I check. I check. I check. I check. It has always been a part of my day. “What are you looking at?” They ask.
“Uh, nothing.” I respond.
They won’t understand. It’s too much to try to explain. Will people think I’m crazy when I say I just have an urge to check? Will they understand? Do they know the emotional toll it takes to resist checking? Will they sympathize with the mental battle inside my head? I wish they knew how tired I was from checking and not being able to relax. But I stay quiet. Sometimes I feel like it’s easier to keep it to myself.
I was diagnosed with OCD when I was 15. I always knew I had it, but no one else believed me. When I was diagnosed I also began therapy. I have posted about it before, so if you’re interested in that I will link it at the end.
Disclaimer: I don’t have a degree in psychology, I just speak on my experiences!
You might know that I started therapy again in the fall of last year. I let my therapist know that I did have that diagnoses, but I didn’t feel like I was struggling with it recently. I felt like I got so used to some of my checking compulsions that I don’t think of them as part of my OCD. So when she would ask me what are some of the things I do or deal with, I had nothing to say. I couldn’t think of anything. It’s kind of like when someone says “Tell me about yourself” and you completely blank.
This past month I have noticed I’m having really strong urges to check and it’s starting to keep me awake. I have flare ups with checking, but this time it’s worse and it gets exhausting. I check. I check again. And again. Even though I know that nothing bad will happen and nothing has changed, it doesn’t stop me. It’s like an urge that I give into over and over again because of the mental battle I go through if I fight against checking. Even when I check it isn’t relieving. So do I fight the urge or give in again and again?
I started writing things that I do down so that I can talk to my therapist about it.
It’s something that I don’t even try to explain to people anymore because if people ask “What are you doing?” If I respond with “I have OCD” I would have to explain how it feels and what that is, or I’d be blown off and that doesn’t feel good either. I just hate having to explain to people that I ACTUALLY have it, and I’m not just saying it because I like things organized.
I also have a hard time being in public because I just think about how dirty things are. Usually my boyfriend will push the cart for me so that I don’t have to. When I was in Dallas last spring we got on public transportation. The last time I was on public transportation was before I got my drivers license when I would ride the bus to school. I forgot about how hard it was for me to relax into those dirty seats. With gum stuck to the bottoms and they were never cleaned except for maybe once over the summer. Anyways, in Dallas we got on busses, trains, and street cars. I was so uncomfortable, I couldn’t sit back into my seat. I felt like I just wanted to go home an shower. I was uncomfortable in the Air BNB shower because I didn’t know how well they cleaned it.
A lot of times I can push through those thoughts of how dirty things are because I know I can’t always be squeaky clean. It’s not possible. I might not lean back into a seat unless I’m tired enough or it’s a long ride. Even when I push the cart or I lean back into my seat or I grab a railing to go down public stairways, it can exhausting because that thought is still in the back of my mind. I push the thoughts down as far as I can, but even when we push thoughts away, our brains and bodies still have to deal with them. I feel like it’s similar to trauma, if we don’t work on healing trauma it will show up in many ways, whether it’s physically or mentally.
I’m not sure this post necessarily has a purpose. I guess I just want to be heard. I want to share a little bit about what goes on in my head when it comes to OCD. Please don’t forget OCD can be different for everyone. Some people might struggle with it more severely than I do. I acknowledge that I don’t have it nearly as severe as others might. I think regardless, OCD is exhausting. Maybe this will help you understand someone you love a little better. There are different ways OCD can show up, but it’s not something to claim you have just because you’re an organized person. If you think you have it please read about it and see a doctor. A diagnoses is always helpful in taking the appropriate steps for help.
I also want to say that these blog posts help me have a lot of breakthroughs. I assume it’s like when people journal. You put these thoughts on paper or on a screen, you type and write them out and suddenly more and more comes out. Then, you have big realizations and make connections. I didn’t realize that I had a hard time in public because I was SO used to it and I have found ways to avoid things that make me uncomfortable without even realizing why. This post helped me have that connection and that realization. Thank you for reading and supporting me by liking and subscribing. Every time I get a WordPress notification it makes me so happy!
If you want to share your thoughts or experiences please leave a comment!
Blog post about OCD: