Depressed, Angry And Then…Came A Moth

Dear Diary,

My OCD is shocking today. I’ve broken my own rules by showering two days in a row for the sole purpose of pleasing my OCD. I don’t even care though; that seems completely irrelevent to me right now.

I can’t find myself caring enough to do anything right now. My parents are annoying me ( a sign I’ve not had enough sleep ) and I’m feeling frustrated by the fact that it seems life is going to take a lot longer to get back to normal due to COVID-19.

My printer is not working – which was the only thing keeping me calm and busy. Printing off photos and stickers for my sketch book was a happy distraction and coping mechanism but thanks to shoddy WiFi it won’t bloody work.

I just don’t care anymore again. I’m finding that challenging my OCD is not working when there feels like there is nothing to challenge it for.

And then like a sign from the heavens, a pesky moth flew into my bedroom. Scared of having a moth fly into my mouth whilst asleep or secretly die somewhere only to give me a heart attack when found three months later, I enlisted help to get it out of my bedroom. At first I called my Dad but he made it clear there was nothing he could do. Determined to rid myself of the moth I enlisted my nine-year-old brother’s help – though I had to make it clear stomping on it was not an option.

We managed to lure the creature into my en suite bathroom. I managed to catch it in a plastic sheet of paper and throw it out the window – only for the little shit to imediately fly back in again. Eventually my twelve year old sister joined the crusade and managed to single handedly remove the moth from my bathroom. Afterwards we all laughed and now my little brother is sitting in my room intensely telling me about his video game theories.

Even though I feel like crap right now – a half hour ago I was angry, upset and depressed and I’m still those things – but I feel slightly better. What I’m trying to say that sometimes life gives you lemons, other times it gives you moths. So make lemonade or go on a mission with your siblings to try and rescue a moth.

Home Learning, Compulsive Hand Washing & Breakdown

Dear Diary,

So I started my home learning experience today. Actually I didn’t start anything – that was the problem. I spent hours staring at my assigned work and barely wrote the date and title. I could not focus no matter how hard I tried, so I decided to have a break from my work today.

If only I could have a break from my brain. I’ve been compulsively washing my hands and mouth. The backs of my hands and my lower face have the rough texture of dry skin that is eerily familiar to when my OCD was at it’s worst. The dry flakes of skin caused by my washing aswell as my acne are what my OCD calls “contaminated” so I feel extremely uncomfortable in my own skin. Everything feels wrong and I want to throw something – or many things.

I can’t focus in my schoolwork and I can’t focus being in my own body. Everything in the world feels wrong and I feel wrong. Part of me wants to have a shower – to give in to my OCD to the extreme sense of not just washing my hands/face but having a full-on “decontamination” but I’ve spent too long training myself to only have a shower every two days.

The world is crazy right now. I want to go to a spa type place and get my skin sorted or at least helped. I want to go on holiday and relax in Center Parcs and most of all I want to go to my therapist and the autism support place I recently joined. I want to not feel like everything I own is going to be ruined by myself.

I’m trying to distract myself by listening to music or scrapbooking but when you’re high on OCD anxiety the sound from headphones or a speaker is too much of a sensory problem; the process scrapbooking is also very difficult when you are frightened of “ruining” everything you own.

The Effect That COVID-19 Has Had On My Therapy/Recovery

Dear Diary,

It’s one o’clock in the morning as I am writing this draft and only one thing is on my mind: I wish I could speak to my psychologist.

I’ve done two or three zoom calls months and months ago which went well, however the real thing is no doubt better for a number of reasons. The first of them being that it’s awkward with internet connection; especially for someone like me whose house is notorious for having dreadful WiFi and secondly, because I would not be comfortable talking about intrusive thoughts over the video call – it would feel weird for me.

My psychologist who I have not seen in at least five months by my own reluctance to zoom- and my previous improvement in dealing with my OCD which also meant less need for appointments- is a child phycologist and guess what? Soon I will no longer be a child.

I was supposed to have more time with my psychologist over the last year. A pandemic was not supposed to happen and intervene in my improvements. I wasn’t supposed to have to grow up without being able to visit my therapist because of a virus. I suppose a lot of people will be feeling like this and I know that I am very lucky in the grand scheme of things – a lot of people have had to cope with a lot worse this past year.

I wish I could make it all go away. I’m feeling exhausted by lack of sleep, guilt, worry and regret. I wish I could give being normal – whatever the hell that means – a go for a day and spot the difference. I wish that I could’ve worked out some of my problems with my psychologist and psychiatrist (who are wonderful doctors and people by the way) during the past year in a world where the pandemic never happened. If wishes were horses.

