There Is So Much More to My OCD Than Most People Know

OCD, you aren’t what I thought you were.

You aren’t simply about washing hands under scorching hot water with antibacterial soap until the skin shrivels and bleeds with each rinse and repeat; nor are you the scratch of the sharp bristles of the potato brush under my brittle and jagged nails where all deadly parasites lurk.

You aren’t just about arranging and rearranging my books from shortest to tallest, tallest to shortest, from ABC to 123 — try again 50 times more — it just isn’t right, do it once more before all human life ceases to exist.

You aren’t just about scrubbing walls, floors, counters and sinks until the porcelain finish peels off as my irrationality screams: “It’s not good enough!” You aren’t just about checking and rechecking the door locks; rattling, pulling, unlocking, re-locking, over and over again each night before I feel safe enough to shut out the light. You aren’t just about the compulsions in response to the unyielding anxiety produced by intrusive and unwanted thoughts, images and feelings.

No, there is so much more to you; a world unknown to those that have not been touched by your venomous torment. A world where you lie, watching each day like the proverbial monster that hides under my childhood bed, waiting to snatch all life from my helpless and broken form. You are the shadows and sounds that follow me down a dark alley, causing my heart to twist and beat outside my chest, rising up my tightening throat, into my pounding skull where my thoughts go awry with fear and panic.

You are my hands drenched in cold sweat and my stiff legs frozen in fear to the spot I so desperately want to flee. You are my demon and only I can see you, only I can hear you. You are the doubts and questions that ceaselessly engulf my fragile mind. You are the thing that keeps me up at night and you are the bad waking dream that isolates me from the world. You are the reason my heart sinks in despair and the reason why death doesn’t seem so far out of reach.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

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