This is something different. I wrote this about 2 years ago and I really think it could be something more. It’d be the first chapter of my book. I’ve edited it a little (not completely they way I’d want), but I want to see how it does on here. Maybe I’ll continue to write it… This is fiction. Yes, it does relate to me- but it’s a story, not my actual life. Please let me know what you think 🙂
Do you know what it feels like to feel everything; everything as though the volume is all the way up-the sounds, the smells, the feelings?
I’ve always wondered if I was the only one who felt everything like it was amplified. It is my junior year in high school and ever since I can remember I have felt like I was on the outs of things. And I guess that my parents have noticed also. They made me go to a shrink. I still can’t believe it. I didn’t need someone to talk to! Nothing was wrong with me.
Just because I noticed every little detail, and heard the little things, and felt the touch of something I didn’t like tingling across my skin like the feeling of one hundred ants crawling all over, but you can’t get rid of them, doesn’t mean that I had something wrong with me, right?
Turns out I did have something wrong with me. I had obsessive compulsive disorder. I did need someone to talk to, and it wasn’t normal for me to stay up all night every night because I was worried I didn’t close my locker all the way at school. It wasn’t normal to always want to feel balanced. If I turned the doorknob to the left, I had to turn it to the right also just to make it even.
The problem was; I didn’t, and still don’t, want to be normal. I’ve come to love my OCD self, and to take in all of the good things about it. I do my best to not look at it as a disorder, but more of a gift. I think before I speak, although I am quick witted. I know to truly think about something before I actually do it. The biggest pro, but also the biggest con, is paying one-hundred times more attention to the little details. Obviously, the con is staying up all night worrying about the littlest thing like my locker. But the pro, is being able to do things like read people. I know when someone is lying about being okay, when in actuality they are extremely depressed. When no one else is watching I am, I catch them in their weakest moments by accident.
I have learned to follow my gut. That is something that you are taught to do growing up. But it is a lot easier said than done, as are most things. The thing is though, I’ve been through more crap in the last seventeen years than most my age. I have most of my medical information memorized, and I’ve become a pro at meeting new people who think they know everything about me. It’s easy for me to walk into a doctor’s office and say, “Hi, my name is Skylar and I’m here because I have OCD.”
But trust me when I say this, it wasn’t always this way.
Just recently my parents have decided I need to start going to therapy. Which I find absolutely bizarre. I have been perfectly content the last year hanging out in my house reading book after book every week.
They tell me that it is necessary for me to leave the house and be social. But what they don’t know is going into public makes me want to crawl into a corner and put a shell around my body. The noises, the dense crowds, the rude and immature people all make me extremely anxious. I feel as though everyone is watching my every move, everything I do or say is the wrong thing, I’m constantly being judged, and the worst thing is, I actually believe all of these things are true.
There is, however, times of the day-very short amounts of time-when I feel like I’m invincible, no one can touch or hurt me. But soon enough I come to the conclusion that I’m kidding myself. I envy the kind of people who walk around like no one is watching, and if someone is, they couldn’t care less.
Falling asleep at night is almost as impossible as wrestling a lion and winning. Unfortunately, I never win. I wake up exhausted and I wonder what it’s like to get a good night’s sleep. My days go by extremely slow. I worry every waking moment about everything, and nothing, all at the same time. If there ever is a moment when I’m not worried, I find something to worry about. And trust me when I say, I know that is absolutely stupid. But it doesn’t mean that I know why I find myself doing it.
My parents think that I’m just anti-social or just too lazy to get up and leave the house. I try and tell them every day that that is not the case. And when they ask me for a true reason I can’t give them an answer because I don’t even know myself. They say going to therapy will help me come out of my shell. It will make me want to get out of the house and meet people. Truth be told, last time they forced me into going to therapy I lied to them about being better so that they would stop making me go. And to my surprise, they did.
When I was still attending school-a year ago-I found myself more depressed than I had ever been. Weekends were the biggest relief and I learned not to blink, or else they were gone, just like that.
