Tag Archives: Insanity

#9 Mental Illness – Part 4: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

(Read part one)
(Read part two)
(Read part three)

It’s hard to help people–who just don’t understand mental illness–to grasp what it is like to experience what someone with a mental illness goes through routinely. I am going to share some personal things, not just for those that do not understand mental illness at all, but also for those that I consider my friends. Some of the people that I care a lot about have said some hurtful things to me. Now, I know that they don’t mean them to be hurtful, but to them OCD is a joke of sorts.

I am both hurt and frustrated every time someone tells me “oh, next time your OCD acts up, come over to my house, it really needs to be cleaned.” Seriously? I know they don’t understand, and a lot of the time I will just try to laugh it off but…

Beads of sweat trickle down my spine. My heart races, pounding in my chest. Gotta wash, gotta wash, wash them, wash them, wash them. Dirty, dirty, dirty, wash, wash, wash, wash, wash. My thoughts are racing. I can’t breath. I can’t think. I try to fight the growing insanity. I can feel myself rocking, but I’m not there. I’m trapped in my head, just trying to find an escape from all of this… Do it, do it, do it, now, now, now, wash them, go,wash them, now, wash them.

Tears are flowing and hot water is burning my hands. I don’t remember moving, but I can’t stop now, I have no control. I’m shaking and crying. I am telling myself to stop, please stop. But I cannot. My head feels like it is exploding.

Wash, wash, wash, wash, wash, wash, wash. Can’t stop. Want to stop. Need to stop. Wash, wash, wash. STOP!

Shaking. Crying. Shaking. Sobbing. Burning. Please. Stop. Please. Crying. Soap. Hot water. More soap. So much soap.

My hands keep foaming now, even when I keep rinsing and rinsing. The soap won’t get out of my skin. The bad won’t get out of my skin. Get out of my skin. Get out of my skin. Get out. Get out. Get out. Leave me alone. Help me. Someone help me. Help me, help me, help me, help me.

It hurts.

I tell myself repeatedly, I don’t need to wash. And my head responds: wash, wash, wash, wash, wash, wash, wash…. Insanity. I fight. I lose. I fight. I lose. I fight. I lose. I fight. It hurts. I can’t win. Can’t, can’t, can’t. HELP ME!

In the past this is when her arms would wrap around me, pull me away and hold me tightly as I struggled incoherently to try and get back to the insanity. Wash, wash, wash, wash, wash, wash. Arms tight and loving, rocking, soothing. Come back home. Wash… wash… wash… Soft, warm, safe, home. Clearing, but still there. Anxiety throbbing through me.

It is a struggle to keep control. This isn’t the only type I suffered. But this is the most traumatic, the one that I had the least tangible control over. The last episode I had, I recorded part of it. I watched part of it in tears after and wondered, “why doesn’t anyone help her?” Well, because no one was there to. She had to fight for control. Breaking her mind into pieces to rip herself away from the burning pain. Nausea and fear. I ended up having to call the crisis line for my therapists office. They talked to me calmly for a while. Explained to me that my hand washing was a form of self-harm. NO SHIT! It’s not like I was doing it on purpose. I didn’t have control. I didn’t have any control.

Every time someone jokes about my OCD as a “clean freak” thing, it hurts. Please, please, PLEASE, do not ask me to clean your house under the pretenses of my OCD. OCD is very scary. Having to live through that fear even for a moment feels like hours. It is physically and emotionally draining.

When I complain about my OCD, it is not funny. I am not making a joke. When I am talking to someone else who has OCD, it is a breath so fresh air and the. Someone walks up and jokes about it, making both of us pull back into ourselves and stop connecting. Even then, some people with OCD do not understand Other types of OCD either.

And those of you that do not actually have OCD, but are just anal about things being clean, please top calling yourself OCD. If you don’t have the constant anxiety and fear and obsessive compulsions running through your head. You. Are. Not. And do not have OCD!

I have an intense fear of losing control. I have a fear of loss and a fear of contamination. These are not things that I can easily explain. I cannot clean my bathroom without gloves on. I cannot touch animal waste. I don’t try to, but I avoid situations that I think might put me in a place where I will be around people and have OCD issues. I feel insane and out of control.