But I can’t change what has happened. I can only sit here, in my pitch black room after resisting the urge to give in to my OCD. My skin spotty and hair slightly greasy due to the poor dietary choices I’ve been making lately. I can watch the shadows form around the light of my iPhone screen, my Alexa playing the soft sound Distant Thunderstorm in the background and hope that somehow, tomorrow will be better.

My Dog Died Today

My Dad told me this morning that my dog Oscar had died a few hours ago. I got up and rushed downstairs to see my dog in blankets. I touched his fur. We will bury him tomorrow and his body is currently wrapped in blankets in our Summer House.

Regret is the one thing I feel right now; that and guilt.

Five years ago my OCD told me that Oscar was contaminated and so from then on I treated Oscar like he was a monster. I refused to touch, walk or even be near him despite doing so for years. Even in my OCD Rehabilitation I still refused to be near him – refused to be near all my dogs.

Last night when he was sick I kept poking a spot above my eyebrow and it got infected. I put a plaster on it last night and when I took it off this morning it took of a third of my right eyebrow. So now I have an infected spot area and only two thirds of an eyebrow. Things are not going great.

Now I’m in my room with puffy eyes and a deep pit in my stomach. I thought there would be more time to get over my weird dog OCD fears – I thought there would be more time to make an attempt at getting over my OCD dog problems. But there isn’t. He is dead and all I can think about are the walks I refused to take him on, the pats I refused to give him for the last five or so years and my avoidance of him. I am so consumed with contamination that past memories of him prior to him becoming contaminated are almost non-existent.

I feel like I have a hole in my stomach and all I want to do is scream and cry.

Oscar

What is OCD Rehab?(+Merry Christmas)

Dear Diary,

Disclaimer: I’m not a trained professional, I’m just a girl with OCD and autism who has developed a strategy that helps me and may help someone out there. (I created this strategy completely on my own.)

Hello. My name is Medusa and I’m an addict. I think of OCD as like an addiction much like gambling or alcoholism. I’m addicted to the false feeling of control and relief I get when I listen to my OCD. Addictions are a way of coping – or rather not-coping – with stress or just life in general. They are heartbreaking and unhealthy. OCD much like addictions causes me to have relapses and stints in personal rehabilitation.

The feeling of relief and the flood of endorphins I get mixed in with the severe nervous energy every time I give in to my compulsions or avoidances is a sort of high. Momentarily It feels better, It feels like I’m in control of my life and that everything is going to be good. But this is a slippery slope that will almost always lead to a severe relapse and is merely an illusion. Every time I let my OCD win it comes back stronger and more often.

OCD Rehabilitation is what I like to call the process in which I go cold turkey on all my compulsions all at once. It isn’t a place or a facility it is merely a decision to put myself through what truly feels like the most impossible thing imaginable. It results in days of feeling confused and uncertain or even excited.

My rules: 1. Go cold turkey on your OCD and wait for the pain and anguish that your compulsions usually temporarily relieve to eventually fade. 2. Realise that this is your chance to get your life back, be pissed, be reckless in your disregard for your OCD’s demands. Do not negotiate with that terrorist.

After my first time in OCD Rehab I was in a sense sober. After days of confusion, pain and going against what felt like my very nature I, after nearly all of my life felt somewhat in control of my OCD. My anxiety and depression still needing to be managed but the OCD is just an unhealthy manifestation of them, the removal of that enables the true work to be done. I still have OCD but it is locked away in a locked box somewhere Doctor Sleep style and sometimes I slip up and open it without realising.

Much like a sober alcoholic, I cannot indulge in the occasional compulsion. No matter how good or hard things get I cannot even for one moment give in. A hand wash there because I’m worried I’ll ruin something means that next time I feel ‘contaminated’ I’ll be more reluctant to fight it. OCD is as familiar as the back of my hand and any regression made could result in returning to my darkest days.

I have relapsed before. Hell, I’m borderline relapsing now. Stressful events such as Christmas bring on the desires of avoidance and compulsions and it’s hard to hold it together.

If you relapse like I did and will do again, check yourself back in. I hope this has helped someone. Believe me I understand how impossible it feels to resist the temptation of your OCD and if you asked me two years ago if I’d be doing this I would have thought it impossible. But I’m doing it!

Please take care of yourselves this Christmas and I hope you have a wonderful time. It may get hard or stressful but we’re all in this together and we will all get through this because we have to.

