Hi, friends! Before we actually get into this post, I wanted to say that this post is going to talk about anxiety, with specific symptoms and compulsions relating to obsessive compulsive disorder and generalised anxiety disorder being listed. If this isn’t something you want to read, I get it completely. Stay safe, friends! 💜
I have debated posting this or something similar for a while now, with those wishes only being heightened by the receiving of an official diagnosis and the fact that it is mental health awareness month. I don’t really know how to start with this, I’ve written it in my head at three am many times and I have actually sat down to write this before only to give up and cry. That being said, I’m gonna just. Try. This post may be very messy and hard to understand, but that is real? That’s what it is like in my brain, that’s the reality. Anywho, time to try and talk about this stuff.
Since I don’t really know how to start with this, I’ll start by saying that over the past year or so while I have been running this blog I have also been developing a pretty severe anxiety disorder. It was really weird to type that, but that is the reality. I have been pretty absent in blog hopping and not posting consistently and there are a lot of reasons for that, but most point to this reason. Before I started this blog, I had been living with an anxiety disorder for years and years that had affected my day to day life without me really realising it? Okay, that is not completely true, I definitely realised it, but my family wrote it off at teenage hormones and told me that I need to get over myself, so I didn’t really think of it as the same thing I think of it now.
I suppose I should explain what I am talking about in more detail now. I have been living with generalized anxiety disorder for pretty much as long as I can remember. My psychologist and I couldn’t really pinpoint when it developed, but it has been there for what feels like forever. I am obviously not a mental health professional, so I cannot speak for what all of the symptoms of this disorder are or how to treat it, but I can talk about what this disorder is like for me.
For me, GAD is getting sent home from high school seven times because you start having an anxiety attack and will not stop crying and the school doesn’t know what to do with you so they make you just leave. It’s getting up with your alarm and walking downstairs in a daze only to go look at your mother and immediately start crying for her to start yelling about how you can’t live this way, but to “stay home and ruin your life, it doesn’t matter to me.” It’s shaking randomly because you can’t handle all of the emotions running through your head and not knowing what to do with the all consuming panic in your head. It is so much more than that, but those are the images that first come to mind.
Obsessive compulsive disorder is a bit harder for me to talk about, mainly because I understand it so much less and because I have only been living with it for a while. I have had clear obsessive compulsive tendencies my whole life, but it wasn’t the actual disorder until mid last year. What changed this? Glad you asked, it is hard to know for sure, but the connections I have been able to make is that it started to become this all consuming misery around the time my grandmother died in June of last year. Once again, I don’t really know how to make this point without giving examples, so here is what OCD is for me.
For me, OCD is washing your hands so many times a six year old at work goes “Ms. Arin? Why do you keep doing that? You just did it like five minutes ago.” It is the elementary school guidance counselor asking you if you are seeing a therapist and if not that she would really, really recommend you getting professional help after she watched you deep clean your entire class room and wash your hands about ten times in the process. It is not being able to leave your car until you lock it eight times, just to make sure it is like really locked. It is having a minor anxiety attack when someone else is in your parking spot at work because this means that you are clearly going to have the worst day ever because you didn’t get this spot. It is freaking out when a kid proposes five as the number for magic number because five is a bad number and surely something horrible will happen if the kids count to it over and over again. It is not being able to go to your favorite businesses in town because the road that leads to them has been deemed dangerous by your brain for no reason. It is being convinced you are allergic to random foods even though a) you’re not and b) have never tried them. It is also having a panic attack when you do eat one of those foods because you think you are going to go into anaphylactic shock and die (spoiler alert: you don’t, because you’re not fucking allergic to coconut, Arin). It is all of this and so so much more.
So, yeah? This has been a brief glimpse into my brain and what I have been dealing with for the past little bit. My friends have been so fucking supportive throughout this, I can’t thank them enough. Thanks to C and K (if you’re reading this) for getting dressed at like 10 pm to come get me out of my car in the elementary school parking lot where I had been having a panic attack for the past like hour. Thanks to Brianna for listening to me rant about therapists not listening and for helping me figure out what the fuck my brain is doing as much as either of us can.
And a big thank you to anyone reading this for putting up with me and my inconsistency and for listening to my rambles. I could’ve gone into much more here, I completely left out my bouts with depression that according to my psychologist are “inevitable given how anxious I am all the time” and so much more. But like, this seems like enough for now. Maybe I’ll revisit in the future but for now this seems good enough.
If you have any questions about anything I will do my best to answer and if you think you are struggling with either of these illnesses or another mental illness, please try and see a mental health profession if you can. I know that it can be really fucking hard, but if you want to hear about any of my experiences so you have an idea of what it can be like, I am more than willing to share. On that note, um, thanks again for reading this. My April wrap up will finally be up tomorrow and then I will be back to talking about books and gays per usual. See you then!