Thursday, September 15, 2011

The birth of an Obsessive Compulsive

Regardless of whether you believe in "Nature" or "Nurture," I really didn't have a chance. My poor, sweet Grandpa Ralph had OCD, except back then nobody knew what it was so they thought he was just doing weird things because he was drunk. The truth is, he was drunk because he couldn't stop himself from doing weird things. I know this all too well. I spent my teens and early 20's drunk because alcohol is really good at drowning your obsessions and compulsions.

How did I get to this point?

I had my first panic attack at age 7. My Grandpa Ralph had just died and I was in the tub with my biological dad watching me. I. Flipped. Out. I had no idea what was wrong. I just knew that I wanted out NOW and I wanted my mom NOW and I wanted my dad gone NOW. *I talked about how I discovered what my dad was a little bit here. He was a child molestor. He never touched me. With me he was just a watcher. With my siblings, only they know.

The bio dad was a nightmare of epic proportions. He was mean, heartless, soulless. He would scream at my mom and physically intimidate her. I have vivid memories of him chasing her around the kitchen tossing knives. One day he raped her right in our house with me there. I lived in constant fear that one day he would kill her. There were only two men that ever made me feel safe, now one was dead and the other turned out to be a pedophile.

Enter my stepdad. He was my mom's best friend at the time and he gave her the courage to leave and a safe place to stay. Even to this day he is the one person that my bio dad fears, but I'm not sure why. Eventually love ensued, they got married, and I got an amazing dad. I need you all to know that regardless of all the other things I will tell you about him, my stepdad was a great dad and I will forever be grateful to have him in my life. Unfortunately, his brother was murdered and my stepdad was never quite the same. He became angry, agitated, and drank way too much. He tried to get help once, but it didn't work. He just became meaner and more violent. My mom and I tiptoed around our house like mice avoiding a trap. You never knew what would set him off and send him into a terrifying blind rage. He threw things, he broke things, he punched through walls and doors over the most minor of offenses, and we were back to me seeing my mom get hit. One day when it was especially bad I went on autopilot, got in my car, and started the engine. My mom came flying out of the house screaming with my stepdad in pursuit holding a gun. That was the single most terrifying moment of my life. Everything that happened after that point is a complete blur.

Now I'm an adult. I have my own house, my own marriage, and my own kids. I felt so scared and out of control for my entire life that I'm now obsessed with it. There are dangers, germs, and bad people out in the world that could hurt my babies! My husband could die at work! If I keep them trapped in this little house where I can control EVERYTHING maybe they'll be safe and I'll feel sane! Unfortunately all I'm doing is suffocating them, making my children miss out on experiences, my husband go mad, family members resent me, and friends leave me. I'm aware of what I'm doing but I can't stop yet. Help will come, just please, I beg of you, be patient just a little bit longer.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A contributing factor to my OCD + 9/11 Remembered

*I wish I could be more eloquent. I wish I could tell this story the way I want to, the way it looks in the deep recesses of my brain. Unfortunately it comes out all jumbled and confusing, exactly the way I feel...

In September of 2001, my sister, with whom I had little relationship with, and I decided I was going to fly out to NYC and spend a long weekend together. It had been 10 years since we had seen each other, and we wanted to begin a strong, adult relationship on our own terms. I was nervous but couldn't have been more excited. It was a new beginning.

Like nearly everyone in my country, I awoke on September 11, 2001 to the attacks on the World Trade Center. I watched in horror as the second plane hit on national TV. I screamed as I realized those were people falling from the buildings? What was happening? Why was it happening? Answers, PLEASE!

My brother in law worked in the World Financial Center and my sister left for work with him. I spent an entire day watching the towers burn, people jump, the towers fall, and thinking my sister may be dead. After all this time, we weren't going to get that chance to get to know each other.

I came home that night to an email from my sister saying that she was fine. The relief was unbelievable. Much to my parents' dismay, I flew into the heart of Manhattan mere days after the attacks to finally hold my sister in my arms.

We began my trip with tears, hugs, awkward silences, and a trip down to Ground Zero. The buildings were still smoking and I'll spare you the details of what it looked and smelled like down there, but just know that seeing it directly in front of your face impacts your mind. We went back to her apartment and she began a talk she had been wanting to have with me for 20+ years... Did our dad molest me too? My brain turned into Pandora's Box and it was opened. Too much. Too much for my little mind. September 11th, Ground Zero, repressed memories. I left that talk so confused, so destroyed, that when my friend picked me up from the airport I was laying on the ground. I couldn't even stand up anymore. I spent the next decade completely confused, in denial, obsessive, compulsive, and destructive to any relationship that was dear to me. I pushed friends away and I never talked to my sister again. I was angry with everything and everyone.

When it came out that my brother was a pedophile, I realized the apple does not, in fact, fall far from the tree and nothing was imagined. Nothing was embellished. It was all real. I relived everything and then some. More regret, more anger, more obsessions, more compulsions. I've never supported my sister and I've never let her support me. I only pray that someday my rememberance post will be one of acceptance, support, and survival.

Intense Debate