Merry Christmas and let me know if OCD Rehab has helped you.

OCD Turning Night Into Day

Dear Diary,

A favourite saying of my mother’s is “you’re turning night into day” and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing lately. At night I’ve been having irrational OCD worries that I’ll pee myself and so I have been unable to sleep at night. Then I’ve been sleeping in until lunch or napping for hours on end.

The problem is that my OCD is for lack of a better word – confused. I’m not quite down the rabbit hole of OCD mayhem but I’m also by no means doing well. For the last three or four days I’ve been deliberately wearing dirty clothes and have been taking no effort into my appearance. And when I say no effort I mean barely brushing my hair etc. It doesn’t make me feel happy to not at least look and feel presentable.

My OCD is ‘confused’ right now because I’m avoiding things like my OCD wants but I’m also not making an effort to rectify when I accidentally don’t avoid something. I feel in limbo unsure of wether my next actions will feed into my OCD or fight it.

So what am I going to do? I’m going to get through today and I’m going to enjoy my dinner which will be roast chicken breasts, rice and vegetables. Then I’m going to do my best to distract myself. My not-so-rational logic is that tonight I’m going to somehow have an epiphany and get back on track so let’s just see how that goes.

The Ghosts Of OCD Christmas’ Past

Dear Diary,

I’m not sure what exactly, about the Christmas experience is the root cause of all my crippiling mental health problems during this time. Perhaps it’s the expectation to be happy, the overall hustle and bustle of Christmas or something else entirely but I every year find myself in a dark place.

My OCD is nowhere near as horrific at Christmas time as it used to be when I was younger but the ghosts of OCD Christmas’ past still haunt me. Not just the memories of being so unhappy and anxious, not just the saddness that I wasted so much of my childhood consumed with OCD but also because the similar, familiar feelings of anxiety, guilt and depression greet me again.

Today is the 19th of December and I’m off on my Christmas holiday’s, except all I’m feeling is guilt. I feel guilty for things I may or may not have said, done or felt during the darkest periods of my life. I feel guilty for not liking people for reasons I can’t completely remember. I feel guilty for my social failures then and now. I feel guilty for not being able to understand others’ feelings when I was eleven and undiagnosed.

I’m scared for Christmas. I’m scared that I’ll fall into old patterns and give in to my OCD so much so that it ruins my whole day. I’m frightened that I’m going to fall into a depression that never ends. I’m scared that I won’t enjoy Christmas.

I remember so many Christmas’ where I cried and washed my hands compulsively to the extend that they bled. I remember my shoulders aching with pain because I was holding myself in a way as to not touch certain things. I remember being so anxious and unhappy.

So what should I do? That’s the million dollar question. For now however I’m going to focus on not going into a coma of misery each hour until the feelings of stress, sadness, guilt and whatever else subsides.

Will update soon. Hope everyone else is feeling okay.

2021 Exams Are Cancelled And I’m Scared

The exams for the second year in a row have been cancelled and I’m not sure how I’m feeling. On one hand I’m glad that we now know (kind of) what is going on. On the other, I’m scared about all the complex marking systems, I’m scared about the fact that the senior year students will likely have a shorter year since their are no final exams and most of all I am scared about leaving school, my friends and my routine.

This years exam results are crucial to either getting into or being rejected to university. The last year of high school means there are no do-overs next year for I will not be there anymore. This puts the pressure on regardless and the added distrust towards the Scottish Qualifications Authority since the disaster last year does not help.

I’ve been in school for the majority of my life – I’m used to school. I may not like it all the time, I may find it hard and I may find it impossible but I feel like I need it. The cancellations of the exams means that I’m going to have to deal with leaving the security of school. School is not a choice. It is mandatory and requires no life-changing decisions to be made. When I leave school I’ll have to make choices, make decisions and grow up and the exams being cancelled is the somewhat convoluted path my brain is taking to convince myself that I’m going to be facing my ‘school’ extensional crisis sooner.

I have a few good friends in school. I have every confidence that my best friend and I will keep in contact and that is brilliant but some of my other good friends and I will inevitably drift apart. It’s hard for someone like me who struggled her whole life to make friends, finally does and then realises that she will lose them to time and distance.

That’s life of course, people move on, they drift apart, a quote from a children’s book I used to like “real friends let each other grow up” rings true here. I thought I’d be in school forever as it often felt like it – but the truth is that it’s coming to an end. I’m going to have to accept that I’ll have to grow up, the announcement of the exams being cancelled further fuels my “growing up” anxiety and the only thing I can do is accept this.

