Last week was an emotional roller coaster ride for me. Yet things have been flowing quite nicely for me in my MA thesis voyage so far. Everything is falling into place seamlessly. So far all my puzzle pieces are connecting and I find myself questioning if it should be this easy or fun? But again I realize that possibly why my thesis project has been smooth sailing thus far, is because it’s truly become a passion project for me. It’s my story to tell, my real life story. There is something powerful and deeply meaningful in that fact and in the writing process I now find myself in during my MA thesis journey. The reason I open this post with what an emotional ride last week was is because it had to do with family. That’s a tough subject matter, especially when having to dig deep and unearth a lot of past hurt and pain within your own family tree. Adding to this complicated factor is that I come from a very private and proud old school Italian family, where such topics are meant to be kept hush hush.
As I mentioned in my previous blog post I decided to include two chapters dedicated to my older brother and other members of my family in my memoir. The reason I chose to do this is because I come from a long line of mental illness which effects both sides of my family. My older brother like myself is a OCD and anxiety sufferer. Other members of my family have suffered from substance abuse, depression, bi polar disorder, anxiety disorder and OCD. It’s important for me to explore this further because there is a strong genetic and hereditary link to OCD as I’ve learned over the extensive research I’ve done so far for my literature review. I also believe that by telling my brothers story along with my other family members stories, it will make my memoir that much more authentic, revealing and raw. Reading about my complicated family tree is a unique element that I think has relevance and will in fact make my particular memoir The Seashell stand out from other works within the memoir genre. I also firmly believe that if I don’t know where I come from, or where I’ve been, then how will I ever know where I’m going?
Let’s talk about this weeks thesis progress shall we?! After having a one on one meeting with Dr. Zamora after class, she suggested that I take a break from the emotional heaviness that is family and start focusing on a journal article of my choice from my literature review. Honestly I can really use this shift in gears and change of pace and I openly welcome it! Again Dr. Zamora’s heart felt advice and her loving care and consideration for each one of us and our various projects really means so very much to me. Thank you for always believing in us and our vision, even when at times we don’t believe in ourselves. #drzamorarocks! The article I decided to dissect for this week is a scholarly article about the pediatric onset of OCD. I discussed with Dr. Zamora the various articles and specific topics I chose to research for my literature review and I was excited and relieved that she thought all my topics were spot on! Phew! I was worried that my range of topics may not cover enough information but she reassured me that it did. #gome!
Thanks to Dr. Zamora’s guidance and encouragement I decided the first and most important article I should research this week is the manifestation of OCD in young children. Why? I think this is important to explore because although I was around eight or nine years old when my pediatrician first diagnosed me with anxiety, it wasn’t until many years later, in my early twenties, that I was officially diagnosed with the specific form of OCD. Those were some long, hard years in between. I wish my parents and I had the resources to help educate us about the genetic connection of OCD. I also wish we were able to read the studies and extensive research that proves children are indeed born with this specific disorder. Furthermore, new research suggests that OCD is not a mental illness but rather a brain disorder. Fascinating stuff! So for this week I’m prepared to read, re read, dissect and take copious amounts of notes to learn as much as I can about the pediatric onset of this debilitating brain disorder that I know all to well. A significant part of my memoir will take readers on a journey with little Nivey as my parents affectionately call me, and the struggles, shame and guilt I endured as a little girl living with this unknown monster that was plaguing me. The connection between the pediatric onset of OCD and my own personal story is a strong link, which is in desperate need of exploration and of telling.
Below I added a funny quote about OCD. I thought it was fitting because I am the ultimate coffee lover and can’t function without it. I’ve come full circle since first being diagnosed with this disorder over twenty years ago. I can tell you that the best medicine for my healing was and always will be: LAUGHTER! Enjoy guys, can’t wait to hear all about your progress next class!