My friends would always assume that I was ignoring them, that they had done something to make me mad. But that wasn’t the case at all. I had just never been much of a talker, it wasn’t my thing. And being the center of attention was my worst fear about attending school. For most kids, getting called on is their chance to shine, to make everyone laugh. But when I got called on my whole body would freeze, my mouth would get dry, and I could feel everyone staring, waiting for what was going to come out of my mouth, because they all knew that it wasn’t going to make any sense.
Half of the time when I was called on I would have to ask the teacher to repeat the question because my mind was zeroed in on something else; like the little dot on the whiteboard the teacher didn’t erase. Or,
What was going to happen when I got home from school?
Am I going to be safe walking down the halls?
What if someone comes into the school with a gun?
I hope my parents made it to work okay.
What am I going to say if the teacher calls on me?
What if I fail this next test, will my parents be disappointed in me?
That is only a few of the things that could have been running through my mind. I would sit in class everyday determined I was going to pay attention all period just to zone out five minutes later and have the bell ring without remembering the teacher even greeting us for the day.
When I came home from school my parent would ask me how my day went. It was the same answer every time. “Horrible!”
“Oh Skylar, why can’t you just enjoy life?” they would say, “It disappoints us so much. We thought we raised you different.”
And that was the hardest part for me. Why am I like this? Even my parents are infuriated with me. I would think, what in the world is wrong with me? to myself every night before bed.
Straight from school I would go to my room and read until I was forced to come out for dinner. Reading was, and still is, my escape. It was the one time during the day where I could forget about everything going on in my head and leap into a portal leading into another world. I could stay in that world as long as I liked and when my adventure was completed in that world, another portal would be waiting at the end. Knowing that I had that escape to look forward to everyday is what got me through school.
“Skylar, are you okay?” My mom says interrupting my thoughts.
“Oh, yes. Sorry.” I answer realizing I am at the dinner table.
“Good thing your therapy appointment is tomorrow. Maybe she can teach you to stop zoning out. It’s starting to get extremely irritating.” My dad butts in.
I slowly shake my head and look down at my plate. If only they knew how irritating it is to feel things I can’t seem to control. No matter how hard I try to stop it, my mind always rushes back to the things I want to forget most. The littlest things distract me and once it’s in my head, it’s stuck, until I walk up to the whiteboard and erase that stupid little dot, or I go to the office and call my mom to make sure she got to work safely. It feels like a never-ending process.
With dinner finally finished, I rinse off my plate and head to my room. I lie on my bed and pick up my current book. After sitting in silence for ten minutes, I come to the conclusion that I cannot read with the thought of having to go to therapy tomorrow morning. It is the last thing on earth I want to do. I feel like I should be able to control my thoughts on my own without having to talk to someone once a week. Aren’t normal people able to control what they think about and when they think about it?
I hear someone walking up the stairs so I pull my covers up and turn away from the door. It is probably my mom coming to check on me. But I don’t want one of her what is wrong with you lectures I get daily. The door creaks open and closes seconds later.
There is never a day when I’m not exhausted from lack of sleep. Sometimes, though, I can’t keep my eyes open any longer and I fall asleep the second I hit my bed. I’m grateful for those days because when I’m sleeping I don’t worry about anything, I don’t even have dreams. It is the perfect getaway, even though most of the time I get nearly zero sleep. This just happens to be one of those days. After my door closes I don’t open my eyes again. I slowly dose off and my mind finally becomes a peaceful place for a few short hours.
Every morning my mom has to wake me up because of how exhausted I am all of the time. I don’t hear an alarm because when I sleep, I am in a very deep sleep. This morning is no exception.
“Skylar wake up!” she says pulling back my covers. “I got up late; you need to get around now!”
“Mhhhhmmmm,” I barely say in response.
“If you don’t get up now you do realize that I can just schedule your appointment for a later time,” and with that, she leaves.