I will not go into all the details of my OCD. If you would like to learn more about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder you can visit the following websites:

http://iocdf.org/about-ocd/
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml

I encourage you all to comment and discuss. If you want clarification, I am happy to talk to anyone about anything I have mentioned in this post.

The Resident Femme

(Read OCD Part 2)

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#3: Living a lie

When I got married, I thought that I was going to be happy for many years to come. I didn’t expect to have my marriage removed from record eight months later. My wife and I had been together for over three years. It felt like an eternity and I couldn’t love her any more than I did.

Now… I feel that my situation is somewhat unique, or at least I haven’t heard of anyone else being in this situation. And finally telling the story is really hard. It is almost as hard as it was to finally tell about what really happened when I was raped. But I digress… This isn’t something that I have been able to easily share with just anyone, hell, usually I just lie about the situation all together. I don’t want the pity and I also don’t want the non-understanding judgement.

When I first met my wife, I had no idea that she was so amazing and unique. Our first several months were amazing, we were glued to each others sides as often as we could be. Eventually I found out about her “secret” I never thought it was abnormal at all, I thought it made her more interesting. My wife felt like she was both female and male. Half of each gender. And yet, I still loved her.

As a Lesbian, I don’t know how to love a man. I tried for several years, before coming out, to convince myself that I was straight. I struggled with accepting myself or even the idea that I could be different. I was raised Mormon in Utah. I didn’t even know that it was possible to be different.

My first girlfriend was exciting, new, different, and a wild ride. She is a good person, and I don’t regret the time that we spent together. She is a great friend now, and one of the few people who understand my situation.. Hell, she understood before I did what was really going on.

The first year I spent with my wife was amazing, new relationships generally are. We had adventures and fell deeper and deeper in love with each other. Life was the best that it had been.

Like everyone, we had our bumps. We had arguments and fights, but nothing huge. We shared many experiences and met many friends together. And still, I didn’t see anything amiss. Anything abnormal was brushed aside. And we continued to care for each other.

Several months into year two something strange happened. My wife wasn’t acting like herself. She was very down and nothing I did could cheer her up. I cuddled her in the guest bed–where she had curled herself up–until I got too nauseated and had to go lay in our own bed. (I had been sick). Later–I don’t know how long–She came in and laid behind me. She wrapped her arms around me and kissed my shoulder. She whispered to me: “I love you so much, I just had to hold you.” Something felt wrong. Time seemed to stop for a moment as her arms tightened around me and then released. She sat up and said quietly, “I don’t think we can be together anymore.”

I couldn’t breath. I watched as the woman I loved walked out of our apartment. I didn’t comprehend what had happened at first, and then when I did I panicked. I couldn’t think and I am sure that several people were upset with what happened that night. Most of it, I don’t remember. I was crying in the shower–burning hot water–until it became ice. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t think. My cat became worried and also agitated. He couldn’t understand why his mommy was acting so oddly.

Our cat was to be neutered in the morning, and part of me was afraid that she would come while I was sleeping and take him and never come back. I wasn’t thinking rationally, I couldn’t.

When she showed up to get the cat the next day I insisted on going too. I couldn’t really talk, so I made comments about the cat, he was afraid.

I cannot say that I was proud of the behavior that I exhibited when we got home. Some part of me was deliriously desperate. How could I make her stay? I actually tried to use sex to make her change her mind. She took advantage of it, but still wouldn’t tell me why things had happened. We worked out an arrangement of both of us staying in our bed together.. but separate. (we had something separating the bed in half).

I became lost. Now, the details of what happened in the couple of months that we were separated are not pretty, but I am not trying to make myself seem like a better person and I am not trying to make her seem worse in any way. I am just trying to get the truth as I remember it out. I am not the same person that I was, I have grown, and She isn’t the same person either…

Things happened that are kind of blurred together. But, near thanksgiving or Christmas she finally talked to me. She had been feeling apathetic. She had not been experiencing any emotion at all and didn’t know if she ever would again. So she had broken up with me so that I could eventually find someone that would give me the love that I deserved. A few days later she came to me crying and said that she wanted to try to make things work. She felt something, but she didn’t know what yet… No promises.

For a long time I forgot this time, my mind blocked it out and it was like it had never happened, we were together again. Nothing else mattered.

