My Life With OCD nOCD

My Life With OCD nOCD

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Let me first begin with stating that my website, is not about OCD. My hopes that if I can get my message out there I can help someone else out.

When you have OCD you don’t have many quiet moments in your head. For me, OCD is often like a song playing over and over in a loop. Only the song isn’t a happy pop song.

Story of A Girl

Well…sometimes it is. But, I’ll get to that later.

The thoughts aren’t about me doing bad things, but they’re never pleasant. Most obsessions are based on deep fears — “What if I or someone I love gets sick?” — or basically the worst things one can think of, like blasphemy, racism, suicide, murder, rape, contamination, animal abuse, politics, torture … and the thoughts are often things I can never control.

Here is something that people with OCD can tell you-you are usually NOT a neat freak! Some of you might remember the show Monk, about a private eye whose OCD makes him a brilliant detective. I never felt as if I was being represented when watching the show because – COMPULSIONS DIFFER!

Monk

OCD doesn’t necessarily mean you’re neat and particular. Those of you into reality shows: Have you ever seen that show Hoarders? Hoarding is often a symptom of OCD. Compulsions vary. Sometimes they correspond to fears, like washing your hands because you’re scared of contamination. Sometimes there’s no real logic behind them, like when you have to jump over a line on the floor because otherwise everybody you know will die horribly and it will be all your fault. Or, like Hannah Horvath from Girls describing herself having to masterbate 8 times a night to starve off diseases of the mind and body.

Andy from Parks and Rec is my Celeb Crush

Many don’t have physical compulsions at all, instead suffering from “purely obsessional” OCD, where all they have are obsessions. And some people with diagnosed OCD even obsessively doubt the fact that they have OCD. How’s that for a mindfuck?

OCD, at heart, is an anxiety disorder.

People who suffer from OCD know that there is something wrong with them. One of the many differences between OCDers and people who are just “quirky” — besides a role on a major sitcom — is shame. Let’s be clear: If you regularly check your pockets to confirm that you’ve still got your car keys, or if you prefer your sandwiches with the crust cut off, or if you only eat red Starbursts, you’re not suffering from OCD. Those are just quirks, and also the pink Starburst is obviously the best. People like quirks when they’re cute, fun, and harmless. When they involve licking light switches or hitting yourself over the head with your shoe, people just think you’re “crazy.”

But you’ll believe it of yourself as well. You’ll be standing in your bathroom at three in the morning, scrubbing your pocket change because you’ve been awake for hours wondering if it could contaminate your clothes and make you a danger to the people around you, and you’ll be unable to stop, but you’ll know that what you’re doing is crazy.

OCD is “ego dystonic,” which means “out of sync with your ideal self. OCDers don’t even get any joy out of their compulsions. You don’t want to make sure the door is locked 25 times in one night, you have to. It makes you feel better. It makes you feel so good! It’s a relief from the constant thoughts in your brain. But, the relief is only temporary.

Sadly, it’s rarely just OCD. For example, I am also diagnosed with panic attacks, generalized anxiety disorder, and depression. Panic attacks, Tourette syndrome, hypochondria, body dysmorphic disorder, and eating disorders are all so-called OCD sister disorders. Meaning, they are all on the same spectrum. They’re diagnoses in their own right that exist on their own but also hang around in the background while OCD messes with your mind.

OCD also often coexists with depression. This is partly because of chemicals and genetics, and also because constant obsessing and feeling forced to keep everything you’ve ever owned to the point of isolation can be pretty fucking depressing. Studies show that having OCD from an early age tends to make you more susceptible to depression because it wears on you so much.

Dr. Anne Marie Albano, clinical site director of New York-Presbyterian’s Youth Anxiety Center, and a leading voice in child anxiety research, has found that the condition often takes root around age four, and can bloom into depression by high school, leading to substance abuse and even suicide. The clearest path to treating it is to “remove the stigma around anxiety with parents,” she says. Instead of hiding the problem, explore treatment—the most successful of which she has found to be “a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and medication.”

Which brings me to my own story of OCD. I mentioned in an earlier blog that it was at age four that my parents realized that there may not be something right with me. I talked about my generalized anxiety issues, but it is only until now that I am telling my journey of OCD. My Mom died when I was 14, and that was when my OCD became extremely debilitating.

