Thursday, September 24, 2009

A little long, a lot personal

I was just lying in bed, beating myself up for having a super irrational preggo moment, unable to fall asleep. I realized I was writing out my feelings inside my head, as a way to explain them to...myself I guess. So why not just type it out here and hopefully konk out after?

Lots of people make jokes about being "OCD" when they like a clean car or have to be on time somewhere. But actual obsessive compulsive behaviors... suck. (I was going to write "are no laughing matter" but, um, that's creepy.)

When I was little, I used to get obsessed with these thoughts or ideas that wouldn't leave my mind no matter how hard I tried. They were stuck there and I would fixate on them, no matter how insane, until I thought I couldn't stand it anymore. Eventually they'd disappear, but not before stealing hours of sleep and happy thoughts.

The first one I can remember, I was about five. This thought just...came to me that sitting in my attic, just waiting for someone to open the door, was this sinister Sumo wrestler guy. What?! I know. That's it. He just sat there. But I could think of nothing else and I wanted it/him GONE.

These obsessive thoughts were soon joined by certain compulsions, things I had to do. Count to a certain number before leaving my room, brush my teeth a certain way, make a certain facial expression at a certain time. I had to do these things or...I have no idea. Because I never let there be an or.

As I got older and learned some management techniques, a lot of my obsessions and compulsions waned. I still had the desire RIGHTTHERE all the time, but I knew how to fight it and keep going.

Pregnancy has pretty much thrown all that work out the window.

My mind is now pretty much ruled by intrusive thoughts, completely involuntarily, about...22 hours a day? I'm shaving a couple hours off for when I'm really enjoying some pie or watching Columbo or cuddling my cram or peeing. You probably want me to take off some hours for sleeping, but that's when I have all my nightmares and so nope! Can't do that.

Most of my worries, not surprisingly, are about the baby, or me, or Clay, or my family. Is the baby choking on her umbilical cord right now? Will Clay get cancer in the next 3 hours? Did my mom just go on a date with a serial killer? Fun stuff like that.

But there's a slight finesse I like to give my worries. It's this idea of fixating on how everything's okay NOW, but in two or five or ten or one hundred minutes...everything will CHANGE. For the absolute WORST. I'll focus on a song on my iPod and think, "I'll so remember this tune because in a minute I'm going to be hit by a car" or look around me and think, "This building is so nice - I wonder what it'll look like when the earthquake strikes after lunch." This goes on all day.

I went through this particular obsession about 5 or 6 years ago. I think it's because that things-are-good-now-they're-not sort of came true, on two separate occasions. Two separate times I took the time to realize how good and solid and healthy things were in my family. Then two separate times, within 24 hours, they suddenly...weren't. For a good year there, I was convinced every single phone call or email would bring more bad news. Pretty relaxing.

So yeah. Which leads me to tonight. After a whole day of obsessing and fretting and wringing my hands, my whole self was just worn out. I should have just gone to bed and hidden under my pillows. But instead, I latched onto this minute little comment and just blew it up. And I just get so mad at myself when I can't contain it anymore, when it leaks out into other things and other people. Because! Because then I've created a whole new thing, a whole new incident to obsess over tomorrow.

I don't have a pretty ending for this, and bless any of you who are still reading; I just had to get it out. But I do feel a little better and a little bit sleepier. Which is progress. Night, friends.


  1. the first obsessive behavior i remember was compulsively squeezing my buttcheeks whenever i passed electric posts while riding in the car... it felt somehow like i was jumping over them...
    have a good day maha.

  2. I do this too: I'm always in worst-case-scenario mode. I HATE when things are going really well for me, because then all I'm doing is waiting for something horrible to happen. An example: I called my dad on Sunday to tell him we get to visit him in Nov., had to leave a message. On Tuesday when he hadn't called back? I assumed he'd killed himself. I'm serious. So, if you ever want to talk about this stuff, I'm here. Though you and I should probably talk to other people about it LOL.

  3. I love you both for sharing your crazies with me before I run out the door to work.

    @mm I had weird electric post in car compulsions, TOO! I think I held my breath in between them...

    @Beth You make me giggle! Because suicide is hilarious! No really, thanks for being nuts with me.

  4. I had OCD before. It was the kind where I counted. I would count up all the letters in the words I was saying. If it wasn't even, I would freak out. When I was around nine, I went to therapy for it, and I haven't counted since. I try to joke about it, but it's not really that funny. Now, I have OCD about cleaning, all the time. I clean the house every day and I still feel disgusting.

  5. Cindy C2:11 PM

    I want to say something very encouraging to comfort your stress, but I struggle to find the right words. Life is about happy and sad, good and bad. Enjoy what you can today; talk yourself into accepting what you can't change and the unknowns of tomorrow. Amy, I am sorry you can't sleep, for that is so much of a good shot to keep you going. Also, know that in a few months, you are going to have one of the happiest experiences of your life. Love, C

  6. snap! i forgot to tell you about the .. few months, maybe longer, where i would write everything that i said or someone else said, out on my thumb with my forefinger. does that even make sense? does it matter? no. all that matters is, i gots a bad case of the crazies and as you WELL know now, you're not alone.

    you can borrow my cracking eggman next time you have any unwanted thoughts. he's annoying, but maybe he'll bring *you* some humor.


  7. Oh, I'm so with you. I started getting all obsessive and weird when I moved to Groton in sixth grade and freaked out because it all JUST WASN'T WORKING. I washed my hands so much that they bled (which still happens, although now that particular habit is due also to germaphobia). I still have these crazy ideas that if I don't so something that needs to be done, somebody will die. I still have to make my bed every morning because my husband commutes and if I don't make the bed his train will crash. and I KNOW it is totally illogical, but it's so much easier to just make the damn bed than actually worry all day that he'll be okay.
    I hope it all gets easier, and even though right now it's not, good job for at least having made it better for awhile.

  8. cereal thanks again to everyone for commenting - especially for all your similar ocd confessions!

    it *does* help to know that, while my hormones are making the worrying a notch nuttier, it's not just me...

    (and omg meredith, the hand washing - i SO HEAR YOU. i never had that one till recently...but with all this swine flu talk, i don't go an hour without a scrub. maybe we should buy stock in jergens together?)

  9. Anonymous9:06 AM

    All is the will of Allah.

  10. *looks with shifty eyes @ "Anonymous"*

    so anyway. i have the obsessive thoughts but not behaviors. i worry about things all the time. like "this may be the last time i hear billy breathing so i better cuddle him tight."

    that's one reason i HATE that stupid saying that's like, "ENJOY EVERY DAY LIKE IT'S YOUR LAST!"

    dude. no. screw that. i'm not going to live every day thinking it's my last - that kind of thinking is shitty and makes me tired. i'm going to have days that i waste because i want to. peace out, folks.

    all that being said, i had no idea you were obsessive about things or had OCD at one point.

    ps) baby robot will be fine. she is stronger than all of us already. i'm actually a little scared of her powers. :P


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