Thursday, February 11, 2010

What It Feels Like For A Girl...

...with OCD. I don't know if I believe in all these acronym conditions like OCD or ADD, I tend to think there's a part of every person that the individual can't control. Whether it exhibits itself as closing the door seventeen times a day or being unable to sit still for five minutes, it's out of your hands and it's just a part of you. It's a quirk to show that no one is perfect and ever really totally in control. I mean, I do think one can start to control or even completely get rid of these involuntarily placed systems within the body but it takes training, time, and sometimes even medication. And sometimes you're just stuck with them, they are a part of what makes you inherently you. I myself like things in even numbers, sorted out and paired. I also have a habit of obsessing about one thing until someone shakes the thought out of my head, either by comforting me or by yelling at me to get a grip. To better explain it, say I get a thought. Like my mom isn't completely happy with the tattoo she got a few years ago. In my head this will grow and grow and become a problem and make me think, but she has it forever I need to make sure this thing she's wanted for so long is perfect, I need to make her happy. And then the burden of it will start dragging me down and I'll go with how? How can I do this? Maybe she's okay with it. Maybe it doesn't matter. I'll keep asking her if she's sure or try to get a plan made until she snaps at me or I just go crazy and chew my nails until they bleed. Hypothetically speaking of course.

I'm not a doctor, heh, but I'd say that's a little OCD. To go along with that I also have this thing. It's kind of still a hush hush subject in some places but I've grown to accept it a little bit, and now I don't care who knows. I have depression. No, I don't sit in my room cutting myself and writing poetry about dead flowers and hating myself because Sartre stated that life has no meaning and that's the truth. For the record, yes it does. Every life is precious and Sartre can kiss my ass. Hell is other people Jean-Paul? No, hell is studying you for two years. In French. And reading and acting out Huis Clos. In French. And spending hours figuring out how to write about you in the correct tense. IN FRENCH. Okay, sometimes it was just spending hours inputting English sentences that Babel Fish would translate into French which we'd then type up without bothering to fix it, but still. Where was I? Oh yes, life is wonderful. It's a gift. If it didn't mean anything then we simply wouldn't exist. Which is one of the many reasons why death scares the living shit (bahaha living get it?) out of me, but that's another topic. Yes, I have depression. It apparently runs in the family. I got smacked with it for the first time, for real, the summer between my junior and senior years of college. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't eat. I was listless and bawling and it felt like this huge spiky rope was coiled in my stomach and was slowly killing me. I couldn't breathe because of it (it stretched all the way to my throat) and it always felt like my heart was beating too fast. I actually tried taking my pulse and counting the beats because I thought my heart had turned into a hummingbird and was about to flutter out of my chest.

I didn't know why I felt like this and I was so scared that it wouldn't ever go away and that I was not normal. My dad was also going through something similar (needless to say that summer was not a good one for our family, especially my mom and sister who had to deal with us and all our other family members and their crazies). No matter how much my mom said it would pass, I couldn't believe her. It scared me to go to the doctor because it made it seem so serious and it scared me even more to take pills, Paxil and Xanax, because I thought they would make me addicted and I'd have this problem for the rest of my life. Well, I've come to realize I will. But I won't always feel like that. The pills did make me feel better, they balanced my brain chemistry so that I could breathe and eat again. The Xanax was awful and made me fall asleep immediately and wake up half an hour later gasping and choking in the midst of a panic attack. But the Paxil helped and so did the Diazem when I had the really bad attacks. I remember the night I felt slowly like me again. I picked up, "Lamb," by Christopher Moore and managed to sit and calmly read and eat miniature Snickers bars, the first thing I ate after ten days. God bless chocolate. The whole thing seemed to last forever but it was only a couple weeks.

I stopped the Paxil a few months later but until now I had two more bouts of the scary Leyla mood as I think of it. My leg tattoos set one episode off. Ugh. Luckily, I'm over it and I have 3 pretty peacock feathers on my right leg which I jokingly say represent my mom, my sister, and my dad. I currently take Paxil and I do have a doctor (who I have not seen since September though, whoops) but other than the occasional and normal "sad" day I'm fine, I'm me. That's what made me feel such relief when the "episode" passed. The drugs didn't make me a zombie and I didn't turn into a facsimilie of a happy version of me. I'm Leyla. The reason I still take them is because the doctor recommended it because I'm in a, "transition stage of my life." And since the episodes still happen, I'd rather keep them at bay with some help rather than succumbing to them. I will stop taking Paxil eventually though and maybe I'll have to start again in the future. I sure as hell hope I don't but I know what to expect and what I can do to combat it now. I also know that there are others like me, a close friend for one, and that talking with them and being there for them is just as helpful when you feel like you're the only crazy in the world.

