Monday, October 25, 2010

Paralysis


This has been a rough weekend.  As much as I usually like to keep the day to day ups and downs of my progress to myself, it's been a rough couple of days filled with tough situations and some bad decisions.

Earlier tonight I just laid down on the floor and cried.  I didn't know what else to do.  I felt too dirty to lay anywhere else, so onto the floor I went, which sealed my fate - at that point I was "contaminated" in my mind, beyond all repair.  I would have to shower.  Again.

But at that point I just didn't feel like I had the strength left in me to face showering.  To do anything.  Paralyzed in my "dirty" state I just laid there and cried as quietly as I could, hoping none of my housemates could hear.  I couldn't get up.  I couldn't sit anywhere else.  I couldn't touch anything.  The only place to go from there was to wash my hands and then shower.  And yet it just seemed too difficult.  Too dirty touch anything.  Too mentally worn down to face washing.  So I lay, tears beginning to roll down my face sideways, while I covered myself in a coat that I would feel compelled to wash later.  I was stuck.  Brought to a halt.  Paralyzed, by OCD.

It's times like that that I wish one of two things could occur.  First I wish crying brought a feeling of release, of comfort, of catharsis, like it used to.  It does no such thing anymore.  Gone are the days when just letting myself go made me begin to feel better.  Nope.  Nothing there.  I cry.  I try to let out my pent up frustration, to give myself permission to be fed up and feel it, but I try and there's nothing.  I feel numb a lot these days.  But all I can do is continue to put one foot in front of the other, pushing ahead.  It sometimes feels like I'm trying to run through mud.  Each step I push and push and push, but it brings me only a little bit farther forward.  But what else is there to do?  Standing still and resting brings me no comfort, so forward I push, wading my way through each day, some of which are better than others.

Second, I wish I could sleep.  As I lay there on the floor this evening, I just wished I could drift off so that I could have a break, a reprieve, from having to decide what to do.  Awake I just felt dread.  I could shower, or I could try to fight my OCD.  But I didn't want to have to think about either option.  Both seemed like too much to face.  I just wanted to be unconscious so that I didn't have to confront the dread of knowing I would have to eventually have make a decision or the dread of facing the various OCD hurdles when I did.

Eventually when it became clear that just lying there wasn't going to provide any sort of reprieve - not by way of sleep, not through tears, and not in the form of just plain relief that I could procrastinate making any sort of decision - I eventually faced what seemed to be the only option.  I got up, prepared to shower, and then did.  And it was long shower.  And I felt I was at the mercy of my OCD constantly.  But I just didn't feel like I could lie there and feel the dread any longer.  I couldn't wait for my resolve to fight to return because lying there doing nothing and drawing no comfort from it was too awful.

This is why I hate OCD.  It can leave you so utterly trapped that you can't even seek comfort in the most basic ways.  I am reduced to lying on the floor, attempting to warm myself with a coat, all while trying to cry or sleep so that I just don't have to think or feel.  And when that doesn't help, all that is left to feel is dread - the dread of standing up to OCD and violating its mandates on the one hand, or the dread of taking orders from OCD and performing compulsions ad nauseam on the other.  Both options seem terrible.  Both options make me just want to hide until I somehow find the strength to face one or the other.  And when the dread just becomes too much I get up, give in, and bow down to the will of my mental disorder for a chance at some peace, even if I know that giving in means that peace will only be temporary.  Because as terrible as the compulsions seem, not doing them seems worse.  I will get there though.  I will get to a point where I am willing to face that challenge and fight back so that the peace I feel is more than fleeting.

In the meantime I continue to just put one foot in front of the other, and one foot in front of the other again, chipping away at the demon in my head, slowly weakening it while strengthening my own faith in my ability to fight back.  I will get there.  I will.  I have before.  And I will again.

4 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry you've been going through so much pain! I see your awareness as you lay on the floor as very powerful, and as a delay in doing your ritual of washing. The OCD will always claim victory, no matter what you do, but that doesn't mean it is actually victorious.

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  2. Hi - I'm a longtime blogger but just newly getting into ocd blogging and reading. I stumbled on your site and I have to tell you, this post brought tears to my eyes. I actually had to finish it quickly because I would have started bawling. I have felt this way so many times. That lying on the floor is the only way to find rest, but yet it seals your fate to needing to go through the whole showering regimen. That there are so many things around - pillows, blankets, couches, beds, comfy clothes - that should be able to comfort you but can't.

    I just wanted to comment to say you're not alone, and I know EXACTLY how you feel. It hurts. But keep working. It WILL get better. I know.

    Sorry for the long comment, but I just had to say thank you for your honesty. I am so tired of feeling like I'm the only one in the world who feels this way!!!

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  3. expwoman - Thank you for your encouragment!! It helps!

    Leah - First, don't worry about long comments...I love reading them and tend to leave them for others myself!! Good to know that I'm not the only one :). And thanks for your support. It helps to know that there are others out there who know exactly what this is like, even though I wouldn't wish this upon anyone! It's funny how OCD deprives you of taking comfort in the simplest things...they're all there in front of you and yet you can't seem to quite grab them...

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  4. Thank you for this wonderful post. You're not alone.

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