Friday, May 30, 2014

Struggling With Emotions and Loss

I began this blog in profound pain, hoping that one day I would find my freedom from the grips of OCD and this blog might serve as hope to others if I did.  One thing I never did find much of in my journey through OCD hell was success or recovery stories.

Life has become a lot easier.  Some of the rituals that literally defined my existence are so long past that I forget some of them until I am reminded by my blog or other various things.  I thought I would be happy when I got to this point, but I'm not.  OCD is such a brutal bitch of a disease that, if you do make it through, it leaves indelible scars on you.  On top of that, I have the added physical and emotional scars of my husband's abuse - which he blamed on my OCD.  I was difficult to live with, so natch, abusing me was the logical option.

So, here I am, doing better with OCD without meds or therapy than some of people do with both, but covered in scars, 20 pounds heavier than I was, uncomfortable in my own skin, and back into the clusterfuck of eating disorders.  I haven't really learned how to manage eating as little as I used to, especially with alcohol in the mix now, so I have resorted to my old tried and true bulimia.  Beer is great for this; I get the alcohol buzz, vomit up half of the calories, and the carbonation helps bring the food up.  Win.

Randomly, one day about 15 or 16 years ago in the kitchen of the apartment I shared with my ex, and best friend to this day, I discovered the ability to vomit without shoving anything down my throat.  Truth be told, I was never really good at making myself puke otherwise; on-command vomiting was so much easier.

I do not advocate this.  I really don't.  I would never wish this fucked up relationship with food and self upon anyone, but consider the fact that I had a very bad relationship with myself, my body, my mind, and food long before I ever hit OCD's rock bottom or endured the soul-destroying effects of being heartlessly, cruelly, emotionally abused by the person I loved more than anyone else in this world.  It's kind of funny, the very same person who helped me find my worth was the very same one who destroyed it.

Lesson: Do not let anyone define your worth except you.  And, god damn it, judge your worth on something other than the shit I judge mine on.

Is it wrong to blame Husband?  Partially, yes; the OCD was not his doing, it is a fundamental flaw in my psyche and I denied it in its infancy when I could have nipped it in the bud because I did not want anything in common with my mother.  My mother has OCD.  On the other hand, he chose to abuse me.  He chose to use my disorder against me by designing his abuse around what he knew would destroy me with the greatest ease and efficacy.  And he has stopped doing this, completely, since November of 2013.  That's six months, half a year, of him not being abusive.  And that should make me happy, right?  I certainly wished desperately for it during the days, weeks, months, years, that he put me through a hell that I could not wish upon my worst enemy.

Instead, I feel angry.  Very angry.  He could have made the choice to change at any time, obviously, but he didn't.  Because, as he put it years ago when I asked why he would do this to me, "it feels good, and it works."  What the fuck?  I've kind of been the one losing my shit since, getting enough wine in me to allow my inhibitions to let my mouth speak what my heart feels.  I tell him how he hurt me, how horrible he was.  I break down into racking sobs.  All he ever says is, "I'm sorry.  I said and did some stupid things when I was angry, and I shouldn't have."  Disarming, yes?  I can't tell if he means these words, or if the sight of my face bleeding all over the floor, myself, him, and everything else in a 10 foot radius of the incident that evidently prompted his desire to stop abusing me has scared the living shit out of him and made him realize that he could actually go to JAIL for what he's done to me.  I sadly suspect it's the latter.

So I have all of that to process, plus my own OCD recover, plus my obvious eating disorder relapse, plus the hideous and severe scarring of the cutting I used to cope with the aforementioned abuse.  Why cutting?  I could never heal the words he said, the hurt he caused.  That was inside, and it still is.  But the cuts?  I could clean them, bandage them, watch them heal.  It made sense to watch something heal from my efforts.  And sometimes I left them untreated.  I watched the infections turn my flesh bright red, watched hypertrophic scars form, and that made sense, too.  It was tangible, if awful.

Yes, I'm broken.  You might read this in absolute horror, and that's okay.  This story is horrific.  It is awful.  If nothing else in the world, maybe it will tell people of the power of their words.  Words hurt.  Sometimes, words even kill.  Bullies come in all ages, all forms, all relationship types.

