My right arm just below my shoulder is pulsating off and on as though it is a separate being. For some reason, the occasional twitches and pulsations of my body are fascinating to me. I think it’s my nerves. Every few seconds comes the twitch, which lasts for a few more seconds. The pulsing is so fast, I can’t count how many times it pulsates. What a thrill.
Sometimes it’s my right eye, rapid like a bird beating her wings. Then I must capture it in the mirror or with my camera, my own private freak show. Fortunately, this twitching happens infrequent enough to be amusing to me and even calming. Look I’m still alive! There’s my brain misfiring again.
Starting in high school, I noticed in my left palm a vein that I could watch pulsate if I rested my hand just so on my desk. This must’ve seemed like a swell parlor trick to me because covertly watching my vein pulse also calmed me.
I twitch my nose also, but this is voluntary. But I’m so used to doing it that it’s more I have to consciously stop myself from doing it. It’s like twiddling your thumbs, except it’s my freaking nose. I also move my mouth too. Match.com here I come!
Mother’s dead five years today. The ache is dulled, but there. I feel it should be an eternal darkness over my soul as a justice to her and to atone for my flaws. Why did it end this way?
We worried about each other always. My mom fretted if I stayed at the pool after dark lest someone come molest me. The gazebo they built out at the back of our complex, she begged me not to go lest someone molest me. When I’d talk about how I’d like to have a driver’s license to go to things at night, like fireworks at the beach…You shouldn’t go alone.
Don’t go too far from the shore. Don’t even taste alcohol. It’s in your genes!
And the big joke was that I was worse than her. If I couldn’t find her in a store, I panicked. If she went out alone, which was rare, I’d warn her to lock her doors and be careful. I was sure she’d die in a car accident. On the rare occasions I went over to a friend’s house overnight, I’d call twice . If she dropped me off for a day somewhere, I’d call to make sure she got home. My greatest obsession was my mom.
I miss her advice. I miss her always on my side. But I’m also glad to be free. Free from her worries, free from mine over her.
I’d give back my liberty though to be with her again , but it’d be nice if we could’ve been less dependent on each other the next time around.
The day was agonizingly beautiful. The sky was an endless robin’s egg and the bright sun bade me release t
he bonds of my apartment walls for the worthier pastures of mass transit and dumpster treasure. What is 87 F (31 C) for those of us seeking adventure, the Holy Grail, and something besides potato chips in our cupboards? Apparently, 87 F is a lot, as I felt all 220 pounds of my glorious body begin to broil medium well in the afternoon sun. Three huge bottles of dish washing liquid, Lisa Frank magnets, and a squished bottle of generic fruit punch and I began to feel the ill effects of heat exhaustion setting in . Outrageous fortune beset me yet again when I realized the bus I boarded was air conditioning free. Once I got home, the effects of my romp, plus the thoughts in my head erupted. And I vomited. In the trash can by my bed. In the commode. In a bucket of Pinesol by my commode. In the bathtub trying to calm down.
“Either I got heat exhaustion or that tooth that had that mild abcess is going septic,” I told my friend.
But back to vomiting. In the yard waiting for my friend to come get me. Desecrating a Walmat plastic bag in the car on the way to the hospital. And once in a nifty vomit bag as the wheel chair I was in made too many jerking movements -but I apologized to the waiting room as any genteel southerner would. I vocalized that I wanted my mom, never mind that this section of the waiting room was where I finally was away enough from my mom to shed a tear at her impending demise back in 2011. Now, four years later, Lisa the Stoic, is replaced by OCD Lisa chanting a mantra of “I’m so scared.”
Then the nurse, while taking my medical specifics gave me a pill, Zofran. Zofran, named for the ancient Greek god of Emesis and Refusing to Suffer in Silence. I was fine in 15 minutes. Not sepsis. Not this time, Mom. I felt like an idiot as my panic subsided. I’ve vomited many times alone without alerting the media, but the heat exhaustion, sepsis in the tooth scenario weighed deeply in my mind along with other anxieties. I asked the triage nurse if it would be OK for me to go since I felt so much better. “Absolutely!” She said with a trifle more enthusiasm than necessary. But here I am a month later alive and well, and I see they’ve moved the entrance to the emergency department, probably they’re hiding from me.
