(TW: for discussion of suicidal ideation, overdosing, and intrusive thoughts.)
Unlike TV OCD, which tends to err on the ‘not unreasonable, if excessive’ side (cleaning fruit thoroughly, not wanting to get dirty), my OCD is ridiculous. It is unreasonable and excessive.
Today is a bad OCD day. I woke up at 5am, my mind already racing with the catastrophic possibilities of a minor disagreement I had yesterday.
I tried to calm myself by walking through my day – routine is very reassuring to my intrusive thoughts. I would take the dog for a wee. He would come cuddle in bed for a while. Joe would wake and we would have breakfast. Joe would get us our tiny glasses of water to drop our fizzing Vitamin C tablets into while I laid out our regiment of pills – vitamins for him, Crohn’s medicine for me.
This thought disturbed me. Had I taken my pills yesterday? Would I take them at the right time today? What if I forgot? What about tomorrow? Maybe I should take them all now. I could put them in a bowl and take them one by one with a glass of water.
I don’t think I need to tell you that this is not a good idea. I don’t know what the effect of taking several months worth of Crohn’s medicine at once would be – at the very least it would be a massive inconvenience. But as I pictured myself swallowing tablets like smarties I struggled to care. I didn’t want to hurt myself, but the image I had in my head was so clear – I could picture which bowl, which glass, what it would taste like – and it was so… Perfect. Neat.
I really needed a wee (like REALLY badly) but I couldn’t trust myself not to glide from the bathroom to the kitchen to sit down at the dining table, serenely popping smooth white pills out of their packet and into a big, white cereal bowl.
I took a deep breath. I checked Twitter. I still wanted to. I counted to four hundred. I still needed a wee. I went to the bathroom and took care to go straight back to bed.
This was a particularly bad moment, but my days are full of them. The myth that people with OCD are all super-tidy over-achievers is, well, ridiculous. Intrusive thoughts would make cleaning my house a full time job – so I don’t clean. The same goes for a myriad of other things – from putting away the shopping to showering. Having OCD makes my life harder, because I have to shy away from things that most people take in their stride. On the flip side, OCD is kind of hilarious, albeit not in the way that people usually think it is. Even as I am thinking ‘something bad will definitely happen if I don’t wee for an even number of seconds’, I know that this is laughable.
So I laugh. (While counting the number of “ha!”‘s to make sure I end on an even number.)