The Last (Or First) Time

I’m kind of in a hurry right now, so I could probably do a better job on this… but, I’m kind of in a hurry with this blog in general lately so I’m just going to go with it. This is a parody of that “The Last Time” poem for parents that’s been going around Facebook lately. It’s called, “The Last (Or First) Time.” it’s about OCD, and I originally meant for it to be funny, but it’s kind of funny and sad… but mostly I intended it to be funny.

The Last (Or First) Time

From the moment you realize you have OCD,

you will never be the same.

You might long for the person you were before,

When you had freedom and time,

And nothing in particular to worry about.

Or you may not remember not worrying at all.

You will know tiredness like you never knew it before,

And days will run into days that are exactly the same,

Full of counting and tapping,

Ruminating and crying,

Repeating things over and over,

It might seem like a never-ending cycle.

But don’t forget…

You never know exactly how many times any one thing will happen.

There will come a time when you will feed your baby

for the second or third time.

They will fall asleep on you after a long day

And it will be the fourth or fifth time you ever hold your

sleeping child.

One day you will carry them on your hip.

then set them down,

And pick them up that way again nine times to make it even.

Then wonder whether you should count picking them up and putting them down as “one” or “two.”

You will scrub their hair in the bath one night

And from that day on they will want to bathe alone.

Because you made them wash their hair four extra times.

They will not hold your hand to cross the road,

Not because of germs, but because if they touched your hand

You would have to touch their other hand 2 times.

And then repeat it once so it makes 4.

(But not just do it 4 times in the first place, because that’s different. it has to be two sets of two.)

They will creep into your room at midnight for cuddles,

And because it’s 12 AM and AM seems like an odd number and PM seems like an even number

It’s not OK to do anything at 12 AM.

1 AM is OK because 1 is an odd number and AM + odd number = even number.

It doesn’t have to make sense; it just feels right.

One afternoon you will sing “the wheels on the bus”

and do all the actions,

Then never sing them that song again.

Because the number of syllables in the title adds up to an odd number.

They will kiss you goodbye at the school gate,

The next day they will kiss you goodbye two times because the first time didn’t feel right.

You don’t always have to add up all the totals to be even, it just depends on how it feels.

You will read a final bedtime story and wipe your last dirty face.

They will one day run to you with arms raised,

for the third time. Or maybe it’s the fourth. Or the fifth.

You will send them back across the playground to run towards you again and count the number of steps they take while running, and maybe that will make it better.

The thing is, you won’t even know how many times all of these things happened

Until you spend your entire life counting, and even then,

You won’t be able to account for the times you were too young to have memories,

And can’t be sure whether you in some way knew how to count things back then.

So while you are living in these times,

Remember there are only so many of them and

when they are gone,

you will yearn for just one more day of them.

So you can stop counting.

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The “30 Things” Post

Apparently there’s this thing going around now, where you post 30 things about your invisible illness that others may not know. What else may you not know? I’m up late, and very tired right now, but always very tired as I’m taking care of a newborn lately. Anyway, you can thank invisibleillnessweek.com for this post and here’s the beginning of this whole trend, also apparently.

Note: I could’ve made this about OCD, chronic tic disorder, OR hypothyroidism. Or idiopathic/immune (depending on which doctor you ask) thrombocytopenic purpura. But in the interest of simplicity, and not making anyone pronounce any new words, I picked OCD. Will I do others in the future? If I get bored, maybe.

