Almost a year ago, I started going back to therapy after ten years to learn how to manage my severe anxiety. The problem was getting so out of hand that I no longer felt I could do it on my own; this was one of the hardest conversations I've ever had with my mother because I was terrified of the stigma of seeking help for my mental health. But, as it turns out, it was one of the best decisions I've ever made--despite the negative opinions some people might still have.
During my sessions--which have become more and more spread out, as the months go on--it was suggested that, maybe, my anxiety was beginning to manifest itself as OCD. At first, I was shocked--and mostly in denial. I didn't keep my room spotless, germs didn't freak me out, and, although my notes for school are pretty well kept, I was sure I was far from being obsessive.
After talking to her more about what exactly OCD was and how it manifests, I realized maybe she was right. My dad was diagnosed with OCD, so I guess it wasn't such a far-fetched idea after all. Months have passed since that appointment, and I've had some time to think about it and figure out exactly how it affects me. This is a poem I wrote about my thoughts on the matter.
I tend to get
about things that matter
and things that don’t
like the fact that my notes are written
in a different shade of purple
from one page to the next
or the fact that my text has gone
unanswered in a group chat
because I’m always afraid that
people don’t really like me
as much as they say they do
because I don’t even know
if I like myself
as much as I say I do
But when I obsessively pine
over things that matter
and things that don’t I start
rubbing my eyes
and itching my wrists
because those things I’m obsessing over
have turned into tiny hands
inside of my eyelids
and I know how disgusting
and absolutely freaking psychotic this sounds
but I swear I can see them sometimes
little black lines in my vision
that I need to rub away
until my vision is cleared again
until the anxiety turns to the burning in my wrists
in those thin white lines on my skin
from a time when I was younger
and more impressionable
and more easily broken than I am now
And I would never turn to a blade
for comfort again
but my god, do these faint white lines itch
and I don’t know how to make them stop
because my mind is
and I’m still trying to figure out
exactly what that means
when my therapist tells me
my anxiety may have turned into OCD
or when my old psych professor
told me in class
that I have a panic disorder
and I mean he’s not wrong
but what does that mean?
Am I always going to be disordered?
Have I always been disordered?
And if I have always been disordered
who will I be when I’m not?