For a long time, I thought that I was crazy. Although an unsubstantiated diagnosis, my emotions seemed volatile so at the very least, this made me the craziest of the sane. I tried everything to turn the crazy off, but nothing seemed to help: medications (prescription and herbal), self-help books, tapes and etc. You name it, I tried it.
(Dedicated to all those who have ever been diagnosed with a mental disorder)
One question that I’m often asked is when did I first realize that I had OCD? Interestingly, from an early age, I had been achingly aware that I handled my fears differently from my peers. Unknowingly, I had been working on components of my anxiety disorder ever since then- awareness grows as a person grows. Understanding the depth and complexities took over a decade but it was in college that I was professionally diagnosed.
You know that you have OCD when you make 8 edits after already posting your blog. Yep, that’s me. Some people call it perfectionism, but that’s not what I would call it. See, my need for perfectionism died at a young age due to my impulsive sloppiness. I learned long ago to accept that “my perfect” was simply doing my best. So, why the ridiculous amount of edits?
It was a drop dead gorgeous Saturday when I was driving out of the parking lot of my complex. I slowed my car to a stop so that I could check an email before entering the street. A beep from a car startled me. Unexpectedly, I felt a surge of anger. I immediately drove into the street and pulled to the side to let the road warrior pass. Despite tinted windows, I figured the driver was a she because of the Hello Kitty stickers plastered all over her car.
I woke up one ordinary day and realized this was the day that I was going to face my fears. As I’ve previously mentioned, I harbored a deep seeded fear that maybe all the critics were right and I was “crazy” on some level. This was a recurring theme for me- Did I mention that OCD can be a wee bit repetitious? Although I recognized the pattern, I was stumped in regards to how I could fix it or if it could be fixed. Then, a thought hit me or rather, more of a question, “Are you ready to be professionally diagnosed?”
For most of my life, I, secretly, feared that there may have been a hint of truth behind people’s accusations that I was crazy. I emphatically denied it, but still, there was this nagging sense that maybe I was lying to myself. I could say with all honesty that this was my greatest fear. That was until March 4, 2012, the day my mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. This diagnosis annihilated any of my previous ideas of fear and what arose was a terror that I never could have imagined.
I’m sick and tired of how people readily use the word crazy. I’ve heard crazy slung at people countless times but rarely, is it used accurately. It seems to me that crazy and psychotic are far from interchangeable. Crazy infers not normal. Whereas, psychotic is an actual term used for certain organic imbalances by professionals and even then, psychologists shy away from the term.