Hey! My name is Shay and I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Not that “trendy” OCD that people talk about when they say they like to organize things, are neat freaks, or wash their hands a million times. I have lived with real-life, sometimes crippling, clinically diagnosed OCD for the last 20 years. I have touched on it many times on Instagram, but never on this level. Transparency comes very easy for me but real vulnerability comes in doses, as needed. Today is a vulnerable kinda day.
Do you know what it’s like to lie in the bed in the middle of the night and randomly think about your favorite ink pen, and then get up to go and look for it? And then not be able to go back to bed until you find it? Can you imagine losing the lens cap to your camera and then searching your house for hours on end — over and over again — looking for it? Or misplacing a comb and looking all over for it because “it” has to be “that” comb?[su_spacer size=”10″]
Over the years my OCD has changed and manifested itself through various fixations. I used to be a numbers person. Everything had to be even numbers. I would pick up things on a dinner table, like the salt shaker, and set them down (tap them on the table) an even number of times. The TV volume always had to land on an even number and if I walked into a room, I would pick up the remote just to check it. I would purchase things in sets of two, walk over certain areas or through certain doors twice, and so on.[su_spacer size=”10″]
I have had stressful periods of life that have made way for different obsessions like collecting nail polish — I would order several bottles a day on Ebay for months. When I got to a better place, the obsession ended. Then the next stressful period brought about a fixation with makeup, and I buried myself in You Tube videos and makeup purchases.[su_spacer size=”10″]
These days, my OCD tends to center around loss. I hate losing things because I’m unable to move on to something else without finding it. Looking for things makes me late to places, it is frustrating for those around me who are affected, and it causes me stress. My latest loss? P’s hair. It’s like an episode of Groundhog’s Day where I wake up every single day and see an old picture of her and mourn the loss of her longer hair — with real tears and all. In the moment as I was cutting it, I couldn’t have predicted it would trigger immediate remorse, followed by an epic meltdown. The inability to control how quickly her hair grows back is stiffling. Sounds extreme hunh? This is my real life. The people closest to me don’t understand so phrases like — “Girl you are trippin’!”, “It will grow back, it’s just hair.”, or “Let it go.” — are frequently used, in an attempt to comfort me, but they can feel dismissive. Their words are true, but that doesn’t make the way I process them, any easier. My OCD is heightened when I’m stressed so the it’s not that I am a mom, regretting a haircut. It is that I am a mom, who is obsessing over a haircut, because it is yet another thing around me (work, deadlines, contracts, dr appointments, school activities, illnesses) that I am struggling to keep up with and no longer have control of.[su_spacer size=”10″]
OCD is being a prisoner to the same thoughts, over and over again.
Most people that don’t have OCD aren’t able to empathize with those that do, and that’s by no fault of their own. You can’t get what you don’t have. But just as important as it is for a mom to be be able to talk to other mothers — it is important for me, and other people with OCD, to have people around them that DO understand them. People who can relate to why I can’t “look for something later” or “stop thinking about it”. And that help may come in the form of a professional. If you are a partner or friend to someone living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, be gentle with them. It’s hard enough to battle our own thoughts without dealing with your judgement, too.