Some people with OCD hoard. Some people with OCD have intrusive thoughts. Some people with OCD wash their hands fifty times per day. It’s different for everyone, but here are a few things you should know if you’re falling in love with someone with obsessive compulsive disorder:
Understand that you’ll never understand it.
You might think that you have OCD too, just because you freak out whenever someone messes with the way your books are organized, but you have to understand that our minds work a little bit differently. If your book is in the wrong place, you’ll be slightly annoyed. Frustrated, even. But when I feel like something is wrong with my bookshelf (even if nothing in it has actually changed), I believe that something terrible is going to happen to my loved ones, unless I fix it. That they’ll die or suffer from a stroke, just because the books are in the wrong order. Does it make sense? No. I realize that. But I can’t help it, either. That’s OCD.
Don’t make me feel shitty about it.
Sometimes, I do bizarre things that will seem completely random to you. I’ll walk over to a tree that’s out of our way, just to touch the bark. But, the thing about OCD is that I realize I’m being completely ridiculous. You don’t have to tell me. You don’t have to make me feel even worse about it than I already do, because I know. I’m trying to resist my urges, but it’s hard.
We’re not all the same.
Most of the characters you see on TV with OCD are obsessed with numbers, like Sheldon Cooper knocking on the door three times. Either that or they’re germaphobes, like Howie Mandel, who hates being touched and feels cleaner with his hair shaved off. But I have no problem getting my hands dirty. Hearing a cough or a stranger’s sneeze doesn’t bother me. It doesn’t even register on my radar. OCD comes in many different forms, even though most people don’t realize it. So no matter how many movies you’ve seen with OCD characters, you’ll have no idea what’s in store for you, until you actually get to know me.
The worrying never ends.
Before I go to bed, I’m going to check my locks, even if I know that I already locked them. And if I wake up after dreaming about my dog dying, I’m going to run downstairs until I can find him and make sure everything’s okay. Sometimes, I’ll even cancel plans, because I feel like something bad is going to happen if I leave the house. The worst case scenario is always the first scenario I think of.
Gut feelings make things ten times worse.
If you have a bad feeling about something, and something bad actually ends up happening that day, you’ll chalk it up to a coincidence and move on. Not me. I’ll think that, somehow, I knew it was going to happen. That I was right. It gives my OCD credit that it doesn’t deserve. It makes the disorder even harder to handle.
You can never guess what’s going on in my mind.
I might be out with your friends, having a great time, and suddenly I’ll go quiet. You’ll have no idea what’s wrong, and it’ll be impossible for you to guess, because I’ll just be staring at our plate of bread. Why? Because I can’t figure out which piece is the “right” piece to take and I don’t want to look like a psychopath when trying to pick one up. I can go hours without feeling a compulsion, and then one little thing will set me off again. It sucks, but it’s the way it is for me and I’m doing the best that I can.