Hubby and I have been sick as of late. No biggie, right? Just rest, drink lots of fluids, and take your medicine. If only it were that simple.
I have OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). I do not walk around counting tiles. I do not wipe my hands off after touching something else. I do not walk around talking to imaginary people. Those are examples of more extreme versions. Every type of OCD is different, just as every type of Diabetes and Cancer is different. Mine is more like a burning ember in my brain that screams out when something or someone is doing something out of line with my own personal rules. I have learned to manage it but when I get sick, it flares up. Not only because I feel physically and mentally drained. But also because A) I am now trapped inside with Hubby for extended periods of time and B) I have to be more self aware of wiping down germ infested areas.
Again, germs don’t bother me to the point of going all Monk. Not that I wouldn’t love to be able to act like Monk does. It would be awesome to have an assistant hold gloves and wipes for me so that I don’t ever have to touch another person’s nasty, left behind germs again. The thing is, it’s not the germs. It’s the other person. I can’t control their behavior so I try to control other things. My mind focuses on what the person left behind since I can’t control the person.. that is, their germs. It makes me cringe when people walk out of a public restroom without washing their hands – something I have noticed on a regular basis as of late. I want to scream at them, but this is not socially acceptable. It is, oddly enough, more acceptable to become neurotic and use a paper towel to touch any surfaces they may have touched so I don’t get their nasty, left behind, lazy ass germs. Like the door handle out of the now contaminated bathroom. Ugh.
That being said, when I am sick I am sitting in a room with a heightened self-awareness of all the surfaces that need to be decontaminated from my own, and from Hubby’s sick-o germfest. Doorknobs, keyboards, remotes, handles, etc.. etc. I can’t control the illness and make it suddenly go away, so my OCD again focuses on the things left behind that are controllable. I was a Housekeeper for several years and this helps me to get the job of germ killing done faster, but it also makes me more aware of the extent to which the germs exist. I must say that thinking about the little buggers multiplying on a doorknob does not bother me. It’s the other person’s hand touching it and the fact that I can’t control that person’s behavior. I can’t make them wash their hands after they sneeze, or use a tissue to pick their nose. That is what bugs me. Do it right people! In my mind, the fact that those germs exist to such a large degree means that people aren’t doing what they should, the way they should. It’s not logical, but I know how to keep it in line.
So being sick turns me into a drama Queen on high powered by OCD octane. Thou shalt paint thy roses the right shade of red or off with thine head! Pretty much.
I have to say that I work very VERY VERY hard at keeping this screaming, burning voice quiet or at least manageable and I use a great deal of logic-based self talk to combat it. I can tell when I am getting over the top and just need to back away from something and find a distraction. Often, just verbally acknowledging the feelings works. Telling Hubby, “I am feeling soo frustrated right now,” helps more than spending an hour with a psychotherapist. The problem is that going back to work before I feel up to it, both physically and mentally, can cause the OCD to flare. I can be more grumpy than usual, and boy have I been grumpy lately.
I cannot shake this virus and I am tired of dealing with lazy people who don’t wan to do things right. I know.. I keep telling myself the same thing.. “Just because I think it is the right way, does not make it the only way to do something.” It helps, but it’s not a magic bullet. The problem is that if my screaming ember of Nazi-like order gets to be too much (or if I cannot walk away from the situation), I will start to go into full tilt panic. My muscles will tense, my chest will hurt, my stomach will churn. MAYDAY! We’re going down! It feels like I’m in a plane that’s crashing into the ocean.
Anxiety attacks, I hate them. Worse are the panic attacks when I can’t help but hyperventilate and cry. A little self-talk and deep breathing, and it’s all back to blue skies and RED ROSES DAMMIT! Ahem.
It’s a constant struggle, but it’s one that I am proud to say I am on top of. I am aware of, and I am working on. I am not in denial about my issues. They may be painfully obvious and I have given up hope on saving face long ago, but I am working to manage my faults. Still, wouldn’t it just be easier to yell at people for not doing things properly than to develop these stupid neurosis? Yeah, I think so too. Oh well.