Lessons You Learn When You Have OCD

— or — “A Lesson in Self-Discipline, Age (Almost) 30”

It seems these days all I take pictures of and blog about is makeup, makeup, makeup, and thusly I’ve neglected this blog (once again, just like Puneet Sandhu *ahem* has neglected hers). I worry sometimes that people will think I’m airheaded, that I’ve lost my intellect, that maybe I made up the whole getting a college degree thing since, you know, I never once profited from it and worked as a secretary, which had its own form of mindlessness, for seven years. But I did — really — go to college and learn critical thinking skills and critiqued literature till I was cross-eyed and blue in the face. I still know big words like pandemonium (I love that word) and extraneous AND how to use them. Well, most of the time. I CAN SPELL THEM, AND THAT’S ALL THAT MATTERS. I have opinions on things going on in the world around me and would like to see my life shaped into something spectacular and meaningful, alongside Husband and kitty.

But I digress.

We all read that uncomfortable post I wrote awhile back about having OCD (and if we didn’t, then we can access it here). Perhaps only uncomfortable to me and my parents, but something that felt vulnerable, and if there’s one thing I really hate to feel, it’s vulnerability. But luckily I am not a famous person, and I am never met with harsh words from strangers EXCEPT on XBox Live, which, I know right? Weird. Anyhow, since then I’ve been working through my stuff. Stuff like inability to keep a clean home, inability to sleep (we’re still working on that, as was made apparent after last night’s hour and a half of sleep, which took place somewhere between about 1:00 am and 2:30 am), inability to act like a normal person sometimes. Because sometimes I feel terrible inside. Not depressed (I think we successfully got rid of that, thank you 10,000 iu of Vitamin D), but wound up, finding difficulty in breathing, not wanting to express myself and unsure if I can even if I tried.

But through all of that, we hit some high points. Most recently: the dishes. I can spout off a few reasons why the dishes plagued me, and plagued me bad, man — I don’t like getting dirty, I don’t like germs, I don’t like getting wet, etc. I would let them go for a couple meals and then suddenly the manageable plates and smattering of silverware became a mountain, and don’t even get me started when I had the irresistible urge to bake something. Dishes for days. Dishes  for weeks. Dishes for what seemed like an eternity, till I honestly considered throwing them away and purchasing new because that felt easier to deal with. Husband said it was unreasonable, coached me through it, encouraged me whenever I emptied the dishwasher and put plates in it.

And you know what? I felt like a damn baby. Because what 29-year-old needs her husband to turn dishes into some sort of game in order for her to complete them? Or push her till there’s an outburst and a vindictive, “Oh I’ll show you, Mister” reaction, till not only the dishes were clean but the countertops and probably one bathroom to boot. Also, organized papers. It was humiliating and demeaning, and although Husband never once put that on me, I felt as though it was there. And some fears rose, like, “What if he wakes up one day and realizes this is a total joke and leaves me for a woman who can function like a normal grown-up?”

He stuck with me. He stuck with me through the dirty dishes and unmade bed and unvacuumed cat fur and anxiety and here he sits behind me, playing a video game while I start a load of laundry and blog, till he finishes his mission and we play a round of cards. Do I deserve a man who puts up with all this? I’m not sure. I’m not sure I’ll ever be certain of that. He even took me out on a date after I essentially threw a temper tantrum from a combination of being hangry (def: hungry and angry, especially when the anger is induced by the hunger) and frenetic from missing a couple dosages of medication (which, by the way, I think I’ll be stuck on forever because the side effects of “weaning” off it are wretchedly wretched and not entirely worth it).

So I made a decision, a couple weeks back (and we’re not going to call these decisions resolutions because if anything, a New Year’s resolution kills my resolve) to be better. To try harder. To do the damn dishes every damn day because they’re not hard, they don’t kill me, and at the end, I feel better. I like how clean my counters are. I like that I can make anything and have clean dishes in which to do it (not that I would actually do that because duh it would create dirty dishes). And you know what? I’ve made it. I’ve done the dishes for the space of an entire week now, and, really dry hands aside (and I use gloves … I mean, what kind of weather is this that my hands get chapped and dry EVEN WHEN I WEAR GLOVES), things have been great. I’m considering adding regular laundry washings to the mix to see how that suits me.