Strange fate. Why God, or the universe, or a great nothingness conspires or throws events at random to some and misses others. The Wheel of Fortune keeps spinning. Some folks buy a vowel while others go bankrupt.
There was a blurb on the news yesterday: A fire at my old apartment complex. Then it announced the address. My building. I asked my friend to drive me ‘round the hood. I wanted to see if it was their apartment since their apartment was in the same building as the apartment I shared with my mother. Ye Old Shitville Ghetto Apartment Complex looked the same as ever: dilapidated, half-assed put together, just all that charm of a coastal town sunk into hell. Home sweet home. Roachy, bedbuggy, home. Mom and I lived 9 relatively happy years here. Four Years ago yesterday, March 25, 2010 I started my blog there. In 2011 my mother was taken to the hospital from there never to return again.
It wasn’t their apartment that caught fire, that is, my ex-roommates. Not the man who I miss to this day. My mother’s cook book is still on their shelf, and whatever else I gave them or they kept as theirs did not catch alight in some Waiting to Exhale diva style fashion. I’m glad they’re safe, and I hear they’re moving far away in about a week.
No, there was the apartment my mother and I shared gutted by fire. So far they say “cause undetermined,” but I’d bet the house (pun intended) that it was shitty wiring. First that wiring was older than I am, I’m pretty certain, secondly if I remember correctly, sometimes it did act funky. If it was a malfunction in the wiring or appliances, and had my mother lived, I’m certain we would still live there and it would be us left with nothing. Did God deliberately spare us that fate? Why?
In my more philosophical mode, I think, “Did my mother die at 68 to be spared going downhill physically, possibly ending up an oxygen-bound invalid like her mother or near blind from macular degeneration like her father? Did God cut my mother a break, or was he being cruel? My mother’s illness was two weeks total, only one day of which was in the hospital. Also God knew that as long as my mom lived, my OCD would’ve been at her side trying to keep her alive. I’d never have lived alone were she still alive. I’d be too afraid she’d die. And now our apartment is charred. My mother’s essence burned out of the walls it feels like to me. Would we have died in the fire? Did God kill my mother to protect us from a worse fate? Why didn’t He just stop the fire in the first place and spared whoever lived there.? Ugh, I just don’t get it. Maybe my not being there was just the luck of the draw, and numerous calamities are about to befall me. Stay tuned!
At the beginning of each new year, at 12:00 AM sharp, I declare psychological warfare on myself. This will be the year of PERFECT ME. NO MISTAKES. NO PISSING OFF, ANNOYING, OR UPSETTING ANYONE IN GOD’S CREATION.
This lasted until January 3rd this time when I missed my appointment at the therapist. I got winded on my new bike about five minutes from leaving my apartment, gave up, tried to catch a ride while annoying my friend in the process due to how late I was, and ended up cancelling. My therapist wasn’t upset because she is part of a place that caters to “special people,” and we miss from time to time. She tried to calm me down because I was in batshit crazy mode by the time I called, the first mistake of the year does that to me. Were my mother able to communicate from beyond, she’d tell you this part of me she doesn’t miss at all. She might even say, “See, sepsis has it’s good points.” Almost every fight my Mom and I had in later years was due to my rage at my lacking perfection. Sigh.
On the 5th was the worst mistake yet of year 2014. An epic fail of motherhood. I’ve had a new kitten since October. My nurse gave her to me because she knew I’d take care of her for life, because my Oscar is still missing, and she needed to pawn the kitten off on someone. Among my kitten’s many bad habits is jumping in the refrigerator every time I open it, and I always see her. I’ve even said to her, “Lil Mooky, I guess you never saw that episode of Punky Brewster when that girl got stuck in a refrigerator, huh?”
This time, though, I didn’t see Lil Mooky jump in the fridge with the salad dressing I put inside. I went to play video games when I heard a small meow that became frantic. “Mooky!” I screamed and opened the fridge and there she was crouching on the second shelf. I tried to get her, but she jumped out herself. Not a second later, she was off chasing Dondee as usual. She seemed not a spec traumatized, unlike myself.
