Obsessive compulsive disorder.
Did you all see Girls last night? Oy. Another similarity I have with Hannah, though mine never got as bad as hers....with all the touching herself on a loop....but I am sure it could have.
Hannah's number is 8, mine is 10.
I wasn't OCD in all areas of my life. But, I was in some.
I first noticed my OCD tendencies when I moved to the Midwest and every night after I was tucked into bed (I was babied and tucked in until I was at least 11) I climbed out of bed and stood in front of the closed closet and put my hands on the sliding wood doors and counted to 10. Often I did this ritual 3-4 times. Until it felt right. Until I could get back into bed and know that any monsters that were hiding in the closet to hurt me were blocked by the shield of my counting. I did this until I went away to college.
Another ritual was making sure my belly button was covered under multiple layers when I slept. This included night clothes and blankets and my hands. I also counted to 10 covering my belly button until I fell asleep.
As I got older, my new rituals became 3 very specific ones: making sure the stove and oven were off, making sure the front door was locked (when I was leaving and when I was inside before bed), and making sure the hair iron/curing iron were off.
Typically I tested these things by:
Turning the door knob 10 times multiple times until it felt right. Sometimes I would do this 20-30 cycles, and miss my bus to work because I couldn't get out the door.
The stove was a big one for me. I lived with roommates off and on in college and in my 20's and once in a while I would come home to the stove being left on and it would get me going like nothing else. I would simply panic that everything could have burned, innocent people could have died at my stove's expense, and I would have to live with the horrible blame that I may have hurt someone. I never knew if it was me or a roommate that may have made the innocent mistake and it didn't even matter to me. What mattered is that it was up to me to control the stove. I would stand over it and touch all 4 burners repeatedly and count to 10 before I left and sometimes this could take up to 10 minutes until it felt right. Many times I opted to cook in the microwave and avoid the stove entirely.
The hair iron fear started after I watched an episode of Friend's when Rachel burns down Phoebe's apartment with her hair iron (it wasn't Phoebe's candles...it was Rachel's hair iron!). Back in the day, these hair appliances didn't have the automatic turnoff that most of them do now. I would make sure that all of the beauty machines were unplugged from the electrical jacks and then I would rub my hands over the outlets while I counted to ten. Time and time again.
Every roommate I lived with eventually got a boyfriend and started spending less and less time at home and this was not always the relief that comes with lots of extra space and privacy for free.........as then I knew that I was the sole responsibility when it came to the door, the stove, and the hair iron. As a people pleaser, I was okay if my stuff got ruined. I had my own renters insurance and I knew my folks could bail me out if I really needed them to help me. It was living with other people that sometimes made me nervous as I would NEVER want to be the one that ruined something that belonged to someone else.
My best years in my 20's were when I lived alone in 805 square feet of parquet wood bliss. Up high on the 27th floor with a slight view and respectful neighbors in their 40's, 50's, 60's, and 80's. I loved this apartment and only gave it up to move in with Awful as he promised me conversion and marriage if I did and as you know, that never came.
Living with Awful stressed me out and triggered my OCD like no other as he lived in a beautiful home that his trust fund bought him next to very undesirable neighbors. He drank often and was constantly sloppy with his actions and super forgetful. I once woke up in the middle of the night to the front door and gate left completely open after he came home sloshed and had passed out on the downstairs couch. His neighbors were not the Brady Bunch......my fear intensified so badly, sometimes when he went out, I pushed a dresser in front of the bedroom door to make sure that I would be woken up if and when he got home and tried to get into the bedroom, so I could check all the doors again..if not, I would be safe in the room alone....how I wanted to sleep anyway....without his snoring next to me.....Amelia Bedelia's recollection of events and instructions seemed photographic compared to Awful's.
One of the biggest issues with Crush is that he blamed me for everything and this triggered my OCD. He would act all easy going and casual in front of friends and family, but if anyone came over to his place and spilled or broke anything, he would play it off so cool in front of guests and them ream me and insult me for hours over it.....he would want to know "how could people be so disrespectful?", "how could YOU allow that to happen?", "YOU should pay for the damage for not handling the situation better and btw, those were your friends that caused a mess....." yes, the very ones he tried to steal and claim the minute we broke up.....it was a lot for me to handle and every since then, I have been trying my best to just calm the hell down. It is only stuff. Stuff is replaceable and I think sometimes my clients want a bigger reaction that I can give them....but, let's all calm down, shall we?
After I watched the Girls episode last night, my anxiety got super bad and I couldn't place it at all for a bit. Then, it hit me. Crush is also super forgetful. Is this just a man thing?????
Crush loses his phone, his sunglasses, his wallet, his checkbook, and his keys no less than three times a day. The first time he had a mini-freak out about lost keys, I looked all over and didn't have time to do my hair or makeup (we were meeting his parents for lunch) and they were in his back pocket the entire time and I had to show up to a nice restaurant looking like a drowned rat with wet hair dripping down the back of my dress and all I had to salvage my look was a pat of red lipstick....this lady wasn't happy.
I would be lying if I told you that I couldn't relate.....lost things in my hand are my reality.
Now, I know not to indulge the lost rants of Crush. I tell him calmly, "let me finish what I am doing and then I will help you look" and often he finds whenever he has lost on his person, in his car, or in his blazer pocket before I am even halfway done curling my hair. I know to have him check those places first.
And yes, my confession of OCD may help you all understand my need for control. The food...it is the only thing I cannot control and I fear that if I over control it, I will end up anorexic. I have never confessed that before, but it is my truth. For a few months in high school, I ate 1,000 calories a day and lived on dry bagels, chocolate Snackwells yogurt, and fat free mini pretzel twists. This was prompted after Bitch and Snake told me I couldn't come to a party because I was too fat. I vowed to lose 20 pounds and I did it in less than 2 months. It wasn't fun, but something about it was very intriguing to me and I promised myself I wouldn't do it again....BUT, well, every time, all 3 times, I have lost a significant amount of weight, it has always been through restricting. I am still trying to find my happy medium and I won't stop until I do it. I will see this as the biggest accomplishment of my life. Overcoming the binge eating....it has tortured me for over 20 years.
My tendency to need to be in control is so strong that when clients or other people try to micromanage me, I simply ignore them. I make it a challenge for them to contact me because if you don't treat me nicely, you may not get my attention at all.....this shows itself now that I run my own business and one of the reasons why I am excited to go back to work in a corporate office capacity. In that environment, I turn into a people pleaser again and a total team player....so much so, that I get walked all over, but I do often get the best reviews.
Like, I said, I am FAR from perfect.
And thus, why I am back on my anxiety medicine and back in therapy.
The place I am in now, it is scaring me a bit. It all seems too familiar: a big transition coming, weight to lose, a job I am unhappy with and somewhat over....BUT, so different, because this time, I am realizing what is happening while it is happening....NOT AFTER!
There is no better control for a control freak than living in reality.
And Crush can't use the stove anyway (he is the WORST cook EVER), so I am happy to take this role on, if I know the stove will be turned off after I prepare supper and before we go to bed.....without counting at the closet door before he tucks me in!!!!!!!