As often as I joke about having obsessive-compulsive disorder, the truth is that until a person with the illness finally dwells in a place where they understand exactly what it is, accepts that it is a part of what makes them who they are, and forces themselves to stop trying to hide it, OCD is miserable business.
Fortunately for this OCD Chick, I have lived in such a place for some time now.
Not that it was easy. On the contrary, Obsessive-compulsive disorder was once my sworn enemy and we battled, this nasty brain monster and I, for years and years and years. Most of the time, the monster won and left me lying on the floor, unable to adequately defend myself or the people I loved.
Because I pay attention to such things, I know that a percentage of the visitors who read my blog (and my website) arrive here from some of the various “OCD websites” you can find on the net.
I know from experience that they are likely searching for something familiar, something to remind themselves they aren’t alone with their crazy. Maybe they need a little hope, or the benefit of someone else’s emotional knocks or even a moment to take a breath and laugh at an illness that they don’t find funny at all.
I try to provide the laugh, but I have been cautious of anything more serious. Having dealt with OCD my entire life, I’ve been taught to be selective about whom I include in my reality. I have a nasty habit of believing the best in people and sometimes they have a nasty habit of proving I shouldn’t have.
Today I realized that from time to time it’s OK, if not necessary, for me to write about this thing that lives in my brain. Having lived nearly 43 years now with obsessive-compulsive disorder, it’s really ridiculous as a writer not to occasionally feed the elephant in the room a hand full of nuts.
So, from now on there will be a post here or there about the reality of OCD. My hope is that my readers who live this life will find some comfort and even some hope of their own. For those who do not have OCD, maybe they’ll learn something new. It could be a big bonus when they finally make it on Jeopardy.
“I’ll take Someone Sneezes on You for $500, Alex.”
(FYI, the answer is “What is kill them with something sharp and then boil yourself in Lysol, Alex?”)
I’ve learned how it works, my obsessive-compulsive disorder, and in the same way a diabetic is fully aware the price she’ll pay for a piece of cake or foregoing her insulin, I know the price tag stress carries for me. It’s not one I’m willing to pay.
There has been something in my life for quite awhile now that I knew was costing me far more than I had the psychological ability to pay. I kept at it though, the entire time knowing full well what I was doing to myself and always wondering when I’d finally have to foot the bill.
For an obsessive-compulsive, stress can be as toxic as a bleach martini.
In my case, unhealthy stress levels show up in how much I care whether the shampoo bottle is facing east. One day you take a shower and put the bottle down with no thought, the same way a “normal” person would. The next, you spend five minutes trying to position it so that it is exactly where it “feels right” so that no one you love or care about will die in a car wreck.
That’s the reality of OCD and that’s the price of doing something you find so stressful that you cry five nights a week… but keep doing it anyway so that everyone else likes you because they think you’re just like them.
Which is what you’ve always wanted. To be just like them.
Which you are not. ~~~~~
*Tell me your OCD stories or ask your OCD questions. But wash your hands first. Questions are dirty.*
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