DIAGNOSIS – According to the National Library of Mental Health:
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is unwanted repetitive behaviors and thoughts. Typically beginning in the teen years but can occur much earlier. The chronic condition caused by a mix of neurobiologic and environmental factors, responds to both drug therapy and exposure psychotherapy.
DEFINITION – Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations (obsessions), or behaviors that make them feel driven to do something (compulsions). Often the person carries out the behaviors to get rid of the obsessive thoughts. This only provides temporary relief. If one cannot perform the obsessive rituals that they are used to, it can cause great anxiety.The levels of (OCD) can be anywhere from mild to severe. If one has a severe case and it goes untreated, it can destroy a person’s life. It can effect a person’s ability to function at work or at school. It can even make ones home life unbearable.
According to the Archives of General Psychiatry – (OCD) affects about 2.2 million American adults, and the problem can be accompanied by eating disorders, other anxiety disorders, or depression. One-third of adults with (OCD) develop symptoms as children and research indicates that (OCD) might run in families. “I have dealt with all three disorders, which explains a lot.” ~ Michelle Molloy ~
At times I feel trapped by cycles of thoughts. I become anxious when my daily routine is disrupted. I’m a creature of habit. People will say, change is good or go with the flow. I agree with that but for people like me, who suffer from (OCD) , the thought of disruption in our daily routines or actions, can cause us great discomfort.
Years ago when I worked as a Correctional Officer, within three years I found myself on depression and anxiety medications. At one point, I did not leave my home for a month. Not even to go to work. I remember being in the video store with my son and boyfriend, when suddenly I found myself frozen in my tracks. I needed to get out of there FAST! I couldn’t stand to be around anyone! A lot was going on at that time in my life. I lost both my Nana and Grandpa and one of my favorite men in the whole world, Freddie Longobardi, who was like a Dad to me, had passed away suddenly. Another dear friend of mine, was killed in a domestic dispute. My moms health was not good, my nephew started living with her full-time and the stress from working at the sheriff’s office, was all too much for me to handle.
I went to therapy for years. I had an awesome therapist over in Newton, Ma. I called him, Dr. B. His office was close to where I worked, in Dedham. The sheriff’s office hooked me up with him and he was a great listener and helped me more than I could ever say. He was an intricate part of my life for seven long years. He helped me understand why I was depressed and anxious. Why I was compelled to repeat the same cycles over and over. Whether it be cleaning my home or finding myself in bad relationships. It was all connected. He gave me plenty of writing exercises, which I still use in my life today. Medications did help and I am glad that I found what worked best for me, my mind and my body. I have been off all prescribed medications for years now. I live a holistic lifestyle instead. I’m a huge fan of marijuana for anxiety and depression. Not medications such as Prozac, Klonopin, Valium etc. They may work for some people but not for me. Everyone and everybody is different and reacts differently to whatever you choose to put into your body. I hated the side-effects for sure.
My friends and family, including myself, have all made jokes and smart remarks about my (OCD). I’m fine with that. If you can’t laugh at yourself, what’s the point? Once I learned that one of my problems was (OCD) and how to deal with it, life became a lot easier. At least for me it did. Not so much for the people around me. (I giggle as I type this). I can be a bit of a pain in the ass. Neurotic and controlling, you might say. I could always tell when someone was screwing with me. You know, come to my home and move things and place things where they didn’t belong. It doesn’t take me long to notice when things are out-of-place. Pathetic, I know, but that’s why the call it (OCD). I cannot have a blind hanging crooked or uneven. All curtains must drape properly. Towels, all folded the same way. My cabinets must have items facing forward. Beds have to be made first thing and made the right way, with all throw pillows organized the way I like them. I wash my hands constantly. Anywhere from 50 to 100 times a day. Depending on what I’m doing. I have cut this amount down by wearing gloves when I’m cleaning, cooking, doing laundry, taking out the trash etc. My hands were raw and split so I needed to take precautions to protect my skin. Eucerin Intensive Repair lotion works wonders on my hands and feet. I do not touch door knobs or railings. I carry gloves and hand sanitizer in all my bags and even in A.J.’s (my man’s) glove box. My son now does the same thing.
