Some days are easier than others when it comes to OCD. Here’s a description of a recent day and the OCD and other anxiety that I brought along with me:
I woke up thinking about the newsletter.
It was Saturday morning, and I hadn’t done any work on the United Methodist Women district newsletter yet. It was due Monday, so I’d have to do the whole thing that day and the next.
But I also had to go to the chamber dinner that night. I had to figure out something to wear. I had to take notes to write the story about the awards given out. One more story to do Monday.
And I hadn’t even started the book for Sunday school discussion class. Weren’t they on chapter two?
All this before getting out of bed.
I spent a few minutes with Chase. He was a little restless but finally settled down on my lap. While I sat, I thought about the little pieces of lint I could see on the rug. I didn’t want him to possibly eat the lint and have more stomach problems.
When I got up, I picked up lint. And I checked his stool under the window, made sure it was set just so on the little table so it won’t fall off. I checked it every time I went into the room.
While Larry took a shower, I read a bit in a book about nutrition. I suspect a variety of things affect my irritable bowel syndrome, including anxiety. But I’m ready to make some changes in my eating habits.
It would be a lot easier if I started preparing more food at home. That means cooking.
I read over the sample menus in the book. I looked for things that I could buy readymade in the store. I looked for ways to get out of cooking, out of the anxiety of using the stove and cleaning up afterwards.
In the shower, I fought against the urge to open and close the soap bottle more than once. I struggled with the anxiety of not being sure I had closed it properly. I told myself, “I’ll just have to live with it.” But the voice inside my head wasn’t very strong.
I used the razor in the shower. Then I had to put it back in the medicine cabinet, out of reach of curious cats. I placed it on the shelf, stared at it, trying to memorize the look of it on the shelf. Finally, I closed the cabinet door.
After lunch, I worked on the newsletter all afternoon. Over and over, I shuffled through my pile of papers, the documents that had to go into the newsletter. I was so afraid I’d forget to include something.
I copied and pasted, formatted, and checked. Checked to make sure I had copied the whole document. Checked to make sure I had formatted it correctly. Checked to make sure I typed names, phone numbers and emails correctly. Checked and checked.
We were late getting ready for the chamber dinner. I picked out some clothes, tried on a jacket I hadn’t worn before. I asked Larry over and over, does this look OK?
I put on makeup. My lips were chapped. I stuck a tube of lip balm in my pocket, even though I had one in my purse, too. I obsessed over talking to people at the dinner with chapped lips.
I took notes at the chamber dinner, trying to capture what the speakers said so I’d have accurate information for the story I had to write. I worried that I would get something wrong. I worried that I wouldn’t have enough for a story. I’ve done this for over three years, but still, I worried about it.
My newspaper won the business of the year award. So I had to walk up in front of the crowd and stand with my co-workers. Did my clothes look OK? Was my hair flat? Were my lips chapped?
Back home, I hopped back on the computer to finish the first draft of the newsletter. I finished it, but I continued to scroll up and down, reviewing the pages over and over. Was it pretty enough? Was it accurate? Would it be OK?
Does anxiety ever seem to follow you around?