I have to remind this to myself everyday, to not forget, this feelings that follows me everywhere I go it’s not everything I am.
I’m here today to talk about my story dealing with OCD, GAD and social anxiety, or at most what I can recall. Bad short memory, ya know… Anxi problems. Hope you find something here that make you feel less alone. I’m not a role model, nor I have known recovery yet but I’m trying and I think that’s important too.
This story start in a very normal way, for me, things just got worst when I got older, at the beggining were just small things but when time passed I met hell, went in and out, I still do.
Since I was a kid I always felt different, I had just one friend, she was my best friend at the moment, I was about 5 years old, we were pretty close so we spent together a lot of time. She was a child with a lot character while I was quiet and introverted, she was not violent tho, but you had not mess with her because she would have kicked your ass if you would have gave her a reason, so nobody never messed with me for association, that’s kind of how it rolled.
But I was kid, I didn’t know being the way I am was something people would no see it as the ideal model. Then I got distant with her, nothing really bad happened, I made a new friend, other girl, same thing… she is a sagittarious, very protective friend, nobody messed with me… you can see the pattern right? We sticked together until I have 14 years old, we had a group of friends tho but I was more closer to her than the other girls, with time I got closer with the other three of them, my social anxiety was low to the point I didn’t perceive it so I wasn’t really struggling but I don’t know exactly to this day the reason why I feel so lonely and misunderstood, I had a bunch of friends at that time, in different grades even, I had other best friend who lived in the lower apartment, I hung out with all of this girls and I was quite happy, but I felt lonely and I didn’t fit in entirely, my friends were living love for the first time, they wanted to be girly and go to parties, shit like that I never wanted to do, no even now. Very cliché to be honest lmao, but what to do? It is what it is.
My self esteem as you may understand wasn’t too high, I wasn’t comfortable with myself but I wasn’t aware that was the feeling I was feeling.
This is the real shit about my life, still and back then.
My dad is a very close minded person, racist, homophobic, that sort of stuff, he isn’t a bad person tho, but I’ve always been this persona who isn’t agree any type of hatred and gets really overwhelmed, mad, anxious and sad when someone who I care says, for example, racist comments; when I was younger I didn’t understand racism but I grew up inside of that culture so I learnt to be that way, then when I was hitting 14 years old and my best friend changed schools I started to learn a lot about social issues thanks to the internet and showing my early OCD symptons, I was getting obsessions in order to cope with my lost, so I avoided certain things obsessing over tv shows and anime, and my tricotilomania got worse, I was meeting my coping mechanism of today basically.
My psychiatrist once told me “An anxious kid is made when they have a controlling parent or a messy one”
My dad is the controlling one, he always wants me to do what he want in the way that he wants.
My mother… oh lord, my mother.
She is the main reason I developed GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder), this is not her fault but it kind of it is at the same time, I know that doesn’t make any sense but understanding she suffers from bipolar disorder it does isn’t? Her mood swings weren’t as obvious when I was a child but her mania hell it was, she used to hit me way too hard when I did something wrong, sometimes she did it when I was doing just kid things, like playing with her make up or jumping over the bed. Of course she have her other side, when she becomes a wonderful mother but the bad side, jeez, she fucked me up. She still does.
Well… Nonetheless I managed to make new friends, I even had a new group to hung out, these people were amazing, they were nerdy as me, had a sarcastic sense of humour, were open about sexuality and made me feel comfortable in my own skin. I was finding myself. Slowly I builded a self esteem and I accepted myself as a beautiful person at least on the outside. I was 15 years old. That summer is the best summer of my life until now.
Then I changed schools. I passed from an only girls school to a mixed one, I was put in a classroom full of people who knew each other for years, luckily with a few other who were new too but with low probabilities to enter to their tight group. That year my dad found out my best friend was bisexual, she was the person I’ve ever connected the most besides my cousin, and she forced me to stop being friends with her. My life was destroy, you know… for me to feel a connection with another human being is the most hard shit ever, I feel distant from people 99% of the time. On top of that, my group from my old school abandoned me, and I builded a wall between me and the world.