Lil Mooky’s real name is Mirielle, but she’s more of a Lil Mooky than a Parisian miss. I got her Lil Mooky ghetto name from this song:
Added to my regrettable poetry, this humbleoffering. My mother would have been 71 today, I sometimes find myself thinking on her birthday, that it isn’t fair she’s dead. I know, just look in a cemetery at all the young folks who croaked, but one can’t help how you feel sometimes.
When I was younger, particularly before I became medicated, my OCD was garden variety. Blasphemous phrases in the tulips, fear of becoming homicidal pushing up in the daisies, infectious blood in the bleeding hearts.
But the roses in my OCD garden kept my mother. All the years I spent worrying about something happening to my mother, hyper vigilant, trying to evade her mortality, yet in the end she died just the same.
Nowadays my garden variety case of OCD has died for the most part and is mulch for another monster, a weed that began years ago.
Now my mind is a courthouse. Not a Florida courthouse where you can get off for the darndest things, more like “kill ’em all or make ’em wear pink” Arizona. The judge in my head is merciless and ready to throw the book.
My crime is my inferiority complex. I want to measure up to the rest of the world and I fail. My judge hates my frailty. I pray and pray that I can measure up to normal people, but I keep making mistakes everyday. I keep making people mad. I keep making myself mad. My judge asks me, “What use are you to anyone?”
“Dunno. I take care of my cats.”
I know the truth. If I died tomorrow, no one would be inconsolable. The one person who needed me is ashes in a plastic box. People loved my mother. I was just her quiet daughter, the one folks assumed was ‘slow.’
In a way not being needed is liberating. Being around people tends to remind me of my faults. I like being around people, but I don’t like seeing the various ways that I fail. I sometimes feel like a leper around humans. I mean well, but as that drag queen I used to live with said, ‘you’re a boil on my ass that I just can’t lance.” Ah, but everyday that boil survives on her own, makes the sun shine where the sun don’t shine.
On a positive note, my eyes are healthy (apart from being blind as a bat without my glasses). I bet it’s been over 10 years since my last eye examination. I was afraid they’d find macular degeneration in my eyes since it runs in the family.
I once had my glasses adjusted at that office while my friend was there getting new glasses. The attendant remembered me because of my award-winning personality….and the super glue prominent on my left lens.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder affects a huge number of people. Approximately 1 in 40 adults and 1 in 100 children in the United States suffer with OCD, to varying degrees of severity. As most of us know, OCD is an obsession based compulsion to engage in ritualistic behavior, often to the detriment of the sufferer. It can cause a huge strain on the lives of those with it, and those around them. Whilst many sufferers and spokespeople are more vocal about the condition than ever before, stigma and misconceptions still surround OCD. So let’s dispel a few of them…
Myth: “I wash my hands X times per day, I have OCD!”
There is a huge difference between OCD and someone who just likes to have clean hands. Whilst obsessive hand washing is certainly one variation of OCD, it goes far beyond just having meticulous personal hygiene. When I suffered from OCD I didn’t just wash my hands because I wanted them to be clean, I washed them because I needed them to be clean – as if my life depended on it. If my hands weren’t clean, everything would go on hold until they were. OCD by its nature makes you think irrationally. If it doesn’t seem like the end of world if you don’t get the opportunity to wash your hands as much as you’d like, then chances are you don’t have OCD of the hand washing variety.
