The other day I went in for a med check. I use to go every month. But they have taken into account the fact that I don't like to go out often, that it causes more anxiety. Now they let me come in every three months.
They try to schedule me at a time when there's the least chance for a crowded waiting room. Usually that means first thing in the morning or right after lunch.
Tuesdays and Thursdays mean more patients because there are more doctors available. This is a university setting.
My turn comes and goes. Medication doesn't need changing. You come to realize that medication helps a lot, but is not a "fix." You have to finally accept that "it is what it is."
That the fine tuning of medication takes you so far, but cannot undo a lifetime of events.
After making an appointment three months from now, I left and got on the elevator. A young man quickly entered just before the door closed.
I am very much aware of my sensory problems. That noises are my undoing. I don't know why. I'll never know why. And at this point, I really don't want to know.
Really, what would it matter? I have, year by by year, been living with it as best I can. It isn't going away. We all have our demons.
When I left Texas nearly two and a half years ago, I had high hopes.
I really thought once I got here among family, I would be fine. But life has a way of turning cartwheels on you. What I didn't count on was then dealing with what I'd just left. That it had worsened the symptoms, and I would have a hard time adjusting.
Add to that being in a large city where I knew virtually no one. I got lost easily. I broke down easily. My daughters became frustrated with me.
I felt ashamed. The relationships I so badly wanted fell apart.
What you truly don't take into consideration is that what you have escaped will always somehow stay with you.
So I had high hopes, yes. I wanted to be with my family. But the strain became too great.
I don't blame them. They just want to lead normal lives. Take care of their families. I understand. It hurts, but I understand.
Now I've answered many of your questions as to what happened after I moved here.
Back to the guy in the elevator.
I sort of recognized him. I'd probably seen him in the waiting room at some point. I would say he was in his early twenties.
Before the elevator door closed, he raised his right leg and bent it at the knee and moved it behind his left knee. He did this in succession. Twice. Then he knelt down and touched the floor.
The doors shut.
Down three floors. He stepped out of the elevator and again knelt down to briefly touch the floor.
He obviously suffers from OCD. He has rituals.
We all have our demons. Some are more evident than others.
People email and ask me if I've tried therapy, so I'm answering that question too while I'm at it. Yes, at various times in my life. But talking about it all bring back the nightmares. And that is so debilitating that it is worse than the therapy.
Then my avoidance becomes worse. My withdrawal from others intensify. An endless circle of anxiety continues its loop.
In order to keep from hearing a noise that will shut you down, and mostly because you don't have any idea what that noise will be, you stop going out much.
The less you go out, the safer you begin to feel at home. The more you stay at home, the harder it is to leave. And thus your world becomes smaller and smaller.
Just like this young man knows intellectually that his leg movements and touching the floor is not going to keep something bad from happening. But he is compelled to do it.
"The frequent upsetting thoughts are called obsessions. To try to control them, a person will feel an overwhelming urge to repeat certain rituals or behaviors called compulsions. People with OCD can't control these obsessions and compulsions. Most of the time, the rituals end up controlling them." (NIMH)
Of course these issues make it difficult to have relationships with loved ones. It is hard for others to understand why you simply cannot be "normal."
They do not understand your inability to be in social situations without symptoms getting the best of you. Relationships become strained. The gap widens.
We all have our demons.
The brain is a complex organ. It is the most complex organ in our bodies.
"Genetics loads the gun. Environment pulls the trigger."
Which means that someone can be predisposed by genetics. But unless a series of traumatic events pulls the trigger, they may lead a normal life. But one cannot keep bad things from happening. Or being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Seeing or hearing something at a very young age that is so frightening the brain takes over and removes them from the situation. This is called dissociation. And sometimes it is what saves you.
What is it?
"Dissociation can become a primary defense mechanism because children can easily get overwhelmed and check out—or dissociate—because they can't handle what's going on."
Usually associated with trauma in the recent or distant past, or with an intense internal conflict that forces the mind to separate incompatible or unacceptable knowledge, information, or feelings."
We all have our own personal demons. Try not to judge what you don't understand.
Do you have a friend or someone in your own family that "has their demons?"