In describing my life with OCD, Asperger’s, and Depression, I will abstain from histrionics and blame-placing, because that does no good for anybody. Instead, I will try to put you in the shoes of someone suffering from the disorders. Of the three conditions, I consider Asperger’s to be the one I ‘suffer’ least from- especially since I am blessed enough to be high-functioning on the spectrum and can relate to and socialize with people to some extent.
If you do not know what Asperger’s is, look it up Here– I have explained Asperger’s far too many times and too far too many people. I often like to compare Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder to a clogged drain- there’s water somewhere down in the pipe system, but all the scum and slime rises too the top, making drinking unappealing if not downright impossible.
Here is me when I was 9. My OCD raised it’s ugly head when I was five, not that you’d guess it was that early from looking at this picture. I look quite happy. I was a weird kid. Think of the Thomas Robinson character from the Jason Bateman-Jennifer Aniston character “The Switch” and you’re heading in the right direction. I was a worrier, a dreamer, and most of all, I had a big heart. I’m quite sure my heart has shriveled and compressed since I was a child, but I digress.
Every time I go out and talk to people (horrors!) I worry that I’m freaking people out. I have intense obsessions and can go only so long without discussing them. I pace constantly. My hair is a wild beast I do not even bother to tame, my hygiene is questionable, and I have a mild speech impediment that makes me sound ever so slightly like Kripke in the sitcom “The Big Bang Theory.”
When I do go out, manage to appear normal, and possibly make people laugh (with me, not at me, there is a distinction there,) I am pleased and surprised that the occasion wasn’t the horror show I anticipated. When it is a horror show (like the time I had some problems with some girls and the teacher told me I spoke in a way that made the students think I was mentally deficient,) I tend to throw up my arms and curse the world. I have never been one to persist at something that was challenging for me.
My OCD revolves around sexual obsessions, religious/occult/demonic beliefs and anxieties, violent images and ideas, and blinking and tapping rituals. I joke that I am the most pious agnostic you will ever meet. Alone, I am plagued by demonic presences and harbor a recurring fear that I am being watched and examined by evil forces. I suffer crushing self-loathing and exhibit suicidal thoughts and actions. I do things in threes and reading, I may have to read many paragraphs three or more times to finish the book.
OCD is not about hand-washing or lock-checking, at least, not exclusively. It is about the skeletons in your closet emerging the said closet and performing a tap-dancing routine around you. Cheeky bastards.
A visual representation of OCD-like behavior from the great film “Buddy Boy.”
The reason I wrote this article is (a I like to write about my problems, and (b I want to get in touch with more people suffering from anxiety disorders. Feel free to talk about your issues/obsessions/faults, but please don’t leave Borderline-ish, angst-filled comments about your drug abuse/previous suicide attempts/self-injuring. You don’t have to put a happy face on things, because y’know– sometimes there is no fuckin’ flip side!– but disturbed comments about your favorite razor and what song you want played at your funeral only hurt others, and can be triggering to other mental illness sufferers,
My parents are spending loads of money on my therapy, but it doesn’t seem to be working. I like my therapist a lot- to the point where I’d rather chat and swap movie recommendations rather than get to the root of my problems. My sexual guilt is getting more intense (closet Catholic!) and I’m becoming convinced that sexually there is something very wrong with me. I hate my body and my face, but lack the will to dress nicely, apply make-up, or lose weight. My friends are far and few between and I do better chatting online than talking face-to-face.
Have you ever had experiences with OCD-like behavior? Do you have a mental illness, and what does it prevent you from doing/enjoying? Ordinary folks/Aspies also welcome!