I have been contemplating starting a blog based around my mental health struggles for many months. The fuel that lit the fire under my butt, unfortunately, is how severe my suffering is lately. So purely selfish, rather than my perpetual goal of selfless giving (I give, give, give until I am empty and have nothing left).
I hate complaining and feeling like “woe is me”, as I have heard from others repeatedly in the past (whether it’s awful feedback or not, I don’t know), others have it worse, no matter how bad I think I have it or feel I have it. But how does one judge internal suffering, especially as related to mental illness? If you’ve not suffered from depression or anxiety, I personally feel it is extremely difficult to empathize with those in that situation, unless you happen to be built with tons of empathy (but then, you likely have suffered from depression, empathetic folks over-feel!).
I also have physical conditions that cause great pain, some days are more tolerable than others. That said, I feel confident in saying I would trade my mental illnesses for more physical pain. It is perhaps why, when I was a teenager, I had the compulsion to self-injure/harm. The physical pain was more tolerable than the internal emotional pain that I was experiencing. Even now, during times of distress, my mind goes to the desire to cause myself physical harm to make the inside hurt stop. Anything to just make me not think about the wanting to curl up and die.
Or let’s talk about how my OCD presents for me and why I would prefer pain to that mental torture. I have learned it seems to be different for everyone, and completely nothing like anything you see on TV. I have met a girl who did have an issue with excessive hand washing, but that’s not the norm unless that’s someone’s particular compulsion related to their anxiety. For me, oh boy, constant uncontrolled and random thoughts (called intrusive thoughts) that tell me I’m a horrible human being, or “I’m stupid. I hate me”. Those are actually mild from what I’ve heard others suffer from, but nonetheless…your mind telling you those things regularly just weighs heavily on your soul. Despite that I may logically know I’m not either of those, I cannot just have a conversation with myself and tell my brain to shut up. If it worked that way, I would not be suffering so much.
Other parts of my OCD aren’t as bothersome. I’ve come to terms with my issues with numbers. They have to be even or divisible by 5 and that’s just as simple as that. My family has adapted to it over the years and we know we just don’t turn the TV, radio, etc to anything but acceptable numbers…so it’s unnoticeable anymore. I do have a couple acceptable odd numbers, like 17 and 67, which are explainable, but otherwise…when faced with numbers that aren’t ok…I have no idea why, I want to just cry and freak out. It makes absolutely no sense. They are numbers. NUMBERS! But, as I said, I have come to terms with it and mostly things go smoothly after so many years. My fridge gets rearranged every time something new gets put in so that everything fits in exactly as it should, and in the proper order and section. Don’t talk to me about the dishwasher and why everyone can’t just put everything where is it meant to go. Sometimes looking inside is enough to make a grown woman weep (this one at least).
All told, my OCD is mild and I constantly (obsessively?) think that maybe I don’t have it. That perhaps I’m just quirky with numbers, organization, and rule following, with a compulsion that, yes my Doctor said is OCD, but maybe it’s just like that one little bit. Maybe? Then I remember becoming so obsessed with reading that I did so 24/7 for well over a year, was to the point of driving and reading, and actually ended up running into something with my car because of it.
Presently, I have been under tremendous emotional strain. I need time to decompress but every time I set that aside…stuff happens and decompression doesn’t happen. And my marriage right now isn’t going the best. 2 years ago, this upcoming April, my husband disclosed his affair. He “fell in love” with a friend/co-worker/family member and it was honestly the most emotionally traumatizing thing I have ever experienced. I say that, having experienced loosing my virginity to a rapist…I handled that a million times better than I have handled the affair and the aftermath. I am 100% a stronger, better woman now, but some wounds are just so deep and so impactful that they change who you are.
I hope to continue this blog in the future, not just when I feel like my world is crashing down, but when things are going well and I can perhaps offer insight. I will likely delve into my struggles with my faith, because I am a devout Christian and struggle often with the purpose of mental illness in God’s great plan. I do believe everything has a purpose, though I am suffering for some unknown (to me) reason. Perhaps, someday I’ll know, though it is possible (likely?), I never will.