Clarity in Planting Trees

  • Dec. 30, 2018, 6:42 a.m.
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I’m taking medicines I’ve never taken before. Fluoxetine and Lamotrigine. I was referred to a therapist and psychiatrist over concerns that I may be bipolar, although that doesn’t seem to be the case. I’ve been diagnosed with OCD… or I’m being treated for it. I haven’t asked what exactly has gone down in my file, but I intend to, because I’m curious if they have me listed as anything else, too. We’ve mentioned ADD and one of my medications is most commonly used to treat Bipolar disorder, although it is “uncommonly” used to treat OCD in “treatment-resistant” patients. I was taken off paroxetine, though, so that may put me in the treatment-resistant category.

Anyway, as of last Tuesday, I’ve gone up to my full dosage of Lamotrigine (from half dose) and last night I went up to the full dose of Fluoxetine. I am stunned at the difference already.

Everything is so, so quiet. I feel like I’m actually experiencing the present instead of treating it like it is trying to distract me from my myriad thoughts. Instead of a million things racing through my mind at once, occupying most of my conscious attention span, there’s hardly any at all. When there is a train of thought going, I’m focused on it instead of multitasking.

Granted, I’ve said some stupid shit since the Lamotrigine started. For example, a woman at a small section of ribbons asked me if we carried more ribbons elsewhere in the store (I work retail at the moment) and I took her to our biggest selection, telling her we had a lot of holiday themed ones as well in a different area. She said that it was fine, that she was making a mourning or grieving bouquet, I forget which, for a funeral, to which I replied, with the most un-empathetic and unintelligent cadence to my voice, “so… probably not the Christmas ones, then…”

I have no idea why that came out of my mouth, but she handled it well, saying she’d actually considered doing a Christmas one, but that “he wasn’t much of a Christmas person in life.”

Anyway, today was my first day at a full dose of both medicines, and let me tell you, at no point have I felt like a zombie… but I did feel strangely doped up. Since the start, I’ve compared the Lamotrigine to taking a Hydro, but less powerful. It’d be like taking a fourth of a pill for the relaxation. My chest felt oddly relaxed and my head felt something similar to when I’ve taken Hydrocodone. I’ve been oddly unaware of my feet and legs (which sounds extreme) but not in a numb way, only in that I feel less focused on how I’m walking and the impact of my steps.

But I did feel genuinely good. Even when my temper was set off, it wasn’t to the point of black candles and brutal ritualized murder. I was just… mad. No repeating images of placing a person’s head on the curb and dropping the heaviest of industrial pallets on it until it bursts. No repeating images of cramming peoples’ faces into blenders, grinding down to the skull and making a beautiful smoothie of blood and cartilage. No obsessive urges to beat my own head against the wall until I’m no longer aware of the blunt force trauma or tormenting murder thoughts because I’m a vegetable. No thoughts at all, other than that I’m angry and the situation shouldn’t have existed in the first place.

That, by the way, is one example of many, many things I didn’t realize was obsessive-compulsive. Intrusive, repeating, unwanted thoughts and images in your head that you can’t do anything about would be the obsession in this case, and my compulsion has always been to want to beat my head against a wall or use the part of my hand where it meets the wrist to beat my forehead to feel the blunt force. Thankfully, I don’t do it. I’m not out of control. The want is very real, though.

So many of my thoughts, habits, past experiences, and daily rituals fall under OCD and I am irrationally angry that I’ve never even considered it. It’s always the one thing you don’t think is wrong with you, right? I knew there were more types of OCD than, say, the kind where you need to wash your hands forty-eight times. I just didn’t know how the other kinds worked. Or, I did, I just didn’t realize it was what I was doing.

By the way, since being asked if I count things by the psychiatrist, I have realized that I’ve been unconsciously counting how many times I shake my hands off after washing them for longer than I can remember. I shake them off twelve times (three measures of four, if speaking musically) unless someone is near me or looking, in which case, I feel pressured and can pry myself away at ten. Ten is, for some reason, the minimum. It’s like a magnet is holding me there making me finish the pattern before I can move on to the paper towels/air machine.

I also freak the fuck out over my clothes. I realized just HOW many times I check and recheck how my clothing is situated before leaving the restroom is not normal at ALL. I know my fly isn’t down. I know I didn’t forget to button my pants. I know I didn’t tuck the back of my shirt into my underwear somehow. I know I didn’t somehow get anything on my hands when I wiped. I know I didn’t somehow poop in my pants instead of the toilet. I have to go back and check everything anyway, turning in the mirror, looking over my hands and fingernails over and over to makes DAMN SURE I didn’t somehow fuck up the basic function of going to the restroom. It is goddamned awful. It’s the same feeling you might have in a dream where you show up to work and suddenly you’re naked, only I feel like it’s legit going to happen to me if I open that bathroom door and haven’t checked ONE MORE TIME to make sure everything is in order. Rinse and repeat a handful of times before I finally exit. It infuriates me now that I know it’s an obsessive-compulsive tendency.