I’m hoping it suits me great. I’m hoping that one day, I’ll scroll through my blog and find this post and think, “Oh … I vaguely remember feeling that way” because I’m not forgetting breathe and I’m regularly productive and I do regular chores on a daily basis because that’s just how my life is, and it’s fine. I want a fine life.

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Wrecked.

Tonight marks a perfectly fine evening turned disappointment personified because the following conversation (more or less) occurred between Husband and me:

Me: “I woke up with Wrecking Ball looping through my head this morning. I don’t even know why.”

Husband: “I don’t know that song.”

Me: “I’m quite sure you do. It’s really overplayed on the radio.” *sings a few bars*

Husband: “Nope. I don’t listen to the radio anymore.”

Me: *blinks*

For those of you new to the show, may I remind you that Husband has intentionally gone out of his way to purchase Ke$ha and Selena Gomez mp3s, while I opt for stuff from Fitz & the Tantrums or Imagine Dragons. (There’s some silver lining in this because the last Amazon haul resulted in Husband discovering that he quite likes all the songs I chose because they’re superior is why, so not all is lost. And he hasn’t gone totally off his rocker, purchasing entire Ke$ha albums or anything wretched like that.)

Photo courtesy of mirror.co.uk

Photo courtesy of mirror.co.uk

But. Not only am I becoming increasingly familiar with the lyrics, I’m actually totally enjoying it. Never mind that I’ve disliked Miley Cyrus since the inception of “Hannah Montana.” Never mind that I’ve chosen to opt out of the VMAs videos that went viral on principle alone. Never mind that I’ve avoided the music video and all the spoofs with Nic Cage’s head. Never mind that she’s a really average pop singer. It’s just a catchy song, you guys, and I think deep down you know this.

This is probably the point at which you expect a photo of Miley Cyrus, in all her naked glory, atop a wrecking ball. Or Nicolas Cage, in all Miley Cyrus’s naked glory atop a wrecking ball. But I’ve got principles, and you know it, and I’m completely unwilling to degrade my blog with either. You’re welcome.

This has made me do a lot of thinking (you know, for the past few hours … whatever, I’m feeling introspective), and I’ve decided that a True Music Snob, like unto myself, is such only when deciding to hell with it, I’m going to like even the most sold out, corporate crap if I want to. I know there are starving musicians in the Pacific NW who have to hold day jobs who hold more talent than Cyrus ever will for the duration of her really bizarre, mostly sad life. I know there are easily a dozen female singers I can name off the top of my head who are and will forever be better singers. I know the whole “I wanted you to let me in, I should have let you in” bit really doesn’t make any sense (although to play devil’s advocate here, let’s go ahead and take a minute to think upon the lyrics of “Louie Louie” by the Kingsmen).

Should you be curious, the song did, in fact, loop through my head all day long and continues to plague me even as I sit here in bed, waiting for my sleeping pill to kick in (on a totally unrelated note, there’s something really discomforting about having to take four medications for one anxiety disorder, and when I say sleeping pill, I really mean “anti-depressant that makes people so damn tired, they decided to give it to insomniacs, but I’ve got the added bonus of more seratonin, which my dumb brain apparently cannot produce on its own no matter what.”) There’s something kind of meta about the song being a wrecking ball in my day, when you think about it.

When Weekends Turn Stupid

In my defense of appearing to blog twice in one day, I believe I published my last post around 12:03 AM, which for all intents and purposes should totally be considered yesterday. Because seriously, guys, it practically is.

Anyhow, as I inferred, the weekend was somewhat stupid. I say only somewhat because there were some really rad points, namely that I was cast as Aida in a community theater production of “Aida,” which was a huge deal because prior to this, I’d only ever done ensemble roles. Yes, I’m Asian. I live in Utah — concessions have to be made. Besides, colorblind casting is all the rage these days (I don’t know if this is actually true, but if it’s not, it should be). And so, beginning on the 11th, I’ll channel my inner-Heather Headley and also my inner-Rainman because seriously, you guys, I am so bad at memorization it’s not even funny.