For now though, I’m going to allow myself be sad for a little while.

Representation Or An Insult?: “Music” Film Trailer By Sia

Ugh. Never have I ever seen a celebrity try and show how great they are and how progressive th- actually that’s all celebrities seem to do these days. Fair play to them, if I was rich I probably wouldn’t give a shit either.

I know a lot of people are upset about how the person playing the titular character is not Autistic. Personally that’s not my problem with it. My problem with this trailer is that, the girl portraying her is Maddie Ziegler who is a young reality star with very little acting experience playing a young girl with a disability because in the trailer at least, she portrays her like some drunk with two cans of Stella that makes an ‘autistic’ impression in poor taste that is ultimately amusing but not to be shared with the world.

Unfortunately a lot of people are jumping on the “don’t be an SJW” bandwagon saying that “everyone is too sensitive nowadays” but for myself who detests cancel culture and still honestly believes that Sia has every right to make these films regardless of how shitty they seem, sucks. The problem for me is not that Maddie Ziegler is not autistic, the problem for me is that a non-professional actor is portraying a severely autistic girl.

I honestly would have felt better if this was an edgy joke film played by people mimicking stereotypical autistic traits. Comedy and humour can be both hilarious and used in a good way to spread awareness about autism stereotypes etc. But this film is supposed to be a serious piece of art that is to be hailed as stunning and brave.

The difference between Freddie Highmore and Dakota Fanning’s portrayals of autistic people in film and TV compared to Maddie Ziegler in this trailer is that a) Maddie Ziegler is not an actress. The others have acting experience and manage to portray realistic and therefore inoffensive characters. From the trailer the character “Music” is acted by Ziegler the way I would expect someone would behave to mock a person with autism. I have no problem with Ziegler ultimately she is just a young girl working with her godmother but she is not autistic or an actress.

Of course autism is a spectrum and some have more needs than others but the way that “Music” is portrayed at least from the trailer is just angering. It’s almost like she’s channeling Simple Jack from Tropic Thunder. Actually that’s exactly what it kind of looks like.

Her responses to the criticism begs two questions. One: I get being defensive but Jesus Christ Sia, harsh! And Two: Who the hell is her PR person and why the hell are they not stopping her from tweeting?

Now I’m not saying that Maddie Ziegler or Sia are intentionally doing this, I don’t think that. However I do think Maddie Ziegler and Sia do not have the acting/directorial ability to portray a semi-decent example of an autistic person.

This also may be petty of me to say – but this is my blog so I can be as goddamn petty as I want without detracting from my original valid arguments. For me personally there is something very sad about a girl roughly my age who is seen wearing makeup, pretty, surrounded by people who she can communicate to without fear of rejection and someone who is able to stop acting autistic when the camera stops that hurts me. The difference to this compared to the other non-autistic actors is just that, they are professional actors. My saying of this however is purely personal and is of no value to this argument or the honest to God points I’ve made.

Well I’ve said my piece. I still like Sia’s songs and ultimately like the singer but she is being very childish in her response to criticisms on Twitter and in her attempt at “raising awareness”, she has so far only made me cringe.

No-one will believe this but I’m going to say it anyway because it is true. I honestly hope that this trailer is just bad and that the movie is good. And hey, I could be completely wrong and the film is tasteful and fun. But if it’s not then I will have so many self-deprecating jokes to make about myself that will be a blast anyway. So either way I win.

I’ll give it a go but so far I’m far from feeling optimistic.😂

Doing Slightly Better…I Think: OCD Rehabilitation Day 3

I made some okay progress today all things considered. School is back tomorrow and I’m still feeling not 100%. My nausea is still coming and going a sure sign of my anxiety levels rising but I’ve not been sick as of yet and taking that as a good sign.

I managed to wear some jewellery today and eat crisps whilst on my phone which is something I used to be unable to do. I’m still a bit iffy around some things but I put foods I’d consider “contaminated” into the shopping bags whilst helping my Mum pack the bags at our local Morrison’s and I am currently wearing a dressing gown that came into contact with a dog treat box (another thing that my OCD considers as “contaminated”.

So whilst I’ve not been brilliant – I certainly have not been bad by any means. Little victories like today will help me get through tomorrow when I have to go back to the daily stresses of high school, socialising and homework and when I’m tired and not firing on all four cylinders. Well, we’ll see what happens tomorrow won’t we?