How OCD Makes Me Feel Like a Puppet

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.

My obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) makes me feel as if I am a puppet. The compulsions are my puppeteer, while I am the sad and constantly stressed out puppet.

Growing up, I never thought my life would be controlled by my OCD. The feeling of hopelessness it gives me is exhausting. Trying to hide my compulsions from the outside world is exhausting. Everything I do is exhausting.

One night, my roommate left the room to go study. It was 1 a.m. and I was ready to head to bed because it was a long day. I texted her to make sure she had her key. Of course, she didn’t. Now given that she was only down the hall from our dorm room, my mind kept telling me to lock the door. Every night before I go to bed, I have to lock the door exactly five times before it finally feels as if it’s locked.

When I told her I was about to sleep and needed to lock the door, she simply said to me, “OK, well just leave it open.” Right then and there, I could’ve walked down the hall to give her the key so I would be able to satisfy my mind, yet I didn’t. I didn’t want to seem like a bother to her or come off as a paranoid person. When in fact, I actually was a paranoid person.

A paranoid person from my mind.

That night, I didn’t lock the door. Instead, I stayed up till 3 a.m. waiting for her. I waited for her to come back to make sure the door was locked, and that someone we didn’t know could break in. All I did was lie in bed staring at the door.

No phone. No music.

Just me and the door.

During this time, I could feel as if the puppet’s strings were tugging at me. I so badly wanted to fulfill the puppet master’s wishes, yet I refused to because of the door and my roommates key. Of course I couldn’t lock the door yet, my mind kept putting thoughts in my head.

“You know someone’s going to break in.”

“Your laptop’s a goner.”

But this wouldn’t be the first time the puppet master has kept me awake till late in the night. Every night before bed, I set my alarm with exactly the same routine or else I panic, thinking it won’t wake me up. Five clicks of the ringer, on and off, with my ringer turned up almost all the way. I need two spots left open on my phone ringer so it’s not too soft yet not too loud.

Not being in control of your mind is absolutely terrifying. Being controlled by something else that doesn’t even feel as if it’s your mind is even worse. Every time I try to stop my compulsions or the obsessive thoughts, I just get dragged into fulfilling them again. So, every day, I feel hopeless trying to get away from them because they’re constantly there, just swirling around me like a tornado.

As I’m writing this, I keep staring at the door because it’s unlocked. I’m not waiting for someone to come through it; instead, I’m waiting for the puppet master to take his break and leave me alone. When he does, I’ll finally be able to breathe once again.

Instead of waiting for that time to come though, I need to take control of my own mind.

No puppet master.

Just me with no strings attached anymore.

Living my life to the fullest without my OCD controlling it.

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