So that was great news. Actually, it’s been one of the best things ever to happen to me, right up there with being adopted, getting married, discovering bulk bacon at Costco, and winning first place in two divisions at a vocal competition here. There are other good things that have happened in my life, by the way. It’s not like six is my total. That would be super depressing.

But then.

As we may recall, I have kind of a lousy body that breaks from time to time. This has proven to be relatively exciting — all the things we discover. But it’s also lame sometimes, like this past weekend when:

  • My body decided to reject some of my vital organs, leading to pain kind of around my chest down to my feet, further leading to an inability to stand up straight
  • This pain ALSO led to my torn, old person hip pain to become inflamed in a way I’d forgotten
  • I had the type of allergies that, despite taking a 24-hour Zyrtec, resulted in a very drippy nose and very itchy eyes for several hours
  • My neurological system was attacked by the side effects of weaning off one medication for another, and I was dizzy and nauseated
  • And just because, I overdid the summer sandal exfoliation on my feet and now my left heel is raw and difficult to walk on

All these things happened at the same time! On the same day! And we leapt and pranced and rejoiced for the hour of fun was at hand.

Except not really. I actually laid around on the couch and then in the bed, and I made Husband take the cat out to the living room and close the door because I just didn’t want to be around her. I mean, I love her, but she’s kind of a solid cat (this is not me calling her fat — she’s definitely not. Perhaps she has dense bones.), and when she sits on me, it’s a little bit like being weighted down by, say, a piano.

And then I woke up at 4:15 this morning to continue my celebration. [As an aside, it’s remarkable how long it takes society to get up out of bed and on Facebook chat.]

The Funny Thing about Insomnia

Nothing.

There is nothing funny about insomnia.

I’ve been going through another bout, not because of the cat for those of you who are quick to blame my little princess fluffybutt marshmallow baby. If anything, I am bothering her while she attempts to slumber at the foot of our bed because I’m unwilling to suffer alone and trying to wake Husband is a less viable option. As of late the pattern has been: fall asleep, wake up at an ungodly hour, spend several hours attempting to fall back asleep, miss work alarm, awaken in a panic, go through my day, repeat, repeat, repeat.

The problem with things like insomnia and seizure disorders and panic attacks is that people don’t want to hear about them. They’re not really considered actual “sickness” like head colds or the flu — and they make people more uncomfortable to boot. Talking about phlegm? Fine. Anxiety? Let’s not and say we did.

So I’m taking a stand. For whatever reason, I cannot sleep these days, and it’s making me sick. And not in the blow my nose, suck on cough drops all day long sort of way. In the I’m unable to stand up long enough to make dinner sort of way. That’s a real thing. So maybe I’ll take a sit.

Yes.

Let’s all take a sit at 2:30 am tomorrow morning, in defense of the sickies who others don’t believe are actually sick.

The Problem with the Nocturnal

— or – “I’m Never Sleeping Again”
— or – “A Streetcar Named Kitty”

I’m a cat person and that sort of has a dual meaning. Oh sure, I prefer them over dogs with their independent natures and odd love for boxes and purrs and loves. Also the fact that they don’t smell like, you know, dogs.

I’m also kind of part cat. I know how that sounds – like I am crazy. But we knew I was crazy already, so stay with me. I have an independent nature although I insist upon love and attention on my terms, plus I despise getting wet. Plus I have a princess complex. Y’all should just love me, is all I’m saying.

Image courtesy of society6.com

Image courtesy of society6.com

So on Friday afternoon when our landlord told us all we needed to do to get a cat was to re-up our lease this August, I said done deal and headed to the Utah Pet Adoption Clinic the following morning with a somewhat disgruntled and disbelieving, dog loving Husband.

We’ll have him converted by the end of this story, don’t worry.

And then we met Stella. As it turns out, and I know, I know, all parents say this about their kids, but I’m right in this particular instance, Stella is perfect. She’s neither skittish nor too much a diva, she loves being scratched on the belly and licks instead of nips, and she purrs 24/7 like she entered herself into a competition against cars without engine mufflers without telling us. She loves strangers and being held like a baby and apparently eats whatever brand of cat food you place in front of her, although there have been some dire consequences and assaults against our olfactory senses because of that.

