SoCS – Exposed

It’s been eight-and-a-half years since I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder. In all the time I’ve been aware of having anxiety disorder, I have been a careful student of its manifestations. What I know is that when I tell myself some physical symptom is just anxiety often enough and long enough, my anxiety stops bothering me about that particular and switches to another.

It’s been thirteen years and a month since I was diagnosed with OCD. I’ve long since gotten the promotion to OCD tendencies. I’m still super good at obsessing, but less with interference into my daily life. When I was a youth, people called it dwelling. Dwelling sounds nicer, reminiscent of thatched roofs and chipped paned windows, but it’s more like being locked in. Stuck.

I have stopped obsessively cleaning. I stopped that in 2012. As far as I’m concerned that’s one of my greatest accomplishments. There’s a whole mess, haha mess, of words there, but that’s not where we’re going.

Motherhood keeps me leaning over the hole looking in. Also not where we’re going, but worth mentioning.

I know, as well as any of you, that the thoughts in my head are irrational, but that isn’t enough to stop me from having them, although most often it’s enough to stop me from acting on them.

Car crashes do happen every day.
People do get abducted.
Houses do burn down.

If I never leave the house and never let my kids leave the house and none of us ever ride in a car, how much life can we live? So like, we buy insurance and give the kids phones and don’t leave hot things plugged in after use.  Space heater, iron, hot tools. I don’t run the dryer when I’m not home. I don’t bake stuff in my oven all day while I’m gone. Crock pot? Hell no.

I have never failed to secure the hot things in my home. Not once. I’ve turned around more times than I can count and I’ve never failed. I’ve driven back to work to make sure I unplugged my space heater. I’ve even texted my boss to ask her to check! I’ve driven back home to assure myself that no one left any hot danger. Not once have I found hot danger. It’s irrational.

Do not use your logic to remind me there’s electricity running through every wall in my house or that there are flames in the furnace and the water heater, or that I live in a wooded area or that lightning can start a fire, cause I know, okay, but I don’t obsess about any of that.

what if moo left the kettle on? or her oatmeal pot? did she have the iron out this morning? did i unplug my straightening iron? omg, did sassy straighten her hair in the main bath? think, joey, was her hair straight this morning? well you’re going to have to go back. well that’s just stupid, isn’t it? do you really want to make that merge onto the ramp AGAIN? have you ever found anything on, ever? no. then why must you check? because obsessing. must relieve obsession. anxiety paralyzing. could happen. is possible. 

I HAVE FORGOTTEN SOMETHING. SOMETHING BAD WILL HAPPEN.

So, like Rachel and the crazy fire/flood/baby/bird story, I recently did a very good job at checking all the hot things in the house (supportive ritual occurs one time) and felt confident in my departure. And then I drove for about five minutes and began to wonder if I had replaced the batteries in the charger.

Anxiety couldn’t fucking let me win one, could it? No. I said NO. I said to myself if the kitten has batted loose batteries off the counter and they then ran into errant silverware on the floor and started a fucking fire, well so be it, because i never liked that tile anyway.

I mean — What are the odds? Isn’t that right up there with fire/flood/baby/bird? I think so.

socsnow

Stream of Consciousness Saturday — SoCS ‘exp’ is brought to you by LindaGHill

About joey

Neurotic Bitch, Mother, Wife, Writer, Word Whore, Foodie and General Go-To-Girl
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80 Responses to SoCS – Exposed

  1. Dan Antion says:

    “i never liked that tile anyway” I love that. Good job working with the “who you are” part of life.

