“My head hurts, I must have a brain tumor” and other ruminations

By Veronica, San Francisco


Audio recording by Maude Hirst



Artwork by Sylvie from Germany, inspired by Veronica’s poem

I think I hear voices
I’m 17 lying face down on the kitchen floor at 2 AM, head pressed against the refrigerator to convince myself that the noises I hear are not coming from inside my mind
The noises are coming from the refrigerator
But I still think I have schizophrenia
I spend the following 2 months triple checking every noise I hear

I am 30
I am sitting in the Target fitting room
Because a few minutes ago the thought crossed my mind:
“What if I have a panic attack and forget how to leave the store at the same time?
Naturally, I have said aforementioned panic attack
I sit in the fitting room reminding myself
“It’s just your anxiety. It’s just your OCD”

I am 7… and 8…and 9…. and 34
I am cautiously examining and smelling my food
What if it’s not cooked right? Did they check the expiration dates? Did they wash their hands?
Did I wash my hands?
Did I wash them enough?

I am 34…..
And I have ERP and meditation
I have “I’m going to bed so I get enough sleep so can you turn the TV down, please?”
I have “The thought paralyzed me for a minute but I’m going to make myself eat it”
I feel like I’m going to cry, but you know, exposures and stuff. So I eat it.

I am 34 and I have OCD
And although I am typing this with cracked hands from the latest episode of excessive hand washing, I am grateful, most of the time, for this thing that causes me to be intimately aware of the complexity of the human experience

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