Myth: OCD is all about cleanliness and hygiene
This is one of the biggest misconceptions about OCD. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is ritualistic behavior that can extend to every area of life imaginable, in many ways. The main subcategories of OCD include (but are not limited to) washing and cleanliness, checking, repeating, ordering & arranging, and mental rituals. As such, even the simplest of day-to-day activities can become ritualized by a sufferer. For example, closing a door – the simplest of tasks for most people, but back when I suffered with OCD closing my bedroom door used to take me about a minute. When I closed it, I had to do so with my right finger pushed up against the right hand corner of the top panel. From there, I had to press the door 16 times to make sure it was shut – with four second intervals in-between each push. This was because 16 was my lucky number, and four when squared was also my lucky number. If I didn’t do this, I believed with every part of my being that something terrible would happen – I’d tell myself if I didn’t do it that my mother would fall terminally ill, that my home would be destroyed, or that I would have bad luck for the rest of my life. Even though part of me knew it was irrational, I wasn’t prepared to take that chance. The urge was so overwhelming to perform this ritual, that performing it felt like a release. Peace would be restored, and I could continue on with my life – or whatlife I had with OCD.
Whilst numeric rituals are common in those with OCD, the condition can involve anything, be it objects, people or places. What defines it as OCD, is the overwhelming compulsion to do or think. The severity can be minor or major, and it comes packaged in a variety of ways – not just cleanliness.
Myth: OCD is developed during childhood
Whilst OCD can certainly develop within childhood (usually from the ages of 8 – 12 years), the average onset for most people is around the late teens or early twenties; though it can occur anytime. Therefore it’s not necessarily something caused by a traumatic childhood, or growing up in a broken home. Whilst the causes of OCD aren’t crystal clear, research suggests that a combination of genetics, serotonin levels within the brain, and environmental factors can all play a part.
Myth: OCD is a women’s condition
This isn’t true, OCD occurs within both genders equally.
Myth: OCD can’t be cured
Whilst there isn’t a specific cure for OCD, it doesn’t mean that the condition can’t be cured by various treatments. Whilst there are currently no tests to determine OCD, a diagnosis is made after a doctor/patient interview. From there, various treatments and therapies are available, but the one the National Institute of Mental Health and Harvard Medical School both recommend is CBT – aka, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It’s also possible that an individual can recover on their own, whether consciously or not. For me, I simply decided that I would no longer have my life ruled by OCD and worked hard for years to break the irrational thought patterns. For those who don’t see that as an option however,help is out there – OCD can most definitely be cured.
Ever since my old therapist chucked me due to new Medicaid restrictions, I have a new therapist named Pepper. It isn’t a pseudonym, her name really is Pepper. I have no idea what her last name is, just that she’s a therapist. I just liked her when I met her during an intake interview and asked if she was taking new clients. So voila. When I think of Pepper, I think of that doll by Ideal from the 1960s. Pepper the doll had red hair. Pepper the therapist has red hair. In fact, if Pepper the doll had an age progression photo done to age her into her late 50s, she could be Pepper the therapist.
But let me digress a bit. So new Medicaid restrictions were causing dumping of us ghetto/trailer folk all round. The first to fall was my eye doctor. People on Medicaid apparently do not have eyes. They literally cut all coverage for eye exams, glasses, etc. Well OK. Next was my dentist. Due to the fire hoops all Medicaid providers must jump through, my dentist dropped all Medicaid folks. Then my therapist dropped Medicaid for the same reason. “I’m just not going to play their game,” said she. I don’t blame her. My psychiatrist, though, was the most emotional about it. Her eyes got watery as she said she really cared about her Medicaid patients, and would do her best to try and keep us. She told me before that she felt an obligation to my late mother to make sure I’m OK. Well, OK.
My psychiatrist was determined to find the loophole in the needle that was in the haystack to keep her Medicaid patients. I sometimes wonder if it was the specter of my mother urging her on, though I’m sure she has other far more likeable patients than me. My mother was the likeable one. The shrink should know, because I drug my mother in with me every time. When I came in the first time after my mom died, she thought my mother must just be parking the car. Awkward. I always had been intimidated by my psychiatrist, she who wielded the power to diagnose my crazy ass on a whim. My shy, awkward ways, my lack of smiling all made her wonder if I had Asperger’s. I think she later figured what I believe to be true, my lowwwwwwww self-esteem and fear of doing the wrong thing is the culprit. I get social cues, so next diagnosis please.