30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know

1. The illness I live with is: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: 2013
3. But I had symptoms since: As long as I can remember.
4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: Realizing that my brain frequently tells me something is wrong when it’s not.
5. Most people assume: That OCD just means I like having things neat and am particular.
6. The hardest part about mornings are: That I often wake up immediately thinking about something that really bothered me from yesterday, which I had tried to stop thinking about.
7. My favorite medical TV show is: Um… I don’t really have one. I’ve seen a few episodes of House that I liked, but I doubt there is such a thing as a medically accurate medical TV show, unless it’s a documentary of some kind, in which case it’s probably not a show. This was a really long answer. Anyway, medicine is a strong interest of mine so I have a feeling the inaccuracies in popular dramas would frustrate me (though this would actually have nothing to do with my OCD). I just made the long answer even longer!
8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: My iPad mini, but only because it’s the last present my dad got for me before he died.
9. The hardest part about nights are: Trying to stop thinking about everything that’s been bothering me.
10. Each day I take 2 pills & vitamins. (No comments, please)
10.5: I really really wanted to add a comment to #10. And that is, I take 0 pills & vitamins that have anything to do with treating my OCD.
11. Regarding alternative treatments I: This depends on what you mean by “alternative.” If you mean homeopathy or seeing a chiropractor, no. But I am open to lots of other things. I am a skeptic, and I believe in modern medicine and science.
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: Visible, because then I don’t have to explain to people what is wrong. As much. Maybe.
13. Regarding working and career: Fortunately, my OCD has not interfered much with this, except for sometimes making me tired from being up all night being upset about something for nights on end.
14. People would be surprised to know: That me being detail-oriented and meticulous is probably a completely different facet of my personality unrelated to my OCD.
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: Actually, being diagnosed was a big relief for me, and I think I faced more struggles when I didn’t know or tried to hide my problems. Since I’ve most likely had OCD my whole life, if this question means a contrast between life before OCD and life after, I really can’t answer that.
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: Um… stopped thinking about something that bothers me? Because that’s pretty much simultaneously the most stupid and simple-sounding accomplishment yet also the most difficult one. Raising children is pretty tough, though.
17. The commercials about my illness: I don’t really see any.
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: Worrying? No, I don’t miss worrying, plus I still do it anyway. Otherwise I do the same stuff.
19. It was really hard to have to give up: A feeling of trust in my poorly wired instincts.
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: Blogging about my diagnosis.
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: Since I’ve always had OCD, I always feel normal. 😦 But um… I would probably accomplish a LOT more if I didn’t have to spend so much energy trying to ignore my own thoughts. So I would probably just go out and do a lot of stuff.
22. My illness has taught me: That I have the power to ruin my life by creating problems because I’m worried that they will exist.
23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: That I’m worrying about something “little” or “not a big deal.” If I felt like it wasn’t a big deal, why would I be worried about it? Oh, thanks, that thing I thought was a big deal is suddenly not a big deal just because you said so without stating any other reasons or even trying to find out why I think it’s important! Thanks!
24. But I love it when people: Help me restructure my own thoughts instead of rebuilding them for me. For example: “Do you REALLY think washing your hands again will make you feel finally sure that they are clean, or will you maybe just want to do it again in five minutes?” versus “You’re worrying too much! Stop washing your hands all the time! Why are you making a big deal out of nothing?!”
25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: Um… I need to find one. I do think being able to laugh in the face of adversity is important, though. (Being able to laugh at yourself and your situation. Not like… laughing cruelly at your enemies. That’s not what I mean.)
26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: To expect people to make a bunch of assumptions and give nonsense advice. Constantly. And just to be pleasantly surprised when it doesn’t happen.
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: I can’t really answer this because I’ve probably always had OCD.
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: Treated me as though my thoughts, feelings, and concerns were valid and important.
29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: I have an invisible illness, I’m bored, and need to update my blog.
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: Special?

Coming Back (An Ego-Centric Post)

I love to be doing better, but going too long without writing is not a good thing, and I tend to only realize a problem is OCD after it’s too late. This means my mindfulness could use improvement. The more something bothers me, the more it gives me that “Something bad is about to happen if I don’t resolve this” feeling, and the more I feel compelled to think about it. It sounds simple to be aware of this basic cycle, but OCD is good at tricking us.

Here’s another problem: Should I still be open about my OCD? Will new people I meet judge me if they learn it too soon? I don’t force bringing it up, but I don’t hide it either. I figure this is the best approach. It’s an embarrassing but true part of who I am, and I feel that trying to hide it would be bad in the long run. I have to be honest with others and myself about who I am.

It’s been a while since I’ve regularly updated this blog. I need to take a good look at it and make sure I don’t write too much about things I’ve already covered. But then, isn’t that what OCD is all about?