Friday, November 20, 2009

Rational people with irrational fears

One of the most difficult parts of getting help for my OCD is actually talking about it. The resounding response when I began telling people that I had OCD and that it was taking over my life was an emphatic, “Huh? Really? I would’ve never guessed!” The most amazing part of treatment has been the camaraderie….feeling validated for the first time in my life that I’m not alone with my daily struggle….that I’m not crazy. It’s embarrassing to talk about my obsessions because I realize they are irrational. Irrational is probably the most appropriate word for this entire disorder. It’s rational people trying to make sense of their irrational fears.

Here is a glimpse into my world…. There’s a tremendous amount of shame and guilt that floods my entire being when I’m supposed to be enjoying the company of a friend and instead I’m irately angry that their shoe is “too close” to my leg and therefore my jeans are getting contaminated. Because my jeans are now “dirty” I’m going to have to wash them, but then when I wash them, I can’t just use one cup of soap, I have to use at least one and a half, just to be safe. And after they are done drying, I have to carefully make sure they go into the “clean” laundry basket and make sure they don’t touch the floor because then I’ll have to wash them again if they do. Even though they have just been washed, I have to fold them “dirty side in” to ensure that they don’t get anything else dirty in my closet. They have to be hung on the hanger and ordered in a way that feels "just right." It started with two friends going to coffee, it ended with me going home exhausted from the rabbit-trail my thoughts went down, frustrated that I wasn’t engaged in the conversation, embarrassed and ashamed that I didn’t know how to explain my anxiety and wondering if I did a good enough job of covering it up, angry at the amount of work that awaits me at home in order to get to a place where I feel clean again, and conceding to the fact that going out just isn’t worth it anymore. It started with two friends going to coffee.

1 comment:

  1. Kristin,

    I love you. I love you even more for being such a risk-taker in opening your world. Others will be able to be as strong as you by following your path of bravery. When you are able, rest - knowing that you are love and are loved.

    Nancy Hultquist