Shirts that don’t fit right on me also wig me out so bad that it’s all I can think about until I can get them off. I almost had a meltdown when I got hired at my current job because they asked me if I would need a small or a medium vest and, panicking because I have no idea without trying them on, I chose medium and it felt like a tent on me. I didn’t feel able to swap it out until the next day because ‘I had no cue in conversation to play off of, such as being asked if the vest was too large by somebody with the power to swap it out.’ I legitimately wanted to kill everyone in the room in a frenzy over it. Downright goddamn death.

That seems to be a theme with my compulsions. It’s kind of scary.

Oh! Here’s a hell of an example! A normal person can say “I am not a pedophile” with absolute certainty. I know DAMN WELL I am NOT a pedophile. I have not and will NEVER have inclinations toward children. Yet, for as long as I can remember since puberty, I’ve been terrified. “What if I am and don’t realize it? What about trying to see it from the other person’s side? Am I supposed to try and imagine what it’s like to be a pedophile? What if doing that unlocks the door in my brain that makes me into a pedophile? But I have to try, because you have to always try to see things from the perspective of the other person. What if realizing that there IS a perspective to be considered makes me a pedophile? That parent let their kid roam away from them and now they are near me, alone. You have to 1000% ignore that child, make no eye contact, become invisible, because if you dare acknowledge that child and the parent arrives, they’re going to think you’re a pedophile.” It’s like a terrifying philosophical conversation that inevitably spirals downward. TO MY RELIEF, this is actually a common problem for people with OCD. I am NOT alone in this exact loop of terror in my head, and now that I KNOW that, I can laugh about it and say “not today, OCD, I know what you’re trying to do to me, and it isn’t happening. I AM NOT A PEDOPHILE.”

On a lighter note, it explains why I have to walk to the beat of a song if there is music playing, because it drives me insane not to. Sometimes this makes my strides really long because I have to maintain a power-walking speed and the song is too slow of a tempo to keep up with me.

Also, one of the questions the therapist asked me before I knew they’d profiled me as OCD was if I’d listened to the same song on loop for extremely long periods of time. I immediately said yes and told her about the day I looped the music video (not just the song) of Nightwish’s “The Islander” for over nine hours straight. She has no idea that I have a playlist on spotify called “9 Hour Loops” for all of the songs I’ve did that to in the past. Or maybe she does have an idea. She majored in criminal psychology or something… she’s damn good.

One of the questions was whether symmetry was important to me, and I had to say yes. Like, imagine you have a row of ten soda cans on a table beside or in front of you. Three are on the left side of the row and seven are on the right, with a gap in the middle. I would absolutely have to make two rows of five or merge them into one continuous row. It would drive me insane.

UNLESS they weren’t my sodas. Perceivable ownership is like a magical force that repels me. I can’t stand touching other peoples’ things. It’s like it’s imprinted with their existence. Their thoughts, their feelings, their will. Items in a thrift shop don’t bother me like that, unless I see the person dropping off the items, confirming to my subconscious that they were, in fact, owned by THAT PERSON. After that, I can’t make myself want anything to do with them. Inheriting clothes bothers me too. I have to know, love, and trust that person or I don’t want to touch their things, even if given to me.

There is a crooked picture in my therapist’s room. It is very noticeably crooked. If it was my painting, I would HAVE to fix it. It’s not, though, so I refuse to touch it. I can’t fathom that she hasn’t noticed it, so I refuse to point it out to her. I almost feel like it is a trick, a test, to see if I will straighten it, so I’ve refused to acknowledge it. I bet the joke is on me. I can’t help but stare at it. She’s probably counted my eyes and how often they drift to and rest on it.

I could go on and on and on about my tendencies. There are still a few I need to correct that I answered wrong to the therapist and psychiatrist both. Like when I was asked if I counted things. Other than the shaking off hands thing, I said I didn’t, but I do… If something is in a square/rectangular shape and evenly distributed, I HAVE to count the edges and multiply the results so I know how many are in the square/rectangle. Like tiles on the ceiling/floor. If it is an irregular varying shape like shards in a mosaic, it doesn’t compel me to count it. It’s maddeningly fascinating.

Anyway, I’ll try to make a post eventually detailing any examples or stories from the past that my therapy pries out of me, lol. I already have a few, but I’ve rambled too much.

Last updated December 30, 2018

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