Burning Out

I should be writing a paper, but, as usual, OCD is getting in my way.  This semester has been the worst one yet.  All of the fears and obsessive thoughts that have haunted me throughout college now seem to be strengthening.  They are taking my struggle and saying, See?  We knew you weren’t smart enough!  We knew you were really stupid and now your professors and classmates are finding it out, too!

(Yes, I’m personifying my obsessive thoughts.  No, I don’t really have voices in my head.  Sometimes the back-and-forth between reason and OCD seems a bit like a conversation, but I don’t hear voices.)

So yeah.  I have never struggled this much with school, especially with English classes.  It’s like my brain isn’t functioning properly.  It’s like it keeps checking out when I need it most.  I keep having to ask for help, for clarification, for someone to completely re-explain something to me because I didn’t understand anything that was discussed in class.

I’m not used to needing help so bad that I actually ask for it.  Those of you who have known me for a long time know that I don’t ask for help.  I usually just struggle through things on my own.  I hate asking for help!  But this semester, I have been asking for help on a regular basis.  I guess it’s good that I am finally able to ask, but it sucks that things had to get this bad to get me to do so.

I know I’m going to end up sick before long.  I always get sick when I get too stressed out.  My immune system goes to hell.  I’m sure it doesn’t help that I haven’t been eating well lately.  I don’t understand how I have gained weight this semester when I’m barely eating.

Tonight, I realized just how bad it has gotten.  I was sitting here writing a paper, and I had some awful stomach pain because I hadn’t eaten much today.  Finally the pain made me stop writing and eat something.  The messed up thing is that this is a semi-regular occurrence.

I really didn’t want to mention this problem, but when I started this blog, I promised to be honest and open.  I thought it would be easy by now, but it continues to be difficult.  I frequently struggle to press the publish button.

I’m sorry to be so negative.  I know that’s not as fun for you to read.  I’m just feeling really down tonight and writing always helps me feel better.  That and you guys are always so amazing.

One last apology: I’m sorry for any grammatical errors.  I usually proofread, but I’m exhausted, so I’m going to bed.  I’ll check it tomorrow or something.

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8 thoughts on “Burning Out

  1. You never need to apologize for expressing your feelings. Especially on your own blog. I wish more people were honest about how they feel, especially during the hard times. When you are honest and talk about things that suck and make you sad or frustrated it gives others the freedom to do so as well. It lets others know they are not alone when they have a tough time.

    I am sorry things are so dark right now. I have trouble eating as well. I have to remind myself on a regular basis and treat it like medicine that I just have to take. Otherwise it’s easy for me to go the entire day without eating. And not really miss it that much. So I understand this part of what you’re saying.

    I struggled with asking for help. Okay, struggled is an understatement. I had an intense aversion to it. I even refused it when it was offered and I knew as well as the other person that I needed it. Then I got sick and didn’t have any choice. Asking for help is still tough, but I have learned to see the wisdom in it. I hope you can find peace in accepting help.

    And I hope the black cloud goes away. Soon!

  2. Screw proofreading!! You deserve a break from it when you’re not writing for school. And sure it may not be “fun” to read about people’s struggles, but I think a lot of us can relate to the feelings you mention here. I know I do.

    I thought it was interesting how you mentioned that you don’t ask for help – you just struggle through. That’s definitely how I was through most of school, especially college. I never understood how other students had the courage to ask questions when I’m pretty sure they could just find the answer in the book…and of course…I felt like I couldn’t ask any questions that I might be able to answer on my own!!

    Anyways, I hope you get to feeling better. Looking back at my experiences with school, I think a lot of times when I felt like I didn’t “understand,” I really did. OCD just kept setting the bar higher and higher for the meaning of the word “understand,” and the more I tried to make sure I grasped every nuance, the more I felt like I didn’t understand anything at all. I think there were a lot of times where I felt like I didn’t know things at all, when really I had a decent grasp on the material – OCD just, as usual, made me doubt myself the more I questioned. Don’t know if that helps, but just remember OCD most likely holds you to some pretty high standards for understanding everything and doing everything right. I feel for you!! Take care of yourself! And let yourself off the hook!! If you don’t feel like proofreading, who cares? And if your experiences have been negative as of late, don’t feel like you have to hide that for your readers sake. (And I should practice taking my own advice, lol). I have been having a rough time myself lately, and as much as I don’t wish that upon anyone else, it’s nice to know that I’m not alone :).

  3. You’re probably putting on weight because of your body’s natural defence-against-starvation mechanisms. If you don’t eat for a while, your body thinks it’s going to starve, so when you do eat, instead of digesting food as normal, it hangs on to every scrap and stores it as energy, that is, fat, because it doesn’t know when it’s next going to get some food. Hence, you put on weight.

    Maybe you should just keep a bowl of fruit or something on your desk so you can at least eat that as you work. It’ll keep your energy up for one thing and help your immune system for another.

    I’m glad you’re asking for help now, even though it’s only because it’s so bad. Your lecturers will know you’re doing your best, and that usually inclines them towards leniency. All they want is that you do your best.

    I know it seems counter-intuitive, but take regular breaks. Go into the fresh air and breathe for a few minutes every hour. Your (ordered) brain will thank you for it. I know this from personal experience.

    Lastly, just keep doing your best. Be brave; be strong. You can do it.

  4. Hey Elly – not sure why but my comment from last night came out as anonymous!! Weird. Anyways, hope you are feeling better! And like the others said, no need to apologize for expressing your feelings, especially on your own blog!!

  5. I’m sorry you are struggling so much! I understand this difficulty with asking for help. My irony is that I became a librarian, even though I had never ever asked one for help as an undergraduate. But I was really good at research, because it was one of my rituals to try and banish the thoughts of being inadequate and imperfect. OCD gets all entangled with this. OCD says nothing about you as a person. It’s a disorder, and it does mess with your ability to think clearly–asking for explanations and clarifications can be a ritual, which ironically, causes the very thing you fear, which is even more inability to think clearly. I would research endlessly, as a ritual to assuage the anxiety that whatever I did wasn’t perfect, and this dug me deeper into the fear that I really couldn’t trust my own thinking, since every search I did only reinforced my belief that obviously I didn’t know enough. I encourage you to ask for help with the OCD–find an exposure therapist(or if you have an ERP therapist, tell her what you’ve been struggling with) through the IOCDF or a support group(I have a list here: http://exposingocd.blogspot.com/p/ocd-support-groups.html

    I’m glad you hit the publish button.

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