Ah transitions. Better known as change. Even better known as my greatest enemy. I don't like change. I like things the way they are and to stay the way they are. My biggest worries during the episodes were along the lines of, oh God what is going to happen to me after college, where will I work, where will my friends be, why are they not staying with me, why do I have to be so far away from my family, why is it ending so soon, why can't I just be a kid again? I fervently wished to be a kid and happy and safe in my home with my healthy grandparents and parents. My grandparents have been going through a lot of health scares in recent years and all that just makes me think about our mortality and then I get panic attacks because honestly, I'm lost without my family. I truly am. We are all so tight-knit and loving, I don't think I could've turned out the way I did if not for them. I still get those worries but I'm learning to calm them.

Change makes me anxious-making and I don't like it. It always makes the fluttery stomach spiky rope thing come back and consumes me with worry. You can always tell when I'm worried because my nails become non-existent.

Lately though, I've become better at it. About looking change in the eye and taking a deep breath. But sometimes it still beats me. It makes me cry and even when I'm not crying it still makes me leak out of my face orifices uncontrollably. It makes my stomach flip flop in a bad way and convinces me I'm about to throw up. I don't know what sets it off. Sometimes it's just the fear of the unknown and I hate not knowing. I had to leave L.A. because this happened and it's just an all-consuming, get me out of here this instant, snakes choking my insides, call my mom constantly for reassurance, sob for no reason feeling that takes over me and destroys all rationality. I get smaller episodes too that aren't that big a deal but make me ashamed. Like I left LA previously on a visit to my friend because I had this feeling. And now I get it when I'm away from home, like spending the night somewhere. I make excuses, valid ones actually, and try to get myself out of the situation and then I feel horrible because I'm usually changing plans with somebody to do it. I feel so guilty and then try to convince myself it's ok and I'll make it up and it's just lousy but then I'm home and my stomach calms down. I know my cousins reads this and I was supposed to spend the night at her house which I'm totally fine with, I love hanging out with her. But I was worrying about a book I have to cover for my internship (by tomorrow. And they still haven't sent the book), and this meeting I have tomorrow and I thought it might make me bad company for the night. But what I don't understand is, they are all easy fixes. The internship said if I couldn't do it by tomorrow it would be fine but I want them to think I'm Superwoman and then be open for future job possibiliies but I know I'm not Superwoman so why force it? And the meeting? It's closer to my cousin's house than my own and I could just go from there in the morning but I just get this need to be home and handle it from there and nothing can quiet my insides until I'm "safe."

This is why I have unhealthy relationships with my phone and computer when I'm not home, they are the lifelines connecting me to where I feel safe. But safe? I'm safe where I am that's not home too. I need to get rid of this second-guessing and self-sabotage because it's slowly eating at me. My calm-down music is now the live versions of Madonna's, "Like a Prayer," followed by, "Jump," followed by the album version of, "Ray of Light." They helped during the ride home but I don't know if that was because I knew was going home or because they are good soothing songs. So I hope people, especially my dear cousin who I love with all my heart, understand when I do these spastic things that make sense in my brain and that I force to make sense in real life. Then punish myself for wanting it that way.

I don't quite know how to explain how change, depression, weird panic get-me-out-of-here moments, are all related but to me they are. I want them to go away. I want the Like A Muse project to help me get going with my life both in the physical sense (getting in shape, writing) and the emotional/metaphysicial (my mind-set and my habits that I don't like). But if they are a part of me, a permanent part that contributes to making me who I am, I want to be okay with them because I feel guilty and I hate that feeling. I spend way too much time feeling guilty and trying to rationalize it and it's really tiring. It hurts my brain. So I'm going to stop. And go work out and read the stupid book if my internship boss lady ever sends it.

Oh, on the way home the dolmus (mini-bus) driver got in a fight with one of the passengers We were all on his side though and finally had to yell at the idiot man to get out of the car. Ah Istanbul.

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