Sometimes, we at the Band know that part of owning who you are is admitting it to the world.
It's one reason why we at The Band work tirelessly to break down stigmas and find the ties that connect us all, the ties that remind us that we are none of us alone. Please join us in standing tall and proud as we tell the world who we are.
What are you, The Band, The Face Of?
I have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
You wouldn't think so, just by looking at me. Hell, most people in my daily life don't know. Surely you can't tell by looking at my home. It certainly doesn't look like the stereotype tells us it should. (Thank you, Hollywood.)
I have not always had OCD tendencies, I wasn't born this way.
I developed OCD as a coping mechanism for dealing with my untreated anxiety when I was a teenager.
In my family, we don't talk about mental illness. It's not okay to talk about needing help or that something might not be right in your head. I was raised that if the doctor said I had anxiety, well then, I just needed to pull on my big girl panties and deal with it. Having a mental illness meant I was just being a sissy.
So when my doctor did tell me that I had anxiety at the ripe old age of 15, my parents looked at me with exasperation and left me alone. There was no therapy or anti-anxiety medication. I was just supposed to deal.
I tried a number of things that failed before falling into a nasty neurotic spiral. I can't pinpoint exactly how it happened but I can distinctly recall spending an entire weekend deep cleaning my parents' house. I scrubbed the grout in the bathroom with an old toothbrush until my hands were blistered from the bleach. I cleaned the stove inside and out. I even alphabetized and cataloged all of our VHS movies. (We had over 500.)
Of course, no one said anything of my weird behavior. My family turned a blind eye as I tried vainly to exert control over my surroundings.
In hindsight, I know I did it because I desperately needed something I could control. My mind was spinning, reeling, and I was lost. Since I couldn't control my thoughts or the paths they took me down, I cleaned. I organized. I mated all the unmatched socks in our laundry room.
So why doesn't my house look clean and organized now?
A number of reasons, really.
I have RA, which makes deep cleaning difficult. I also have a lot of stuff. Or rather, my fiance and I have a bit more than our one-bedroom apartment should be able to hold.
But mostly, I have a slightly better grasp on my anxiety. I don't have huge tailspins anymore. Well, not often.
When I do? I have a few other coping mechanisms in my arsenal to employ.
I sing. I craft. I write.
But sometimes, I clean.
I am the face of OCD.
I graduated with my Bachelors of Psychology in December 2011 and in June, 2012, I got what I thought was my dream job, although, has nothing to do with my degree. In fact, I don't need the degree for the job.
The job offers good pay, good insurance, and has very little contact with the public - which I thought was a good thing, considering I have generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder. As these conditions are exacerbated when dealing with large amounts of people or stress, this was a good thing, or so I thought.
I work in a small department - only nine people - coding insurance claims for a local medical company. All of us are women.
There were many red flags, which, in hindsight, I realize I shouldn't have ignored.
During my interview, my soon-to-be boss told me that the girl who I was replacing was leaving thanks to a horrible rumor about her husband that another girl (who'd been fired) started. I couldn't understand why she was leaving as the girl responsible had been fired, but I chose not worry about it.
I was a little surprised that The Boss was sharing this during the interview, but she said she wanted me to be aware of the environment I'd be entering. She wanted me to know that no one else started rumors; that she considered it an awful thing to do. I agreed with her; if you have a problem with someone, you should talk to the other and work it out, rather than talking behind their back, allowing rumors and half-truths to be spread.
She also said during the interview was that the two women had gone to HR and The Boss's boss to complain about her, which she was deeply offended by. She explained that if you have a problem with her, you should come to her first to discuss it. Another flag, but I figured that she was right; it was professional courtesy to take it to her first.
It wasn't long before The Boss asked me how I was enjoying my work. I assured her it was wonderful and during our conversation she began complaining about several of my coworkers.
I was shocked.
She'd been clear during the interview that she didn't like talking about others behind their back. Plus, she's The Boss - The Boss isn't supposed to complain about employees to other employees; it causes huge problems. Backstabbing from the top leads people to believe they're better than everyone else, and it makes the more paranoid among us wonder what she's saying about us behind our backs.
After that, I started avoiding conversations with her. I wanted to avoid hearing her complain about other employees so I wouldn't see them differently. Plus, I didn't want to give her ammunition to complain about me.
Soon, I got comfortable enough with one of my coworkers that I started talking about my problem: sometimes I wished we didn't have so much overtime, because it made my new husband upset that I didn't have as much time for him.
Shortly after that conversation, we learned that our department might be outsourced. I told the same coworker that I'd be updating my resume in case we didn't have jobs much longer.
Then, The Boss stopped talking to me entirely. The other girl who did my job began ignoring me when I said anything, gave me sideways looks, and started keeping her headphones on. Several times a day, she'd go into the back and whispering with The Boss.
To cope, I started listening to music - I figured it was okay as my coworker did it.
At the beginning on January, The Boss asked me aside for a talk.
She proceeded to tell me that everyone in the office hated me - no one wanted to work with me, because all I did was listen to music. They thought I was a snob. I'd made my primary coworker cry as she thought I wouldn't work any more overtime; she felt she was doing more work than me (not true). That I'd said to her The Boss was "ruining my marriage," and "I hated my job so much I was revamping my resume."
Everything I'd said to my primary coworker was repeated, and twisted to The Boss to make me sound awful. I was sobbing.
The Boss continued - she realized that I was introverted, and while I'm good at my job, and she felt I was highly intelligent, if she'd known, I was introverted, she wouldn't have hired me, as the position required an extrovert. Which is silly, because half the people in the office are quiet introverts.
