Sitting in my therapist’s office and hearing her say “What you are describing sounds like OCD. I am 99.99% sure you have OCD…” felt like a massive weight being lifted off of my shoulders. A few days later I was in a psychiatrist’s office for an official diagnosis and treatment plan. I have been living this way for as long as I can remember but never had the courage to really talk about it until it was official, which is how I got to this point.
I like to think that I’ve been doing a good job hiding my OCD¹. To be honest there are still times, even after speaking with my therapist and a psychiatrist, that I find myself second guessing the diagnosis. I’m sharing my experiences, past, present, and future, in the hopes to give outsiders a better understanding of what it’s like to live with OCD/possibly inspire them/let them know they aren’t alone²/as entertainment for anyone reading³. I’m not looking for sympathy (trust me, I’ve spent enough time over the last month feeling sorry for myself and it didn’t do a damn thing). Talking about mental health is still so taboo, which is crazy to me because so many people struggle with it. Please know that if you ever feel like you want to take the first step and talk to someone I am always here. I will not judge you. It’s not an easy step to take. The Helpful Links area is where I cleverly hid some links that I found useful when I was first diagnosed.
My problem is that I check things. A lot of things. And I check them multiple times. I will be outside of my neighborhood, turn around and drive back home just to make sure I locked the door. Or the stove is off. Or my curling iron is unplugged. Or that my animals didn’t sneak out of the house as I was leaving. I know it’s not normal but if I don’t check My Things (we’ll get to this fun list later, my friends 😉) I will have crippling anxiety that slowly turns into a panic attack (0/10 recommend, btw). PLEASE TRUST ME WHEN I TELL YOU THAT I KNOW IT IS CRAZY TO CHECK THESE THINGS. I wish it were that easy. Truly. It would make my life a hell of a lot easier. But here I am, still checking My Things no matter how many times I tell myself everything is ok and that I do not need to check My Things. My closet isn’t organized. I have boxes piled up in the spare bedroom from when we moved over a year ago. You can easily tell that I share my space with 2 cats and 2 dogs. If you unexpectedly showed up here you would not know that I have OCD, which is truly unfortunate because I would be much more excited if my house was actually clean if someone were to randomly appear at the front door.
Treatment for OCD is tricky. It involves medicine and/or therapy (lucky me, I get both 🥇). The problem is that Exposure Response Prevention sucks. It’s not easy. When I leave the house I can’t check the front door. I can’t ask someone else if I locked the door or if I accidentally let the animals out or left the stove on. This ends up turning the house (in my mind, at least) into an apocalyptic scene of rogue curling irons starting fires and strangers stopping by to leave the door wide open so the cats and dogs can roam the neighborhood freely. Adding to the unfortunate, although sometimes entertaining, experience of ERP is the fact that my Ring doorbell documents all of my successes and failures as a small reminder of how far I have come and the work I still need to do (TBD on when those videos will make an appearance).
There have been times in my life when the anxiety hasn’t been as intense, which makes my checking less intense. But 2018 has been one for the books as far as crap years go. It’s time I really work on getting myself back to “normal”, no matter how many times I fail or how miserable I am along the way. So welcome to my blog. Hopefully we can all laugh at my misery together. 🙂
¹For the most part I have. I asked my husband, Taylor, and he said that I’ve done a good job hiding it to the masses but that he picked up on it and that it’s progressed over time. Looks like I just found some material for a future blog.
²I laugh during uncomfortable situations and 85% of my life is an uncomfortable situation right now because of Exposure Response Prevention.
³Full disclosure: I mentioned it to my therapist today and she thought it was a great idea which means here I am actually sharing it because I told her I was going to and I am really bad at lying.
- curling iron off
- curling iron unplugged
- clothes steamer unplugged
- fan unplugged
- lights off (give ‘em a little switch on and off to “make sure” but do that AT LEAST 3 times)
- oven is off
- all stove burners are off (gotta check each 3 times..!
- dryer is off (open and close the door JIC)
- front door is closed, animals did not get outside
- front door is locked…