Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Medications, Me, and OCD

At the risk of potentially offending some people, and I sincerely hope I do not, I felt it time to address the issue of medication as it relates to me and my ocd and my beliefs. I emphasize my because I do not want people to think I am forming opinions of what they do, casting judgment on what works for them, doubting their success, or suggesting that anyone stop or avoid the use of medications for the treatment of ocd or any other psychiatric disorder. However, due to the frequency at which people are recommending I go get myself on some medications (every time I post), it's something I need to discuss.

First, I know the people who suggest this to be are doing so out of kindness and compassion, so I hesitate to even post on the topic because I do not want anyone to feel that I am being dismissive of their genuine, caring attempts to help me. I take these acts for what they are, as an attempt to offer me a beacon of light and some hope on this very dark journey through ocd. We know this road, we walk it together, and I believe we all only want the best for each other.

Second, I realize there are people for whom life would be unbearable without certain medications. Medications have their place, and undoubtedly there are situations in which they greatly improve lives and are a necessary tool in a person's quest for health and wellness. I would never try to convince anyone otherwise.

And finally, your life is not mine to live. I have no right to say what you should or should not do. These choices are your own, and I respect them - particularly when they are part of a desire to improve your life.

Now, with all of that said...

My stance on medications is that I will not use or try them unless I have completely exhausted every other option.

I do not like SSRI medication. I think they are profoundly over-prescribed. I think we, as a society, are far too over-medicated. I've had everyone from doctors to friends to strangers trying to shove SSRI medication down my throat for everything from anorexia to restless legs during my pregnancy to PMS and cramps ever since they gained major popularity back in the 1990s. But I have studied these drugs, I know what they do, and I realize that they are truly a last resort.

I have seen far too many people overuse and abuse medications. I also realize that the bottom line remains the same; at the end of the day, I will still have to do my exposures, feel the fear, and press on. Also, I have managed to get through, sans medications, everything that people have tried to cram SSRIs down my throat for. This does nothing to bolster their case.

All feelings aside, there is also the matter of my spiritual beliefs. I am a Buddhist. The fifth precept advises that we should abstain from intoxicants. Now, I do have an occasional drink. Clouding my mind for a mere few hours versus weeks or years on a medication is a huge deal-breaking difference for me. Alcohol also does not chemically restructure my brain. SSRIs do. I believe that my faith and the use of psychotropic medication are mutually exclusive in all but the most unavoidable cases. I'm not saying that good people who follow the Buddhist way of life cannot take necessary medications, I just find it far too difficult to take SSRIs seriously considering their copious overuse, the kickbacks received by the medical profession, the endless indiscretions of Big Pharma, and the fact that (as I stated before) I've been offered SSRI medication for so many things that I find it more than a little disconcerting. The lawsuits spawned by the prolific "popularity" of SSRI medications is enough to scare anyone to their bones. I encourage you to Google this, only for informative purposes. I believe many people are far too uninformed about what they ingest daily, be it medications or even genetically-modified food.

I hope that clears things up about where I stand on medications for me personally. As I said before, I do thank you for the concern and kindness. I realize these things come from a positive place. I hope you, too, will understand that we all think and do differently. This is the path I've chosen to go.

Monday, May 28, 2012


I am just getting back into the groove here, so forgive my if I haven't given your blog any attention just yet. I like to read them when I can take adequate time to consider the words you've written and respond.

Yesterday wasn't too bad. I realize much of this comes down to choices I make. Some of those choices are extremely scary and painful, but only until I adjust. The rewards are substantial. This journey must be taken one step at a time, as much as I would like to jump to the finish line and be done with it or refuse to acknowledge that this is a path I may be on for a lifetime - to one degree or another. Acceptance is crucial, I think, not of allowing ocd to ravage my life but of myself as someone who has ocd. Yes, I still struggle with that.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


I took an unintended break. Things are much the same with most of my issues. I think the laundry might be taking a backslide. Scratch that, I know it is. But my hands! I went without washing them at all for several nights. It's been weeks since I did one of my hours-long pre-bed rituals. My hands have shed layers of dead crap which had basically created a shell. I have feeling in my fingertips again! The backs of my hands are so incredibly soft. They have no bled in weeks. My nails are beginning to thicken to a point of near-normal, and some of them even look...dare I say pretty? But I still have redness. I don't get that. I no longer have the ring at at my wrist, clearly indicating where I repeatedly and painfully wash to to many, many times per day. That makes me feel like I've conquered at least something.

