Remember the post where I talked about why I wanted to leave Facebook? Well, here is another reason I should get off of Facebook that wasn’t in that post. But first the backstory.
About six years ago, I realized my obsessive and compulsive thoughts and behaviors coupled with significant anxiety had progressed to the level where they were often controlling my life. I avoided situations because of scenarios that I played out in my head that didn’t even exist. I refused to do things that probably would have turned out fine and would have been fun for my kids just because my fear was stronger than my ability to be rational.
I went to a psychiatrist who really helped me understand what I was dealing with and to put together a plan of treatment. The treatment included finding an SSRI that would help reduce my symptoms to the point where they stopped interfering with my life. Now, I rely on the magic of pharmacology to help me keep these thoughts in check. But, in times of stress or when some of the triggers present themselves, I can still have trouble really being in control of my thoughts and behaviors.
And here’s the thing. I KNOW these thoughts and behaviors are not rational. Intellectually, I know my thought process and what I believe might actually happen is flawed. But, I cannot help it and often cannot stop it on my own.
Someone might say, “Just don’t think about [whatever I am obsessing about].”
Or they pull out “[Whatever I am obsessing about] is just silly.”
No, it could really happen. I know it could. I mean, easily—it could.
And sometimes, in a last-ditch effort to help you move on, “So what, we will deal with [whatever I am obsessing about] when and if it happens.”
But how? I mean, how would we ever deal with it? What would I do? I don’t think I could survive.
There is no talking me down, no changing my opinion, I am rooted in my belief about these thoughts and they represented my personal truths. And, they are extremely loud in my head and won’t be ignored. But, I still know they are not always rational.
Then, when the OCD comes for a visit, it brings its favorite aunt that smells like mothballs: anxiety. This provides a physical response to the obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. Depending on how overwhelmed or fearful I am, those responses could be shaking, light headedness, stomach cramps and almost always noise in my head that makes listening to ambient noises almost painful. And, by ambient in this situation, I mean it can sometimes be difficult for me to hold a conversation with someone, especially my chattering children.
For example in my recent post about how I flew on a plane after 13 years, the morning we were leaving for the airport my husband was unloading the dishwasher and the clanging of the dishes was as loud as the crushing metal in a car accident that was happening right next to my ear.
Now, honestly most of the time these days I am just fine. And hopefully, you don’t even notice some of these odd behaviors. But certain things throw me in to an OCD/Anxiety state and the number one thing that does it: germs. Yep. Germs. And, I know—oh, the irony, I have THREE boys—it’s impossible to avoid germs around here. They are practically one giant walking germ.
Sometimes I can shrug it off but other times, I get so worried about damn germs. Facebook can often trigger a response when I start to see several posts of people lamenting about sickness. Germs. Germs spreading. Germs clustering, attacking a school or a whole family after a get-together. And some of those people’s kids go to school with my kids. Some of those people work with my husband or me. Some of those people are our family. It all freaks me out. I mean, I love you and all but…germs.
The thoughts start and I worry. When did I see them last? What do they have, what’s wrong with them? Who was I with? What did we do? When am I scheduled to see them next and will they be over it by then and not contagious? What if I get this? Did I wash my hands?
But one thing I know for sure is the answer is always yes. Yes, I washed my hands.