Social anxiety when from 2% to be 100%, it took over my life.
I was scared everyday, when I was getting ready to go to school, when I was getting in the car to go there, while entering in the building, walking through the hall, saying hello to the couple of people I knew. Homework. Talking. Being. Breathing was horrible. I made rituals, wearing a sweather to protect myself, avoiding going outside of my classroom in break time, always being at the entry by the time when people were allow to get inside, no a minute more, no a minute less, something bad will happen if I was there in the wrong time.
I met my actual best friends in there. They were new too and they were being rejected for our classmates as well, yes, they bullied us but it was a silent bullying, they laughed behind our backs and didn’t allow us to be part of their environment, basically they isolated us. I wasn’t as affect by it to be honest, no yet. One of my best friends, she suffers from GAD too, so we got closer and closer, made inside jokes and found a safe place to talk about our issues. Sexuality, mental health, experiences, etc. But, I got worse. One day we went to our PE class and I had an accident, I was sweating like crazy and I don’t know why but my smell, damn, it wasn’t the best… if you know what I mean. That day my classmates started to make jokes and embarresed me, made me feel so anxious and bad I had a panick attack. Something inside just broke.
Olfactory Reference Syndrome (ORS), also known as Autodysomophobia and Bromosis, is characterized by excessive, irrational fear that one is emitting a foul or unpleasant odor. The obsession may be an exaggerated, disproportionate concern with a natural body smell, or mayinvolve an entirely imagined odor. ORS goes beyond normal concern with one’s hygiene, and may significantly impair academic and professional functioning, as well as interpersonal relationships. In extreme cases, individuals with Olfactory Reference Syndrome may quit work and avoid social situations in an effort to avert the embarrassment they imagine they will experience when others detect the alleged odor. As demonstrated above, Olfactory Reference Syndrome has obsessive-compulsive features that are quite similar to both OCD and BDD. In fact, ORS is considered by many to be a sub-type of OCD or BDD.
My OCD was yelling. Literally, read the above. I developed ORS and had it for about 2 years, I created more rituals in order to feel better. Bath myself 2 times per day, I used every deodorant brand out there without any success, I was having auditory hallucinations, literally I believed I could hear people’s thoughts in my head, like I had super powers or something. Always paranoid that people were talking about how I smelled. I was disgust by physical contact and I kind of still am today, but no for the same reasons anyway, I even tried a clinical deodorant that I supossed to use just one time per week, but I used it everyday until it burned me. It was that bad.
My GAD got worse too, I couldn’t sleep well, my appetite wasn’t regular and I cried almost every night, screaming for help, trying to make my parents see how much I was hurting, but they ignore me of course, they are ignorant like that. It wasn’t until I was really physically hurting myself for the clinical deodorant and like having regular panick attacks they didn’t took me to a psychologist.
So, I got an appointment, just went once to be told it wasn’t that bad, I just needed to stop thinking that way and magically it will stop and I’ll see the treasure at the end of the rainbow. Fuck that bitch, I’ll hate her forever. Sorry for my bad language but… jeez if you got a degree it must be for a reason or not? I told her I was paranoid, I told her I was drowning inside my brain, how much clear do you want it to be? I kept my rituals and my brave 17 years old self managed to finish high school, I don’t know how I did it to be honest, she, I, was brave, I’m not embarrased to say it, actually I’m proud I made it. When school was over my ORS slowly disappeared.