    We keep trying to make up worse case scenarios that will cause my wife to say “that’s crazy.” No matter how crazy we get, she says: “that could happen.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do well during the day when common sense rules. But, at night, when I try to sleep, the irrational loop plays a lot of nights or when we are going to be gone over night, and I’m checking every appliance and outlet. So, I understand, and I applaud your efforts to kick it to the curb when appropriate. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Oh expectation of travel is SUCH a loop! I have to list that stuff. I’ll never sleep otherwise. (And that was fine when I was young. I could do that. Older me cannot.)
      Also, we don’t travel for as long of a time as you do, so housesitter, you know.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Benson says:

    Well that sounds a lot like Clara Lee’s mind spiders. If there is nothing obvious to worry about she makes something. It has only been about 6 years or so since she stop leaving the house. She has always had some form of anxiety it just gradually grew to a virtual paralysis. I am so glad you are able to live your life. Maybe Lee can go outside every once in a while; eventually.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      I’m sure she’s doing the best she can. ❤ It's hard to deal with – 'mind spiders' as you put it. There is a book, The Woman Warrior, by Maxine Hong Kingston, in which the narrator describes her mother's worries and expectations as the legs of a spider growing around/through her brain. Mind spiders is certainly an accurate descriptor.
      Best, she has you 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  4. That’s so tough. Glad you have a bit of a handle on part of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. If checking and double checking makes you OCD, then I think I’m there. I also line up the stripes on the dishes in my cabinet… does that count?
    😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      I dunno. Do you feel incredible anxiety if you can’t check and recheck? Could you go on with your life knowing your stripes aren’t lined up? Could you leave the house? Could you go on to some other activity without doing it? It’s really only a problem if it interferes with your life. If it gets bad enough, it takes over your life. You’re probably okay, cause I’m okay and seemingly worse 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. J-Dub says:

    Hey, how’d you get in my brain? This is very relatable. I am wistfully wishing I could me another way. But alas not to be. I’ve been a dweller my whole life. I like that term better too. But I’ve come a long way baby and sounds like you have too. New tile actually sounds kinda nice. ;).

    The car accidents everyday to random not me or people I know became my dear friend. Yesterday she passed away from injuries sustained in an accident on Monday. This tells my mottled brain “see, you were right!” I told B I’m never driving again. But in true fashion, he made me. I drove earlier today when we went to get groceries.

    Now what’s really sad is when young LuLu started displaying the obsessive cleaning have to’s, B and I both missed the signs. We assumed she was just being a good girl. But what 11 year old WANTS to clean the entire house in addition to just keeping her room clean? She’d even lay on the floor and dust the baseboards!

    But that was then. I’m not the only one doing better. Lulu is too. We do our best with what we know at the time. Though I’ve got to admit, somedays I’d love a do-over.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      I’m so sorry you’ve recently lost a friend to a car accident. I am so sorry for your loss. B is right to make you drive. Fear can paralyze you and no one wants that for you.

      The boy one was a very neat and tidy child until he was 7. Then he lost whatever made him tidy and/or got the ADD. *shrugs*

      We are all a work in progress, and if it wasn’t this, it’d be something else. Do-overs are no good. Have you read Before I Fall?

      Like

  7. orbthefirst says:

    I count things. And get paranoid. I can always tell when Im over stressed, or upset because Ill find myself counting things. Corners, edges, spaces, shapes..whatever. Ive tried to learn to use it to help me focus, and sometimes it does (I have a pace counter I made especially for that purpose.) Other times..I should probably just take a nap.
    The paranoia gets bad every so often. Paranoid I said Something Wrong, paranoid no one cares, paranoid that folks just humor me..paranoid that my life has been carefully orchestrated by Others to be how They want it to be, regardless of how I feel..it can get pretty paralyzing. It seems pretty counter intuitive, but its usually best if I just go away for a while at that point. Rebalance, find some perspective, and whatnot.
    I used to pack. (Like, my things.Bug out bags, specifically.) But I learned that that comes with its own line of stresses, expectations, and irrational thoughts. So I stopped. I still maintain a Go Bag for every season, but just one, and its always with me.
    ANYWAY… progress. Is good, right? Were always learning. Happy weekend Joey. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Bill says:

      Have a friend who after years eventually told me she was a counter. I didn’t know what that meant until she explained it.