I am the baby of the family. I have three older brothers, all eleven and ten years older than me. It’s Brent, (the oldest,) and then Dirk and Kirk, (the twins,). Because my Dad was sick too when my mom passed, social services came in the night she died and told my family that my oldest brother Brent would have to be my guardian or I would be handed over to the state.

Brent became my guardian, and ensued was a whirl-wind of change. He was only twenty-four years old, and he was not mature enough to be a guardian to a teenage girl who had just lost her mom. He didn’t know that he was supposed to take me to my psychiatrist that I had been seeing since I was eight years old.

So, something I loved to do was the alphabet in sign language. I would be in school and I would have my hand near my side and I would do sign language. And it felt so good. If I were stressed I would tug on my ear 4 times and then slap my side with my right hand, and then I would do the alphabet in sign language. I would do the alphabet walking down the halls, I would do the alphabet in gym class, I would do the alphabet in class while I was supposed to be writing notes. My hand felt like it was going to fall off. My grades were starting to be effected. I was always a straight A student, and at the time I came home with all F’s. Oh, and kids are super cruel anyways, they are extra cruel when you are doing things that are bringing attention to yourself.

At night time the song, “Story of a Girl,” would play over and over in my head. One night I became so desperate for sleep that I started tugging on my ears. I tugged on my ears so hard they started to tear and bleed, and I put a cotton ball in my ears. The school counselor finally stepped in. And when she did she threatened my brother that she was going to call social services. My brother got me back into my normal doctor, and I got back on my meds. I also started talking to a grief counselor.

While my anxiety and OCD was not cured, and it was definitely not the last time I hurt myself or someone else, I was able to sleep better. And I was getting better grades. OCD is treatable.

There have been better years than others. The year I miscarried the twins I didn’t leave the house for a year.

Recently my OCD was becoming really uncontrollable again. There was a lot of changes going on in my life, and I would get stuck on words in conversation. For example, I just started a new position at work. My team was in training and we were reading out loud and my boss got to me and I started my sentence and said, “The attorney stated stated stated stated…” I went on as if nothing had happened, but you could tell there was a confusion in the room. I left the room and went to the bathroom, and cried in embarrassment. No one likes being the New Girl, but when you feel like you are different or there is something wrong with you go home and you feel ashamed. And like you are worthless.

The good news is that OCD and its tag-along disorders are treatable. There are all kinds of medications and therapies that can help alleviate symptoms. And since the spectrum disorders are linked, one treatment can sometimes cover all symptoms. OCD is not something that can be cured, but it can be controlled.

More recently a site reached out to me that is called nOCD. nOCD is an app that was created by someone who suffers from OCD themselves. The founder, Stephen Smith, (a total cutie BTDUBS,) is on a mission to help people with OCD and to take the shame away from the disorder. nOCD is a fully customizable app which incorporates clinically proven OCD treatment techniques (we are not creating a revolutionary new therapy, instead, we are revolutionizing the DELIVERY of an existing form of therapy – ERP – which we already know to be highly effective for OCD).

Here is a link which provides an overview of Exposure and Response Prevention, the type of therapy which is incorporated into nOCD.

nOCD provides real-time tracking of a wide range of metrics, including time spent doing ERP exercises, anxiety levels during exercises and during general use of the app, location/time of day of OCD episodes, and much more. All your personal information is stored on a HIPPA compliant secure server.

nOCD allows you to export this objective data directly to your therapist if you choose to do so. This was something I was extremely impressed by. When I see my doctor, it was problematic since self-reporting is subjective and OCD patients commonly doubt some of the most basic things about themselves or about whatever they are doing. In addition mOCD has a large community on social media @treatmyOCD. I caught myself in the middle of a trigger last week, and the community was so supportive.

nOCD is available for FREE on the App Store (Android version coming soon!). nOCD is determined to bring high-quality, affordable treatment to anyone who needs it.

To download, please click on this link:

nOCD

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“How Do You Plan On Spending The Last Day Of Your Twenties?”

“How Do You Plan On Spending The Last Day Of Your Twenties?”

