I've been considering sharing a little something about my involuntary and unproductive thought processes. It can be a scary thing to actually talk about mental health and what it looks like in your own life. But it can also be extremely useful and freeing. In a way, I have found that talking about my simply obsessional brain has taken some of it's power away. When it is no longer a "dirty little secret" that you never mention and try to conceal, then there is suddenly less shame attached. And if you can find a way to laugh at the things that cause you the greatest distress, you take back control. Sorry - got a little deep there.
So, not only do I worry but I pick the absolute worst thoughts/worries that cross my mind to concentrate all my energy on and obsess over. SUPER FUN, right?! Let's run through some of them.... shall we?
Good and Bad Numbers
I think out of all my little quirks this one effects me in my day to day the most. There are numbers that bring me calmness and numbers that cause my heart to beat out of my chest and make me dizzy. And before you go all, wow this bitch is crazy, let me explain!
There are good numbers that just *feel* right to me. I can’t explain why or how, it just is. 2, 6, 12, 20, 24, 26, 32, 36..... the list goes on. They are all even numbers. Numbers that are not to be trusted include.... well all odd numbers. Especially 1s and 3s *full body shiver* It drives Scott absolutely nuts. TV volumes, radio volumes, thermostats, lock combinations etc all need to be set to an acceptable number at all times. And I check. Everyday, multiple times. Especially when Scott has been left unsupervised with the remotes (he has no respect for my number system people!). And what happens if numbers in my life aren’t set just so? Well lucky for you, you’ll never have to find out. I do this to save lives! First it’s Scott’s truck radio set to 97.3 and volume at 11, and next there is nuclear war.
I guess this kind of goes hand in hand with numbers, but a little more logical.... well Scott says that’s a matter of opinion, but whatever. I like counting in twos for numerous things. When checking to see if the door is in fact locked when I leave for work - so the dog doesn’t get out, run away and get hit by a car. Then the kid in the backseat sees the whole thing and is so traumatized he loses all his humanity and becomes a serial killer all because I didn’t lock the door properly - I need to turn the handle six times. And if I wasn’t paying attention to my counting while I was checking, I need to start over and check 6 times again. It can turn into a bit of process when I’m running late for work. Or when you are at the grocery store and you want a box of crackers. You can never take the first package on the shelf. Are you NUTS? That is madness to take the first box. You must always take the 2nd or 4th. And what happens if there is only one box left? Well then no crackers for you!
False Memories and What Ifs
Everyone has thousands of thoughts that pass through their minds each day, whether your conscious of them or not. They are supposed to fly through in an orderly fashion and have no bearing on your life. The thoughts can be happy, sad, dark or even terrifying and heinous if examined. And unfortunately for me, I examine these thoughts whether I want to or not. Let me give you an example. You’re in a jam packed parking lot and some asshole cuts you off and takes your spot. You have the completely normal thought of, what a bitch! And maybe you even fantasize about someone keying her car while she shops. Then you move on, find another spot and go about your day. But I think *what a bitch* and instead of letting the thought slip away, I fixate on it. Going over it and over it until it becomes difficult to differentiate between reality and thoughts. *What if you screamed BITCH at her when she got out of her car*. Well I didn’t, it’s just a parking space. Who cares? *Ya but what if you did? I mean you were pretty angry when she cut you off. Maybe you even added a slur at the end*. No I didn’t. I don’t remember doing that, and I would NEVER say something like that. *Well it’s crossing your mind now. You’re a bad person. Why would you think it if you didn’t do it?*. STOP! *What if someone caught it on camera and put it on YouTube and now the whole world will know. It’ll be on the news, your parents will be so embarrassed, especially when you went and keyed her car afterwards*. I did not key her car! Please stop! *Nope, just getting started*. And this cycle will go on and on until I eventually become exhausted and have a panic attack. Fun, right? And after doing some research, I have come to know that these unhealthy thought patterns are actually quite common and usually go unreported by sufferers due to the shame associated with their thoughts. Because it can get a lot darker than yelling bitch in a crowded parking lot.
These are things I carry with me in my day to day. They are always there. Some days are quieter and calmer than others, some days all I want to do is sleep. But compulsions, obsessions and anxiety do not always look the same, and mental illness is so truly diverse. Everyone affected has a different experience.
Remember if you are having a rough day, week, month... Tell somebody! Let it out. Ask for help. Don't carry the load on your own. Regardless of the what ifs, there is always light and a way to move forward. Promise.