Saturday, May 08, 2004

Shut up and drink your steak.

As you might have guessed, I am apt to get a dab of crazy on my face every now and again. I admit it. Although I've spent much of my adult life trying to hide the crazy from all the good and decent non-crazy people of the world, last year I decided to finally out my own insanity. That way I could stop obsessing that the Enquirer was following me around just waiting to bust the story wide open.

My particular brand of crazy has a name. Not a name like Bill, although sometimes that's what the little voices in my head call me. (Just kidding. I don't have voices in my head that call me Bill. They call me Stanley.)

Allow me to introduce you. People reading this, meet Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. OCD for short, or for people that can't spell. OCD, meet people reading this.

OCD is an exciting combination of obsessions and compulsions. Here's the Cliff Notes version: Obsessions include intrusive thoughts and upsetting mental pictures. These obsessions spur the compulsions, which is the outward weirdness that we who are afflicted with the disorder sometimes display.

You might see us washing our hands repeatedly or walking back and forth through doors over and over again. You may notice as we count everything we do, say and see again and again or we repeatedly check door locks, stove burners or light switches.

However it is unlikely, unless you live with us, that you will ever see us exhibit any of these or hundreds of our other odd behaviors. We are pretty adept at concealing our illness, which often leads to our hiding out in our own homes, away from people who don't know who we really are.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when I actually take someone into my confidence to share what OCD is really like and they casually say, "Oh, I have that. I am obsessed with keeping my laundry done and I can't stand it when I have dirt on my hands. It's no big deal though."

You do not have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, you nit. When you take your laundry out of the washer, twirl around in a circle, say a prayer and then re-wash it twenty times because you're afraid if you don't God will punish you by drowning your cat, come talk to me. Until then, wash your hands once and leave the real crazy for the pro's.

Before and for several years after I was diagnosed, living with OCD was the worst possible thing I could imagine. I hated it. It consumed my life and nearly killed me many times. I hated having crazy thoughts, doing crazy things and most of all, I hated being called crazy. I would rather have been dead than live the life that God gave me with what I thought was clearly the factory second brain He found on the floor of Heaven and threw in my head.

But that was then.

Now I am pretty comfortable with having some crazy on my face. It's not only ok, it's who I am.

I am a woman who may or may not have spent some quality time in a special hospital where I was forced to use a plastic spork at meal times for fear I might kill myself if I had access to a regular fork. I was never quite sure how I could do such a thing armed with only a fork, but I guess anything is possible. I mean we've all heard the news stories of a what began as a seemingly normal evening at a Bonanza and ended when someone was suddenly impaled by a flying fork. It's always a senseless tragedy. I say put that steak in a blender and stop the madness.

I am a woman who may or may not have danced with Prince Valium a time or two in my life. And Prince Xanex. And Prince Trazedone. And pretty much any Prince with whom some Jack Leg doctor wanted me to take a turn around the dance floor. Sure, sometimes I was nothing more than a blonde lab rat to lots of these men, but the mazes were fun and it was all the cheese I could eat.

I am a woman who may or may not have ballooned to nearly two-hundred pounds because of all the medicines the above mentioned JL's fed me. I was as big as a house even as I was unable to swallow solid food for over six months. That's ok though because I was always pretty full from all the pills.

It's true. I may or may not have a little drama in my past. Let's just say if I were an ice cream flavor, I most certainly would not be vanilla. And believe it or not, I actually spent most of my life wanting to be vanilla more than I wanted anything else. Now I am completely happy that I am Chunky Monkey. As far as I'm concerned, life is a banana split. Without the nuts on top, it's just ice cream and bananas.

Didn't Plato say that?

Copyright © 2004, Sherri Bailey
This blog may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written permission of the author.

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