My OCD fills me with self-doubt. I’m never one-hundred percent positive whether I locked the doors or turned off the oven or stuffed concert tickets into my purse, even if I checked three times. I can come across as crazy because I need to check and recheck to make sure the dog is safely in the house before leaving the driveway. I need to check and recheck my pills to make sure I took them earlier in the day. I don’t trust my own memory. I don’t trust myself.
My OCD makes me feel like I’m responsible for every bad thing that happens in my world, things that clearly have no correlation to me. If someone in my family gets sick, I worry it’s my fault. If someone gets in a car accident, I worry it’s my fault. If someone falls down the stairs, I worry it’s my fault.
My OCD convinces me my actions have greater consequences than they actually do. I’ll convince myself a horrible accident happened all because I decided to wear the wrong color that day or eat the wrong thing for lunch that day or listen to a certain band that day. I’ll convince myself the tragedy could have been avoided if I had made another decision, a better decision.
My OCD makes me paranoid about the silliest things. Sometimes, I’ll stand in front of my closet for hours trying to pick the right outfit. Other times, I’ll reread a page in a book ten times until it feels right. Unlike some other people with OCD, I don’t have a set number of times I have to knock on doors or switch lights on and off. I just have to keep going until it feels right — and sometimes, that can take forever.
My OCD makes even the tiniest choices difficult to make because my brain tells me making the wrong decision will end in disaster — not for me, but for my loved ones. They’re the ones I spend most of my time worrying about. They’re the ones I’m hoping not to hurt. They matter too much for me to lose them. I can’t stand the thought of anything bad happening to them.
Unlike my anxiety, which I feel like I can talk about with most people in my world, I keep my OCD a secret from pretty much everyone. It isn’t something strangers can easily understand, which is why I suffer from it silently.
If someone catches me checking the bathroom to make sure the straightener is unplugged, I’ll lie about how it’s the first time I’m checking. If someone catches me putting back a cereal box at the store because it feels like the wrong one, I’ll lie about how there was a hole in the box. I’ve becoming a pro at pretending, at filtering the thoughts that plague me every single day.
I never want anyone to know what I’m going through because one of the worst things about my OCD is how self-aware I am. I’m aware my actions don’t make any sense. I’m aware how unusual my behaviors are. I’m aware I’m not supposed to be living like this.