Life seemed to return to normal. We lived, mostly happily, together with our cat. And I still didn’t notice anything strange going on.

I started a new job in the new year and was excited to be helping again with life… And then I didn’t know what was happening. I woke up one morning in pain, I couldn’t breath, I thought maybe I had to use the toilet, but collapsed on my way to the bathroom. I lay on the floor crying. My wife helped me back into bed and tried to help me throughout the day.

The second day wasn’t as simple. The pain had not gone away. I was hurting in my abdomen and I was starting to get scared. It hurt so bad that I was throwing up. My wife got frustrated and accused me of pretending to be sick so that I wouldn’t have to go to work. This behavior was strange, but I didn’t notice. I was in too much pain to care what she was saying. Eventually I begged to be taken to the hospital.

The doctor ran blood tests, urine tests, imaging… My wife had to go and help some friends while I was waiting for results. I told her that I would be fine waiting. I was a cupcake (*note: they had pushed my morphine too fast and I was high), and everything was good for a while. Until I heard the doctor talking to someone out in the hallway in hushed tones. “growth…more tests…centimeters….”

Now, I am going to tell you now that during this time of my life panic came easily. I had a hard time keeping up with rational thought. I was young and had lived a life that was not a great environment for emotional growth… So I immediately thought I had cancer. I didn’t tell her. I held my phone in shaky hands for a long time, but I didn’t text her, I didn’t call her. I couldn’t do it.

She got back just in time for the doctor to come in and tell us that he was going to order more tests–confirming that he was, in fact, talking about me in the hall. I made a passing remark to my significant other and pretended, unsuccessfully, that it didn’t bother me. I was going in for a pelvic (vaginal) ultrasound.

My wife stopped thinking that I was faking it. She held my hand and gave me words of love and support. We waited for a long time for the doctor to come back and talk to us. It wasn’t cancer, but it wasn’t relieving. Cysts. I had large ovarian cysts on both the inside and outside of my ovaries. They believed that one (or several) had burst and caused the pain. I was given a prescription for narcotics and sent home.

Because of the missed work days from being home sick and hospital trips, I was fired from my job. My wife was upset and insisted that I find another job. I started work a month later as a retail representative. I enjoyed it. It got me out of the house and driving around new areas getting good work done. I could schedule several jobs in the week and get decent pay. It was fantastic.

I did this job until a family emergency came up at the end of that September. I had to put my job on hold and fly from Virginia out to Utah with little notice. My savings went to the trip. I had to be there for my family.

Now, before I went my wife had agree’d that I should go. It was an emergency after all. But, after I was there she was mad at me. I didn’t understand how she could go from understanding one minute to infuriated the next. Again, I ignored what was going on and put it up to just being loneliness because I was gone.

But things didn’t really get back to normal. While I was gone she had skipped work. The apartment was a wreck. And she was not acting like herself. Every little thing started to become a fight. Strange things started to happen. One day she started yelling at me about dishes and I couldn’t take it any more. I had too much stress on me. So I let my OCD take over. I tuned her out and started to count and organize cards.

Eventually she stopped yelling and was loading the dishwasher, but I didn’t know. I was hyper-focused. She went to do something else and came back to talk to me. But I couldn’t hear her, I was still in the cards. And then she was poking me in the arm, again and again like a child. I was still frustrated and hurt when I turned to her, fixed her with a glare and asked what she wanted.

She was confused. She didn’t know why I was upset, she didn’t remember fighting, she didn’t remember doing the dishes, she was just confused. To her, I was being strange because everything was fine to her. I started to worry.

Then she started to have blackouts. They would happen all the time and usually she wouldn’t believe what happened during them. Sometimes they were like she was gone, and for a while we thought that she had something called “Absence Seizures”. But then she would do things and not remember any of it. She would tap her hands in the air, talk to herself, get aggressive…

Then the hallucinations came. She would tell me about the man that watched her from the end of the bed, and the seagulls that were in our bathroom. She couldn’t remember when we had sex or that she would get violent. One night I had to pin her down and cried as she told me about the people in the walls that were coming for her. But she never remembered or believed me… So I stopped telling her.

