Does anyone else feel like their brain works differently?
I’m ritualistic, but the word ritual rubs people the wrong way. Let’s just say some would call it obsessive, particular, controlling, compulsive, etc. I don't mind labels--only crazy people call themselves normal.
My rituals begin when I wake up.
I step into the shower a certain way, left foot first. I floss at the sink, but brush my teeth in the shower. I use a specific body wash on my legs and a different one for my arms. I use a white cloth for my face and a dark cloth for my body. I use shower gloves on schedule. After showering, I always put two dabs of oil on my left wrist first and then dot behind my right ear. I spray my scents in a specific order. I like to layer my scents in a specific way.
The ritual continues. I then use a different creams for my legs vs. my stomach. I put my clothes on in a certain order, left leg in first.
I wash my sheets in a particular way. I pack my freezer a certain way. I take my medicine in a very specific way. I have a ton of rituals/routines/practices/habits....whatever you want to call them.
I used to suffer from horrible OCD (the term 'used to' is probably up for debate). Undiagnosed. Back in my early twenties, if you were to spend a Friday evening with me, you'd walk away diagnosing me with the same. At 6:30pm on Fridays, I had to clean my bathroom with both ammonia and bleach and change the entire decor....arriving at 6:31 would send me into full panic mode. I'd pour both ammonia and bleach into the tub and the toilet and then run out onto my apartment balcony, breath in the fresh air, and then run back in with the sponge. I did this every Friday for five years.
After I gave birth to my son, outward appearances would lead you to believe that my OCD was gone. Ummm...nope. It simply manifested differently. The urge to do things repeatedly (compulsions) got quiet while the repeated unwanted thoughts/sensations (obsessions) got quite loud. I started to obsessively worry about myself and others to the point where I started having panic attacks. I didn't know they were panic attacks, I just thought I was having early signs of a mini heart attack.
These two very different time periods in my life have taught me a lot about myself. The primary lesson brought about so much self-awareness regarding how I think, process information, and respond to stimuli/triggers.
Interestingly enough, I never sought treatment for my heart or mind and didn't fully understand why. If I broke an arm, I went to the ortho. When I wanted to get pregnant, I saw a reproductive endocrinologist. But, when my heart is broken, I deal with it on my own. When my mind is broken, I deal with it on my own. Counseling and doctor guidance beats a self-diagnosis any day. Self-diagnosing can also lead to self-medicating. That further complicates things. Imagine how much better people would perform if they got the proper help they needed, but mental health is still so stigmatized. Ho hum
I also learned that my need for control was killing me. Literally. This become somewhat resolved as I began to trust myself more. From the outside, it looked like I didn't trust other people. I didn't, but mainly, I didn't trust myself. Didn't trust that the authentic me was good enough, lovable enough. I certainly didn't trust my thought process---I just told you my brain felt broken. Now, TODAY, I trust myself fully! Trusting myself required radical honesty. And though I may sometimes need guidance, rest or more information than what is in front of me, my self-trust remains. I trust myself to perceive things and give myself grace when my perceptions change or unfold unexpectedly over time. And that my dear, allowed me to relinquish control (I kind of never had control to begin with--the concept is a social construct, quite like morals...lots of folk thought Robin Hood was 'moral'---I digress).
The culmination of lessons learned allowed me to accept that though my brain is very different, it is capable of some amazing things. Being aware of some of my brain's shortcomings, biases and tricks helps me to remain astute. Imagine struggling in math, division specifically, but you only receive help in geometry. Missing the mark every time .
I acknowledge that my brain works different. I'm okay with that. After all, I can't be the only one. I'm certain folk thought Noah was crazy when he was building the Ark. If folk could be flies on the wall, I'd be right up there with Noah.
Well...call me Noah and let me start gathering two of every animal.
Check ya'll later!