17 May 2012

Mental Health and WebMD

[TW for some gross, discussion of mental health, violence, and ablism]

So, I've mentioned that I have depression, right?

I've long wondered if there's something else. I've always been...quirky? I don't if that's the right word.

I am extremely introverted and shy. I'm better than I used to be. My mom can testify. I, apparently, would hold my breath when strangers came up and touched my hair because I had golden ringlets, and then the second they turned around I'd scream at the top of my lungs like I was being shanked.

I've always picked at my skin and pulled out hair in specific areas. I shave specifically so I don't pull out that hair, because ingrown hairs can be painful. I pick at my skin because it just doesn't look like it's formed properly, and it bugs me, to the point that I will ignore pain to "fix it". I know this is completely illogical. Don't judge me.

I've always been one to mull things over for much longer than need be, much to the annoyance of some people. Like, my mom was frustrated that I'd wait two weeks or more to tell her that someone said something stupid at school. I waited years to tell anyone about being abused. Part of it is a trust issue, whether or not someone will use this information against me. Part of it is wondering how this information will affect the person I'm telling and the person's reaction. This is a problem when I get into arguments, because if I don't have time to mull things over to my brain's satisfaction, I end up saying really hurtful things because I want time to think things over and for the person to leave me alone to think, not because I actually want to hurt them.

I have "bizarre" rules for myself. At one point it was walking a specific path in the house before going to bed. I used to listen to music at night to give my brain something else to focus on, and it would generally be one song on repeat the whole night. This is apparently annoying to other people, so I try to not do it. I don't let my nails grow past a certain point (meaning I'll never get a mani-pedi, also because I hate having my feet touched). If I'm playing solitaire, I need to win at least three hands in a row. I don't know if that's me being competitive (my computer isn't a part of Skynet yet) or if that one is truly weird. I eat my food separate most of the time--I don't like food items touching, except in specific instances. Sandwiches are okay, as long as everything is in the right order. And there's this hummus shawarma thing that is delicious and I mix that one up. And I have to eat all of one dish before moving on to the next thing. I can't eat my mashed potatoes until I finish all my turkey. I'm also a classic fidgeter, but this seems more like it has to do with the engineering knack than anything else.

I have a thing with food textures. I cannot eat pudding because the texture is just wrong. I also can't eat apple pie, but apple sauce is OK. I have a thing with sounds...sometimes they're okay, other times I need complete silence. I have a thing with physical contact. Hair in my face is like a war crime. People touching me when I don't see them coming almost always leads to a panic attack.

Speaking of panic attacks, I have them and triggers that make me a useless pile of goo. I can be fine, and then suddenly I'm thinking about every single last thing that can go wrong. Generally if there's a trigger, it leads me into disturbing thought land, which I'll get to in a minute. But if it's just a run of the mill panic attack, I'll have a million thoughts go through my brain at once. It's an information overload, and most of that information is ways that things can go terribly wrong. And it doesn't stop. It just doesn't stop. The thoughts keep coming. The sense of impending doom surrounds me, drowning out all reason and reality. People who try and snap me out of it...well, it goes back to I can't process them because I'm processing doom and gloom, so I panic more because I'm unable to do anything right, which means I'm a bigger screw up, which means I'll fail more, which leads to me sounding like the entire planet is going to explode or something, and I'm the only one who knows and I have to convince everyone. To clarify, I don't hear voices. It's more like if you're trying to remember something and suddenly you remember everything, not just what you're looking for. Does that make sense, or did I just confuse you more?

And I didn't realize this, but most people apparently don't have dreams on a frequent basis where they're murdered in horrific fashions. For example, I don't think most people dream up the what if I died in a mass murder, what if I died because someone was tearing my limbs off, what if I died falling off a cliff, what if I was tortured to death by having bones broken...all in one night. Most people don't have dreams about their past abuse, and dreams of how it might happen again. Most people don't have these thoughts while awake either, which I do. It's like music in the background. Sometimes I can completely tune it out and appear to be a normal human being. Sometimes I start humming along to the melody, and sometimes I'm smothered in every minuscule detail.

So, this is where the internet comes in. I sometimes, for fun, put in all my symptoms into WebMD and see how many times I can get it to tell me to go to the hospital right this instant. After a conversation where a friend pointed out that my brain is "fucked up" (their words, not mine), I figured I'd take this guilty pleasure (which apparently is also a messed up guilty pleasure), and look at the mental health section.

I've had teachers in the past joke that I wouldn't be able to leave my house by the time I'm 20 because OCD will have consumed me, so while I was rifling through the more common mental health issues, I decided to look at the symptoms. I mean, if diabetes is so horribly represented in the media, then why not OCD?

Apparently, "People with OCD are plagued by recurring and distressing thoughts, fears, or images (obsessions) they cannot control. The anxiety (nervousness) produced by these thoughts leads to an urgent need to perform certain rituals or routines (compulsions). The compulsive rituals are performed in an attempt to prevent the obsessive thoughts or make them go away.
Although the ritual may temporarily alleviate anxiety, the person must perform the ritual again when the obsessive thoughts return." (Thank you WebMD).

Also, the anti-depressant I'm on also is used to help with OCD, which might explain why I'm not a total mess.

I don't know. I know it's not an official diagnosis, and I'm probably reading too much into all of this, but writing all this out, yeah...my brain is messed up. Writing all this out makes that very clear.

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