Never in the past would I have… admitted isn’t the right word. Maybe accepted? Never in the past would I have accepted the idea that I struggled with obsessive compulsive disorder.
In fact, the first few months that I had been seeing my therapist and psychiatrist, I denied the truth in this whenever they brought it up – and bring it up they did. Often.
I mean, obsessive compulsive disorder is revealed in someone washing their hands continuously, turning the light switch on and off a number of times, constantly checking that the door is locked…
Sure, I would have described myself as compulsive. I don’t like clutter. I like furniture, books, toys and such to be in their place, and am unsettled with anything ‘askew.’ Difficult? Yes. OCD? Not likely.
Yes, I knew my thoughts followed certain patterns, and that I had a tendency to fixate on one subject: Work? If I was anxious about it (I was always anxious.) Housing? I like houses. Writing? A necessity for peace of mind. OCD? Never.
Despite my protests, I have been diagnosed with OCD that goes along with my Aspergers. After six months of journal keeping, blog posts, and therapy, I am beginning to see their point.
Some time ago, for instance, I started using Autism: for the beginning of my blog post titles. At first, I was writing about characteristics directly linked to my Aspergers, so it made sense. However, as my posts began to vary, I very much struggled to alter that title. After all, having Aspergers affects my entire life – so whatever I write, really, is linked to this also.
For several posts, which I felt even NTs could relate to, I left off that part of the title. However, that was a very conscious decision, which still left me feeling unsettled afterwards. Maybe I should alter my titles so that they don’t always include the word, Autism, but it is too hard. So I don’t.
I read my journal these days, and can see patterns of fixations on one specific topic. Often it is housing, or my children. Sometimes it is gardening, crafts, or vegan food. For days, my thoughts work like a broken record – both creating anxiety over having no control over such things, and easing the very anxiety it creates as I write, draw, plan, research, and thoroughly fixate on that topic.
The cupboard doors are open, I must close them. The couch is crooked, I must straighten it. Papers piled on the bookshelf, crumbs on the floor, clean clothes left unfolded… no, no, NO!!!
And the thoughts… those thoughts that repeat, and repeat, and repeat, until I could nearly lose my mind: I need my mom… I want my mom… I need to go home… They took my children… My children are gone… Please help me… Please help me… Please help me… Over, and over, and over again.
Oh, and bye the way, I do wash my hands – a lot. I do use lotion, continuously. I do worry about the locks, and check them frequently.
But obsessive compulsive disorder? Never.