Dependent personality disorder. Oh swell. I might buy it and I might not buy it. I’d be more apt to believe it if I didn’t do so well on my own, and for the most part want to be alone. But my past is my past. When my mother was alive I depended fully upon her. When I was with he whom I called my Soul Bro, I thoroughly depended on him to the point of sustaining emotional abuse. Why do I still see him as the great love of my life? I must be a head case. I’d rather not be dependentocdbloggergirl.wordpress.com, thanks.
And back to Pepper. Pepper is great. Pepper is awesome. I even try to take her advice sometimes. Whereas my former therapist mainly did talk therapy, Pepper is big on cognitive behavior therapy, mindfulness, and shit. I preferred talking and my therapist giving me insight, but OK. She is trying to give me coping skills, assertiveness skills, and learn not to obsess on doing everything to please everyone. Learn how to breathe all mindfully, be aware of other things going on around you. Cool. Sometimes, however, I must refrain from mumbling, “Lady, are you for real?” Such as the Kitty Cat Exercise.
Yes, the Kitty Cat Exercise. One day, I showed up in her office flushed from a hurried walk from my apartment, a good little jaunt. I either missed the bus or didn’t have the fare, and I was late. I apologized profusely, though I am the type who will be late to my own funeral.
Seeing my state, Pepper asked me what my favorite type of water was that I liked to visit.
“A pool” said I, so the idea of me thinking of ocean water and hearing the waves was out of the question, I guess.
“Well, what is your favorite sound?”
“There is nothing nicer to me than the sound of a cat purring.”
This Pepper could work with, so she had me relax, turned on a ‘relaxing sounds’ app on her smart phone, set to purr mode. Then she cut the light in her office out and had me imagine a long-haired grey cat with a bit of white on her nose and me stroking her fur.
I tried to do the exercise, but my mind decided to be a smartass as usual.
That cat sounds like it’s on a respirator.
Then the cat I pictured became Nyan Cat, the animated cat with a pop tart body.
When the exercise was over, Pepper suggested I find such an app so I can do this on my lonesome. I said, “Yes, that sounds like a good idea.” Or I could just go home and pet my cats, same results.
One last thing though, and I don’t want to be maudlin, but I had the most bizarre dream. It is in my dreams that I remember I once had a mother, and that my memories of her and my life before she died are my memories.
I dreamed that my former roommates invited me back to live with them when I wished for $250.00, but I still had my own apartment. Things had not changed though, they were both insulting me and I felt a constant threat of making them mad, or being thrown out of Faux Bro’s life which I was paying to be in. Philippe was with me. If you remember, Phil was the cat they wanted to keep as their own, the other two my nurse had to retrieve from the pound.
Then I found myself at the McDonald’s down the street, a place I had gone to get away from that oppressive environment sometimes during the final days. And there sitting waiting for me was my mother, my dead mother, which I kindly reminded her of her state. “Mom, this is a dream. You’re dead. You can’t really be here. Please stay.”
At the end of the dream, I venture back to my own apartment with Phillipe in my arms.
Thanks for reading and I’m sorry I haven’t been around here or at your blogs, will do better. XOXO
Strangely enough, March 25th will mark my third blogoversary. Time flies when you type five words a minute. Picture it, I a callow youth of 32, rose in my cheeks and tortured genius illuminating my eyes, typing my first words! Oh how the muses danced, the angels wept, and the majestic turkey vultures soared! Three years, still here. In case you missed those 3 years, let me summarize:
Lisa, the OCDbloggergirl, lives with her mother and 3 cats. Lisa has OCD and is getting into fights with her mom, mainly because Lisa cannot be the perfect person Lisa wants to be and this pisses her off. Poor mom. The years are swallowed up with Lisa writing, Lisa getting published by online journals ( reprints of blog entries, mainly). Lisa’s writing improves. She thinks “Hey why don’t I get my own website, maybe I’ll get rich or at least be able to have a meowing cat widget!” Life is swell. Then Fate says, “Hey why don’t I let your mom die of complications from pneumonia, that would be a plot twist!” Life sucks. Some social worker says Lisa might have to go to a group home if she can’t find somewhere to go on her SSI check. Lisa would rather die than be separated from her cats now that there’s no one else. Neighbors step in and she and the cats go live there. Life is very good again and Lisa finds her Soul Mate in her gay neighbor (Dumb, OCDbloggergirl. You get what ‘gay’ means, right?) But gay friend and jealous partner are kinda messed up themselves and who was wrong? Who was right? Who was fucked over? I think Lisa was, but maybe they were, but maybe she was, but then …All the lies and uncertainty make Lisa do something to herself, she ends up in the hospital. Then she ends up in hell…er a nursing home for two months, until her roommates cave and let her dumb ass back in for a nominal hike in rent (475.00 instead of 240.00). Life is teetering from good to bad back and forth. The man she loves, Gay Romeo, likes to lie, and has stopped taking his medicines. He forgets he cares about Lisa altogether, but she is saved from hell by a program. Lisa now has her own apartment for the first time in her life, and they all lived happily ever after maybe. She hopes that now her blog will stop being a total buzz kill.
