I was pregnant. I was sure of it. Even though there was no possible way I could be pregnant.
I’ve always been a worrier. When I was little I thought that fictionalized things like the Devil and the Phantom of the Opera were going to hurt me and my family. To combat the thoughts I had to recite the same prayer every night to ensure myself that everyone was going to be safe.
Fast forward 15 years later with minor OCD bouts in between, my life felt as if it was turned upside down. I was pregnant. I was sure of it. Even though there was no possible way I could be pregnant, I took 15 at-home pregnancy tests to soothe my anxiety. After taking the tests I would look up reasons to not believe the tests. I went to doctors and had two blood tests taken, both of which proved my negative results. Again, I resorted to Google to find that ectopic pregnancies can sometimes show up as negative results. I had two ultrasounds to further combat my worries. Pair this with the fact that I had my period and it’s not hard to imagine the frame of mind I was in. I was convinced that somehow, someway, I was pregnant.
When there was no biological way, ectopic pregnancies or otherwise, for me to be pregnant, my mind found momentary rest. But only for a short while. Suddenly I felt my body grow extremely hot. There was something wrong with me. I had cancer. Or lupus. Or MS. Or a rare illness that 1 in 100,000 people get – Guillean Barre Syndrome. An illness would surely explain all the physical sensations I really felt but had attributed to pregnancy. Again, I had test after test, all coming back with negative results. The doctors were wrong. I knew they were. I kept a thermometer by my bed, checking my temperature every morning. I battled with health anxiety for a whole year, paying no attention to what the real problem was: my mental health.
The following summer, I finally felt like I was in a good place. I was excited to make money and spend time with my friends and train for a race I had coming up. The health anxiety was still there but I was trying to keep going with my life.
Then one day, I was at the beach with two of my friends. It was a beautiful day, the sun was out and I was happy to be catching up with two of my best friends from high school. My friend mentioned a girl she knew from college that I had met the previous summer. She talked about how she thought she was a lesbian, even though everyone else, including me, had presumed her to be straight. Suddenly, my mind latched on and my body went hot. What if I was a lesbian? Suddenly everything seemed like the perfect evidence for my OCD mind. I had never had a serious boyfriend. What about that time I kissed my friend that was a girl when I was 7? My mind battled against me as I tried to prove and disprove my sexuality. I remembered intense crushes I had on boys in middle school. I remembered crying to my mom and dad about why boys didn’t like me. But nothing worked. My mind seemed to counter everything. I was a lesbian. It was inevitable. It didn’t matter that I had really liked a guy from my study abroad trip a few months prior or that I had crushes on my brothers’ friends all while growing up. My brain told me that it was all denial. I felt that a rug was pulled out from under me – everything I had thought I had known about myself suddenly seemed like a lie.
Suddenly I was checking everyone I spoke to, anxious to see how my body responded and to see who I was more attracted to. Sexually explicit images flooded my brain from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to bed. I read an article once that said lesbians’ ring fingers were longer than their index fingers – my left hand’s ring finger was. It was proof. I became obsessed with everyone’s finger lengths. I asked to see my friend’s nail polish or rings they were wearing only so I could see the length of their fingers to prove or disprove my own sexuality. There were times when I didn’t believe any of it and times when it seemed like my new reality.
When I write out the different themes my brain has become fixated on – it’s not hard for me to find the patterns. And that is the first step, but it is a long road. Since OCD started to affect my life five years ago I’ve had times in my life where I’ve felt like I didn’t have OCD at all and times when I’ve felt like I was in some of the darkest places I’d ever been. What has helped me now is remembering the times in the past 5 years when everything has been so blissfully perfect. Those are the times that get me through the rough ones. And now that I have been seeing a great ERP therapist and psychiatrist who specialize in OCD I’m hopeful that those blissfully perfect times will begin to outweigh the darkness.
Categories: The Wall