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Living Uncomfortably in Your Own Mind

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

From 4 May 2011 after my doctor’s appointment. 

I had decided before going that if the doctor was unwilling to work with me as a partner in my treatment that I was done trying. 

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          There are so many opportunities to live uncomfortably; all you have to do is just be open to them.  I know some people have certain things in mind for living uncomfortably.  For myself, there are a few specific things but more than anything it’s about taking the opportunities as they come.  I have one such opportunity come to me yesterday afternoon.  This is something I have been working on for almost 10 years, and now that it’s here are it seems quite terrifying… but in a good way?

          A joke pretty freely about my OCD with people I know and even those I don’t.  I’ve worked hard over the years to overcome some of the difficulties I faced because of OCD. I learned a long time ago to make peace with my demons invite them in, give them a cup of tea and get to know their story.  What’s the old saying?  Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.  Because my OCD is the butt of many jokes, from myself and others, many people don’t really understand the day-to-day battle that I face.  And in truth, I make sure a lot of the time that people don’t because of the way that I grew up.  Now days people don’t think so much about it because doctors know more about OCD, have treatments and therapies and the mainstream populace is familiar with it to some degree (though most of that seems to be Jack Nicholson’s character in “As Good as it Gets” and a few other such movies).

          The problem that I have faced over the last decade since coming to terms with the fact that I do have OCD, (and other things) is that if you aren’t locked in your home checking all of your windows and doors 25 times every hour, doctors tend to blow you off.  They see you as highly functioning and therefore not in need of as much attention, if any.  At least that has been my experience.  And yes, I’ve talked multiple doctors about it though admittedly in the last few years I had pretty much given up hope.  Our Western culture wants to treat symptoms rather than root causes very often and that was the case with me.  I am very proactive in my own healthcare, spent a good deal of time researching my condition, and went to the doctors fully armed with the intent of being an integral part of my own treatment.  Doctors don’t seem to like this idea very much…perhaps it threatens their God complex.  Who knows?

          I grew up with a father who has OCD and other members of my family as well; when you’re surrounded by that those behaviors don’t seem odd.  It wasn’t until my 20s that I really started to get a taste of the fact that those behaviors were very unusual.  I’ve spent a great deal of my life camouflaging those behaviors so that no one ever saw them because I constantly got in trouble for many of them even within my own family and especially in school and other public venues.  I learned very quickly that being the odd one out can really suck and so I did everything I could to minimize that.  However, in my 20s I discovered that I was going to have to do something about this order was going to make me crazy.  So, I did what I always do I started reading I started researching and I started looking for answers.  I began on my own and through some assistance in therapy to modify the behaviors that I could and let me tell you I’ve come a long way baby!  But also to do all of these things without the assistance of medication and behavioral therapy has taken a great deal of energy, time, blood, sweat and most definitely tears. 

          I’ve known for a while now that it was time to take it to the next level, I have reached a plateau that I was not going to be able to pass on my own.  So, back to the doctors I went.  Once again I met with apathy for the most part or an unwillingness to allow me to be a partner in my own healthcare which I will not abide.  I had almost given up.  I had an appointment scheduled at the beginning of January for one last go round and some things happened that were unavoidable I canceled the appointment and did not reschedule.  However three weeks ago I knew that I had to reschedule the appointment, I had to push myself out there in live uncomfortably in this just one more time.  My point was yesterday morning at 11 AM at 10:30 AM I was seriously contemplating canceling the appointment.  I just didn’t think I could go in there and have the same type of conversation will more time.  However, I forced myself out the door, got there on time and proceeded to wait for an hour and 15 minutes…it is the doctor’s office after all. Lol 

          The fact is that it’s been a very frustrating journey for me to even get a doctor to have an intelligent conversation with me about it.  Well, yesterday that finally happened.  I don’t know what was different but the doctor finally listened.  I found myself wanting to rush forward to make sure I got everything in so that she had all of the information that I wanted to give to her while she was in the space to listen.  I had to really pace myself, calm myself, and try to be clear.  It was almost a little bit surreal to finally have someone actually talk to me about it rather than down to me and to work with me in a way that I am comfortable with in my own healthcare.

          We talked about options for treatment and the things that I will need to do to augment the treatment.  Drug therapy for anything like this is very scary for me and not something I take on lightly.  I am not of the school that a pill or an operation will fix everything.  A happy little pill is not going to make this all go away, not by a long shot, but it will give me more of a fighting chance.  I am simultaneously petrified and hopeful.  This is a very scary thing for me to put out there on this level because I’ve worked so hard to camouflaging over the years and most people don’t have any idea.  But if my putting this out there helps with one other person not feel so alone, not feel crazy, not feel like it’s their fault and maybe take one step towards helping themselves then I will take the risk of looking like a crazy fool. 

          This is not something I asked for, it’s not something any of us who have OCD ask for and it doesn’t mean I’m crazy.  The fact is I have OCD and it is incumbent upon me to do to the healthy things that I need to do to lead a fulfilling and happy life that I want.  Things will work out as they should, I always believe that’s true.  They may not work out the way I want them to, but that doesn’t mean they won’t work out as they should. Lol 

          Having faith or being brave doesn’t mean that I’m not afraid: those are myths.  The truth is having faith and being brave means that you turn toward those fears and on some level you know that once you face them and walk through them is going to be better on the other side.  The anticipation of the fear is always worse than facing it.  So, here I am turning around facing the fear that if I am open and honest about this people are going to run for my life in droves.  In truth the people who are closest to me already know and I know they’re not going anywhere.  It the people that I am not close to and don’t really know the day-to-day turn away from me and run then I know where I stand.  Where I stand will be surrounded by the people who like me and love me for who I am and where I’m at in my life just as I do the same for them.  In the end no matter where I end up standing the important thing is that I will be stronger for this experience.  It doesn’t matter if I end up standing completely alone: I- will-be-stronger.

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