Joe, 35, Kitchener, Canada

The reason he or she just looked at me is because I did or said something wrong. And I don’t even know them.

joseph-no-textFor me, OCD mainly shows up in terms of compulsions… checking light switches, locking my car over and over again, checking and re-checking that doors and windows are locked or that appliances are switched off. It also shows up when I am not feeling well – I assume the absolute worst is happening to me and begin to panic. Doctors, needles, hospitals… they all terrify me. I can get sick there and I have no control over what they are going to do to my body.

If something doesn’t go according to routine in the mornings especially, it throws my whole day off. I arrive to work frustrated, tired, anxious and unwilling to shake the thought of what happened to throw my schedule into chaos.

And my OCD has a big impact on my personal relationships. I will ask my partner for advice, or how I look in a certain shirt or pants, and will then do (or wear) the opposite to test whether he was right or not. Or, I’ll obsess over a certain event or conversation where I feel I’ve done something wrong or upsetting. With friends, my compulsions can grate on their nerves. I will often overthink things that they say or do, assuming it’s worse than it really is and targeted somehow at me. It’s pretty common for me to spiral into episodes where I can’t stop thinking about what may have caused them to do or say certain things, and how I must have been at fault.

And then there are the control issues… making sure items are in their proper place, squaring off corners, doing things a “certain” way because it feels right, cleaning up after people instead of giving them a chance to do it themselves. Even though it may not be technically correct, it feels right to me. It makes me feel in control and helps to soothe the anxious feelings I get when something isn’t exactly “so”.

Categories: The Wall

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