I'm an introvert. A love-to-help-solve-your-problems-but-wont-talk-about-my-own introvert. This has been known to drive various friends and family crazy and has actually offended some people over the years. I've recently realized another reason I don't talk about my own problems: no matter what happens in life, when problems come up, I'm never willing to admit to myself how bad they really are until they reach a crisis point. So, I've reached that point and this time, instead of still handling it all on my own, I'm going to talk. And fair warning to those of you who are currently jumping for joy at this announcement: you may regret it.
Now, this is not going to be some diatribe, or some my-life-is-crap-please-feel-sorry-for-me type thing. It's just going to be facts and you can interpret them how you will.
I have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. And in case anyone is laughing, thinking of the quirky characters on TV who wash their hands too much, let me be clear: OCD is not funny, quirky or harmless. It is debilitating, life-altering, second-by-second torture. You usually won't find me washing my hands twenty times an hour, but my head is reeling with internal rituals and checks and questions. I have not known more than a few hours' peace in nearly twenty years.
I also have a chronic illness. We don't know what it is. I started showing signs of it about five years ago, but they came and went so we assumed it was just normal changes due to having kids. This past year though, it hit with a vengeance. We suspect that its a combination of a hormonal imbalance and Adrenal Fatigue, the latter of which mainstream medicine treats the same way they treated Fibromyalgia twenty years ago...namely, it doesn't exist.
When whatever this is flares up, my body goes into survival mode and my systems start malfunctioning. My body acts as though I have any or all of the following:
Fibromyalgia (muscle and joint pain and/or weakness, insomnia, fatigue)
IBS (nausea and other digestive issues)
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Severe PMS (anger, irritability, mood swings, depression)
Anxiety and/or Panic attacks (heart palpitations, unable to breathe)
Asthma (shortness of breath)
Heart issues (chest pain, heart palpitations without a panic attack)
And it makes the OCD worse.
Whatever this is, it is made worse by stress and, as my body wears down and is less and less able to handle stress, even "good" stress is too much. My chest will tighten from something as simple as checking email, or the thought of going out with friends for the day. Another friend of mine is suffering from an iron deficiency right now and as I watched her have to sit down whenever she could, or look like she was pushing herself just to continue a conversation, I knew exactly what she felt like because that is what I feel like nearly every day. I don't say any of this to garner sympathy; I'm just trying to explain what it's like so others understand when I seem "out of sorts" -- I'm just trying to push through and live a normal life, while not even knowing what is doing this to me.
Despite all my shortcomings, God has blessed me with a wonderful, loving husband and he deserves a cheerful, doting, supportive wife. Because of the above, I have to fight daily to even be able to try being the wife and friend he deserves. God has also blessed us with 6 beautiful children who need an orderly home and a peaceful mother. With the above, they usually get neither and we descend into chaos.
Even with all the trouble, we do have a blessed life; we have each other and we know God is working in our lives. So, I guess there's nothing more to say except please keep us in your prayers as we search for answers and, to my "real life" friends, please understand that when things seem "off", it isn't because of you.