A lot of changes have been happening recently in my life, causing a lot of anxiety and flare ups of my OCD. As part of my self-care, I committed to writing something, so I wrote something about what it's like for me when I'm not totally well.
As I lose grip on my thoughts, the background noises grow louder and louder until I can hear nothing but the maid vacuuming in the room next door, the father outside my room telling his daughter to calm down, the brothers in the hallway, fighting over who will push the elevator button first, the maid turning the vacuum on again, sucking up every speck of dirt while footsteps beat louder and then softer and then louder again as someone runs up and down the hall. I imagine a young boy wearing a swimsuit and holding a yellow, plastic bucket with a red handle and a red, plastic shovel for building sand castles or army forts or whatever else children build with buckets, shovels, and sand at the beach. I imagine him 11 years old because the footsteps do not beat heavy enough for a full-grown body. A female voice yells in what I perceive as Spanish. My first thought travels to the boy’s mother until I hear a second female voice responding, also seemingly in Spanish. Two maids yell across the hall to one another about towels or soap or anything else I’ll never understand. I used to speak Spanish, never fluently, but relatively proficiently. I have functioned in a variety of Spanish-speaking places with different dialects, including Mexico and Spain. I even picked up Catalan in Barcelona. Too bad I failed to learn where to put the accents. I tend to lose the trees for the forest—focusing on the big picture and forgetting about the details. Most law students suffer the opposite affliction—such attention to detail causes big picture blindness. Maybe I never look close enough. That still doesn’t stop me from noticing just about everything except whatever I’m supposed to see. Take those magic eye posters, for example. I notice the blurry mess first, then I can focus hard enough to see the animal or house or whatever inanimate object hides within the patterns, but never once do I stop to actually perceive the tiny, repeating images that make up the bigger picture, illusion or not. Cognitive shortcomings affect perceptions of reality. When my brain begins to loop, and my thoughts jump on that ferris wheel inside my mind, my focus blurs, and I miss things. I miss the patterns. I miss the details. I miss the pieces that make up the whole. And when I miss things, the anxiety grows, and when the anxiety grows big enough, it manifests as frustration, and internal frustration wears the external guise of irritability, which means I become short, impatient, rude, and, worst of all, frantic. So to anyone who has ever suffered the brunt of my sporadic and temporary emotional shortsightedness, I have explanations and apologies to offer, but no excuses. Apologies do not necessitate forgiveness, but I felt this necessary to say. Progress takes work when you’re a work in progress, or something like that, or so they say. Thank you for your patience.