Reflecting on this past year brings mixed thoughts for me. There was so much joy: the birth of my third niece, Baby E; two of my dreams (writing and signing interpretation) beginning to come to fruition; my physical health continuing to improve…
But there is also much pain. One year ago I was at the lowest point of my life. I was fighting a battle against Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, specifically germphobia. It was winning.
I have gone through many difficult times in my life, especially in the past five years. I have helped my mom through surgery after surgery after surgery. I have struggled with one health problem after another of my own, and seen my sisters do the same. I’ve been through a painful church split and betrayal by a close friend. But through all of those and others, I had a close connection with God. I had my family. And I had my own resilient spirit.
I have always loved life. I have always loved people. But all that changed. OCD snuck up from nowhere and changed my life. Changed me. Suddenly I didn’t enjoy life. I struck out at the people I loved the most. I didn’t like myself. I didn’t know who I was anymore. The Amy I had always been was gone. I tried to find her again. Wanted her again. But I couldn’t find the strength to bring her back.
I called out to God, to my family, to doctors. The germs had taken over my life. I spent my days striving to control the germs. Instead, they controlled me. For a year and a half I spiraled downwards. I hit the bottom. Life was no life, but one tortuous day mingled into another, obsessed with germs. Then, slowly, very slowly, I began crawling back out of it.
There was no magic formula. No brilliant “Ah ha!” revelation. There was just one minute at a time.
There were, however, some things that helped immensely. My naturopath found that not only did I have mercury poisoning, and not only were my hormone levels way out of whack, but also my neurotransmitters were completely bonkers. The transmitters that keep you focused on one thing were sky high. The “feel good” transmitters were extremely low. Adrenaline was way high. I was put on some natural medicines and eventually a prescription medication. Life, slowly, was returning.
Today I am once again Amy. There are still pieces in my life of that other person. Perhaps some will always be there, lingering in the background. But I will keep fighting. Those pieces will continue to get smaller, more distant.
This year I can stand with confidence, looking back and seeing that even when I reach the point that I can only scream, “God, help me!” I can know that He will. This year I will enjoy my family. Enjoy God.
I will enjoy life.
There are many of you out there who have no idea how much you’ve helped me through this. There are a few sho know only too well how much they have helped. To each of you, and most of all to my family, I want to say “Thank You.”