Friday, April 22, 2016

If you have mental illness, SCREAM REAL LOUD!

     Today I will leave my comfort zone and broach a topic that I don't usually bring up, my OCD.  Yes, today's secret word is a mental illness!  So if you have a mental illness, SCREAM REAL LOUD!  Let me start by saying: "why yes, mental illness does run in my family."  It also, walks, saunters, skips and sometimes hums a tune, while pulling a wagon, fully decorated with a myriad of other disorders besides OCD.
     If you've followed me on Twitter or god forbid, known me in real life, you know that I have sock issues.  As a kid my sock issues were such that anytime my mother bought me socks, if they weren't perfectly form fitting, and the elastic wasn't just tight enough I would have a melt down.  If you were a parent of a daughter my age, I guarantee my mother probably tried to unload a stockpile of unused socks on you.
     One of my earliest memories is actually of my sock/foot OCD.  When I was at an age where glassy eyed toddlers happily sported footie pajamas, I was already struggling.  These polyester torture devices absolutely freaked me out.  My feet don't like to be confined, nor do they like to be in something loose and ill fitted.  These toddler onsies were either too big or too small.  My feet also got too hot and couldn't breathe properly in this attire.  So present this laundry list of issues to my over imaginative mother.  This was a woman who was already paranoid by the thought that spiders would be living in these footie pajamas.  She imagined that I would be attacked by arachnids and unable to free myself from the clutches of poorly designed sleepwear.  The way we remedied this was to cut the feet off of all of my pajamas until I was old enough to wear jammies that were less footie.  Like I said before, mental illness doesn't just run -it also walks, saunters, and skips with a wagon.
     So I was the 1 year old that looked like an asshole because my pajamas had no feet.  It was no worse than the time I wanted to be Princess Leia for Halloween and my mother made me a white dress and wrote "PRINCESS LEIA," on it with a black sharpie.  Looking like an asshole has never been a problem for me.  I've come to see it as a strength.
     When I was 9, I was diagnosed as having ADD, OCD, Anxiety, Disobedient Defiant Disorder and mild Tourettes that they cutely referred to ask "ticks." But I guess ticks sounds nicer than saying "that squealing noise your kid is making, while she's blinking, trying to hop over the cracks in the sidewalk and blowing on her hands is totally TOURETTE SYNDROME!"  Don't mind me, just over here looking like an asshole.
     I had actually been tested for ADD a full year before, but my test results were inconclusive.  I was given this evaluation after I had been demoted to the "other" 3rd grade classroom, when it was decided that I had to switch because my teacher didn't like me.  (for more on this see the blog entitled Leave The Neighbors Alone) I changed schools at the end of that year and was placed in a school with smaller classrooms.  My 4th grade teacher informed my family that she had a son that was also given the ADD diagnosis and prescribed medication, which got the ball rolling for my second opinion.  After the next round testing concluded that I indeed had ADD, the old school system and the new school system questioned why the findings were first labeled "inconclusive."  It came out that the previous school didn't want to be found at fault for a failure to overlook my condition.  As I had been with them since kindergarten, this sort of finding would have meant that I had been entitled to special services which I had not been given.  After a lot of bad noise the old school system didn't want this to get out and be seen as a blemish on their record.  I was provided with an after school tutor for the next four grades to teach me organizational skills and keep me up to par with the rest of my class.  In conjunction  with learning how to focus and stay organized, I was prescribed daily does of Desapramine and Clonidine.
     I was a 10 year old.  I was medicated. I was diagnosed with disorders that I couldn't even begin to pronounce, let alone comprehend. All of these things totally made me look like an asshole. But as long as my fucking socks fit, I didn't have a care in the world.



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