We’re learning.

Husband chose this food dish. True story.

Husband chose this food dish. True story.

But Stella is also all cat when it comes to her nocturnal nature.

At 2:30 am:

Husband: “Did you hear her trying to wake you up?”

Me: “Um, yeah she was climbing all over me.”

Husband, groggily: “It was cute.”

Me: “. . .”

If she weren't so cute, I'd bug her like she bugs me.

If she weren’t so cute, I’d bug her like she bugs me.

There are things that Stella does that are, in fact, very cute, like the way she holds her catnip mouse with her front paws and then bats at it with her back paws like it’s a soft, handheld treadmill. Or her purr-meow in response to nearly anything. Or the way she will flop over on her side whenever the mood to be scratched hits her. Or her reaction to a laser pointer. She’s going to kill that thing any day now, I’m sure.

She'll sit in her perch so long as you put her in it.

She’ll sit in her perch so long as you put her in it.

Walking on my chest and sticking her potential WMD butt in my face while I’m trying to sleep on a work night does not really fall into that category. It’s more akin to “I have massive heartburn because I ate a bean and cheese quesadilla at 9:15 pm on a Sunday while playing Black Ops.”

We still love her, of course. I wasn’t born with the mommy gene but I was born with the kitty mommy gene, and I suppose there’s vindication for all my child-bearing friends who have lost sleep for the past several years because of their human progeny. And at some point I might even learn how to sleep through her nighttime scavenger hunts through our pillows.

I might.

Psychological Aversions and Duck Lips

About once a month, I suffer what I like to call a psychological aversion to sleep. And by “I”, I really mean a former therapist who put those words together and made my plight sound medical or scientific and a little legitimate. Like, “hey I’m actually going through a thing right now and my brain is more or less ruining my life and it affects me on a really deep level, man.” Sounds cooler than insomnia.

No offense if you suffer from insomnia. I’m sure your thing is just as deep as my thing.

I can’t really say from where it stems every time it pops up in my life; or I could if I were willing to actually sit down and think about it, but crummy situations are way more fun if you just suffer through them instead of finding the root cause and fixing the broken. I’d say most of it is my fun brain, my bum hip, my currently bum toe (UPDATE: it isn’t broken. Just jammed, which they say is a lot better, but “they’re” not walking around in the dead of winter, wearing nothing but Chinese ballet flats because socks/hosiery/other shoes make it worse.), or the fact that every once in awhile, Husband snores in a way I’ve only heard from my late grandfather, who could have probably warded off coyotes, bears, or any other manner of predatory animal with his sleeping patterns.

I just tried to take a discreet photo of Husband but the flash went off and now he’s not happy, what with it being almost 2:00 am.

But back to my aversion. It’s not simply a matter of not being able to sleep or turn off my brain or a desire to be productive (I assure you, nothing is ever the product of my wanting to be productive) — I don’t want to get into bed, I don’t want to close my eyes, I don’t want to stop challenging strangers at SongPop, and I most certainly don’t want to do anything that is even remotely like sleep.

Which is really weird, when you think about it, because the only thing I like as much as food Husband is sleep. Usually anyhow.

So things get kind of bizarre. I watch paid programming. I look random things up on the internet that are neither important nor interesting to me. Sometimes I have a tendency to purchase things off Amazon. Tonight, this happened:

20130124-020242.jpg

First of all, the beanie is actually in place of my now totally defunct headband that deftly kept my mane-like locks out of my face as I got ready for bed. And then I just didn’t really take it off. I painted my fingernails tonight (sometimes the fumes make me tired, sometimes they make me want to become a nail artist). I played as many SongPop games as I was allowed and opponents were awake (thanks a lot, Jonathan, for ditching me when things were getting good), but of course I didn’t want to wake Husband, so headphones were necessary. Under the beanie.

And then — and clearly this is the most tragic — I took a photo of it and posted it on the Internet. Twice. You reach a real low point, people, when you’re nearly 29 and you’re posting bathroom selfies online at 2:00 am.

But in my defense … at least there aren’t any duck lips. Doesn’t mean I didn’t consider them. But I abstained just for you.