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“How do you plan on spending the last day of your twenties?”

The question hit me like a ton of bricks. A question asked by my husband as a loving gesture, left me sitting on my bed on the verge of tears. Today, May 27, 2017- is the last day I am ever going to be in my twenties. I don’t think anyone will ever understand the pressures that are placed on twenty-something girls. We live in a society that romanticizes the notion of being a girl living in her twenties. The twenties are supposed to be the best decade of our lives! It’s supposed to be the time we find out who we are, and we make friends, and we meet someone and fall in love. We are supposed to excel in our careers and all while maintaining the perfect body weight.

Only, I was always kind of a late bloomer. I fail by most people’s standards on a daily basis.

The Question: How do you plan on spending the last day of your twenties?

The answer: By letting my twenties go with dignity and class. I don’t plan on being sad! I’m going to have fun! I had an awesome twenties! I may not have accomplished everything I set out to do, but, I have some pretty amazing stories.

I met two US President’s, I met and married the love of my life in four months, I partied-a lot. I had fun sexual experiences! I did illegal things! I once did a dine and dash! I protested! In fact, I attended the largest protest in the History of the United States! And I was an organizer for it! I have been interviewed on the news several times! And I adopted a baby, despite being told I would NEVER have children!

Oh! And I laughed a LOT!

Most people measure their lives based on how big of a house they have, or how far along they are in their career or how nice their car is….but-wouldn’t we all be a lot happier if we measured our lives based on how much we are laughing? After all, I am kind of KNOWN for my laugh!

My Thirties are going to be awesome because I am going to tell my story. I am the writer. How am I going to spend the last day of my twenties? By ending a chapter to my and beginning another!

I Drove In To A House

I Drove In To A House

Today is the one year anniversary of the day I wrecked my car in to a house. I wish I were kidding, I wish it was a joke, but last year at this time I could have died.

I was really pressed for time. My normal lunch hour is 1 PM, but on this particular day I was supposed to be at the library at 11 am for an interview. Let me explain Griffith Avenue to my friends that aren’t familiar with Owensboro-it’s not the richest street in Owensboro, KY-but it’s up there. I NEVER go down Griffith Avenue! EVER!

As I am rushing to get to the library it occurs to me, “Oh wait, Griffith Ave will take you straight to the library!” So, I pull on to Griffith Ave, and I wasn’t even half way down it, when I came up on a curve. I remember thinking, “Why the hell is there a curve on Griffith Ave?”

I tap the breaks to slow down, but the pavement is slippery and I am starting to swirve-and I can’t get control of the car-and I’m going up in to someone’s yard and I STILL can’t get in control of the car! There is a HUGE oak tree and my first thought was, “I’M GOING TO DIE LIKE SONNY BONO AND I’M NEVER GOING TO SEE MY HUSBAND, FAMILY OR, FRIENDS AGAIN!” I swerve and miss the tree by two feet.

WHAM!

The car hit’s the person’s living room and the car finally comes to a stop. I go to close my eyes and I want to go to sleep but there’s smoke everywhere and I want to see Trenton again. I go to open the car door but I can’t get out-my seat belt is trapped around me, and there is smoke everywhere.

I press the seat belt. It unlocks. I’M OUT! I’m not trapped anymore! I open the car door and I realize my shoes aren’t on my feet! I can’t see anything. Where are my glasses? I hit the house so hard it knocked my shoes off my feet, and the glasses off my face!

“HELP! HELP! HELP! My name is Maegan Hagan and I’ve been in an accident and I need someone’s help!” I’m screaming.

I am now running on Griffith Avenue like a crazy person with no shoes on!

A woman in a house coat sees me. It must be the person’s next door neighbor that I hit. She comes up to me and her first reaction is to give me a hug! God bless the people in Owensboro!

She said, “Honey! Are you alright?”

I said, “My name is Maegan Hagan and I live at 1-0-3 Fielden Avenue, my husband is Trenton Hagan and I’ve just lost control of my car and hit your neighbor’s house! I need someone to make sure I didn’t hurt them!”

