You must wrap the hair dryer cord the exact same way every time to be consistent or your life will fall to ruin because you can’t even keep an appliance together.
If you don’t respond positively to everything this friend is saying right now, they will never talk to you again because you don’t react the right way.
Don’t touch that, it has “object juice” on it.
You can’t leave until 8:05! It’s 8:06 now, you must wait until 8:10 because it’s five minutes after and five feels good, doesn’t it? If you leave now something horrible might happen to you because you left at the wrong time.
Fix that, it’s not symmetrical.
Skip that step, it’s bad.
Tap that three times.
Is the door locked? Go check it. Your hand might have moved the lock when you were checking it, check it again. Better safe than sorry- You could get murdered in your sleep. You could get murdered while you’re awake… People get murdered. Why don’t you think it would happen to you? I bet the people getting murdered thought the same thing and then- dead.
Are those laughs or screams in the distance?
The Brita has to stay at exactly the same level, it’s important.
Re-read that, I think you missed something. Read it again, I don’t think that’s right.
Don’t let them touch you. Now, look what you’ve done… Take a complete shower and scrub them off you immediately.
What if your OCD is just a preview of how you’re seriously going to lose your mind?
Fill up at pump 4, it’s our lucky number and if we don’t acknowledge it, it won’t be lucky anymore.
Keep that, you might need it.
And so it goes, on and on and on… relentlessly. I fight with my head every single day and it’s been this way as long as I can remember. When I was in high school, I could tell you exactly how many steps it took to get from my locker to anywhere in the school. My momma and little brother would laugh whenever I ate because they knew I was counting how many times I chewed each bite and how many bites it took to finish the meal.
I’ve scrubbed myself raw with pumice stones and I’ve been locked inside thoughts of death and beyond for months on end.
Few people know or understand the magnitude of my OCD because fighting it has been a top priority. Maybe it was because I had too many battles to fight without the addition of being a “freak” growing up- I had enough trouble fitting in as it was.
As soon as I noticed my behaviors were different from other people, I launched a counter attack.
One of the first inner struggles I had with OCD growing up was when I was somewhere between 13 and 14. After a youth meeting, one summer night, a group of us went to a local restaurant and ordered an appetizer to share. The basket wasn’t symmetrical with the table and I desperately needed to fix it. Adjusting it, however, would mean reaching across the entire table with everyone watching, including my crush, Brad. I was angry with myself for paying more attention to the basket than to the people around it. I just wanted to hangout. I forbade myself to touch the basket, or even look at it, again. I sat on my hands and tried to join in with conversation as best as I could.
From then on, I devotedly fought against rituals and anything else I could identify as OCD. If my OCD told me to walk a certain way, I walked the opposite. If my hands felt dirty, I made them dirtier. If I said a word “wrong,” I let the memory of saying it echo through my head over and over and over, but I did not repeat it.
Some things, like counting, crept their way in unannounced and I had to work even harder to rid them because they had just enough time to become a habit, working with my self-conscious, like a weed in a flowerbed.
“Don’t count with your mouth full” became a silent mantra.
I’ve been fighting OCD for decades now and I’d like to say I’ve become an expert at it, but the truth is, I still lie in bed at night and worry about whether or not the door really is locked, how I really am going to die, if my sheets really are clean, if the picture in the hall is slightly crooked. I still find myself tapping the tops of coke cans three times before I open them and avoiding physical contact with people I’m not close to. When I went to New York, recently, I was confronted by things I wasn’t used to dealing with- the griminess of everything, the sheer volume of people brushing against my body.
I think the difference is finding the balance between letting OCD ruin your life and losing your mind trying to stop it. I’m constantly working to stay in that sweet spot.
I control OCD, I don’t allow it to control me.
If you were asked to lift 300lbs, having never tried, you probably couldn’t. In fact, you would probably laugh and walk away shaking your head. However, if you were asked to lift 300lbs, and you had been practicing and working out, you stand a much better chance in lifting it, or more.
If you want freedom of your mind, break free– making the decision is the biggest step. If you want it bad enough, you can get it.
I’m not suggesting you lock yourself in a steel box to detox.
I’m suggesting you start with battles you immediately know you can win. Give yourself small goals and start tackling them one at a time. Put limits on yourself- If you usually wash your hands repetitively, only wash them once for 2 minutes, or whatever the medically recommended time is, and then walk away.
Keep putting your foot down, it’s the only way to fight for your sanity.
My advice for dealing with OCD is simple and I know it’s insensitive, but that’s because it has to be. It’s about your quality of life. No one can fight this battle for you. You can lock yourself in a room collecting pee if you want, but I’m going to be out falling in love and exploring the world before I die. (See my post entitled Invictus)