One of my biggest pet peeves in life is when people say they have OCD. They say it because they are particular about something specific or they like things clean, but most likely, they don’t have it. I even got into an argument the other night because someone said “OCD isn’t a disability.”
OCD is a chronic and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over. It has an affect on the daily lives of those who have it in such a way that it can’t be ignored.
I have OCD. I’ve been very open about my OCD. I advocate for myself because I struggle with it daily and I want people to know that it is more than just wanting things organized.
On the surface, most people would never guess I have OCD. They know I like things certain ways and what-not, but most people don’t realize the depth that OCD can take.
They have no idea that in my house, I have lists and notes everywhere reminding me to do things or not do things.
They have no idea that in order to leave my house, there is a 3 minute process of locking and checking doors.
They have no idea that the thoughts in my head are repeated so many times daily that I actually lose track of what is real and what is not.
They have no idea that I will pick at my own skin until I bleed just for a small feeling of control.
They have no idea that my life is based on a system of rewards I give myself for doing things that most people don’t think twice about.
They have no idea about the amount of research I do before I go to new places – I have to figure out parking situations, menus, an itinerary, and prices before I even leave.
They have no idea that nothing I do is spontaneous by any means; everything I do is well thought out and practiced in my mind and I get distressed when things don’t go how I plan.
I’ve been dealing with this my whole life. The reason it doesn’t look like anything is going on with me is because people only see me in certain situations where I have learned to cope with my OCD. It took a long time to do that. There was a point in my life where I very literally went to work and went home. I did nothing else. I only went grocery shopping once a month and if I needed something in the mean time, too bad. I’d wake up in the middle of the night to lock doors and would end up doing it for an hour because even though I can see that it’s locked, I didn’t trust myself. I would purposefully stay up all night so I wouldn’t have to go to bed because I didn’t want to have the vivid nightmares that still haunt me.
So yeah, it looks like I have my life together, but it’s taken me a while to get here.