She said, “Oh no! It’s an old couple too! “The woman in the house coat runs up to their house and a man comes up to me and says, “Hon, do you need me to call anyone?” And I screamed, “270-240-1250!!! Trenton Hagan! He’s my husband!” The man is telling Trenton that I’ve been in an accident on Griffith Avenue and he needs to hurry because it’s bad. I started screaming and then a woman who I can only describe as my guardian angel gets out of her vehicle. She has blonde hair and she is beautiful and she holds my head to where I see only her. She said, “I need you to calm down. It’s going to be okay. My name is Vickie Belcher and I was driving and I just came up on this accident. I’m a paramedic.”

I said, “Vickie my name is Maegan Hagan and I hit those people’s house and I need to make sure they’re okay!” The woman in the house robe comes up from behind me and she says, “They must not be home.” But, I’m not understanding her! Vickie repeats what she said, “Maegan, did you hear that? They weren’t home! They are okay!”

I start crying harder, “Oh God Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!! ”

Vickie Belcher tells me to calm down and hold still. She holds my head the entire time to where I’m looking at only her. She tells the woman in the bath robe that she needs her to call an ambulance. I was going in to shock.

Vickie Belcher holds my head and asks me, “Are you hurt anywhere?”

“My arm is hurting! And my stomach and my boob. My left leg and my right leg.”

I remember looking down for a second and there is blood all over my stomach and my arm. “Do you have anything wrong with you?” Vickie asks.

“Just generalized anxiety!”

“Do you take any meds for that?”

“No!”

She said, “That’s good Maegan. The fire truck is going to be here in a few seconds and I’ll be able to help you more then. I’m a paramedic.”

“You’re a paramedic?? That’s REALLY good luck!” I say and I start to laugh.

The police officer arrives on scene and Vickie Belcher starts talking to him. Everything after that seems blurry but I remember Vickie never leaves my side the whole time. She was wonderful. She’s my angel. The ambulance gets there an a male paramedic gets out and starts talking to Vickie. Vickie helps me get on the gurny, and then I get put on the ambulance.

The male paramedic is talking, “Your name is Maegan? My wife’s name is Maegan.”

Trenton gets on the ambulance, “Oh my God! Is she okay? My name’s Trenton Hagan and I am her husband.”

The paramedic is asking me questions. “How fast were you going?”

“I don’t know. The speed limit?”

The paramedic looks at me, “Okay, so you were going like 30 mph?

“I’m not sure! I usually drive really slowly because I’m a new driver! I just started driving this year.”

We get to the hospital and everyone is working on me, and getting my vitals. I look at Trenton who is crying. “Oh my God! I’m so sorry, Trenton! I wrecked our only working vehicle!”

He came near the bed, “No! It’s not that! We can get a new car! I can’t ever get a new wife!” He grabs me and hugs me and cries even harder.

The police officer comes in the room. They are asking a lot of questions about how fast I was going.” To be honest, maybe I was going faster than I thought! I was really pressed for time! I was supposed to be at the library at 11, and I took my lunch at 11.

I start to cry and the police officer comes closer to my bed, “I’ve been a police officer for over 26 years, and I know you were going at least 65 mph. And if you had hit that tree, your story would be very different. We would be across the hall right now.” He motioned across the hall where the ICU is.

I shook my head and started crying thinking about the old people that owned the house. What if I had hit their house at a different time, and they were home? I cry even harder, “I’m SO sorry!” The police officer taps my foot, “It’s okay, just be careful next time.”

It’s been a year since the accident. I still keep in contact with Vickie Belcher. There are so many people I still want to talk to. Like, the owners of the home. I want to tell them I’m sorry for being so reckless.

I took a lot away from that day. In the end, there was not much damage done to the house I drove in to. I broke a statue of an angel they had in their front yard, and I really messed their lawn up. There was a tiny crack in their wall from where I hit it. In the end they were paid out very well by the insurance company, and I bought a new car the following week. I still have a hard time driving on days that it’s rained. I still go very slowly, and if I’m pressed for time I move my schedule around. I’ll get there eventually. And I’d rather get there, than leave there in a body bag. My actions affect everyone around me, both good and bad. That day my actions effected several people. And to all of those people I would just like to say thank you, and I’m sorry.

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