First: I don’t like The Doors.
But you know what else I don’t like? The doors at Wal-Mart. For a long time something about them was bothering me, and I just couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Then yesterday, it hit me. Nevermind the fact I probably shouldn’t be shopping at Wal-Mart at all. The issue I have is that when I’m leaving the store, one pair of doors is labeled “Enter” and the other is labeled “Exit” — but that’s the label above the door. On the door itself underneath “Enter” it reads “DO NOT ENTER” (because one is not supposed to exit through the entrance) and something about this has been disturbing me. The conflict between “Enter” and “DO NOT ENTER.” You know what it is? I shouldn’t even BE ABLE TO READ “Enter” above the door. The fact that I’m able to read it indicates to me that I should go through the door. But I shouldn’t. Why did they even bother to make it so I could read the “Enter” sign from inside? They had to put a sign inside specifically for the purpose of me being able to read it, and if it simply appeared backwards, half-visible from the opposite side, I wouldn’t feel compelled to go through it.
Apparently, to those closest to me, my OCD means that I will never be taken seriously. I will never be given credit for admitting or dealing with it; I will never be rewarded or even acknowledged for this. Instead, I will only be dismissed at the drop of the hat; the first time I show concern about something, I’m told “Don’t worry”, as if I asked 10 or 20 times. I’m repeatedly pressured that my concern about something is “just my OCD” despite the fact that I think it’s a valid concern, and that I dealt with it reasonably. I am not entitled to acknowledgment of my concerns; I am only worth dismissal. I guess I’m the boy who cried wolf. But to me, it didn’t really seem like a game. I was sure there really was a wolf there all those times, or at least that there was a good chance there probably was, and now that I can tell the difference, at least somewhat reasonably, between OCD and normal concerns… it’s too late. I guess it’s just too late for anyone to take me seriously at all. That’s what I get for being born this way, I guess.
Is it too much to ask that it’s not the first assumption? That maybe, when I have a concern, it could first be addressed as a regular one? Then, if it keeps coming up… well, maybe it’s OCD. I’m willing to consider that my problems could be OCD — that’s why I went to therapy, that’s why I got diagnosed, that’s why I admitted it. But it seems my friends/enemies are unwilling to consider that I might sometimes not behave regarding OCD.
I have mixed feelings about awareness months. On one hand, I feel that it’s always good to spread awareness for those with disabilities and disorders. On the other hand, I feel that it’s always good to spread awareness for those with disabilities and disorders. Limiting it to one month means that there’s a time when some get singled out while others get excluded, and months which are back-to-back may end up competing with one another for attention. Also, setting aside specific months means that a lot of people just pretend to care and do a lot of superficial stuff for that one month but then don’t care the rest of the year, and didn’t really even care for that one month as it turns out but only wanted their “friends” to think so. So it’s all very complicated and confusing — but not as confusing as OCD, so it’s OK.
I made this in response to that pro-gun image I ranted about recently. I actually support gun rights, but what I don’t support is stereotyping crazy people. Or anyone at all.
Think people with OCD are just uptight, rigid, controlling, and overly meticulous? Think again. People with OCD are not any more uptight or controlling than anyone else who is in a real, truly dangerous situation. The difference is that the person who’s been shot, whose leg has fallen off, whose house is on fire, or whose car has been broken into, has actually had something really dangerous happen to them — whereas the person with OCD may have only touched something which might’ve touched something dirty at one point in the past, but guess what? That person really feels like they are in serious danger. It’s not about being uptight or controlling. I’m not even going to say “it’s not just about that” because it’s not even about that at all. It’s about feelings of danger and fear. Until you understand that, you don’t really understand OCD at all.
Not only that, but telling someone with OCD to “just stop doing” something which is a compulsion to relieve their anxiety, without that person understanding that what they are experiencing is a false alarm and that the danger is not real, is like telling someone whose leg has just fallen off not to go to the hospital because they’re worrying too much.
Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder can be about being perfectionistic and controlling, but even then, if it’s out of meanness or hurtful intent then it’s not because of the OCPD.
That is all.
Mother’s Day is coming up, and I miss my mom. I changed my Gravatar picture to a photo of her with my baby brother from 1970. I think the thing that hurts the most now is that I was not able to properly grieve her loss at the time. I feel like OCD steals from my life to such an extent that it does not allow me to deal with real problems, forcing me to deal with its made-up false alarms instead. It refuses to let me put things “on the back burner,” so I have to spend all my time thinking about things I do not even want to. I’m better able to control it now, but I really wish I’d been able to properly deal with the loss of my mom. I wish I had been there for her more in the months before her death. I wish I had been there for the other members of my immediate family. I wish I had been able to focus on her loss more than the OCD episodes I was having at the time. I resent OCD for stealing this important time from me, just like so many other important times in my life. Shortly before she died, my dad called a “family meeting” to discuss my mom’s declining health and important developments related to it — and I missed this meeting, not because I wanted to, but because my brain would not let me focus on anything but the relationship problems I was having at that time. I spent this time fighting with my ex-boyfriend over problems that may have been entirely imagined, a result of OCD. Even if the reason we were fighting was not due to my OCD, my inability to stop thinking about any problem in our relationship (no matter how small) would not let me escape. Now that person is out of my life entirely, and I realize I sacrificed an irreplaceable moment with my family for a relationship that would be over in just a few months.
But my mom believed she had OCD, though she was never diagnosed — so ultimately, I think that she would understand.
But remember that, everyone. Remember that if you let it, OCD will take everything from you… it will become the only thing you think about and focus on. It wants to consume your life. Your brain is trying to protect you, telling you there is danger — but with OCD, the only danger is being excessively concerned about danger. Live your life that way, and you will see one day that maybe you avoided getting hurt, but you enjoyed nothing and had no life. Or maybe you are like me, and didn’t avoid getting hurt — in trying to avoid getting hurt, you ended up getting hurt even worse. Your fear of being hurt actually caused more problems for you than it prevented. Or while you were worried about being hurt by one thing, you were so consumed with that you could not see another danger which was right before your eyes, and much more threatening. That is the downside to excessive anxiety. Anxiety has a natural, evolved place in our lives — but like anything else, it is not helpful when taken to an extreme.
If you’re easily offended, please don’t read on. I don’t mean to make light of anyone’s suffering, at all. If anything, I’m making fun of people who say silly, sensationalistic things to capitalize on tragic events because they think that’s how best to reach people.
And I know, I know. I should retitle my blog “This is apparently a blog about Adam Lanza now.” I admit it’s a subject that fascinates me. I wish I could help people like this. I promise this is the last post I will make about him — before the next one, which could be anytime.
Remember on The Simpsons, when the Comic Book Guy said: “Ahh, the full Leonard Nimoy cycle: first I Am Spock, then I Am Not Spock, and finally I Am Also Scotty.” Leonard Nimoy really did publish books with those titles — just not the last one, because well, that’s going over-the-top crazy. (I own a copy of I Am Spock, although somewhere along the line I lost the dust jacket.)
Anyway, I hate to say it (but not enough not to say it), but all the blog posts about Adam Lanza started reminding me of this. “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother,” “You Are Not Adam Lanza’s Mother [Which she really is not],” “I Am Adam Lanza’s Therapist” and “I Was Adam Lanza.” Maybe these people are also not, and also Scotty. Actually, I kind of like “You Are Not Adam Lanza’s Mother” for calling BS on the whole thing.