I’m going away for a long weekend and won’t be able to post an entry on March 1 (or February 30, for that matter.) So this one is early by five days. Next one will be March 10.)
So many of my symptoms that really got in my way during the past have faded. They are still there, but not nearly as often, and they aren’t nearly as intense. I have much to be grateful for.
But in the last couple of months I have developed some new symptoms that make me crazy. They aren’t destructive, which is a blessing. They don’t ruin my life. They are more like a persistent itch that is annoying enough to get in the way of concentrating on much of anything else.
What are they symptoms of? Danged if I know. Maybe they are just shields to hide the real thing.
Anyway, I now count all the time, for the first time in my life (that I remember, of course.) It might have started with physical therapy exercises, where I have to count the repetitions. Except I have been doing PT exercises on and off for thirty years. Maybe it has spread from the PT to other parts of my life because I focus more on my PT.
Now I count steps, pairs of socks when I put away the laundry, bites of food. Worst of all I sometimes counts my breaths at night which, within a few minutes, makes me afraid I will forget how to breathe. I say to myself, “think of something pleasant!” but within a minute or so I am right back to counting my breaths. It makes it hard to relax enough to get to sleep.
Another annoying thing is that I hear words in random sounds — the sounds the mouse makes on the mouse pad, the sound of my walker in the apartment, traffic noises. They make no sense and fade before I can catch them and write them down, like words that drift through my mind as I am meditating. Can they be clues to what is underneath all this? If I can’t remember or record them, I will never know.
A couple of weeks ago I started naming things. Dish. Fork. Chair. Will I soon start counting them as well? “One dish. Two forks, three spoons.” Aaargh!
That’s a lot of new symptoms to pop up in such a short time. Am I becoming OCD in my old age? Unlikely. Could they be a side effect of the new pain med I am taking? The timing is right. Or are they a protection from a memory that is trying to surface? The timing is always right!
Let’s say they are shielding a memory. I understand that dealing with the effect of ritual abuse is a life-long process and that it doesn’t go in a straight line. Instead, it seems to spiral; you work on some issue until it feels resolved. Then weeks or months or years later you return to the same issue and work on it on a deeper level. I know intellectually that this is progress, but emotionally I am always caught off-guard and am disappointed in myself. I shouldn’t be — I should be pleased with myself, but old habits of self-criticism die hard.
If it’s a new symptom that is guarding a secret, my job now is to figure out whether this is a recurrent issue or a new one. If it’s a side effect, I’ll ask the doctor, who probably will be baffled, since Google doesn’t know. The counting and naming and hearing random words is driving me nuts and not knowing where it comes from is driving me nuts, too.