under Date Night
Thinking always gets me in trouble. Well in my case, I tend to hark on the little things that often do not matter. I think about the fact that I forgot to bring my wallet out of the house, so I forget that I’m driving, and then get pulled over for speeding, and ironically cannot produce my driver license that lives in my wallet. Then I go to jail, not because I didn’t have my ID, but because I was going 140 mph in a school zone. In jail, I still can’t stop thinking about my wallet, which would have been confiscated at this point anyway. I can’t eat any of my crappy jail meals, and can’t focus enough to lift weights and exercise like a proper inmate. I become malnourished and skinny and rot away in my cell, too afraid to go to sleep because of what my cellmate may do to me, but too weak to move or stay awake.
It is for this exact reason that I never leave my home without my wallet. A few years ago, after seeing a therapist regularly, she decided that it was a good idea for me to leave notes for myself to remind myself to do things, so I don’t overthink things later when I forget. My sister made me a note on the inside of my bedroom door that read, ‘Don’t forget your: wallet, keys, cell phone. Happy face.’ I have lived by that note. I check my pockets for all three of those items about every five minutes. Sometimes I catch myself doing it in the shower, or when waking up in the morning.
The absolute worst part of obsessing is being burdened by these obsessions while out on a date or with a girlfriend. It eats away at you, or at least, me. I can’t focus and just want to go back to my car to make sure I locked it, or go to the bathroom to make sure that I completely shaved the right side of my face, while simultaneously trying to convey how much I like her. How can I show her I like her if half of my face is unshaven? That would just come off as insincere.
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.