I guess you could say I am at a good place now. Well, almost. Oscar, my grey and black tabby is missing now for over a month. I remain hopeful he will return, just as my Phillipe did 9 years ago when my mother and I moved into our old apartment. Phillipe was cooped up 2 weeks before we opened the door and let him go outside. He didn’t come home for 2 and a half months. Came home though, and no worse for wear. I suspect someone took him in and he finally got away, which I suppose happened to Oscar too. I think a good post would be to tell the stories of my 3 cats one day. For those of you who pray, please pray Oscar comes home. Thanks.
But yeah. Good place. Now. I am happy for the most part. There is a strange sort of freedom to being alone in the world. I find my life worth living, even if only for my cats, and the occasional ‘rescue mission’ for Bestie, who is a bit of an anxious lass. I don’t have to be useful to anyone anymore, and that’s freedom in a way. When I was with the roommates, my use was measured in my finances I guess. When I was with my friend I knew from way back, all he wanted was a batch o’ my snatch. When I went to that ‘home,’ almost everyone wanted me for one reason or another. Eh God, vultures. I am better off on my own having my own adventures and my own life. Hanging out with Bestie, my friend of 20 years, basically fulfills my social life, that and my online life. Soul brothers are merely mythological creatures, unicorns. I miss my unicorn though (we even watched My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic together, sigh).
And now, not to be all Jodi Arias stalky or anything, but I did have someone drive me by ye olde home place, just to see if the members of the She-Male Lisa Haters Club had indeed left town as they said they would in March. Part of me prayed that they were gone, that seeing an empty apartment would cure me of my feelings for The Unicorn nee Soul Bro. But neighhhhhhhh, the signs that they were still there abounded. First, the plants that I gave him from my mother were still there. The chair that once was mine was still there, as no doubt the rest of the lawn furniture that he felt was his due (I would have left that chair for him anyway, the way I had left half of my hard candy for him). There is a yellow truck out in front. I wonder if it’s his. He always wanted a yellow vehicle. If it is, the straits they said they were in due to me must have eased into gentler waters.
But the doubts are ever present in my mind. Is it because of me that they aren’t gone to fulfill his dream in DC? Is he sick? Or, like so many other things, was living there just another of his stories? Once, The Partner told me that I was a boil on his butt that he just can’t lance. Well, I was lanced wasn’t I? Shouldn’t they be happily ever after now, and shouldn’t I, like a normal person, stop giving a fuck about The Unicorn? Somewhere over the rainbowwwwwwww….
I am happy now. I am almost at peace. I must put them out of my mind. I am eternally grateful that he was there when my mother died, but that chapter of my life must close. That way I can truly be happy, That and finding Oscar. Where the hell are you, Oscar?
PS, other fun incidentals. Remember for a time I foolishly flirted with having a self-hosted site? Well when I hung up the towel there at ocdbloggergirl dot com and let my domain expire, guess what happened? I thought maybe some other blogger might buy it, but I doubted it. Nope. Ocdbloggergirl dot com didn’t even become a Canadian pharmacy. Cough. It became…cough…a porn site. A porn site boasting Polish lesbians. I’m not joking, And as Paul Harvey used to say…”now you know the rest of the story.”