      Liked by 2 people

    • joey says:

      I count too. I don’t do it as often now, compared to years ago. I find it very helpful in medical and social crises.
      Paranoia is dangerous when you can’t escape it. I’m sorry for you there. For what it’s worth, I care and I have never humored you.
      I remember your packing phase. Honestly, anything helpful (like packing) can turn into an obsession when the obsessive is doing it, so who can fault you? We try things on, see if we can get that sense of control. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but mostly, it helps for a while.
      We are all works in progress.
      xo

      Liked by 1 person

  8. darsword says:

    I don’t have OCD. But I have had those terrors, especially when the kids were babies–or on vacation. And evil ones like Ross let their imaginations shame me. And I think I might have said, “you are going to be sorry if that is true!” I never came home to no house. But now, with less going on, the heater or stove will smell smokey. It’s awful living in a home where most are in their sixties and memory holes and ADD collide!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. marianallen says:

    Sara used to say, “Mom, you are such a worrywart!” She had NO IDEA how much anxiety I suppressed in an attempt to not pass my anxious tendencies on to her. Didn’t work, but I apparently also passed on to her my suppression, so we both learned to function. Nature/Nurture is a funny twin set, innit?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I think everyone has something that they worry about irrationally (although it doesn’t seem irrational to us even when we know it is.) You’re aware, you’re working on it, you’re dealing with it, you’re living on. Kudos! Sending you a lot of big hugs!!

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I congratulate you on achieving mastery to the degree that you have. And I thank you for the lessons I can learn from your story.

    It’s such an extraordinary challenge to A.) recognize a tendency in the first place, and then 2.) attempt to change it, when it’s hardwired in your brain. Or wherever.

    Did you notice the irony? Your internal wiring is what is making you OCD about household wiring. And other hot things, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Bill says:

    What I try to do these days is talk to myself (or to wife), I say out loud, “I need to remember that I did this so I don’t have to drive 30 minutes back home just to learn that I did turn it off (or whatever).” Notes work too, but there are still those times.
    My neighbor’s hubby never forgets things or makes a mistake (yes he does, but he cannot admit it), so it is kind of funny. He’s say, “I need to have the garage door checked. I know I closed it.” No he didn’t. I did. Not sure which I prefer…need some middle ground.
    I love my OCD friends and I don’t mind that they fix or straighten things when they come over. May y’all’s weekend be wonderful and calm.

    Liked by 2 people

    • joey says:

      Thank you!
      I don’t mind the other OCDs either, although I resent anyone who wants me to do their rituals…
      Your neighbor is clearly one-of-a-kind, Haha!
      I do that talk aloud thing to the cords. “Look at the cords, unplugged and placed ____” — what a trick that is! Yes, why are there still those times? Wonders never cease!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. loisajay says:

    Oh, maybe I’m a tad OCD. All the labels must face out! How can I read them if they are not? I don’t care that catsup is red and mustard is yellow, face the damn labels out so I can read them. I don’t know, Joey….you handle it well.

    Liked by 2 people

    • joey says:

      You do you, Lois. Uh, yeah, properly zoned food items are important. I could go on a long while about that, because kids. I mean, I threw out an empty baggie box, put the mayo in the door, because it’s a condiment and not bloody dairy, and turned the milk carton so that the handle is on the right, as we are all right handed, for the love of puppies… But they’ll grow up and move away and The Mister and I will enjoy our properly zoned food items.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. scr4pl80 says:

    I bet sometimes it’s exhausting being you. I see OCD in my husband although it’s only been in the last 10 years or so that I actually realized that’s what it was. He’s a counter and a positioner. Too bad he’s not a cleaner. That would actually help out. Here’s a hug for one of those days you feel you really need one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Thank you very much, Janet! *stores hug for later*
      I am also a counter, but in specific situations. I’m at not a positioner, although I know many of them, and sorta enjoy them flitting about making right as they go, although to live with that might be tiring as well.
      I know what you mean about the cleaning. I don’t know why my kids don’t manifest cleaning from their anxiety 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Luanne says:

    I know I share some of this stuff, but have not been diagnosed, so I think yours must be a real burden. I’m so sorry. For me, it’s always worse if I’m worried about my kids or husband. For instance, heights. I freak out if they are close to an edge. I’d rather take the edge myself. But I have always had anxiety, and I feel that a lot of mine stems from my childhood, although some of it must be hereditary. I know other people around me with real anxiety problems, too. It’s the Age of Anxiety in more ways than one. BIG HUGS TO YOU!!!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      Thanks 🙂 You and I share a lot of the same… tendencies, I’ve noticed. I think HSP adds a component there. It’s good you recognize these tendencies in yourself.
      I thought of you today as I sat through a TERRIBLE piece of music. It was played well, but it’s just so much discord and bizarre percussion and noise at times, oh I just hate it and am glad I won’t have to sit through it again. As I crossed my arms and legs and tucked my shoulders in, I thought, If Luanne were here, we could shrink into ourselves together.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. How about ‘ did we close the garage door?’ ha,ha.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. markbialczak says:

    To me it sounds as if you’re handling what’s in your head the best you can figure and manage, Joey. That’s our mission every day, when we each get down to it. Bravo, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Amy says:

    I’ve been treated for anxiety at varying times, but mostly I do try to rationalize my way through it. It definitely ramped up for me after having children. I’m glad you are able to manage your way through it. Usually, I help Miss Sunshine put the finishing touches on her hair straightening and then I reach over to unplug it because I have found it plugged in before.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. AmyRose🌹 says:

    Oh Lord have mercy! Anxiety! And cleaning house! I was neurotic about my house. Now? I clean when I can. Back to anxiety. I obsess about my cats. I’m problem solving all the time. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about a problem. NOOOOOOOO! I’ve been diagnosed with panic disorder (among other niceties). I’ve taught myself not to panic, to stay calm, but as you saw in my last post, that doesn’t work all the time …. most of the time but NOT all the time. I’m learning to let go and just flow. I don’t want to be locked into this obsessed closet always thinking …. Thank goodness for my camera who takes me away to my favorite of lands.

    I too have turned around as I was driving thinking (OH there is that word again!) that I forgot to lock the door. I didn’t remember doing it. Sure enough got home and the door is locked. Bless you for living with this anxiety. I know only too well what it feels like and that OCD? Got a little of that and hubby is a major in it. The secret to not having ulcers is to let go and just flow. Easier said then done at times!!! BIG (((HUGS)))!!! 😘😘😘

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Perpetua says:

    OCD, ADHD, Automatic Thoughts are all teachable experiences. It does take a toll on our psyche since they are intrusive. But hey, they do mellow down or we learn to ignore it as I did and resurface. Here’s to our weird Brain!

    Like

  21. Maggie says:

    Loved that clip because it reminds me so much of my former self. Also reminds me of this clip from Terms of Endearment. I so identified with this mother, worrying about everything! https://youtu.be/QJgBVgCVzq4

    Meditation has helped me a lot as has my children living into adulthood. Ha! Now I only have the grandchildren to worry about.

    I still drive my husband crazy with the ‘did I turn off the …’ just when we get far enough down the road that it makes no sense to turn around. And like you, I have never found anything left on.

    Like

  22. That was quite a stream.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Prior... says:

    Hi J
    I like how you wove the snippet from Friends into this post.
    And I watched the video right as it appeared (one minute was so doable – so thanks for that -(( and side note – I was never a fan of the show – and I do like the writing of that show – I never watched it because I did not watch TV when it came out and ended – – but my stepdaughter is huge fan and so I have seen episode parts here and there when she had it on playing the background – oh and I just heard Netflix might not carry friends anymore?))
    But the clip was integrated so well and because I watchEd and then continued reading (versus skipping the vid like I sometimes do on some blog posts – depends on the post and vid I guess) so as I finished reading I had the experience you were giving us – 😉
    And haha – flood – baby – bird – bath

    And the one thing we have turned around for – twice – was to make sure the garage door shut all the way –

    Liked by 1 person

  24. bikerchick57 says:

    “Crockpot? Hell no!”
    That made me think of the show “This is Us.” Do you watch it? If no, please don’t go there. One particular episode will set you off.