I'm so very torn.  I know I need forgiveness, as we all do.  Husband is trying.  Does he deserve a chance?  I guess that depends on how honest his intentions are.  I'm trying to repair myself, my body, my mind...and this fucking relationship.

Before OCD, I was a recovered anorexic/bulimic/cutter.  I had a GREAT life.  I was happy for the first time in my life.  But I wasn't good enough for him to love me through OCD.  Yeah, it was hell, but what he did to me was worse.  And now I have fallen back into the arms of the comforts I used to help me through the hell that my life was before I met him.  And why not?  What is the point?  I've lost so much, missed so much.

Today is a rough day.  I'm trying, but my god it's so hard sometimes.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Tired of Giving 200%

I'm angry.

I went through hell and back alone.  It wasn't that I just didn't have help or support, but that I fought while having the exact opposite of what I needed.  I came through OCD while living in a severely abusive relationship where my husband blamed me for the abuse because I didn't correct my OCD fast enough or fully enough for his liking.  While already feeling that I was a failure, he reinforced those thoughts by telling me, "You should feel like a failure, because you ARE a failure."

He would use my OCD fears to torment me; if I didn't do something fast enough, he would, for example, rub his hands inside the garbage can and then rub them all over the furniture, walls, counters, etc.  I once stayed awake for a marathon 72-hour ritual of clean-up after one of those, and thought very seriously about ending my life because I was so deliriously exhausted and anxious that I simply didn't want to go on anymore.

My husband has changed; he doesn't do those things anymore.  He controls his anger.  He apologizes for all of his past mistakes and the "stupid" things he said and did.  He admits it was wrong and he shouldn't have done it.  He has held true to those statements for six months now.  The problem is, he obviously could have changed by making different decisions.  And he didn't, not when I needed him to the most.  He chose to torment and abuse me.  His cruelty was so severe that a domestic violence counselor of 30 years told me that the things he was doing were some of the most heinous, sadistically abusive she'd ever encountered in her career.  Sadistic because, when I asked him why he treated me that way, he said, "Because it works.  It makes me feel good."

I've done my best to forgive him, though I still struggle with whether I can…or even should.  I miss the man I married.  I want that guy back.  I don't think it will ever happen.  It's like torn pieces of paper that I'm trying to tape back together, or a shattered glass that I am trying to glue back together; no matter how much effort I put into fixing it, I don't think it can ever be beautiful or functional again.

And still I am the one who puts forth the effort.  I am the one who offers the hugs and kisses.  I am the one who tries to find new, good things.  Yet, I am also the one whose hurt bubbles up to the surface occasionally, and loses her shit yelling and screaming about how badly I was hurt and how angry I am and what a horrible person it would take to do and say the things he did and said to me.  He makes no effort beyond saying he is sorry.  I get the impression he wants nothing to do with me.  And, you know, maybe I don't want anything to do with him, either; the thing is, he abused me.  He put me through hell that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy, or the most evil person alive.  He should be making the majority of the effort.

And he doesn't even make half.

Indelible: The Scars of Abuse

I haven't felt the need to write in a very long time.  Part of me wanted to, to let people know it IS possible to take your life back (though it takes time and I'm still working at it a day at a time) from the thief that is OCD.  The other part of me wanted to distance myself as far from this fucking mess as possible.  After all, it stole my life, my confidence, my hope, my marriage, my security, and a couple of very important, precious years with my children.  While I was still here, I was not present, if that makes sense.  If you're reading an OCD blog, it probably makes a lot of sense.

During one of our "arguments", I sustained some injuries that required medical attention.  Having given up on doctors four years prior to this incident, it took me five months to convince myself that I needed to go.  This injury is dental, and not something I could ignore for much longer.

