There’s a fine line between social distancing and social isolation. I am really struggling with not plunging myself into the social isolation side of that line. For as long as I can remember my biggest coping mechanism has been isolating myself. Healthy? No. Helpful? Also no. But it’s my go-to.
In 4 days I will be celebrating my four year wedding anniversary. Unfortunately I won’t be celebrating it with my husband. I have been dreading this day since the reality of his death and my situation became clearer in the days after he passed away. I knew that if I isolated myself on April 1st I would risk getting myself into a depression that would seem impossible to get out of. So I made a plan with friends to celebrate and go to all of mine and T’s favorite spots, eat great food, drink (likely one too many) great drinks, and end the night at the Clermont Lounge.
Then COVID-19 came along and completely decimated the plan and has now created the very likely scenario that I will, in fact, spend most of the day solo. I am dreading it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be That Guy who ignores the advice (or orders depending on where you are) to stay home. If the best way to move past this craziness is to stay home then I’ll do it. But I’m pissed.
Luckily I have the best family, friends, and blog readers to help me through it. Honestly this whole situation is following the theme of my life for the past year and a half (or so), which is you never know how quickly things will change. I’m prepared to spend my anniversary solo, or with 9 or less friends while we stay 6 feet away from each other. I have plenty of pickled jalapenos to eat out of the jar and enough Bud Light Lime to last me a few days (just kidding, kind of). I have animals to snuggle with and a blog I should really write more content for (accepting any and all suggestions btw). I’ve already made it 121 days so why stop now?
Spotify users! I just updated the playlist before posting this! Be sure to follow my obsessive-compulsive diaries playlist for some of my favorite groovy tunes. It is a delightfully random mix of new songs and old songs from a bunch of different genres. It’s a great playlist if you need a good dance party or if you need a cry. Or a crying quarantine dance party.
When I tell you that I have started the process of writing this blog post for months that is no exaggeration. I started one back in May by writing it down on paper but then I lost said paper and used that as an excuse to just give up. I didn’t want to give up on the blog, necessarily, but kept putting this intense pressure on myself to come up with a blog post that is helpful and not just me rambling to come up with content. I have had intense writer’s block for the better part of 2019. Actually, I’d describe it more like writer’s anxiety. I started this blog over a year ago (time flies when you’re constantly picking your fingers!) when I was officially diagnosed with OCD in August 2018 to raise awareness/laugh at my struggles but I had no idea that a few months later I would be struggling with such a deep depression that I would cry before I got out of bed every morning. I am not lying when I say my life has taken a complete 180 since August 2018. I was open about my struggles when I started treatment late last year. Once I left the program I decided to take a leap of faith and hit the reset button on life. I left my job and started working part-time, which turned into a full-time gig (which I could create an entirely new blog post on because I’ve never experienced things randomly work out so perfectly). I spent so much time thinking of all the things that could go wrong if I followed through with leaving my job that I didn’t consider the positives. My goal here isn’t to encourage people to make major life changes based on my experience. However, if I hadn’t pushed myself out of my comfort zone, I don’t know where I would be today. I don’t mean that in a bad way, I just don’t know if I would be in the positive, supportive place that I’m in now. I spent so much of my life (basically all of it seeing as how I’ve been checking for as long as I can remember) thinking that Anxious was a normal state of mind that it gives me anxiety to not have any anxiety (so much free time?? What do I do??). Sometimes it is worth taking the risk, no matter how scary and terrifying. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Don’t worry, friends. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder never leaves. It’s an unwelcome guest that has overstayed its welcome but can’t take a hint. Do I still check the door before I leave? Yes. Do I still make sure all electronics are unplugged before I walk out the door? Heck yeah. Do I still pick my fingers endlessly? ABSOLUTELY I DO. I am torn because I would rather my life not be a giant ball of anxiety but without the anxiety how would I have content for this blog..?
PS: Back in May, when I took pen to paper to physically write a post (that I never typed or published), I wrote something that simultaneously stuck with me and made me laugh at my lame humor: “Basically I am a Mean Girl to myself. I am both Cady and Regina (and also Karen).”
It has been 364 days since this post, which is mind blowing to me. If you’re reading this, please know that I am so incredibly grateful for your support.
For my first blog post of 2019, I want to take a quick second to thank you all for your support. This project I started back in August to document my success and struggles with OCD morphed into a way for me to see how depression, which is something I wasn’t really even aware I was struggling with, had pulled me down. Way down. When I create a picture in my head of where I was October through December of last year it looks exactly like the deepest, darkest parts of the ocean where the pressure is so intense that not much can survive aside from blobfish and the weird fish with the dangly light coming from their head (just did a quick Google search and discovered those are called angler fish and they truly are nightmare fuel, so proceed with caution…).
I have been in treatment (and recovery!) for depression for 43 days. There are still days where I struggle or don’t feel like myself but when I think back to where I was just a few months ago I can feel a difference.
There are two big things I have learned over the past 43 days. The first is how many ways my depression was manifesting but I failed to see it as a warning sign. For example, I stopped cleaning the house, doing laundry, and caring about how I looked. I stopped finishing projects that I started, no matter how small they were. And I also kept telling myself that I was fine when I knew that I really wasn’t. I didn’t ask for help because I still kept telling myself I could get better on my own. This entire experience has really helped me. I urge anyone who might find themselves in a similar situation to take the first step (which I know is scary but if you already Googled an angler fish you can handle almost anything) and ask for help. The second thing, which may help anyone struggling with reaching out, is that there are free support groups for those who feel overwhelmed by their emotions and don’t know what to do.
For anyone interested, I highly recommend Emotions Anonymous. It is a 12-step program based on the steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. For more information check out this link. To find an EA meeting near you, click here. You can also contact me if you have any questions about my experience with EA or the overall calamity I have experienced for the past 4 months. At this point, I am pretty much an open book.
Lastly, since this is technically a blog about OCD, I would like to report that I straightened my hair today for the first time in years. This is a pretty BFD (big forking deal) because the first thought that crept into my mind was that by straightening my hair instead of curling it something terrible was bound to happen. It could have been the lack of sleep that caused me not to care about the possibility of impending doom but I like to think it was because after 43 days I am finally feeling like myself.
Monday marked one month since losing my grandmother. Am I sad? Yes, but I am doing better than I expected. Those baby steps I wrote about before are starting to make a noticeable difference. The day she was buried there was a small rainbow that formed as my family and I were getting ready to leave. I saw an almost identical rainbow after I went to visit her on Saturday.
As you might already know from my previous post, the guilt I felt about not making that damn tomato soup haunted me. So on Friday I visited my amazingly talented tattoo artist, Josh, and got a permanent reminder of the good memories I have with my grandmother (and tomato soup). *a special shout out & thank you to Josh for waiting on me because I live in Atlanta so traffic is an unpredictable nightmare*
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving so I wanted to take a moment and say thank you to my family and friends, for their unconditional love and support, Taylor, for sticking with me during the lowest of lows I’ve hit, and last but certainly not least, you all for reading my blog and letting me know I’m not alone when it comes to my struggles. When I started this blog it was a way for me to share my experiences with OCD but it has evolved into me opening up about my anxiety and depression, which is not something I had ever really planned on doing. There have been many times in my life that I have felt like I was on an island when it came to mental health and starting this blog has shown me that even on my worst days I am not alone. I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving. Thank you for lovin’ me, thank you for bein’ there! Everyone’s thankin’! The whole world’s thankin’ you! Thankin’ us, for thankin’ you! What’s your Thanksgiving song?
Also, if you haven’t started following me on Instagram…