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Need for School

School destroys me, and yet I can’t function without it. It’s both my best friend and worst enemy. I know my relationship with school is unhealthy, but I can’t seem to get myself out of the web my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) has created. I know I have to work to improve my mental health, but I don’t know how to live without my OCD with school.

Each day my anxiety is so high at school I’m on an adrenaline rush all day long. I’ve gotten used to the feeling that I might start shaking and break apart from all of the emotion and energy. Then I go home, the anxiety induced adrenaline high wears off, and I feel empty. I finally feel my sleep deprivation, getting off the couch becomes a struggle, and homework seems impossible.

However my OCD steps in and the anxiety returns, and I’m able to do my homework. The stress is just enough to keep me motivated and scared, but I usually don’t feel like I’m going to burst. The later it gets the higher my anxiety becomes, until I finish my homework to my standards (which rarely happens) or it gets late enough that I can argue that I should sleep to be able to make it through the next day.

For me, going through the school day is like riding a rollercoaster. The entire time you’re really energized, both excited and nervous (for me more nervous), and it’s hard to sit still. When on the rollercoaster whatever emotions you feel (adrenaline, fear, joy, etc) are heightened, peaking at certain points on the ride. However, when you get off, the emotions fade away, and you are left feeling kind of dull and tired. Then, you get in line and ride again, and the cycle continues.

I am stuck in the rollercoaster cycle with school, with the rollercoaster getting larger and faster to bring out amplified emotions. With such extreme emotions for at least eight hours a day, how am I supposed to get anything done without my anxiety kicking in and giving me a little bit of the stress to get motivated? Being sleep deprived, I cannot easily overcome the need for sleep without the anxiety kicking in.

The simple solution would be to get more sleep to not have such a crash when getting home from school, but that is easier said than done. My OCD causes me to take a ridiculously long time on homework (rereading, rewriting, double and triple checking, thinking things through over and over, making extra work for myself, etc). Resisting the OCD spikes my anxiety and then I can’t sleep, which doesn’t help my sleep deprivation.

Weekends are my time to recover, catch up on sleep, let my emotions try to settle out to what they should be. However, the weekend is not enough time for me to catch up on sleep, get my homework done, and participate in whatever events happen to be going on that weekend. When school gets out at the end of the year, it typically takes me one to two weeks to catch up on sleep and adjust to not having such extreme anxiety all the time. Plus, my OCD affects other areas besides school, and those don’t go away on the weekend (some of them happen to act up then).

For me the week feels like being in the ocean during a storm. The waves crash and push me under during the week, I’m out of control, I can’t breathe, I’m drowning. The weekend is when I manage to get to the surface and take a huge gulp of air before being pushed back under the the wave of the coming week. Brief breaks come in the form of a stray piece of driftwood, but they are only temporary, and most of the time aren’t enough to recover. Don’t even get me started about the creatures in the ocean and those encounters.

My life is clearly out of balance, OCD is the dominant force. Despite the negative spiral I’m in with school, I cannot continue down the path I’m on; I won’t make it through college in one piece. While extreme anxiety and panic will ensue, I must fight back for my future, my happiness, my health. My health is a necessity to be able to go to school, and I can’t let my OCD cover that up, My health comes first.

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