not fighting my- demons-we joined- forces
|Purred: Tue Aug 3, '10 3:18pm PST |
|yes, kaya's motto also works for me. kaya's motto is the motto i use for myself in an autism forum-but it was kaya's first. she had other mottos, as i observed her making her way from feral to bold to somewhat-socialized but anxious...where she remains, but the way she expresses her anxiety is what caused me to give her that motto. the stealing of rhymon's toys and placing them by my pillow when rhymon first came, but that came much later. as a young kitten, she buried favorite toys in her litter or in her water in our room...died laughing that she not only chose beanie baby shark to bring to bed, but stored him in her (full) water dish during the day. i was forever rescuing sharky. both she and shyloh would bury their food-but kaya chose to cover hers with my underwear.
i knew kaya was anxious-dilated pupils and body language, plus the flaky ocd thing with the litterbox that most of you know about. did not know then that her ocd was going to get as full-blown as it later did and has-i reserve the feliway or rescue remedy option as a not-quite last resort, both because it affects all the household cats and because her coping mechanisms do tend to kick in, but i'm not sure i can deal with another spate of baldness, especially if she starts stripping the fur off the others again. jadyn still has a stripe of fur near the base of her tail that looks different than the surrounding fur...which is just a weird location, but better than when shyloh denuded kaya's ears, i guess. but until it got that bad, she was my role model for dealing with anxiety. entirely serious. all hail the orange trickster demon. it didn't get that bad until i got sick and kept going in the hospital and leaving her for so long-and then she just overloaded. she'd had so many changes, so fast-rhymon coming, the fire, the move because of the fire, me starting to get sick was probably giving her some anxietyeven before the fire, then melinda leaving AND TAKING SHYLOH...then we lost churrah last october. and that i think was the last straw.
or the straw before last, technically. see, she was dealing before then, living up to her motto. my first hospitalization, while shyloh was still there, her reaction was to either glom onto shyloh or be the invisible kitty while i was gone, not letting andrea or melinda near her. when i came home, she was all over me for a day or two. then she started meowing-which she does more than she once did, back then at less than a year old (about wesley's age, actually) almost never-until everyone was in the den and pretty much: WHAT, CAT? so she jumps up on top of the entertainment center and proceeds to throw everything off that belonged to me. picked up bags of medicine in her teeth and swung them a goodly distance. keys. cigarettes (still smoked then). lighters. spare change. picked up my hat and "killed" it, then dropped it. if it belonged to melinda, andrea, or the cats it was untouched. if it was mine, it was on the floor.
honestly, i'd never seen anything quite like it. still haven't, really. i described this on catster at the time, but i think i underplayed it-i wasn't as sure of myself here back then, and was afraid people would believe i was exaggerating. nope. of course, by now i've met enough cat people, heard enough stories...yes, they're that smart. no one was going to think i was just bragging. at the time it was pretty awe-inspiring--especially when i lost enough anthrocentrism to realize it wasn't kaya i should be in awe of, but all cats, all animals, and the simple fact that humans aren't as alone on the planet as they choose to believe...of course then you get sort of sad, but never mind.
to continue, kaya then proceeded to love on andrea and melinda for days and ignore me-i "retaliated" by loving on rhymon, or trying to, rhymon was less than socialized at that point, though getting there. and of course, we moved on and got back to the business of being ourselves. and then the fire and the move and melinda took away shyloh, and i went back in the hospital--and while i was in the hospital kaya stopped eating. and i noticed some thin patches of fur on her belly and paws. it got pretty thin, then stopped and grew back in. this was when the vet i mostly like said probably ocd since she had no fleas for it to be a flea allergy, plus her personality, plus where the hair loss was. considering how much turmoil there had been, he said just wait and see-this was fall/winter, '08-it might turn out to be self-limiting. it seemed to be.
most of '09 andrea, melinda and i were sick with respiratory problems-some of the cats, particularly shyloh, also had problems. we're guessing either the fire or what they used to put it out with. we weren't supposed to stay the night after they put it out, but really had nowhere to go-basically the fire marshall said he wouldn't call the cops (or tell the on scene cops we intended to stay), but that he was declaring it condemned not just because of the structural damage, but because it was toxic to breathe in. told us we really shouldn't be there without masks. (and here i am on oxygen...hmmm. yes, i feel stupid. though technically my lungs already had some scarring, from the weirdo pneumonia in '06...) kaya stuck very, very close. she wasn't very playful, but i think she was worried. '09 was the year of ayla and jadyn and many other positive things...but i was getting progressively sicker.
and fall came around, and with it the flu-and after it pneumonia, and i came home from the hospital on oxygen...kaya wasn't balding, but she was chewing her claws a lot. she does that. i don't know if that's something she picked up from me biting my nails, or what. then, oct. 31...churrah the magnificent, our revered elder, our senior citizen ninja--joined the wild hunt. (and i chose oct. 31 as wesley's birthday, which for all i know could even be right. saw him first as a tiny-eared blue-eyed thing early to middish november, thought at the time, ah, the samhain litter from a black cat, how appropos.) and the next time i came out of the hospital--kaya was balding and even had irritated skin from the compulsive grooming. actually, tell the truth and shame the devil-it wasn't obvious until i took a warm wet cloth with a bit of dawn to clean off the bare skin and looked at the cloth, but at some point the skin had broken. there was dried blood, anyway.
dried blood-but no flea bites? i couldn't get to the vet, no one could take me. but fleas were possible, having taken ayla and co. in-though i had given everyone preventatives. i forget how we got ahold of the (capstar? i want to say capsaicin but that's absurd.), but we did. no change. called vet again, got the guy i didn't like.
it was just...ocd. she was biting herSELF. obsessive grooming. all i had to do was look at my own bitten nails and think of the times i'd ripped a nail off-yes it hurt and i didn't want to hurt but i couldn't stop. or think of when i used to twirl my hair and pull out strands until i had to cut it ultra-short so i wouldn't look like i had a bad case of static or a crazy person when a significant amount would come out and my scalp would bleed. again, not wanting to harm myself. just ocd. just the can't stop myself disease.
told the vet i had ocd and he interrupted and told me that no, i didn't give it to her. (this is one reason we are looking for another vet, he seems to think i am simple.) but, he conceded, my anxiety was no doubt contributing to hers. thanks. and i'll take that bill with a side of guilt, thanks. (and another reason we are...you feel me?)actually, one of our vets i love, but i can't control which vet we see...you know how it is. never mind. i want to go somewhere i know who i'll see, for my sake and theirs.
so kaya and i share a demon. and she has other demons i don't, no doubt. as i have others she doesn't. but we BOTH usually do a pretty good job of joining forces with them instead of fighting them...but sometimes things just mount up, and you have to beat a few off with a stick. or reevaluate your demon assets and deploy them more creatively.
because i bet you thought ocd was the bad demon in the story. nope. ANXIETY is the bad demon in this story. ocd is an adaptation response to overpowering anxiety. without that adaptation response the sentient organism would not in any way be functional. it's not the best response,maybe-but it IS a response. anxiety itself can be used as an energy source. ocd, when things are a bit calmer, has all sorts of positive side effects.
c.s. lewis had the right of it in 'the screwtape letters', i think, when he said all evil was twisted good. and all the bad stuff in our lives can be raw material for good-my kitty taught me that.
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