Updated: Jun 21
Today is January 7th. To most people it's just a day. Maybe the day after the Jan 6th attack, but in general, just a day. But for me, it's one of the most important days of the year. Today, 28 years ago, my dad died.
It's funny, ECT took away so many memories from me, but I remember that day like it was yesterday. It was a Saturday (just like today) and we were sitting around in the living room watching TV while my dad took a nap. My sister went into my parents' room to get something, and came out and said, mom, I think Dad's not breathing. My mom explained that when people are sleeping they breathe lightly so she wouldn't see it, and we went back to lounging, until who knows long later when my mom went in and told us to go get the neighbor, our dad was dead.
The thing is, I don't really miss my dad all that much. Towards the end of his life he was a raging, closet alcoholic, which made his moods super unpredictable and he was very scary. I have some wonderful memories of him on some good days, but mostly it was a lot of running to my room because I was scared of the yelling.
So why does this day affect me so much? In many ways it made our lives better. But it's my OCD. Something inside my head tells me that it's January 7th, everybody I love is going to die. I start panicking days in advance, cry over the smallest things, and have nightmares of funerals. I make a rule that no one is allowed to take a nap that day. I know it doesn't make sense. I know that it is superstition, but it is so real to me. My anxiety over this date is so intense that it affects me physically. I'm embarrassed how many times I have checked in with my mom and best friend to make sure they are alive, but if I don't the anxiety just rises and rises and rises.
The hardest part is that I feel so alone. My family and friends, no matter how hard they try, just can't understand this anxiety. They think that if they just tell me it's not real, it's superstitious, that I'll be fine, but I know that's true, it doesn't make the anxiety any less. I feel like they get mad or frustrated that I don't believe them that it's going to be okay, but it's not that I don't trust them, it's that my brain is fighting so hard and its voice is louder.
There's just a few hours left until midnight, and so far so good. Maybe we made it through another year. But I wanted to share this with you because I know there are other people like me who are haunted by dates or times or just numbers in general. OCD can be really tough to deal with, and very lonely.
If you have friends or loved ones dealing with this disorder please keep in mind that just because something doesn't seem rational to you doesn't mean that it doesn't feel very real to them. That if it seems like they can't just listen to reason that it isn't because they aren't trying. The best thing that a person could say to me right now is, "This is not Truth, but I know it feels true to you, and I support you and will be here to help you get through it". It's amazing what a difference it would make. Please be safe and support each other.