“I like to have my book shelf organized from the largest to the smallest book. I must have OCD – LOOOOOOOOOOL”
“OCD has nothing to do with mental health. Besides everyone has a bit OCD because in the end, we all need a routine in life”.
Hearing statement likes, and unfortunately I do too often, makes my heart sink.
It’s pretty clear that OCD is still seen as a joke and highly misunderstood.
I have suffered OCD from a young age.
My room was always clean, but quite unorganized.
My dad joked once about how my alarm clock wasn’t positioned in a straight line.
I started paying attention to it and I think that’s when it started.
From that moment on, EVERYTHING has to positioned parallel to each other or a neat line.
I started cleaning the house thoroughly on Saturdays, which, initially, made my mum very happy.
But I didn’t take too long for her to notice that something in the way I was cleaning seemed obsessive.
I would freak out if I’d find out the later that someone had changed something.
It were no longer the Saturdays that I was cleaning.
It could easily happen that I would feel the urge in the middle of the night.
After a visit at the dentist, I was advised to brush my teeth more often or better.
That marks the years that I brushed my teeth 20 times a day.
My gums were bleeding.
A boy in my class was teased a bit because he wet his pants during school.
This couldn’t happen to me, ever.
I started going to the toilet even if there was no urge.
The nights were the worst as I was scared going down the stairs at in the dark.
Mum and dad got very little sleep as they had to guide me.
I started counting things, but some specific numbers would mean bad luck.
I had to be really careful.
I was raised quite religiously and started blaming God for shaping me this way.
Immediately after I would feel guilty and need to do a number of rituals to prove that I didn’t mean it.
I always thought that acting, chess and the dance school I was in marked my youth.
But writing this post and thinking back to those moments, I realize that my OCD has taken most of my time.
And yes, I am tearing up.
I’ve spend a large amount of my youth with psychologist, but nobody ever detected my OCD until I brought it up myself after reading an article in the newspaper.
From that moment on, a label was put on me which I was never going to be able to remove.
Living with OCD is not easy, but certain steps have made it more bearable for me.
The first big improvement was when I moved out of my parent’s house.
My OCD became a large part of their lives too.
Living on my own gave me the freedom to create my own rules without others getting into my way.
Or I in theirs.
Changing of scenery also helped.
I would always make sure I saved enough money for travels a couple of times a year.
Not only being on a vacation spot, but also the looking forward to it has made is easier for me.
Informing your partner about it.
If you think you can keep it a secret from someone you life with, you can’t.
And you shouldn’t do that to yourself either.
It helped me a lot telling Jasper about it.
We celebrate the baby steps together and look for continuous improvements.
Watch your favorite childhood cartoon. Draw. Write. Read. Listen to your guilty pleasure songs. Hug someone.
Do whatever makes you focus on something else for a while.
The long commute to work and back home are becoming very annoying, but it makes me very sleepy. By 8:00 in the evening I’m already struggling with keeping my eyes open.
Which means, there is less time to concentrate on my rituals.
Seeking for professional help might not be for everyone.
Unfortunately, for me it has never been successful.
People around me keep pushing in to that direction.
But I simply don’t have the energy or mental state of mind to start up a heavy process like that.
I know I, or this post, might not make the difference towards more OCD awareness, but I hope people realize that OCD is NOT joke.
It is a huge obstacle for living your life in happiness.
And if anyone every feels the need to talk about, I’m very happy to do so.