"Let's get real" challenge
This morning I went on Facebook and read a post from a dear friend of mine. Her post talked about an illness she'd been suffering from discontinuing her medication because she wanted to have another baby. Her Facebook usually looks like she doesn't have a care in the world. Living in a remote beach with her son and her husband. She's typically doing hand stands on the beach or doing a jump a top a beautiful mountain overseeing the ocean. You would never even know she has a medical condition that sometimes would even leave her paralyzed, electrified by her own body. She talked about her post being impulsive but that she needed to share her story. It was what made her, her.
I was so inspired by her posting something so close and personal. and I felt it was so refreshing to see someone so real posting something so real. because at the end of the day, we are all real. but why do we constantly idolize people who aren't real or at least see to hide their realness. Those who post from the neck up hiding their troubles, not letting you see the scars, the pain, the imperfections. We follow people on social media so insecure that we become insecure. We start becoming a reflection of those we think we should be like. We're covered in problems in the same way those we idolize are covered in problems.
I have been open before about having been misdiagnosed in the past and recently finding out I have OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Given that there are so many different kinds and levels of this illness, I recently read three different stories one was about a girl named Rosie who needed to touch every surface she walked by and if she didn't she would become flooded with thoughts of her family dying. Or Kyle who needed to do everything with both hands, like shaking hands with both hands and eating with both hands, everything needed to be equalized/symmetrical or else he would go into panic attacks. Then there was the classic germaphobe story of Josh, who never left his house without wearing gloves, who boiled all of his drinking water and refused to eat food that wasn't cleaned and prepared by himself.
In my case, in high times of stress, I'm a checker. I seem to check my doorknobs, being more compulsive over my car than anything else. but the real kicker in my case, are the intrusive thoughts I would go over not remembering if I locked my house and that if I didn't someone might break in and steal my valuables. I don't keep valuables in my car, so really it's just an obsession that would come over me on wether or not I locked my car before leaving. I would click the clicker 5 to 8 times and even pull on the door to make sure it was locked. but even after I walked away I would keep thinking about my car and as long as I was within range, I kept clicking the clicker. Sometimes I would go all the way back to my car just to check that it was locked and the windows were rolled up (physically touching the windows). I would convince myself that instead of locking the lock button on the clicker, I was clicking the unlock button. With all of this came so much stress and frustration. I would start thinking, dying would be better than living like this. So in my mind I would replay all kinds of ways I could be killed. Maybe a bus would run me over as I crossed the street. Maybe I could climb up a bridge and jump. Maybe my car would blow up when I turned it on. or maybe, just maybe, I would walk into a robbery gone wrong and I would be shot and killed.
Part of my OCD symptoms is that I like rules. I like order, not as in objects need be in a certain place but rather what's written in black and white; policies, rules. but human nature, for whatever reason is to break rules in general and that becomes a problem for me when they are not reinforced by say...supervisors. and I go into panic attacks and anxiety. Shit will just hit the fan.
If I was taught anything the years I was misdiagnosed was that I needed to seek help when I felt I was in real trouble or danger. So I did just that. I was diagnosed with OCD within minutes. and began to get the help I needed and the tools to actually cope with these intrusive thoughts. This included medication. I was going through a lot at the same time. I had just been asked to move out of the only home I knew, after finding a less than perfect but cozy place near my ex's house (another thing that brings me anxiety at the thought of running into her), I had no money, my OCD diagnosis had come as a surprise at the time and I was getting ready to have a double surgery just a few months away. It didn't help that I am facing discrimination at work over my hearing problems and my overall health by some co-workers, it didn't help that my grandmother had died the day before thanksgiving, I was kicked out of a different family member's house on Thanksgiving day (literally), I couldn't help to feel so unwelcome and so unwanted. and my intrusive thoughts said "you can end it. It doesn't have to continue, you can stop it. forever".
The evening of November 27th, I was called in to the office by my boss and human recourses and I was made to feel like I was at fault for being discriminated against. That I was imagining things. That according to their investigations nothing had ever happened. They ignored my evidence, text messages between me and a co-worker, they ignored the camera evidence, and interviewed all the wrong people.
The next morning, I obviously woke up feeling a little less than jolly. Feeling like I really was the problem. That I was to allow people to discriminate against me and I was to say nothing. That I was to allow patients and co-workers to verbally abuse me and yell at me for things I had no control over. I've been verbally abused all my life by people that are close to me. I have been discriminated against at every job I ever had over and over again. I began to think that I could walk into Walmart and buy a hunting gun, after all thats all it takes. I thought, I could hang myself, seems to be the most preferred method of suicide these days. and then, it was like a bulb turned on and I grabbed a pair of scissors from my desk at work and I just walked around with them in my pocket. I'm not sure if it was my real intention to stab myself in the neck or the stomach. I felt like it was more of a security blanket to have the scissors in my pocket.
I'm clearly still here. I called my doctor that moment and explained what I was feeling and I was convinced by him that I was being irrational. I voluntarily went to the emergency room where I was later released. When I checked in with my treating doctor, I was greeted by policemen and essential confined in an unlocked office. The plan, from my doctor was to be put in a psychiatric facility, on a psychiatric hold. I disagreed. and that's what the policemen were there for. If I refused to go voluntarily, they would take me by force. But it was going to be worse to wake up in a hospital with 20 other people with even more depressing issues, doing yoga and arts and crafts, eating three forced meals a day. I needed to be in my own space, resting, not thinking about work or how I was going to get myself out of the fucked situation I was in and most definitely not thinking about suicide. I needed to be reading and writing, my only escape. The only thing I could do that made me feel better. I was released to my mom with the promise that I would be under suicide watch by her at her house.
Really, the whole point of this blog is that no one is perfect. Behind every instagram photo that seems perfect, theres a shackle tied to that person that they drag around with pain, broken hearted, medically sick. Whatever you want to think up to be tied to the shackle, that's what they drag around. What's also true is that no one will ever post their dirty laundry. We just live in a world where social media rules our lives. We compete over an illusion and not what's real. We don't need to compete. We need to heal. We need to love. We need to care, sympathize, empathize, feel for each other and above all understand one another. I have also learned that talking is best thing that gets you closer to getting better. I can't promise you a cure, but talk about it, Talk about what bothers you, your struggles. Start talking become it wasn't long ago when people had no idea what ALS was and now it's everywhere because people are talking abut it and educating themselves. You are not alone. There's no shame in sharing with someone you trust, you may learn something you never knew before.