    Dealing with OCD and the anxiety it brings you is rough, Joey. I’m glad you’ve made some inroads with the obsessive cleaning because, really, there is no such thing as the Messy House Police other than in our heads. I hope you find relief every day from the stress of this, in one small way or another.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Joanne Sisco says:

    I am definitely a worse case scenario kind of person and I could relate to everything you said. Quieting the monkey brain is not easy and yes, I’ve turned back more than a few times to check whatever it was I was obsessing about.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Ally Bean says:

    I worry about things not being right when I leave home, but I know that it’s not on the level of many people. I give you props for knowing what to look for within yourself and how to talk to yourself kindly about things that might just be craziness in your mind. That’s a life skill.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Bryan Fagan says:

    Denying that there is a problem is in fact a huge problem but writing about it, getting help and having a grip on it is a giant step to recovery.

    So many of us have looked the other way and pretended it wasn’t real. For those who step out and embrace it and fight it are the kind of people I enjoy being around.

    Good stuff here.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Joey I got that… If I had not stepped into meditation at 20 I think I might be a tad worse. Thankfully Mitchell is understanding… and worries his own self. My mom had it and had a ritual and as she got older a list by the door that she checked before she walked through it: oven, heater, etc… I am sure someday I will too. I notice it much more these days when life in the USA is much more dangerous.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Sam D.C.C. says:

    Thank you for being so open about this! Surprisingly (maybe not) it was a comforting read to me and I’m sure many others in the way that these things can make us feel very isolated.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. JoAnna says:

    Funny thing about logic and rational thinking – It has to have a very loud voice to have an effect for me, but there’s always the possibility of a “but…” cause I have tendencies. Now we have new wiring in the house. I had to go up in the attic to make sure they did it up there too. But I still don’t want to leave the dryer on and the idea of leaving something cooking while I’m gone further than the back yard – that’s just crazy. If I’m going to be gone more than an hour, it sometimes helps to pray (in a loud head voice): “God please keep this house and the dogs safe, safe, safe.” (I have to say safe three times.) So far, it’s worked! Knowing that helps too – what are the odds based on experience? Then I have to distract myself before the buts come. May the progress continue and keep us safe safe safe!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. larva225 says:

    I don’t think I knew the history of your diagnoses. I’ve been starting to worry a bit about myself in some regards, but hoping some of it will pass with circumstances. I’ve had a few days where my heart goes crazy and I feel like I can’t catch my breath while my thoughts go into overdrive. Any tips or did you have a moment when you knew “I have to do something?”

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey says:

      While some of us may be pre-wired, genetically, to have neurotic tendencies, stress is the catalyst. Even people who aren’t genetically pre-disposed to neuroses can develop it with long-term stressors. The effects of stress coupled with sleep dep ongoing, for years, can severely impact your health — mental and physical.
      For me, it was getting to where I was afraid to drive/leave the house and I wasn’t ready to give up my freedom, I didn’t want to keep suffering like a hermit. If I hadn’t gotten help sooner, I could have had a lot more fun. Anxiety was narrowing my life. I think as so many emotional situations would report with cliche, I had to get to rock bottom to realize I wanted out. It was basically take the ativan and do the therapy homework, or go away to do it. I almost broke. Don’t let yourself almost break.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Laura says:

    Oh yes, I understand the anxiety. Nothing makes me crazier than when I’ve just pulled away from the house and realize no, I DIDN’T look up to confirm the garage door closed so now do I circle the block and drive back by to check or try to quash that urge fully knowing it will rage back to life in three miles. Irons and stoves and lawd don’t start me on the girl’s hair tools because those things give me palpitations. What the what.

    Like

  33. My anxieties are more along the lines of the weather, driving in it, storms, and stalking, as I’ve been a victim of that in the past. I do worry about the hot stuff on occasion.

    Liked by 1 person

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