Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Have you met my crazy?

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.


  1. I have been there and back (the looniness), can't imagine how you feel, but I do know what some of it affects your brain and causes that racing feeling and too bad I was athletic, but couldn't run very well. You will get through this, with strength and dignity, and your personal crutch in whatever or whomever that is. If you want to scream, come over and we will do it together, or hold each other and cry, or throw cookie dough and laugh or just be silent and pray to ourselves, whatever it is, I am here at 12:30am, or until 2 in the afternoon and all weekends. I will make the dough. You are my only daughter and you aren't going anywhere. My cookbooks are still here with the caloric calculations. They are dear to me along with most of your grade school papers, we should have made cookies when Alana was here. I love you more than you will ever know! Mom

  2. We are thinking about you all. The blog is amazing- I think you need to write a book along the lines of Marley and Me only with the Campisano saga- just print the blog. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Kisses and Hugs to all. Diane and Pete B

  3. hi jen...K.K. here,am happy to hear you have something to quiet those scarey thoughts--will relieve a bit of stress-getting proper rest very impt. by the way-never having seen you in person,the new 'do looks very natural around your lovely face. keep kicking CA ass!

  4. Cannot imagine what it must be like, Jen. I often have a similar--albeit very different--anxiety as soon as the lights go out and my husband is suddenly snoring even though we were talking to one another like 5 seconds ago. all i can say is: I am cheering for you!! And sending you only the best! Only the best, only the best!!

  5. Good move. You can do it. You can do it.