The dentist I went to has been my dentist for 13 years, and I always regarded him as a decent guy.  I had not been to him, or any dentist, since a very bad experience with an oral surgeon in 2005.  I look much different than I did the last time he saw me; I've gained weight, about 15-20 pounds, from all the drinking I did to numb my pain.  I have very extensive scarring from the near-daily self-injury I was doing to cope with my husband's profound verbal abuse and my own feelings of loss, pain, inadequacy, anxiety, and intense frustration that only those who have suffered with OCD can fully appreciate.  Since I refuse to buy "fat clothes", I wasn't dressed very nice (nice enough, but not meticulously put-together like he remembers).  I cut my own hair now instead of going to a stylist, another bridge I burned when I wanted to the the house, but couldn't.  It took me years to find that salon.  Sigh.

I was jumpy in the dental chair.  This is my first medical experience of any kind in over five years.  My body has been damaged, my psyche has been decimated, and I learned that I'd become far more vulnerable and broken than I ever realized.  Things hurt me more physically; I swear to you I believe the hygienist doing my x-rays was a sadist.  I have TMJ, so my face feels like it's been hit with a truck since the appointment.  When the dentist explained the extent of my injuries, which was far more severe than I imagined, I took a few deep breaths and accepted it.  I would need a lot of work done.  It wouldn't be pleasant.  He took a few additional x-rays to be certain of what he was seeing, as there was a lot of damage.  While he was out of the room, I had to fight a tidal wave of emotions which threatened to reduce me to a pathetic, weeping mess right there in the office.  I resolved that I would deal with my emotions later.

When the dentist returned, he explained that what he saw was correct, and what would need done.  He said he would have to go over everything and write up an estimate.  Then he said, "But to be honest with you, I don't think I can work on you.  You're practically jumping out of the chair.  Everything hurts.  You may need a specialist, and possibly some sedation to do the extensive amount of work that needs done."

I was simultaneously crushed and terrified; it had taken so much just to trust someone I had trusted before, and now he was going to dismiss me?  I understood his reasons, but from past experience, he knows I am capable of handling the work that needed done.  I'd been through far worse!  So I said, "Look, I know I'm a basket case today; I'm having a rough time and I have a lot going on.  But I know I can do this.  Please don't send me elsewhere."

He agreed to attempt starring small; I have a tiny cavity that needs filled, and he said maybe that would get me used to having work done again.  I agreed that it was a great idea.  He said something to the hygienist, then simply walked out of the room.  It was so…dismissive, so lacking in any sort of compassion, kindness, empathy, sympathy, etc., that I almost couldn't believe it.

I've been reeling from this experience for three days now.  I hate myself for the way it went down, for the way I cannot speak confidently anymore, stuttering and stammering and unable to put my once-articulate speech together in a way that doesn't make me look and sound like a complete fool.

And it made me angry all over again.

I feel like my interaction with my dentist was much like my interactions with my husband when he was being so verbally abusive.  Please don't give up on me.  Please just understand that this isn't a character fault, I'm genuinely working hard to deal with something here.  And the dismissive way he walked out, without a handshake or a goodbye or a "see you in a few weeks".  Just like my husband so many times turned his back on me after saying hurtful things when I needed him the most.

My experience with OCD was a brutal one.  Sometimes it still is, though nothing like it was when I was confined to my house for two years, unable to even stop onto my front porch.  I no longer feel I "need" to do laundry with gloves, or wash my hands for up to five hours a night.  I don't have to sleep on the floor anymore, for fear I'll "contaminate" a bed.  I still don't like it when strangers touch my things, but I'll allow it.  I still struggle with brining germs home, but it no longer takes me all night to settle back in after a lengthy cleaning ritual.  Mostly, it was how I was treated - err, abused - during the absolute depths of my disorder that has caused the most damage.  I've been hurt, both emotionally and also physically.  Damage has been done to my body and my spirit, and I don't know if it can be repaired.  It feels as if this indelible agony has become a part of my being.  It is a place from which fear and lack of trust continues to spew forth.

OCD took almost everything from me for a while.  My husband took the rest, and then some.  I have gotten to where I am not simply without him but in spite of him.  People still don't understand.  I've lost friends, connections of all kinds, and myself as well.  I don't look the same or feel the same.  It's like I woke up after a period of years inside someone else's mind and body, but I still have my own consciousness and want it back in my old body and my pre-catastrophic OCD mind.  But I'll never have that.  I'm scarred, both mentally and physically from what this has done to me.

And I'm not sure how to cope with that.