How OCD Feels

» Posted by on Jun 15, 2015 in Alpha Blog | 0 comments

How OCD Feels

I have diagnosed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). My obsessions revolve around germs, numbers, and running over people with my car (or while in someone else’s). It all started with the numbers. I became obsessed with 2’s, then it was multiples of 5. To this day, the volume on any electronic device must be adjusted to a multiple of 5, like 15 or 20. Yes, sometimes it is too loud, but that is the price one must pay for having OCD. I have to get my body from the bed to the the floor beside it during a time that is either followed by a 0 or a 5. This is every single day. “So what?” you think. “What’s the big deal?” Well, I believe that if I do not set my car stereo to a volume of 25, something terrible will happen to me or someone I care about. Rational? No, but my brain doesn’t care because it believes in the lies.

In the past week I have accompanied two people to hair salons – my good friend last Thursday and my mom today. This says a lot about how far I’ve come both through therapy and with the proper medications (in my case, antidepressants), because I equate hair to horrible germs. I can’t stand really long hair. Or when someone else’s hair touches me in any way. So to sit there watching as hair, dead hair, falls to the ground shows growth and strength.

Today I went with my mom to get her hair cut at a tiny salon (I don’t do well in small spaces). I had to sit on an upholstered love seat. I am very leery of upholstery because it harbors a great many number of germs. Then you stick it in a salon where people’s hair comes and goes every day and forget about it. I kept feeling itchy, like there were bugs on me. I kept fidgeting. But I tried to listen to the conversation going on and ignore the germs.

On the way home my mom asked me to feel how soft her hair is and I did. But to be completely honest (and Mom, please take no offense to this) it freaked me out. She assured me that her hair was clean – hell, I had just seen it washed! But there is something in my brain that tells me certain things are dirty, like dish cloths and bathroom towels, like menus and restaurant tables. At this point it is engrained, it is just a matter of how strong I am feeling on that particular day. Today I tried my mom’s smoothie. In the past I would have never drank anything from someone else’s cup, and usually won’t.

Maybe all this heat here in Southern North Carolina is melting the part of my brain where my obsessions and subsequent compulsions lie.

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By Elaina J. Martin