I didn’t know what was happening and I didn’t know what to do. I tried to talk to her about hospitals a couple times and she would get angry. I started to get scared, but I told no one. I didn’t tell me when she would black out and start to choke me during sex. I didn’t tell her when she threw me against the wall. I didn’t tell her when she talked about pealing my skin off. Those things weren’t important.

Everything in my life was put on the back burner because taking care of her was priority. One night everything changed. She was gone. I saw insanity staring out at me from behind her eyes. The look was so intense. She pinned me to the bed and laughed(she was much stronger than me, especially during episodes). She told me that nothing mattered anymore. That money meant nothing. She tried to convince me that we should run away to Florida, buy a last-minute cruise ticket and have the time of our lives. Then she grinned and I shook in fear. “And then,” She said “When we get back, I’ll kill you.” Her nails dug into my wrists. “And then I will kill myself. It will be so fun.”

I fought. I got an arm away and struggled to reach my phone. It was taken by her and thrown across the room. I rolled and curled into a ball over my tablet and shakily wrote out the email that changed my life forever. I told the one person that I trusted 100% what had just happened. I couldn’t censor, I was too scared. I cried as my wife tried to turn me over. When I finished the email, I shoved my tablet under the pillow and turned back over and just wrapped my arms around her, begging her to come back to me.

When she came to she didn’t know why I was crying. When I tried to tell her she wouldn’t listen. I MUST have been making it up. She turned her eyes away when I showed her the marks on my wrists. “But I’d never hurt you.”

Within all of that, we got married. We had traveled up to DC and made it official in March 2013. By May things had gotten scary and only one person knew. I got a few emails from my friend asking me why I was in such a dangerous situation, to get out while I could… But I didn’t know how. I NEEDED to take care of my wife.

And I didn’t know that I could ask for help.

My wife attempted suicide July 6th, 2013. My life was a living hell. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, I was living in pure anxiety. There was no control and I was scared about what was happening. I should have known, I should have done something more, I should have saved her, I should have…, I should have…, I should have…

To me, it was all my fault. I should have seen the schizophrenia and done something more. I knew it was there, didn’t I?

Everything went down hill from there. She was convinced that I was abusive and left me to go back to parents that didn’t love her. Her female half had long since died and she had decided that it was time to transition into a man. HIS parents disowned him. They said that their child was dead, which wasn’t true. Their child was still there, but their daughter was gone.

Over the years that I spent with him/her I watched the woman I loved slowly disappear. It didn’t register directly of course. Yeah, I guess I noticed that I was more unhappy and that we had more fights… She had become aggressive and abusive, but I didn’t see it clearly.

I ignored all of that. Some part of me had known that something was wrong. That she wasn’t there and that I had to take care of her. Maybe some part of me thought that I could bring the woman that I loved with everything I was back.

I pushed myself very hard. Everything was put on the back burner except taking care of her and trying to make her happy. I got very sick and as time went on, I got sicker… And still, I struggled to help her find her stability.

I didn’t realize how afraid I was of this person that I no longer knew until the day I sent the email. I didn’t realize until then that the woman I loved was gone completely. Forever. The woman that I loved, was dead. And my heart, soul, and sanity were shattered by a very, very sick man. All that was left of the shell of my love was the half that I didn’t know how to love.

And this is so hard because the physical body still exists, but the person does not.

And to some people I come across as ignorant because all people see is the facade. The frustration that I had with the male part of this equation. In the end, wife became a man.

I am left with the confusing feelings of morning the loss of a friend and lover–because my wife really is dead, she will never be back. And having to deal with the male half still existing, the body of my love still walks in this world and it hurts, and it’s confusing. I don’t love who the body is, but the person that was in it.

And still, people aren’t going to understand what I mean. I fully support the transition and hope that my ex can find happiness. I really truly do. but they are different people, my wife and this man that is now there.

It has been a year and a half and I still miss my wife. When things were good, she was amazing. I just hope that with all of this people can understand that what I am going through isn’t a “break up” but a mourning.

I will probably never stop missing her. I will never fully heal from the loss. But I have moved past the point where I struggle and fight with the confusion. I know that she is gone. Just… Please try not to judge me when I get emotional about it. My situation is not mundane. It’s complicated… and I can’t keep living a lie.

~Luna

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