Knowing that she is right, I sit up and throw my pillow against the wall, annoyed. Thinking back to the night before, I’m thankful I fell asleep extremely early compared to most nights. There are pros and cons to that, though. The pros being, I didn’t worry as much as I would have, and I get extra sleep. The cons, sleeping makes you feel like the morning comes faster, and I didn’t get to read, which really helps relieve stress.
“Skylar, GET UP!” Mom screams from the bottom of the steps.
“I am up, mom!” I yell back.
I get out of bed and walk over to my closet. Sitting on my dresser is a bright orange shirt with jean shorts my mom must have set out for me to wear. Apparently she thought that I wouldn’t have time to pick out my own clothes, knowing that it takes me about twenty minutes just to find socks that I like. I pick up the orange shirt and throw it to the back of my closet. It is my least favorite shirt. Opening my closet doors, the first shirt I see is a bright blue, plain shirt. Anything is better than that pumpkin thing that isn’t even worthy of being a shirt, I think, laughing to myself.
Getting ready in the morning is always a major struggle for me. Everything has to feel just so. It has to look a certain way. There have been times that I get so fed up that it doesn’t look or feel a certain way, I will actually rip the shirt off of my body. Of course, my parents don’t hear about those things. I just throw the shirt away and claim I lost it. I don’t understand how the feeling of my clothes or hair can make me so angry. Though, it always has. It takes me quite some time to calm down after one of these episodes.
This morning is just like any morning. I spend fifteen minutes making sure my shirt feels just right. And by the time I brush my teeth and put the rest of my clothes on, I have to stand there fixing my shirt for another fifteen minutes.
Finally, I leave my room and my shoulders feel like they are on fire from redoing my hair thirty times. I’m actually very surprised my muscles are not used to it after all of these years.
Before I even get to the stairs I can sense my mom’s presence. And just as I suspected, she is standing at the bottom of the stairs with her arms crossed. The only thing I can do is smile.
“It’s not funny, Sky. We are going to be late,” She insists.
I walk by her and as our shoulders brush I whisper, “Good!” under my breath.
“What was that, young lady?”
“Nothing, mom. You said we needed to leave, right? Then why are you just standing there?”
“That mouth of yours is what gets you in trouble.”
I just laugh as I head out the front door. We live in a very urban area, so we don’t have a garage. Our car has to be parked on the road in front of our house. It makes me extremely uncomfortable just walking out to the car. So as you guessed, my laugh disappears the second I get out the door. I don’t know what it is about simply walking out to the car. Even when the street is completely empty, I want to run back inside-to my safe zone.
I stand in front of the car door and take a deep breath before opening it; like I do every other time I get in the car. It bothers me because it is an enclosed space that is moving very fast down the road. It instantly makes me nervous, which then causes me to sweat. And when I get nervously sweaty, I sweat more than I ever would running a mile. So it is very embarrassing. And when I am embarrassed I sweat even more. I assume that is a normal thing for every person when they are embarrassed.
“Are you going to get in the car, or just stare into space all day?” Mom questions, leaning out the window.
I shake my head and cough, “I’m sorry, too much on my mind,” I say as I open the door and get in. Before I can even close it all the way, we are flying down the road.
I have to lean my seat back and close my eyes. Reckless driving is another thing that makes me overly nervous, unless I’m the one driving. My mom and my dad are both extremely reckless drivers. They yell, slow down in front of people, or ride their back bumper.
After twenty minutes in the roller coaster, the car comes to a stop. I wait to see if it is just a stop sign, but when the car stops vibrating I know we are here.
There is nothing I can do to stop this from happening. My parents are dead set that I need therapy. I would never admit that I needed it. I feel like I should be able to handle these issues on my own.
But none of that matters now. I’m already in the waiting room. While sitting there I think to myself the first thing I’ll say to this counselor… Do you know what it feels like to feel everything; everything as though the volume is all the way up-the sounds, the smells, the feelings?