This Is The Painful Reality Of Living With OCD, Because It’s More Than Just Perfectionism

woman with tattoo walking away
Ihor Malytskyi

To Whomever May Read This,

This is not a cry for help, but rather, a cry for understanding. A plea bargain. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is not a personality trait, nor a quirk. OCD is all-consuming.

At the age of 13, breathing became a ritual instead of an afterthought. At night, I had to yawn enough times until it felt “right.” It was as if the yawns didn’t go deep enough. They didn’t slip down my throat the right way. I forced myself to yawn until it hit around the middle of my throat. Until it felt real by my disease’s standards.

Other times, it was swallowing. The swallow-feeling had to reach the very bottom of my throat to feel right. I swallowed even if there was nothing to swallow. Even if my mouth had run dry. I tried to convince myself to stop, to reassure myself that nothing bad was going to happen if the gulp didn’t feel quite right. But I couldn’t.

I am 19 and my OCD answers to the same name as I do. Now, I feel like my head is nothing but noise. I feel like everything around me is solid noise. And the noise repeats like a broken record. And the noise is there (and it isn’t transparent). It’s opaque like tar. Your blood can run right beneath your skin, and you can get as red as you want, but black covers everything when you have enough of it.

My mind is like a door with tidal waves behind it: open it up and you have already drowned. But sometimes I wish that door was glass and that people could see that inside, I can’t breathe. Inside, my lungs are filling, each and every day.

My disease blends thoughts and impulses together like white and black, making the thickest shade of grey. My brain tells me terrible things, dirty things that leave mud trails on the way out. OCD turned my brain into a scrapped-idea; a piece of overused machinery. A rusty piece of machinery and the only thing it’s good for is making noise.

OCD is Identity Theft. OCD is the name of he who took my childhood, my confidence, my peace. So when you apologize, and say, “Sorry, I like when all of the forks face the same way. Such OCD, I’m so obsessive compulsive,” and twist your hair around your finger, I will twist my insides and watch my disease plead innocence under a different name, under the name of something I have never known. TC mark

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