EDITOR’S NOTE: On Tuesdays over the next year, noted Tourette Syndrome advocate Troye Evers will share his “52 Weeks of TS” blog journal with the TSParentsOnline community. In cased you missed the first 5 weeks, you can read them here. For more information about Troye, please click on his name or visit his website.
This week started off like a horrible nightmare, me balled up in the fetal position tears rolling down my face. What a way to start the week. This all happened on Monday. Sometimes the OCD thoughts are just too over whelming. It’s not fun being a 37-year-old basket case, crying on his bedroom floor.
I woke up Monday nice and early and in a good mood. I think of myself as an early bird, always up around 7 a.m. I’ve realized lately that it’s probably the fact that I have OCD and anxiety disorder that causes me to get up so early. As soon as I open my eyes, my brain is in full speed, obsessing about the day and what needs to be done.
Does the cat pan have to be changed, are there dishes in the sink, do we have cockroaches? I have to email that person, etc, etc, etc. This goes on for about 10 minutes until I get up and start doing everything, and it continues throughout the day. I think the most used app on my phone is the “gotasks” app. I make notes and reminders on that all day and night. I will even wake up at 2 in the morning, obsess about something, and grab my phone and make a reminder for myself.
Friends laugh at me and comment on how organized I am, but it’s exhausting.
Monday went pretty well until mid afternoon. I’m a writer and a part-time hairstylist. I spent the whole day working on another writing project and was very content with the dent I made. After a few hours of writing and with still a few more to go, I decided to grab an ice seltzer. I went into the kitchen to grab a glass out of the cabinet, to find there were none, which was fine.
I knew the dishes in the dishwasher were clean, but here’s where the problem arose. With my OCD, I was not able to just grab a glass out of the dishwasher, I had to empty the whole thing, but that’s not the end. I then needed to fill the dishwasher with all the dirty dishes.
Long story short, my two-minute break from writing to get a drink, ended up almost an hour break and me scrubbing and sanitizing my whole kitchen. The whole time I’m struggling to try to get back to my desk and write, but there was always one more thing to do. Have to clean the counter, I should change the dogs water, when’s the last time I cleaned the microwave? Etc, etc, etc.
I finally got to a point where I was able to leave the kitchen. I did one of my little rituals that helps me calm down. I was not fully satisfied with the kitchen, but I was able to escape the room. Escape the room, but not the obsession, or the anxiety related to it. As soon as I left the kitchen, I received a text from one of my friends from DC.
She said she’s coming to town this weekend, and wanted to get her hair done. She was only going to be in town one night so asked me if we could do it at her hotel. I guess my head was too preoccupied with the kitchen issues and I replied without thought, “Sure”. The anxiety level shot up to an unbelievable high.
I ran to my computer and checked the bed bug status of her hotel. With the growing outbreak of bed bugs in NYC, I refuse to go into hotels, movie theaters and Broadway theaters. The status was not good. Last posting was September 29, 2011 from a person saying he saw a bed bug. I know in these situations they bomb the whole place and go to great measures to rectify the situation, but in my mind, there is no way they got them all. What If they missed one pregnant female?
Here’s where the panic attack sets in, what if I bring one home? Now my apartment is going to be infested, we will have to get rid of all of our furniture, clothes, etc. This anxiety accompanied by the anxiety of the kitchen, which is still plaguing me, full panic attack sets in. Within minutes, I’m a 37-year-old man, hyperventilating and crying in the fetal position on my bedroom floor.
I was finally able to regain my sanity, but now this two minute break from writing turned into an almost two hour event, all starting with a glass of water. The good thing is I’m not alone. In the beginning of my attack, I went on to the TS face book group “Tic Talk” and posted “Freak out, horrible anxiety OCD attack!!!!!”
It was a great feeling to come back to my computer and see about ten supportive comments from people who only know me as picture and some words on their computer screen, but I knew that they have been in my shoes at one time or another. They knew how I was feeling, and shared their sympathy.
I did not cancel the hair appointment with my friend, but I did stress about it all week. I devised a plan. As I think of it, I know how insane the plan sounds, but it worked for me. I was scheduled to do her hair Friday night at 7 p.m, so all week I looked through all my clothes looking for clothes I did not want anymore.
My plan was to get dressed in an outfit that I could throw away, after I got to her hotel and did her hair. I was not going to leave the tiled bathroom, or let any of my belongings touch any floor. When I got home, the plan was to strip down naked, put all the clothes (shirt, pants, underwear, socks and even shoes) in a bag and down the garbage chute into the incinerator.
Once that was done, go straight to the bathroom and take the hottest shower ever. Friday morning I woke up and got dressed in some old frumpy clothes that I would normally never be seen in public in, and went to work. At 4 p.m, I received a text that she wasn’t going to be able to make it. Lolz, a week of panic, and now I’m in Soho, in the frumpiest outfit possible during fashion week, for nothing.
I’ve always been one who thought everything happens for a reason, use life as a learning experience. Does this teach me a lesson? No. I know these thoughts are ridiculous but that neighbor OCD, keeps knocking on my door. I guess I’m going to leave you with this thought this week: Sometimes if OCD is knocking on your door, maybe we can try occasionally not to answer the door. I’ll try if you do.
Have a great week, and until next week, “I’ll tic to you later.”