What You Call Minuscule, I Call Critical: A Daily OCD Ritual


Editor’s note: If you struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. To find help visit International OCD Foundation’s website.

I placed my raggedy Birkenstocks at the end of my bed, perfectly aligning them at a 90-degree angle in relation to my mirror.

I wanted to go to bed but I had to wash the day’s grease off my oily teenage skin.

I splashed my face with cool water five times, applied Proactive Acne Wash,
Which don’t be fooled, this demon of a cleanser doesn’t work nearly as well as the peppy radio ads make it seem like.

Following the sting of the rinse, I splashed my face five more times,
Looked into the mirror
To see my face filled with a smirk.

Satisfaction.

Thank god, I could go to bed now.

Exited the bathroom closing the door and then opening it to create a small sliver of light shining through to my bedroom.

The clock was at 1:27 a.m. so I had to halt my celebration for sleeping until it struck 1:30 to flicker off the lights,
Then on again.

Off.

Then on.

Repeated this measly task 13 more times.

Finishing this light switch extravaganza I ran to my bed.

person with green light and blue light painting blur

Of course, I needed to be tucked away in my seafoam green comforter before 1:31 a.m.

I was perfectly sunk into my covers and ready for that night’s dreams to take over my mind,
Then there was a tickle on my face.

It was the tag of the comforter.

It clearly belongs at the bottom of the bed.

It’s fine.

I’m too exhausted to waste my energy tampering with the comforter,
So I closed my eyes again.

Not for long.

I couldn’t let dreams take over my mind,
when all that was spinning around in my head was that I had to move that damn tag to the end of the bed.

No.

No.

It’s fine.

I’m going to bed.

“You have to move the tag or you will have the worst day of your entire existence tomorrow.”

No, I won’t.

I moved the tag.

I closed my eyes,
praying to reminisce about good times in my past,
or make up impractical scenarios about my future,
Anything to discard images of constant shuffling around objects to make them perfect.

Only perfect to me.

Why did I do this?

It wasn’t necessary.

Well necessary if I wanted to have a good day,
If I didn’t want to fail exams,
If I didn’t want to get embarrassed in class,
If I wanted my family members to survive,
If I wanted to survive.

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