Sunday, August 14, 2016

A day in the life of OCD

A few years ago (by a few, I mean almost a couple of decades ago), I told my doctor I wasn't sleeping. Thoughts kept racing through my mind. I couldn't fall asleep until I acknowledged the thought and committed to doing something about whatever was bothering me.

I made lists on my hands, promises to myself that tomorrow I would fix whatever was happening in my head.

Doctor: "You have OCD. There's medication for that."

Of course there is, there's medication for everything. I declined it.

But! can you be messy AND have OCD?

There's a difference between being a neat person and having OCD. I'm a messy person with OCD. It happens. And you can enjoy being a tidy person without having OCD.

A few months ago, I applied for a job. The moment I interviewed for it, I just knew it was mine. I can't explain it. It just felt right. Whenever I said something like, "I might not have the job", I felt like I was telling a lie. I know I sound crazy and it's difficult to explain. But, there it is.

The new position is in a different type of office setting. I won't be able to get away with wearing jeans, hoodies, and my Gryffindor t-shirt. I'll have to look all professional and stuff. My brain kicked into overdrive.

TMI time: My MS treatments leave bruises. I cycle the treatments through my limbs and torso. That means that right about the time my stomach stops feeling like I was kicked by a horse in the gut, it's time to do it all over again. I've stopped wearing jeans for this reason. Finding clothes that don't cause pain has been tricky. Leggings and dresses have been a God-send. But, I digress.

Brain: "You don't have any clothes to wear! You need to find clothes! Now."
Me: "But it's 2:00 am!"
Brain: "Amazon never closes."

Never mind that I didn't have the job yet. I needed to find clothes appropriate for an office setting. I tried to ignore the thoughts. But my brain would not stop sending out urgent fight-or-flight type signals.

Brain: "You'll be travelling for training. Do you know where your suitcases are?"
Me: "But it's still two months away."
Me: "I...I...think so."
Brain: "I think so doesn't cut it. You only have 7 days left to pack. Think about this, genius. You're not going to be able to pack during the workweek. That only leaves you with Saturday, because you're useless on Sundays."
Me: "But I don't even have the job yet."
Brain: "Do you have a hygiene kit? You'll need a hygiene kit."
Me: "But the hotels have shampoo and soap."
Brain: "Obviously, you didn't notice what that shampoo did to your hair last time. One word: sulfates."
Me: "We can go to the grocery store when we get to the training location."
Brain: "Unless there's a riot."

These thoughts weren't benign, fleeting thoughts. They stuck around, causing overwhelming anxiety. Almost a month before I found out I got the job, I went out and bought a hygiene kit. And I scoured Pinterest for ideas on how to pack a month's worth of clothes into a carry on. (You can't.)

Me: "I'll have to check a bag."
Brain: "You'll end up losing all of your clothes and you'll be stuck wearing whatever is on your back for five whole weeks. Five weeks. I hope you're comfortable."

So far, I've refrained from actually packing my suitcase. Mostly because I don't have that many clothes. Also, I don't know where I'm going yet. Sweaters in Honolulu (just throwing that out into the universe) would probably be too much.

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