my mind.  Now, as I share this, tears caress the edges of my eyelids, and I swallow with difficulty, unintentionally doing my best to breathe as little and as lightly as possible.

But then I remember that I am somewhere clean right now, so it is okay to breathe.  I do breathe, and it is comforting.  I will pause from this for a moment, so that my heart rate can relax some.

…………..

I think my mom just thinks I’m being dramatic, or that I’m making a big deal out of nothing.  I know that, for her, it actually is nothing.  For me, however, while it can be nothing at times, it usually is one of the most overpowering, overwhelming things I have ever experienced.

I saw a Facebook Memories post from last year just recently, of the time I was trapped in the bathroom at school (work).  Well, one of the times, anyway.  I’d said something to the effect of, “When you’re stuck in the bathroom, because your OCD saw her not wash her hands.”  I eventually washed the door handle, then washed my own hands again, and then used toilet paper from the stash on the countertop (there are no paper towels) to open the door.  It took me a while to get to that point, though, because I was mentally battling the situation.

You see, it made no sense that I couldn’t open the door and walk out.  I regularly do so.  I know that most women in Japan tend not to use soap to wash their hands, and many do not even bother with the water at times.  So, whenever I grab the handle to walk out of the bathroom, I can easily assume that it is covered in whatever germs get on people’s hands in the bathroom.  It took me a long time to be able to push the thought enough out of my mind to be able to touch the handle ever, let alone often.  But, I typically succeed in not letting the thought arise, so long as the bathroom is reasonably clean-looking, and so long as I do not actually see someone not wash her hands and then grab the door to leave.

Once the thought has arisen, there is nothing I can do about it (most of the time, anyway).  If it doesn’t occur to me, I am completely fine grabbing that door handle and walking out.  I don’t even need a paper towel, the way plenty of women in the US tend to do.  So long as the thought doesn’t occur to me.  If, in any way, something draws my attention to the possibility of contamination of the door handle, I can not touch it.  Ideally, I stand and wait until someone else opens the door, and I sneak through then.  If, after a while, no one has come or gone, I’ll find a way using paper towel or toilet paper.  However, using toilet paper has its own issues, because the toilet paper comes from inside the bathroom stall, which is where I know hands are not clean, because that’s where they are exposed to the whole dirtiness of the bathroom in the first place.  And, if someone has touched the toilet paper already, well, then, those germs are on that paper.  not to mention if something else splashed onto the toilet paper or the dispenser, and made its way onto the toilet paper.  Plus, I’ll have to touch the stall door in order to get into the stall.  All of these are factors that require me to wash my hands again.

So, I have even gone into the stall I had just used (so the toilet seat is cleaned off still), carefully pulled off a full round of toilet paper, thrown it away or into the toilet, gone and washed my hands again, returned to the stall, pushed it open with my shoe sole, removed fresh toilet paper without interacting in any way with the dispenser itself (and not letting the toilet paper touch it either), backed up out of the stall, used the toilet paper to open the door (without touching any bit of the door, and not even through a single layer of the toilet paper), held the door with my shoe sole (ideally what had held open the stall door, so as to wipe it off), thrown away the toilet paper, and then rushed out the door.  I can’t take the paper with me that held open the door, because that’s too much time for the germs to have been able to travel on the paper that is still in my hands.  I must dispose of it at the bathroom door.

It doesn’t matter that the germs are either there or not, or that I sometimes grab the door handle and sometimes cannot.  No matter how I think it through, no matter how I reason with myself, if I think about it while in the bathroom, I quite likely will be unable to touch the door.  Period.  If I don’t think about it, I’ll grab the door fearlessly, and continue on happily in life.  (Unless, of course, I think about it as I am already opening the door, or have just walked out of the door.  In such a case, I usually’ll have to find a way to wash/sanitize my hand then, sometimes even by returning to the bathroom to do so, because I don’t much like hand sanitizer – it leaves the germs on you, even if they are now dead.)

And now I am going to stop sharing about this for now.  It is exhausting to consider, and it makes my chest tight.  As I mentioned, bringing it to mind is the trouble of it all.  When I don’t think about it, I’m fine and dandy, breathing freely.  So, I want to forget all of this before I next go to the bathroom, because I want to be able to use the bathroom with ease.  However, the fact that I am even considering how I want to forget this and why, that is possibly going to prove troublesome later, because I’ve already made the connection between the two in my head.  Now, when I go to the bathroom, I am likely to think of how I wanted to forget this before I next went there.  This is why I usually do not even allow myself to finish thoughts.  For example, this paragraph normally would have ended at that “And now I am going to stop”, because that would have been enough into the thought process of what I shared afterward.  I’ll share some more about other parts of the OCD stuff another time, though.  Just, I’m finished for now.  🙂

Post-a-day 2018