Thursday, June 10, 2010

Living with an OCDer.

Watching the OCD project was extremely heart wrenching. The thought of six individuals not being able to control their life or live one “normal” day. What is normal to them? Or who is normal? For the past year, I have lived with a “normal” roommate. Kristen has a great job, fabulous family, friends and a fun social life. And as many of you know she is a little over dramatic, or is that just passion? Passion to be normal? What ever the case, I look at her for her…a friend who is normal and passionate about life. Little did I know that she has been fighting for her free spirit and struggling to live what she sees as a normal life everyday.

Don’t think that you have to cater to people with OCD, it will only enable them. I am sure she gasps when I lay on the floor where dirty shoes have been, put my shoes on the couch, on my bed…or worst of all in my PURSE. Isn't that why we all have huge purses, in case our feet hurt and we need to change our shoes? :) Kristen told me that she had OCD when she moved in, but I shrugged it off and thought, "Don't we all?" I didn't know what she meant by that. Sure she loved to wash her hands and feet and hold onto moist paper towels, but I did not cater to her then so why should I now. The only difference is now I know what her triggers are and what her rituals look like and I support her so she can get better and let go of her internal struggle.

I do have to say, sometimes it is easy to make a joke out of her rituals. The night Kristen came home from The OCD Project to spend the night and film her “coming home” episode (Stay tuned, it is an intense one), she had only 30 seconds to wash her hands. Theo, Jessie and I all stood in the bathroom with the iPhone and counted down the seconds yelling at her to go faster and yelling “only one pump of soap”. It was great to see her count down with us and laugh about the fact that she washes her hands for way to long and easily uses 5 pumps of soap at a time.

Opening up about her OCD has changed Kristen as a person. I am finally seeing that “Free Spirit” in her which she and her family have always known her to be.

Living with an OCDer,


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