January 19, 2008

Me and OCD

I think that no matter the person, everyone has his/her own little quirks. It may be how you eat your food, how you get dressed or a silly "thing" you do out of habit. I have numerous little quirks. I've tried to tell myself in the past that it's just my way of trying to be organized. In reality it really isn't. It's more than that.

In 2005 I did a short stint with a therapist. After the miscarriage in May I couldn't pull myself together and get on with my life. I found myself sliding down that slippery slope of depression -- for me it meant spending way too much time in bed, not caring about my appearance (to the point of not wanting to shower) and calling in sick to work when I just didn't have the emotional energy to go. In August I realized that I needed professional help and I was lucky to find a fantastic therapist. After a couple of visits he had me take a quiz of sorts that contained about 100 questions. It was then that I was officially diagnosed as having OCD.

I've always joked about the anal-retentive aspects of my personality. How I had certain aspects that I felt were "obsessive" and that I couldn't let go of. But I never thought that I could truly have OCD. My therapist said that it's a more mild case. Most of my tendencies revolve around routines and order. It's my way of ME having control. (Which is, by the way, why he thought I was struggling so much with trying to get pregnant and the miscarriage. It was all of my control no matter how hard I tried to change it.) When I stray from these tendencies it makes me uncomfortable and I get flustered.

For instance. Getting showered and ready is a hugely structured endeavor for me. If I don't follow a specific order, things get forgotten. When I get in the shower I rinse off completely and wet my hair down. Then I wash my face, shampoo and condition my hair. With the conditioner still in my hair I shave. Conditioner is then rinsed out and I wash my body. After getting out of the shower and drying off I follow another structured regimen: contacts in, facial moisturizer, deodorant, makeup, hair, teeth and then lotion and chapstick. A break in this routine (from something like an unexpected awakening of the child, doorbell or phonecall) can be horrible for me. I might as well just stop getting ready completely.

Many would say that my need for things to be orderly is just me being neat. No. It's worse than that. At the end of the day I pick up all of KT's toys in the living room. Every single piece is put back with the set it belongs to. All the wooden blocks go back in the school bus; all the shapes go back in the shape sorter; all the balls go back in the ball popper. I will frantically search through the house when something is missing. I can't finish until everything is in its proper place. I'm trying to work on it but it's hard.

So you can imagine (or perhaps you can't) how much a 14-month old tiny terror can throw my world into a tailspin when she does this to the drawer in the bathroom where I keep my stuff.

For right now, the only cabinets that have been childproofed are those with cleaning chemicals in them. I don't mind if she plays in the pots and pans or pulls all of the plastic storage containers out into the middle of the floor. That stuff is all part of being a kid. Obviously this drawer hasn't been made off limits to my toddler. It is an addiction to her. I'm sure it's because it's loaded with all sorts of wonderful stuff to pull out and throw on the floor. Different colors, shapes, textures, sizes, etc. It has to be a goldmine for an exploring child. We found 2 tubes of lipgloss in one of the dresser drawers in our bedroom the other day. Courtesy of said toddler.

It literally gives me goose bumps to see her pull this stuff out and scatter it throughout the tiny bathroom. Since it doesn't hurt anything I continue to let her do it. When she figures out how to open my mascara or lick my deodorant, she'll be stopped from getting in the drawer-o-fun.

So after this confession would it surprise anyone that immediately after that picture was taken I dumped the entire drawer out and reorganized it?


Jessica said...

Hehe...isn't it great that the house looks like a tornado ripped through it (or drawers, etc)every day? I've gotten bitchier the past few months with M about helping me keep stuff "just right" in the house. He looks at me like I'm crazy..."Who's going to notice?" he says...I am that's who! I think it began with all the blocks, legos, balls, etc., stuff with small pieces. Also, the fact that it takes time to clean stuff up every.single.night.bugs the heck out of me.

FWIW, I would've done the same thing you did with the drawer! Those type of things drive me insane. So insane, I have a list of cupboards/drawers that I want to reorganize. Wait! Is the "nesting" thing hitting us all over again? lol!

Kristin, Rod, and Victoria said...

Hmmm. Should I worry that my morning routine is almost identical? Only I leave my conditioner in till the very last minute, then wash my face, put in my leave-in conditioner, then get out. And if I forget to wash my face (which I do occasionally), it throws my whole morning for a loop! I think my OCD is in hiding (or in denial), as mine is an all-or-nothing attitude, so if I can't do everything just 'so', I don't even try!

Anyway, didn't mean for that to be so much about me. I burst out laughing when I saw the picture, just more out of complete understanding and sympathy than amusement at your situation.

Sami said...

OCD - so that explains it :D I unfortunately cannot relate to that as I'm normally the tornado. I have desires for OCD yet fail miserably.