Washing My Hands

I know it all seems strange, but to me, this is my normal.

 

 

I know the title seems silly, but being silly is the most trivial thing to get caught up on. No, this isn’t some article written about the proper ways to wash hands (although I do feel some people need to really read up on it). This article is written to describe what living with multiple mental illnesses (including good ol’ OCD) is like on an average day.

I won’t reveal too much about what I deal with on a daily basis. I will admit I have bipolar disorder II, OCD and schizoaffective disorder.. I know it seems like a fuckton, and believe me it is, especially when all these things kind of collide into one another and make you feel like one big pile of empty shell. It’s hard to exist some days, and some days I feel like I’m on top of the world. It’s scary sometimes to be completely content and within minutes your entire mind switches into a high or a low (also known as a manic or depressive episode with bipolar). I wish I understood what was going on inside my head sometimes, but for right now, I’m just doing my best to exist.

I’m suicidal a lot of the time but I also have no real … desire to die, I suppose is the best way to put it. I really have no desire for anything most of the time and it really affects those closest to me. Sometimes I just want to be held and told everything is going to be alright and then others I don’t want to be touched. Back to the suicidal feelings; talking to a therapist and being put on all kinds of meds works for a little while, but the feelings never subside. They just kind of get buried in there with everything else I’ve been feeling for almost nineteen years until another depressive episode or panic attack hits. And they fucking hit hard.

A trip to the grocery store, being surround by puppies, watching Bob’s Burgers for the millionth time. It doesn’t matter where I’m at, what I’m doing or who I’m with. When an episode or panic attacks hits, it hits. There’s no stopping it. Unless I remember to ground myself, especially during a panic attack. Sometimes I forget.

It’s easier to just throw my headphones on and ignore the world. I put the music on full volume to drown out the outside sound, but also the sounds inside. Sometimes it’s just my name, other times it begs me to just kill myself. It tells me I deserve the bad. It tells me I deserve to be happy. It refuses to make up its mind. Well, they refuse. I hear more than one on a daily basis. Sometimes they’re really quiet and I barely notice them. Most of the time it’s like they’re shouting over one another like the women on Maury; like the little angel and little devil on my shoulder. Sometimes I hear different noises; frequencies that no one else seems to hear. Then I see him.

The black shadow man I’ve been seeing for years upon years. He never says anything; just lingers in the corner like he has nothing better to do. I move; he moves. I close my eyes and he’s still there. It’s like my shadow has detached itself and follows like a lost puppy. I know he’s harmless and I know it’s a he because it looks like a he. Very strong facial structures, even for a shadow man. It scared me at first, but ultimately I got used to it. No one seems to understand why I see him, other than my therapist and she’s said it’s the way my past has manifested itself and it’s like my protection. I’d have to agree in the acknowledgement that he’s not real. Or at least I say he’s not.

I wash my hands probably close to one hundred times a day. I can’t stop. When my hands get dry, oily, gritty, anything but soft from the warm water I bathe them in; I get angry. Sometimes aggressive and mean. It’s the most irritating thing in the world next to tapping of pens, bursting of gum bubbles and people who chose to eat with their mouths open (this seriously drives me nuts. Please don’t do this while I’m around). I get chuckles from coworkers and bosses because they don’t understand my need … my constant need to wash my hands. I don’t even understand it. I just know I need to, and when I need to, no one better stand in my way.

Have you ever felt so worried about everything but not actually give a shit about anything? That’s a lot of what I feel every day and it sucks. I become so numb to everyone and everything and the world around me turns into a blur and half the time I don’t even know who I fucking am. What’s the point of knowing who I am when I hate who I am anyways. I really don’t hate myself, but I tell myself I do because that’s what I hear being screamed at me by the little bastard devil on my right. I’m useless. So he says. It’s scary when they yell back and forth. I can hear their swords clash inside my head and the noise penetrates my entire body and I shiver.

The sound of anyone other than me brushing their teeth will give me goosebumps. I’m terrified of eyelashes and portabella mushrooms. I check behind every single shower curtain I come into contact with (EVERY. SINGLE. ONE). I have to wash out every cup, bowl, plate or mug I use before I can use it (but first I must blow into it to get rid of any debris that may reside there). I have to constantly check locks three times … exactly three times before I can go into work or go to bed and even then when it’s a car I’ll check twice … exactly twice with the key fob to make sure it’s really locked. I do the double take to make sure and then go on with my business like nothing happened. I only read paperback books; hard cover bother me and are hard to get into, plus they smell funny. I steal my mother’s shoes when I sleep. I constantly have to fix my sheets if they move a certain way or they’re uneven. I only like even numbers and will go to every extent to ensure it is an even number when faced with numbers. I take my medications in a certain order every single night and never change routine.

I know it all seems strange, but to me, this is my normal. This is the average day for me. I kind of feel bad for everyone who involves themselves with me because I feel like I’m just some kind of paranoid, depressive lunatic. I’m so blessed to have the support I do from my family, friends and other half. Without them, I don’t know where I’d be right now.

I guess the point of all of this is to show you that it’s okay to not fit what society deems normal. It’s totally fine to ask for help. It’s better you ask for help instead of suffering alone. I wish I would have. I started late and a lot of this could have been resolved years ago when it started making its presence apparent. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to feel suicidal. It’s okay to feel depressed, or anxious. You’re not alone.

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