I was accepted in University after that, I picked civil engineering as my career choice. I don’t know how I’m still alive. The first day I had a panick attack, I was desparate for a way out and I felt suicidal at that time, the presure you are put in this type of career is insane, adding I was in a new environment and I didn’t know anyone, again, it was horribe. Fuck, I don’t know how I do what I do but I do it okay? It just happens, I met people, I kinda like them, I kinda hate them. I had a group but I was a mess, a zombie, I stared to dissociated a lot, a ghost walking through the University Hall. I failed almost all my courses that semester. By the end of it or I killed myself or changed my degree field. I did the last one. But I was so bad, so close to my edge my parents realized I needed help, real help. So my best friend gave me the name of her psychologist and I started to do therapy. It help me a little, it relaxed my soul a bit and the presure from my new career wasn’t as bad as before. So I made it again. Met more people, make more friends, nerdy ones, good ones… people who I am friends ’til today, but you know… I don’t know if anything that happened me before this fucked me up or something, but I have trust issues and I always feel like I do socialization wrong, I never hang out with this people outside of the University and I can’t, I can’t, really I can’t, no matter how much I try, my anxiety is too much to bare.
Telephone phobia (telephonophobia, telephobia, phone phobia) is reluctance or fear of making or taking phone calls, literally, “fear of telephones”.
For me to keep in touch with people is really hard, I have severe phone phobia, that includes messages, texting and phone calls. I haven’t turn on my phone in 2 months. It’s quite uncommon, since usually for people with social anxiety phone calls are the end of the phobia itself but for me it goes beyond.
I stopped to see her because she left the country, at first she tried to set me up with another psychologist but I was hurt and she wasn’t really prepare for someone with my disorder, so the help that she provided wasn’t really enough. I was disappoined and angry.
Next semester my “friends” started to notice I was kinda different, didn’t react as other people with so many things, social topics, physical contact, the way I see the world, my lack of interest in human prolonged interactions and romantic relationships. Because you see… I don’t care about sex, alcohol, party or any of what caracterize people in our age, so they always were and still are asking why I don’t hang out with them outside Uni, and I’m too tired at this point to make good excuses so I just deal with it. But it makes me suffer lowkey because I wish I wasn’t so difficult to be around.
Other accident happened no that long ago, I tried to have a ‘boyfriend’, as humans we all try to fit in our societies, big mistake, stupid decision. I didn’t really like in that way the guy involved. I know now I have to accept who I am and the fact that no everybody is gonna like it, but at that moment, oh lord, I had a really bad panick attack which had echos for the three following weeks. Really bad shit. I contacted myself out of despair a psychiatrist from a clinic I knew. Made an emergency appoinment, when she listened all my story, what happened, how I was feeling she put me in medication and to be honest she saved my life because I was getting suicidal again and I was really considering to do something about it. She put me in antidepressants and anxiolytics, which I’m still taking, usually for OCD treatments with medication are long.
I explained the guy what was happening to me, he’s a good guy you know… he wasn’t mad at me, I’m thankful for that.
Fast foward to August 2016 I traveled to see my sister, she live in Europe, and when I came back I got really depressed, well I’m depressed and my OCD is pushing me to isolation and agoraphobia. If you want to know more about this read my previous post.
So I’m in middle of my fears right now, I don’t know how to deal with my reality and even tho I’m trying to get better it’s hard for me to not avoid situations. Life is going too fast, and my mom illness plus my country situations just make me want to stay in home and avoid going outside. I’m hoping after this new semester I can move to Europe and find a way to work there. Because it’s funny but when I’m living out of Venezuela, things doesn’t get so under my skin, I feel more functional and my anxiety is less debilitating, that’s the hope I’m holding for now.
I know this is no the heroic end you were expecting, but I’m still fighting and I know is not gonna be easy, so my advice for you is keep trying, don’t give up. Life happens yes, but we can choose what to do about it. Right now I’m not the best me, but I won’t give up, I’ll find a way, I’ll hold to my goals and try to do what is best for me.
Stay safe. Always take care of yourselves. Don’t think you have to do something or be something for anyone else but yourself. Do what makes you happy. And let’s helps each other to stop remind us ‘we feel bad’, let’s change it for ‘we haven’t finish yet’.
For the one who likes kpop like me, here you have a song about mental health from a beautiful person who was brave enough to talk about a topic, in a country, where is still tabu: song. And I highly recommend to watch this movie: here