You wouldn't know it by looking at my car (I don't remember the last time it was clean, and then it was probably Chris who took it through the car wash) or the state of my personal files, but I may have a touch of obsessive compulsive disorder. By the way, I'm self-diagnosing here, so if it's actually some other disorder I've got, no need to point it out.
In middle school, I went through a period where I ate baked potatoes almost exclusively and drank lemonade by the gallon. Around the same time, I went through my mom's cookbooks and calculated the calorie counts on almost every recipe, whether or not we were ever going to try the dish. I think the normal kids were at the playground. And I don't think I had an eating disorder, but I did pay very close attention to what I ate. This is ironic, considering most of my clothes in the early 90s were so baggy that it wouldn't have mattered what my body looked like underneath. I finally let go of this behavior around my junior year of high school, when we moved to Seattle and I had more important things to occupy my attention, like how to properly order a double tall nonfat latte.
That wackadoodle part of my brain is probably also to blame for my running. I've always been active, but I was never coordinated enough to be what you'd call an athlete. This is why I ran; I could usually put one foot in front of the other without falling on my face. In college, I ran obsessively. I ran whether there was snow on the ground or I was hungover or I had an organic chemistry test to study for. When my parents separated my junior year, I ran three miles to a cathedral, kneeled in the back row of pews, and cried. This was the same year I was on the cross-country team - which meant daily team practices and racing a 5K every weekend. It is a blessing that I worked at a bagel shop and had free and unlimited access to carbs during that period.
These days, limited free time only means that my looniness rears its head in other ways, and it usually strikes as soon as my head hits the pillow at night. I wish I had time to run 18 miles a week. I'd use the time to do something else now, like SLEEP IN ON WEEKENDS or organize those files of mine or catch up on laundry. When the house is quiet at the end of the day, my mind buzzes - roars, really - with anxiety about the fact that I have cancer. My panicked internal dialogue sounds something like this:
What is that pain in my rib? Why is my hair growing in? How do I have stage FOUR cancer? Why didn't I catch it sooner? I don't want to die.
Chris has perfected the art of calming me down, but I broke down this week and asked my doctor for a crutch in pill form. The moments of panic were happening more often than I was comfortable with, not to mention they were interfering with my sleep. And panic is not nearly as cute as our Bug, so my patience for sleep-deprivation because of it had run thin. Xanax won't make the cancer go away; I know that. But if it means I can cope with it a little better (and sleep a little more), I just might make it through this without ending up in the loony bin.