When I was a bartender (which was off and on for many years), my regulars would get a kick out of turning my bottles (needed all labels and pourers facing the same way) or dropping napkins on the floor . They would take bets to see how long it would take before I noticed. It didn’t take long at all and we’d all get a good laugh out of it. I had to make the best out of situations that could cause me anxiety and drive me crazy. I was surrounded by good people who helped me laugh and shake things off.
However, (OCD) is no laughing matter and it can truly consume a person and their life. I have learned to cope with change and relax a lot more now, then I used to. Some would say I’m still neurotic but trust me when I tell you, I’ve come a long way, on letting things go. I’ve been able to leave my house with dishes in the sink, as long as they are rinsed off and things don’t always have to be in complete order. (If I’m in a hurry) If I’m home, I have to take care of things because I can’t relax unless I do. The fact that I suffer from chronic pain can at times make this difficult for me but that’s where I’ve learned to let things go. If I can’t move, then I can’t get to it. It’s just that simple!
Unfortunately, I passed this on to my son. He is more uptight about it and definitely has it more severe than I do. As he gets older and comes to terms with what life is like to live with (OCD), realizes that change is not always bad, that things don’t always have to go as planned, that things can be out-of-order and more importantly realize that no one is perfect, he will become more relaxed and comfortable in his own skin. Just as I have. It all comes with learning, age and experience.
I do get a kick out of seeing some of his habits because I do or did the exact same things. I have to cover my drinks, always! Even in my own home. If I rest my phone down on a table, I prefer to have a napkin or paper towel or face cloth underneath it. I like things to be organized and neat. If you saw the way my son keeps his place and how well he takes care of his personal belongings, you would be impressed. He was like this from a very young age. Always took care of his toys, video games, comic books, guitars, everything! I’m laughing right now, because I remember his first visit to our new apartment, here in Millville and he actually gave my coffee table, the finger test. Can you believe it? He took his fingers across the table to check for dust! At that moment, I felt, the poor kid! Look what I’ve done to him!
Even though he tells me he’s never getting married or having kids, I tell him, “You’ll make a great husband and father some day.” He’s loving, compassionate, helpful, honest and very respectable. He cleans, and does laundry better than most women do. We are working on his cooking skills. He’s very picky when it comes to food and he’s a creature of habit, just like his Momma. I maybe a little prejudice because he is my son, but you can ask anyone who knows him and they will say the same thing. “He’s a wonderful kid all around.”
The joy of my life, my son, Ricky.
I stopped taking all prescribed medications within six months of leaving the sheriff’s office. My doctor slowly weened me off of them. I learned how to deal with my depression and anxiety, through my writing and believing in myself. Knowing that I was not going crazy was a bonus! I was set in my ways and my way of doing things. I believe my son will one day be able to control his feelings as well. I stayed in therapy for a few more years and that helped me big time. Of course, I do love my Maryjane and prefer it, as I stated earlier, over prescribed medications. It has helped me cope and deal with life on a daily basis, much more easier. The side effects are not as concerning to me and I always feel good after a little puff-puff, especially when I’m feeling anxious and upset.
My controlling issues have also improved. I was always the one taking care of things and had things set up, the way I liked them to be… smooth sailing. That’s what I wanted and god forbid it didn’t go my way. If you didn’t do it my way, well forget it! There was hell to pay! I will admit, this control thing, I’m still working on. Even as a young child, from what I’ve been told, I was like this. I felt the need to control every thing and everyone. I didn’t like chaos. I liked every thing just so. Every thing in order. Every thing MY way. The little controlling, Mother Hen.
It all goes back to my (OCD). I’ve stated many times, I’m a work in progress. Trying to learn my way through life and do the best I can. Not only for myself but for my son and all my loved ones. Taking control of my emotions, realizing I don’t have to be perfect and that I don’t have to sweat the small stuff, makes for a happier ME!
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, and It’s All Small Stuff
Great book!! I suggest reading it my friends. LIVE WELL, EAT WELL, BE WELL