Living with CAD

4 Apr
I am having a very interesting day, and I need to get something off my chest.
I have a disorder that I feel I need to speak up about, so that people understand when the symptoms and side effects get severe, you all know what’s happening.
I have an affliction called CAD, and no, it’s not the commonly known Coronary Artery Disease.
It stands for Captive Audience Disorder.
I can usually keep my CAD under control when there is no one near me or if there are people near me they aren’t looking at me, but it starts to act up when there are two or more people near me, looking at me, and not talking.
I don’t believe in medicine for CAD, I believe that I can manage it effectively by incorporating cognitive behavioral therapy.  When I find myself in a situation where I want to let my CAD out, I just take a deep breath, calm down, and make sure to keep my mouth shut and repeat “Now’s not the time, Kate. Shhhh” until I’ve relaxed.
I have had this disorder my entire life, yet I was only recently diagnosed with it. It became too obvious to ignore when it started to cause problems with friends and family, and I could no longer brush it off as normal.
Last year I went to my grandparents house in Phoenix for a mini family reunion (which are easy to have because my entire family on my mom’s side consists of twelve people, including my immediate family of six…). (You may remember the “Hot tub/show Kate your balls, Blake” (if not you should really click here), this is from the same trip).
I arrived first from New Orleans and spend one whole night alone with my aunt, cousins, and grandparents. My CAD was really bad that night. All we did was sit outside and drink… My family just sat quietly and drank while looking at me, and I couldn’t control it.
The next night my mom and brother got in during the afternoon. That evening we were all in the family room, awaiting the last bit’s arrival: Rikki and Nancy, in from LA.
As we got word that my sisters were pulling up in the taxi outside, my mom quietly walked over to me, bent over, put her hand on my shoulder, and whispered in my ear:
“Hey Kate? Try not to talk for a while, okay?”
So my sisters came in and had their shining moment chatting and blabbering and telling stories and tales and jokes while my CAD was pushed back deep deep into my soul where I knew I couldn’t let it out.  Three difficult hours later, Nancy sat next to me and said:
“Are you okay? You’ve hardly said a word, are you sick?”
Of course I’m sick, I have an entertainment disease, I thought.
“No I’m totally fine. Mom told me I wasn’t allowed to talk.”
She stared at me, trying to figure out if I was serious or joking like I normally was.
I had repressed my CAD so deep that she could feel it, and knew that I was telling the truth. And she laughed. She laughed very very hard. Her insane loud little sister was specifically told to keep quiet so as to let her sisters get a chance to say something.
Months later, my CAD affected a friend.  My roommate at the time, Preston, had a boy over that he had recently begun seeing, as in, it was their second time seeing each other. I was bored as usual since I had just moved to LA and didn’t have a life yet. 
Preston shows up with his new friend and from that moment on, I couldn’t stop. I could not stop talking. It was like a one-on-one private stand up show with moments of sketch comedy, performed by an insane looking redhead with no eyebrows no makeup on and wet hair, fresh from the shower.  I caught myself saying out loud:
“I’m so sorry I can’t stop. I should go. I’m so sorry.”
But I couldn’t stop. Not for two hours.
When I finally mustered the strength to leave the poor boys alone, I laid in my bed wide awake, alive with so many other things I wanted to say.
The next day, Nancy sat me down and told me that I had a problem. Preston didn’t know if he could bring people over anymore because his roommate’s terrifying sister was off her rocker.
After that we realized that I really did have a problem.  Now that I recognize what I have it makes it easier to cope with my personality. Don’t misunderstand me, it’s a terrible affliction, something that consistently embarasses me, but I know that I wouldn’t be who I am today if I didn’t have this horrendous social issue: Captive Audience Disorder.
I know now that when there are at least several people around me, looking at me quietly, I’m gonna go. Go to town entertaining! I’ll tell them jokes, stories, trip and fall on my pretend shoelaces – anything for a laugh and more attention. My addiction is attention. I want it all, and if you give me an inch, I’ll try for a mile.
My last day at work on Skating with the Stars, I prepared a last supper. Literally. We ordered sushi and then sat around a long rectangular table “So that we could all eat and look at each other.” (I said that. And I was serious.)
By the end of supper, my colleagues (99% my superiors) were staring at me with their heads shaking side to side, muttering, “Does she stop?”
I stop.
But only when I can get ahold of my CAD again.
The end. (See?)

2 Responses to “Living with CAD”

  1. Tracy April 6, 2011 at 8:53 am #

    Oh Lordy!! At least you can blame this disorder as being hereditary starting with Papa, then me!!!

  2. Cousin July 28, 2011 at 11:40 am #

    I LOVE reading stories I was apart of and got to experience. And I love your disorder.

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