Finally, she named the people who hadn't said anything about me; that she was guessing how they felt. I learned that the only person who has a problem with me is my primary coworker whose lies The Boss believes, as they're friends.
After that, I tried to change. I quit listening to music. I made an effort to talk more, even though my work suffered. I worked more overtime, and began working on some of my primary coworkers work to help her.
It hasn't been enough.
For a week, The Boss and coder coworker seemed to like me more, and now things at work are just like they were before I was taken aside by The Boss. What's worse, I absolutely hate my job. I have horrible stress headaches that radiate into my teeth. I can't sleep because I'm so sick with worry about the next work day. I get physically sick to my stomach at work. I can't eat. I'm having daily panic attacks. I cry all of the time.
I can't take it anymore.
My husband might have a job that may allow me to quit, but that might take awhile. We're likely moving in the next couple months, either for his possible job or to be near family.
In the meantime, I have bills to pay. I can't just quit my job. He makes enough now that we'd still make our bills, but the credit cards we stupidly got in college would go unpaid. I would feel awful. And, frankly, I don't want to try to find another job to have to quit in a month or two.
I just don't know what to do.
I just know I can't continue working there.
I just took the first pill of my first anti-anxiety medication. Ironically, I worry.
I worry that I am now on a lifetime of medication and I worry that I don't need it. After all, there is an easy solution to my social anxiety, just don't put myself in situations in which I know it will flare up.
I am also hopeful, especially that this feeling that I am tuned to a slightly different frequency than the rest of the world will go away and that the undercurrent of feeling wrong will fade.
The name of the medicine sounds like the name of a legendary sword (clever marketing) and I'm hopeful that it will cut away my anxiety without cutting away me.
I have been quite a groupie for some time now, The Band. I've been dutifully reading, drawing strength, and learning to forgo judgment in light of acceptance and perseverance from all of you fine people.
I've yet to have the courage to post.
I'm historically horrendous at talking to anyone about anything, but that's something all of you have helped me with as well so cheers to my debut.
I plan on becoming a regular contributor if you'll have me, so hopefully we'll get plenty of time to chat about what I mean by a "rough couple of years" (cue illness, surgery, anxiety, ya know, the usual).
Trying to drum up a post the last few weeks I have mostly come up with harrowing, hard to talk about tales and couldn't settle on how I wanted to introduce myself.
It goes without saying that anyone who has trouble talking, being open and honest is going to have trouble dating. Within this past year, in addition to many other things, I decided to say "fuck you" to making excuses about why the boy I like isn't a good idea. This boy's great and I knew it and instead of bailing out I went for it, albeit kicking and screaming at times (not literally, I'm too passive for my own good).
Today we were talking about a medical issue I've just been dealing with for too long, mainly because it's taken a backseat to more urgent issues.
I was fifteen when I started bleeding uncontrollably every month. It wasn't always that way, then one day it was and it never got any better. Every once in a while it got a bit worse and I've been relegated to birth control pills from the age of seventeen (I'm twenty-two now).
I've never had much success with pills. I've tried at least five different kinds and multiple different doses with minimal results so I went back to the gynecologist again this year and asked about trying something else. Other than the regular pap tests and annual exams, I haven't seen a doctor who has decided to check any further into this issue. I went back to my usual practice, saw yet another doctor and he ordered a transvaginal ultrasound.
I don't know why.
I've had lots of unpleasant, lengthy, even painful procedures and I'm still terrified by this. I don't want to do it. I will, of course I will, but I really don't want to and I really do not want to drink 32 ounces of liquid, HOLD IT IN (I have an impossibly small bladder) and get that ultrasound done, but I will.
I was chatting with the boy today about how I really need to schedule my ultrasound. Since last April I've been on several long courses of antibiotics (and all the fun side effects that take place) while dealing with my ever-so-lovely dislocating shoulder and of course, the ever-present menstrual issues.
I promise, we'll get into all of it as time passes.
The boy has always been there, unwavering. I'm not used to this support but his comment today is what inspired my posting. I'm really, finally, letting someone in. When talking about a semi-invasive medical procedure, he offered to go with me so I made a joke. I told him he can't make me laugh while we're waiting and I have a massively full bladder.
He responded with "I won't. I'll even drink 32 ounces and not pee with you." Things have really sucked and been pretty hard but you know what? Because of this, I have someone to drink 32 ounces of liquid and squirm uncomfortably with in the waiting room.
I'm choosing to take the slightly humorous point of view through this and I've got nothing but thanks to give to all of the Bandmates for this.
Your overwhelming courage to share all of your stories has given me the confidence to find a bit of happiness in letting someone else in.
Adjustment disorder is one of the most challenging parts of life-changing events:
This is her story of recovery from adjustment disorder:
I attended my final therapy session on Thursday.
The last therapy session.
I hesitated to call it the last session; to end my relationship with my therapist, because I've been known to have ups which can cycle back down. My therapist reminded me that I've been "up" for months.
I began seeing my therapist to recover from my divorce. My original diagnosis was Adjustment Disorder.
I've ... adjusted.
I no longer suffer from depression like I did when I left my husband. My anxiety is mostly at bay.
So that means... I've recovered?
It's almost scary to say, to think, to feel... because it feels like I'm somehow letting go of something else. Does anyone else understand that?
I'm not happy in the way someone who has never gone through divorce is happy. But, I'm not as sad as I was months ago. I see hope. I see possibilities.
I still grieve. I wonder if that will ever completely heal.
All in all, though? I'm better. I've made so much progress. I'm better.
------------Has anyone else suffered from a divorce or breakup? How did you cope with it?
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