Happy Friday, readers! I thought I'd throw in a personal post every now and then (not that my writing posts aren't *personal* per say) to give you more of a window into my life. If you're interested, that is. If you're not? Check back next week. I'll be as general as you'd like me to be. :D
With the release of my next book, THE NAMING OF COLTON BLACK, I've alluded to dark times and disorders. Yeah? I realized if I were to publish this book, I'd want to share this part of my life with you. Because while it was one of the darkest, hardest, dirtiest times of my life, it was one I wouldn't trade for anything. It lead to several things. It lead to a freer life; a happier wife/daughter/friend; and a story I'm proud of.
If anyone's suffered with (or is suffering with) an anxiety and / or OCD disorder, you know how disruptive and destructive it is to your life. For a long while, I thought my odd thought patterns and anxiety relief ways were normal. It was how I coped with stress; with life. But after getting laid off from my job in 2011 and panic attacks became a nightly routine, I realized I needed help.
On request of my doctor, I saw a therapist. Someone who I thought would help me get over these attacks and move on with my life. For those of you who've gone through therapy, you'll understand this. He uncovered. So. Much. More.
He discovered I had an anxiety disorder. That I had an OCD disorder. And that these things--which I passed off as odd quirks--were in fact imprisoning me; bullying me; and keeping me from living a freer life.
So we dove into an intensive 2 years of therapy. It included everything from exposure therapy (do what scares you over and over until your brain accepts it as normal); left brain / right brain therapy (to help calm my anxiety when it would spike to over 80%); and a side-screen method thought up by my brilliant therapist. I had ghosts in my life--things that would haunt me--and I fell prey to them. OCD, I learned, goes after the things you cherish and uses them against you.
For me? That was my marriage; my health; my relationships; and my appearance. (I'm still discovering new ones. Oh joy.) These were running themes we saw come up again and again. So we had to attack them. Head on. OCD loves lying to you. It takes fictionalized data and forces you to believe they're facts. It's so deceptive and yet so good at turning you to its side. A headache became a brain tumor in 30 seconds. Calls to my doctor would ensue. Trips to urgent care became frequent. Until I had to fight back. I had to go cold turkey and ignore the desire to do OCD's bidding. I had to accept that whatever was hurting me was OK. I had to cut off its life line, so to speak.
This lead to withdrawal like symptoms. Pain spiked in my body. Anxiety spiked in my body. My body was fighting against me. Yelling at me to just give into the OCD. But I refused. Because like my therapist kept telling me, the harder I fight back, the better life will get.
And life does get better. I'll share more about the after in Part II. (The after is so so good.) I'd love to share more about the process, too, if it's something you're interested in. I've got stories. Oh. I've got stories.
Those who know of my journey, will understand one word. Cheeseburger.
(Who wants to hear that one?)
Thanks for reading this much. I know everyone struggles with something--this is mine. If you've got a blog or novel or piece of art that explores your pain, your struggle, I'd love to read/experience it. We don't have to struggle alone.