I found that at some point or another everyone says they have OCD, whether it be about how their books are placed on their shelves, how their hair looks in the morning or even making sure that the frames on their walls are perfectly straight. But in my experience, OCD is far more consuming than just double checking things look right.
You check, then double check, then triple check, then quadruple check, then realise it’s 6 in the evening and you haven’t moved for 3 hours.
My dad suffers with OCD and growing up I was around that very controlling, obsessive way of being and it latched onto my subconscious like most of our parents habits do and as a result now I’m fairly controlling and obsessive. (I know shocker…someone with anxiety who can be controlling.)
My OCD definitely isn’t the worst that I’ve read up on, but it’s definitely enough to frustrate me regularly and get in the way of me doing certain things.
For example, I had a shower the other day. Naked of course, and I was looking at the shampoo bottles and where they were placed on the side of our bath.
“They just don’t look right there.”
“But they’ve been that way for a while, it’s fine.”
“But what if someone comes round and thinks “why has she placed her shower gel and shampoo bottles in the centre rather than the corner? I’ll move them.”
“No don’t do that. You’re literally starkers with shampoo in your hair…just leave it.”
“But now I’m thinking about this too much. I’ll move them and then I’ll just stop thinking about it.”
“There. Much better…no wait. Now what if Adam comes in and thinks “what has she done that for and moved them? They were fine”
“He won’t even notice…now hurry up and finish washing your hair otherwise you’ll be late for work!”
That thought process literally lasted the entirety of my shower. I moved the bottles back and forth about 2 or 3 times, staring them out each time I moved them. It’s like an itch you just cannot scratch no matter what you do, no matter where you move those damn shampoo bottles!
It’s not that I necessarily think something really bad will happen if I don’t scratch these itches, it’s more that I just want the thought to stop circulating in my mind, and doing whatever I can think to to make that stop. More than anything else, it is really frustrating! It’s just unhelpful nonsense!
But it’s so ingrained in me it’s hard to shake it off. The glasses in our cupboards have to be upside down and if one isn’t, literally every part of my body is screaming to put it the right way up. It just looks wrong.
My desk at work has to be symmetrical, and my car has to be spotless otherwise I can’t focus when I’m driving. When there are too many boxes lying around near me at work (I work in Reception at a University so we get lots of deliveries) I have to sort them out otherwise my mind feels cluttered and I can’t focus.
Maybe it actually isn’t frustrating for people around me? They get their stuff tidied up pretty quickly without lifting a finger!
But it does get really really hard sometimes, and sometimes it isn’t a funny trait anymore.
I start thinking why can’t I just have a shower and not worry where the bottles are? Why can’t I put the glasses in the cupboard in any random order?
Then I start thinking over and over and over about why I’m thinking about it so much, and then I feel secluded and really down.
As always, my fiance is the voice of reason, and he will calmly ask me why I think things should be that way? And then we talk it out, then afterwards it doesn’t seem so important anymore.
Be patient if you know someone with OCD. It’s so consuming for them, sometimes they may be okay to laugh about it, but sometimes they may have spent hours that morning staring out a bottle of shower gel so they may need some help working things out.
The best thing I’ve ever seen on OCD was a poem written and performed by Neil Hilborn…check out the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnKZ4pdSU-s
Now I’m off to have a shower…