under Single Life
It doesn’t matter how normal my life gets, I will always have obsessive-compulsive disorder. The only parallel to this that I can think of is a recovering alcoholic. This person is still very much an alcoholic. They just no longer drink alcohol. They don’t feed their habits, and in that way, can lead a somewhat normal life. I’m not speaking for alcoholics, but I’m sure that a sober life for a recovering alcoholic is not easy. I’m not an alcoholic and I still have to drink sometimes. I’m pretty sure that’s the last thing that alcoholics say right before they realize that they’re alcoholics.
Just like recovering alcoholics are able to control their disease by not feeding it, I can now usually control my OCD by usually not giving in to physical compulsions and rituals. However, no matter how hard I try, it is impossible to not let it seep into my day-to-day life. Sometimes, I find myself walking to my car, and it’s not until fifteen minutes later when I recognize that instead of already having arrived at my destination, I’ve been making a constant loop from my car to the front door of my house. After about forty mindless trips to the front door, touching it with both elbows exactly fourteen times every time, I realize that that’s not a thing that people do.
Usually, I’m able to catch myself before I do something stupidly symmetrical like that, but sometimes I’m not. It’s not just physical compulsions, either. Mental obsessions are virtually just as bad as they have always been. While I’ve been able to control the physical manifestations of OCD, a lot of it still lives inside. This is an excellent way to hide the crazy. I suppose the mind is more powerful than the body. Don’t tell that to any quadruple amputees, though. Actually, go ahead and tell them. It couldn’t be any worse than them constantly realizing that they have no arms or legs. Now I’m thinking about why I wrote this. There are people out there without arms or legs, and I’ve spent the past hour worrying that I forgot to take my clothes to the dry cleaners. I no longer have any right to worry about anything.
I am so happy.
under Date Night
Anytime I’m supposed to go on a date that’s happening more than a day after I’ve planned it, I get irrationally nervous. I know most people get nervous, and that’s normal. I, as I said, however, get irrationally nervous, and this implies abnormality. This exaggerated nervousness began around age thirteen, anytime I dreaded going to whoever’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah party was coming up that weekend. I was not very popular, nor was I a good dancer. If you’re not a good dancer within the company of thirteen year old kids, you are a terrible dancer. That’s not why I got nervous, though. In fact, I can’t really explain why. I guess it was fear of being in an unknown social environment. This is despite the fact that every party featured the exact same thirty kids. To me, the environment was far from unknown.
Since that time, I have gradually developed a rather severe case of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Its manifestations are complicated, and it would be incredibly boring if I tried to explain them here. But, basically, I obsess. I obsess over the fact that I left my cell phone at home. I obsess over the fact that I didn’t swipe deodorant under each arm exactly four times. I obsess over the fact that I woke up at exactly 9:21 a.m., which is an extremely unlucky number. See how those examples get progressively crazier, and therefore seem to correlates to how the disorder has regressed over the last thirteen years.
When I have an upcoming date in, say, four days I go nuts. The first day, which we’ll call Monday, I completely forget how to talk to people. I practice on my friends. I call a female friend and go through the ‘hi…bye’ routine. That is exactly how it sounds. Seriously, I have to remind myself to say ‘hi’ when greeting somebody. On Monday, I’m a blank slate. And so, by Wednesday, I have worked myself into a frenzy. My heart paces fast, and I can’t focus at work. I go to the bathroom every five minutes and just pace around in the stall (which is logistically difficult). By the time the actual date rolls around, I’ve already assumed the absolute worst. This often works, as the absolute worst never happens.