Ask most people what they think of when the word OCD is uttered and they will probably paint you a picture of sequences, patterns and routines, obsessive behavior that to most people can manifest in their perceived way as bizarre but non debilitating behavior.
The thing is that it just isn’t that simple.
When I tell people that my compulsions lean towards cleaning I often get the reaction of awesome; so when are you coming round to do the dishes or to help me clean, I laugh and banter in return but the truth is that it can be a very debilitating behavior pattern that many do not understand.
It is not as simple as wanting everything to be in its place or something to be done in a certain manner, it’s a need, a need I simply cannot control, one that has lost me friends and relationships, severely impacted my early years as both a wife and a mother, it’s not something I would wish on another person and in my opinion is more of a curse than a blessing at the best of times.
Growing up I remember going over to my friends place and spending hours over weekends reorganizing her room and cupboards and cleaning up; that is just not typical child/ pre-teen behavior and this carried through into my adulthood. I found comfort in these compulsions (having been brought up by a mother whose compulsive tendencies leaned towards the extreme), which most people would see as harmless but when it came to my relationships and the way I raised my kids it was far from a good thing and caused so many problems even contributing to the end of my first marriage.
My hubby can tell you it’s not a pretty sight me flying off the handle because things are not done or in their place and how at the drop of a hat I can be seen scrubbing cupboards… floors… whatever until the wee hours of the morning or at any random point like oh I know I need to be out the door for an appointment in 2 minutes but if that spot on that wall is not scrubbed right now I am not going anywhere, I will drop everything even if I have bags in hand and am running late to fix whatever it is that is bothering me at that moment.
These compulsion don’t just lean themselves towards cleaning either I go through stages of obsession with a particular topic, project or movement, right now my focus is the school and I feel like my brain just wants to explode because it is literally on loop in my head 24 hours a day, what needs to be done, how can we get it done, why isn’t it done yet… over and over again until I want to literally ball up in a corner and scream.
I will lie awake all night I just cannot shut down or off, I disassociate from conversations or the people around me if they are not directly involved with whatever needs to be done and I will pester the hell out of you if you are involved in order to keep everything on track. I know at these times I can become well irritating as hell to put it lightly but I don’t think people understand how much I irritate myself with this behavior and how it feels, I wish I could change it, I wish I could shut off for a few hours and walk away or give up, I just cant.
Over the years I have taught myself certain management skills in regards to my cleaning/routine compulsions in particular, I was brought up to believe that a messy home is filthy and disgusting, I know that it isn’t, I know that not everyone feels the need to scrub floors for hours or to manically move furniture around at 2am and I know that just because someone’s homes/office whatever is not in the state I would prefer does not make them dirty or even unorganized their methods are simply not mine end of story.
Combine these tendencies with anxiety and depression and you are just left with a whole ball of fun, one drives the other, if I cannot achieve what I feel needs to be done it drives my anxiety levels through the roof which then leads to a depressive state.
I think so many people are so quick to drive off certain mental health disorders as petty or easy to deal with what they forget is that many of these disorders do not act alone, they intertwine and fuel each other in the same way that adhd does not usually manifest on its own it can combine with ocd, anxiety, odd, spd… so many things.
I guess I am just at a low point right now, my mind wants things to move and it’s just not getting done fast enough which is frustrating because I know things are getting done as fast as they can but it’s like I am having this argument with myself the more I try to fuel the positive the more the negative pushes back.
I guess I just wanted to take a moment and mull these mumbles out into the nether, at time I just wish that I could better explain or get people to understand, and its not just me, it's mental health in general, people think they know but they don't and the world although so open can still remain so very closed, mental health is definitely a section of closed in the world.