Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life…You give them a piece of you. They didn’t ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like ‘maybe we should be just friends’ turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It’s a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love.
Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 9: The Kindly Ones
I’ve missed hearing from you. But I really miss the days when I smiled whenever your name popped up on my phone’s screen. I just never thought that we could reach a point when the thought of you made me a little anxious.
You want me to love that version of myself you created but to hate the version of myself that I am.
I’m sorry darling, but if you love me, you love all of me, I’m not willing to sacrifice parts of myself for you.
when the world uncovers my bones, they’ll find traces of you
still etched into my soul, still drawn on my heart
because I am made up
of the broken pieces of me and the parts you choose to give me
I don’t think I ever truly realized how much I took from you
how I spun your echoes and made them my gravestone
until the stars forced us miles apart
until the promise of more that we said with our eyes seemed broken
luckily, we’ve always managed to overrule the universe
and you crashed back into my arms
bringing with you the messages I sent up to stars
and the touch I never dreamed I’d feel again
I have OCD.
I was diagnosed when I was nine years old
I was in the 3rd grade but I had just dropped out
Because my teacher and my class sucked and nobody understood why I was functioning at such a low level when I was supposedly a pretty smart kid
That was at about the time that my bones started poking out from under my skin and my face lost it’s color and I only ate in small portions three times a day.
I lost a lot of weight- fifteen pounds, which was a lot for someone my age and, yeah, I guess you would assume that I had an eating disorder
At least, that’s what people on the streets probably thought
As I limped down the sidewalk, head drooped down, longing for my next meal
But my anxiety tugging at my shoulders and telling me “No. Don’t. You’ll get too full”
It sounds stupid, right? A fear of overeating? Yeah. I felt pretty stupid.
I got over that fear eventually but it didn’t happen over night, let me tell you
Because treatment for OCD is pain in the fucking ass
Not to mention tiring, especially when you’re a 52 pound nine year old trying to make her way through 3rd grade,
The major treatment method for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is doing exposures
These are also known as ERPs, or exposure response prevention
And the idea is that you slowly introduce yourself to your fears by exposure to them
And it starts out super triggering but eventually your anxiety levels start to go down and you acclimate.
At that time I was going in for treatment multiple times a week for up to three hours at a time
I remember wondering, fretting, over what the other kids would think if they knew how I was spending my afternoons:
Sitting in a big, sinking, therapy chair with an oreo on my tongue, trying to tolerate the anxiety it caused me to taste that unhealthy food
And then taking it off and wiping my mouth off with a napkin, spitting out any crumbs that might have disintegrated into my saliva
Then rating my anxiety.
Sounds fun, right?
Yeah, I know.
But you know what else? It doesn’t sound like what the average person thinks of when they think of OCD
No, I wasn’t an “obsessive hand washer”
I didn’t have to jerk my head to the side multiple times a minute or do anything in threes
I wasn’t always clean and spotless and sanitized.
And you know what else? It wasn’t fucking charming.
The thing about OCD is that if you have it, even if you get over a particular fear, it’s going to try to find it’s way back into your life and it will usually manifest into a different fear
Often little things will come up and you’ll worry that you’ll have to start going to exposures four times a week again, but it’ll usually die down.
That’s what I thought at the beginning of this summer when I started obsessively worrying that I had a fever.
I had had the fear in the past, and eventually it went away, so I figured it would this time, too.
Boy, was I wrong.
When did I know? When I started taking my temperature multiple times a day, freaking out when it was above average, which it always is because my body temp runs high
But OCD and logical thinking do not exactly go hand in hand
My parents hid my thermometer but I started doing other things to ease my anxiety
I didn’t sit back in my chair because if I did, the seat would become warm from my body heat, and I would touch it and get too anxious
I started avoiding touching other people, in fear that their skin would be cooler than mine and prove that I had a fever
I put my clothes in the dryer cycle every morning so that when I put them on, i could feel that my body was cold compared to something else.
I held ice on my wrists to try to cool down my body.
I’m still working on that fear.
Hell, I’m in therapy 4 times a week for it
But I have faith that I’ll overcome it and move on to do good things in my life
Because I’ve done it before.
So don’t pity me.
Please. Don’t pity me.
But next time you think about calling yourself OCD because you like to keep your math binder organized, catch yourself
The next time you assume that someone with neat room is obsessive compulsive and someone with a messy room isn’t, catch yourself and remember not to judge
Because you can’t tell from the outside
(And my room is a fucking pig sty, lemme tell ‘ya)
OCD is not the cute mental illness.
It doesn’t make you quirky or organized or sanitary or polite
And if you walk around telling people to stop romanticizing depression
Stop romanticizing suicide
Stop romanticizing self harm
Than you can tell people to stop romanticizing OCD.
We all have struggles in this life and it’s impossible to compare them, so let’s not try to
Let’s just try to respect each other’s struggles, no matter what they may be or what label might be plastered to them
Do you think you could try that for me?
i wonder what it feels like to die. not suicide or murder, but peaceful. how it feels to almost be fighting for breath, then just letting go. does your entire life really flash before your eyes? does it hurt? does it feel like sleeping? do you suddenly remember everything important you had to do and leave with regrets?
or does it take the weight off of your chest, like years of worries and doubts and pain just lifted away? i like to think it feels like floating, like you’re looking at yourself from the outside, from a whole different perspective. you float and float and float and then you blink and
it’s 7:40 pm, one sun-kissed august day. she puts down a cold orange soda as we sit outside a cafe and i watch her squint at the horizon comfortably. we reflect over the year we’ve been holding each other’s hearts. peaceful slumber rests in her lavender eyes and i am spellbound by her side, never even thinking about leaving. she smells like jasmine-flowers, lemon and green grapes. i watch her slowly forgetting her heartaches, as i am slowly forgetting mine. we stay in this moment; for here we belong.
it’s 6:20 pm and we laugh at distant memories. she giggles at the sunrise i promised her. she radiate sun rays back as a thank you. i click pictures of her face in my head to save at rainy days. i pause in seconds to fall in love with her deeper an deeper, stepping out of the inside to look at the outside. and i love each moment. more and more.
around 7:30 we dance down glimpses of a quiet golden street. i breathe the air like wildfire and she kisses my soul in each tender millisecond. i’m alive. i exist. more than ever. i’ve had an entire day of poetic perfection, but somehow i am greedy for more.
being in a relationship is always a risk, the risk of being vulnerable. the risk of showing the other person what you’re truly afraid off, the risk of being hurt all over again. but you got to find someone who is worth taking that big risk for, someone who promises to catch you when you jump off the big building, someone who just doesn’t promise you but holds your hand through the most difficult time. being in a relationship is always a risk, but find someone who makes taking that risk worth ever minute of it.
i. in the morning i kiss your shadow on the wall instead of you. you tasted sweeter but i guess a lot of things about you seem sweeter now that you’re gone
ii. don’t take it personally, but i’m forgetting the sound of your voice. flowers die and so do memories but i don’t want my head to be a graveyard, and if it has to be a graveyard i don’t want you to be a corpse. i was never good at funerals, at closing the casket and laying things to rest.
iii. i asked God for a sign that it’s over but unless it’s in neon and right in front of me i won’t see it because i’m not looking for a sign, i’m looking for your face
iv. this isn’t an attempt at closure, this is just me telling you how it’s barren here without your touch. maybe, if you read this, you’ll turn around and come back. this isn’t a eulogy, but maybe it should be.