However, I am on the floor again. I've been taking the easy way out. I've been letting the bitch ocd win far too often. But I didn't really want to be in my bed. Not after the things he said to me at the beginning of this month. Hell, I didn't even want to exist after that. Sure, sure, he followed it all with sometimes I feel that way, but the damage had been done. Those words had been etched into my very freaking soul.

It's a slow climb, and one I'm not completely sure I want to make. I feel like I have done this so many times, only to have the rug yanked out from beneath me. There's only so many times a person will run after a 10 mile goal, only to get to 8 miles and have the marker moved to 30. Lather, rinse, repeat. I'm tired, people. Tired. Bone tired, and mentally exhausted. I ask what the hell I am fighting for when (a) it seems like everything I thought I had is gone and (b) it never seems to really matter anyhow.

I've been in a dark place, not suited for blogging. And yes, I know I have potential. I know I could do great things. I know I could have a good life. Thing is, half of me feels like it's missing. I feel shattered and broken. It's an effort to summon the desire to live every day, let alone do anything else.

But, I got up today and ate a healthy breakfast. I took a vitamin. I ate a healthy snack. I started thinking about healthy recipes. I forced myself to tackle a couple of chores that scared me. I guess I am trying again. However, if I am to be honest here, I am so close to breaking point that I don't know what will happen if this all falls apart and something like what happened at the beginning of the month happens again. At that point, I think I'd like to crawl up my own ass and die. It usually takes days to a couple of weeks for me to find my center again. It took a month this time, and I can't even say I'm really there even now. I'm forcing myself. I have to. I keep hoping there's something to all of that "fake it 'til you make it" shit.

Monday, May 7, 2012


Today was difficult.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Meat Blood and Skin Pieces

I woke up today feeling pretty good and clean. Which is, with ocd, a bad thing. The urge is to stay as clean as I currently am, and that gets me nowhere but into a fearful avoidance routine.

On the menu for dinner tonight was a roast, which I was to make in my newly-cleaned slow cooker. The slow cooker had spent the past couple of years in a cabinet beneath a drawer in the kitchen which previously was home to many a band-aid and thus it and anything in the cabinets below it was considered "contaminated". The other day during my mass cleaning spree, I said screw it and got my slow cooker out and ready for use.

Now, I'm not a big fan of meat. I don't care to eat it, and I really don't care to touch it uncooked. Red meat is much worse because it looks all bloody - and if you've been reading my blog for more than a day you know that blood and I don't get along particularly well. But even that is something I can usually deal with; I slice open the bloody meat package with a knife and use said knife to stab the meat and lift it ever so carefully into whatever thing I'm cooking it in. But today, as I was rather confidently slicing the package open, I noticed wet blood on the outside. The out-freaking-side of the package.

So shit. I have a difficult enough time dealing with meat blood on the inside of the goddamn package. At least when it's on the inside, I can be reasonably certain that it is from the meat and not an injured human being handling the meat. The fact that it was still wet blood didn't matter much to me, because I'd had it stored inside of the plastic grocery bag in the fridge overnight. Conceivably, this could have kept the blood wet if it was not from the meat. Likely? No. Probable? Unlikely. Possible? The ocd can make anything seem possible. And the way ocd works is something like this:

Most obscure, tiny possibility, no matter how remote ---> It's possible, therefore it is not 100% safe ---> Possible means probable ---> Probable means likely ---> Likely means almost certainly ---> Almost certainly means the risk here is about 99% ---> BAM! PWNED by OCD

I wanted more than anything to throw that meat away. I didn't. I put it in the cooker, added all of the veggies and seasonings, and moved on. I didn't change clothes, I just washed my hands for about 2 minutes. And because I already felt pretty freaked out, I went ahead and got some things done that I'd been procrastinating about touching.

Earlier this morning when I washed my hands, I had a ton of dead skin come off. This happens occasionally, being the massive user of soap that I am; every week or so, the skin on my hands all sheds like a snake. I rubbed off the extra bits which remained after I dried them, and didn't think anything of it...until I returned later and found pieces of skin all over the sink. And of course my mind starts running races around the potential disasters this could bring about. I mean, sure, I saw a ton of dead, dried up skin come off of my hands - but what if it wasn't from me!? You know, because that makes all the damn sense in the world.

I'm really getting tired of ocd living rent-free in my headspace.