Recently I posted a picture that I thought was funny on Facebook. It was a woman sitting in a chair. She was so tired that she had fallen over and her long hair was touching the floor. Someone made a comment to which I replied, “What bothered me was her hair touching that dirty floor.” My friend replied, “OCD much, Lisa?” My answer was, “Why, yes. Actually I do”.
That is a truthful answer. I’ve never been officially diagnosed with OCD. I have been diagnosed in the past with depression and anxiety. Really, I think they all go hand in hand. But, to say that I am much better than I used to be is an understatement.
Tonight I read a blog that brought back some memories of just how bad I used to be. (http://meganhasocd.com/) She talked about eating at a buffet and how she wouldn’t eat with the hand that had touched the serving spoons. I commented this on her blog:
“I feel the same way. When my boys were younger, I would sit at the table waiting for them to return with my bottle of GermX out. Before they could touch anything, I would make them wash their hands. Of course I would wash mine as soon as I got back to the table as well. And, I could not eat off of the top plate in the stack. I would take one off, put it to the side, and then eat off of the second plate.”
I’ve already talked about the light switches and checking the burners on the stove before bed. I also used to walk through the house, maybe five times a night, checking the lock on the door. I would check it, turn the knob, check it, turn the knob…walk to my bedroom and then go back and do that all over again.
When I was pregnant with my second child it was especially bad. If I had to use the bathroom, I would have to get a paper towel to lock the door. Once locked, I would then check the lock three or four times, all with the paper towel. Then, I would have to wash my hands before using the bathroom. Toilet paper. I would have to take the hanging part of the toilet paper off of the roll and throw it away before I could use the roll. Once I did that, I would have to make sure that when I took some off the roll for use, it hadn’t touch the floor first. Sometimes, I was so worried that it had touched the floor, even though I knew it hadn’t, I would throw it away also and start over. Such a production! But, if I didn’t follow the “procedures” I just knew something bad would happen.
My husband knew I had some issues, but I’m sure he wasn’t aware of all of them. I knew it wasn’t “normal”, so I tried to hide the ones I could. The habits that I couldn’t hide, I would generally try to laugh at myself…”Oh my goodness, I’m so OCD, here hand me that hand wash!” Everyone knew I had a fear of germs. I couldn’t hide that. So I would often make fun of myself. But, inside my head, it was a very serious and real thing. People had no idea.
I think I will start a little series and write every now and then on what it was like to live in that kind of “self-enforced prison”.
For now this is probably enough. Maybe if more people would talk about these things, fewer people would feel so imprisoned.
Have you dealt with anything like this? Are you living like this now? If so, I want you to know, there is healing. You’re not alone. I’m living proof that life can go on and that it can be beautiful.