Saturday, April 27, 2013

Worry Wart

Worry Wart. That was my pet moniker given to me as a child by my mother. Before we knew I had an actual mental illness. I worried about everything, hell I still do. She used to say that I would have a heart attack by the age of ten if I didn't stop worrying about everything. If only it had been that easy to just stop. My life has been riddled with just stop, just stop already. Unfortunately, you can not will OCD away. You can not will away any mental illness.

She used to buy me worry dolls. Tiny dolls with yarn dresses made of paper and string. I loved to play with them. I ended up with about twenty. They were fun to play with but did't help my worrying at all. I am not sure why they didn't ease my thoughts, after all they are called worry dolls. Maybe I didn't have enough? Maybe I didn't use them the right way? Who knows. Actually, I would have needed more than twenty to help. I could have had a box truck full of the brightly colored worry dolls, deposited on my lawn ever day and I still would have been a basket case. The folklore of them is beautiful though. The dolls folklore originate in Guatemala. I would like to have a few nowadays just to look at them.

My mothers next step was to buy me worry stones to get through the day. I liked the feel of the polished stone under my thumb. I would rub my thumb over the little bumps and creases on the stone until the pattern was familiar  It was slightly calming but it didn't really help with my OCD. Still I had a worry stone in my pocket for a long time. It's folklore is also beautiful. The stones folklore originated in Ancient Greece.

I liked both the dolls and stones very much. Although they did not help my mental illness, they do speak to how much my mother tried to ease my pain. At that time children really had no treatment for mental illness that was very helpful.
There was no amount of worry items that would have eased my suffering. There wasn't anything my mother could have given to make my OCD better besides therapy and I was already getting that. I am thankful that she tried.
I continued to be her "little worry wart". I worried about health issues  loosing loved ones, contamination, was I being a good girl, and  did people like me? The list goes on and on. It is a lot of stress for a four year old to go through. I made it through with the help, love, and support of my family. I made it through because although the dolls and stones didn't ease my pain, they proved that my parents cared enough to try anything to help me, no matter how far fetched the ideas were.
I believe that is what helps the mentally ill. Going out of your way to try anything to support the person suffering. Being there for them and holding their hand when life gets out of control and scary. Offering them solace. Offering understanding. It means so much more than you know.
Am I still a worry wart? Yes, but now I have it under control. I may worry, but it does not make it impossible for me to get things done. I am not crying and rocking back in forth in my room. It has taken years of therapy and support from my loved ones to get this way and I am thankful that I am able to function. Besides, there are so many beautiful things in life to let worry take over everything.
Today is a good day because I want it to be. Today I may worry but I will turn up the music and just disintegrate into the lyrics. Today I will not allow OCD to make me a worry wart. I do have a choice: stand or fall, live or suffer, worry or get up and move. Today I am going to get up and go to the store. Maybe I will come across a worry doll or stone and smile.

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