I was talking to my mate today, and he asked me a question and used that phrase that makes me want to punch people in the head … is it because they’re OCD?
Now, I forgive my friend for this because I know he doesn’t understand the disorder. He doesn’t understand it because society is so damn stupid with it that they make it impossible for it to be understood.
I was at Uni a couple of years back and a woman there said, she had slight OCD because she hates coffee tables being messy and has to tidy them. I said, oh yes. I have slight paraplegia. My legs go numb when I sit too long. The looks I got … but to me, that is how stupid her comment sounded.
I have OCD, and I feel I have to clarify, that I have REAL OCD. I am not a neat freak. I don’t like things tidy or in line or whatever because of this condition. I don’t give a shit if I have all of my orange M&Ms mixed with the yellow ones.
OCD has three words. Obsessive … compulsive … disorder.
People need to understand that when something is a disorder, it is not a quirk. It is not cute. It is not this thing that comes and goes. No. It is a disorder because it brings disorder to your life. It causes problems. It can, and does, ruin many lives with it.
I wish people would stop using it so flippantly, so people like me could get better understanding from others.
Have you ever gone out and then thought, did I lock the door? You get that feeling inside yourself, like you’ve forgotten something. It’s a niggle, but its manageable. That is part of OCD, but …
Have you ever got a song stuck in your head and by stuck, I mean, it is driving you bonkers and you keep humming it to yourself? I am sure you have.
Put those two components together, and you have the start of an OCD thought. But increase it. That, did I lock the door becomes a stuck record. It becomes so stuck that it goes over and over in your head. And you try to remember, but when you try to picture locking the door, your mind is so confused with thoughts of, well what if you didn’t. What if you only thought you did?
So what happens?
You go back and check the door.
No, worrying if you locked the door and going back to check it, is something people without OCD do. It’s fine. But … remember for someone with OCD, it is at song stuck phase.
Someone with OCD will check, and check, and check. And you know, maybe they just can’t get that thought to go away. So they get the idea of, well if I unlock it and then relock it, then I know for sure I locked it. So they do that.
Doesn’t work. Your OCD sufferer then does it again, and again … familiar, right? You see people say they turn light switches on and off, or plug sockets. Even Neil Hilborn in his poem talks about doing just that. This is why.
OCD is a freight train of repetitive thoughts that are so loud and so insistent that they make us do things to try and calm them.
I iron clothes to perfection. I iron them within an inch of their lives. My son thinks this is because I am a neat freak, and I want everything flat and neat. Nope. Not at all. This comes from being a parent and having OCD. Somewhere in my muddled brain, to be a better parent, I had to be perfect. I had to get everything right. That meant my kids had nice clothes. Nice clothes have to look neat. If I don’t make them neat, then I am showing I don’t care about my children, and if I don’t care about my children, the universe, God, fate, whatever, will take them away because I don’t deserve them. So … basically, if I do not iron my children’s clothes perfectly, my children will die, and it will be my fault.
Tell me how this compares to someone who sees some dust and their OCD comes out?
To someone reading this, badly ironed clothes causing the death of children, seems nuts, bonkers. Hell, even I know it is stupid, but OCD whispers to me. He leans in and says, yeah, maybe it is crazy, but what if?
And this is just an example. This isn’t a one off occurrence that only happens when I iron. OCD makes sure it is in every corner of my life.
What if I don’t fill the kettle right? Maybe it’ll blow up? Maybe it will splash a germ in and I’ll get sick and then I can’t look after my kids, and then they leave.
What if I wear my blue jeans on Friday’s instead of the green ones? And I’m not even kidding, that is one of the things I have to do or not do.
OCD comes in many shapes and forms. Usually it is always, a thought, followed by a way to fix it, followed by more thoughts, followed by more fixes and it gets to the point of taking over your life. Then it is a disorder.
Could you imagine saying, oh, my diabetes is coming out? Or, I have slight cancer. My back hurts every time I see a ladder …
It’s so stupid.
I live with OCD. Every minute of my day. Not just when it doesn’t like something.
I know my little rant won’t change how the world sees it, but it sure as hell makes me feel better getting it out. And I hope, someone understands.
Obsessive compulsive disorder is an illness. A very debilitating illness.