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Dear OCD: You Think You're Making Me Happy, but You're Wrong

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Dear OCD,

How goes it? Are things good? I bet you’re busy. I bet you’re very busy, yes sir. I bet. In fact, I know you’re very busy and that you’re always very busy. You’re just the busiest thing, I know, and I don’t want to disturb you, but I felt I ought to write you. Say a few things. I think it’s OK because you disturb me almost all the time. You’re not the only one who’s busy, you know. I have things going on, a life to lead. I got responsibilities. I got work, I got friends. But, of course, you know that. You know all about that, because you’re just always there, aren’t you. Just sticking your nose in it, trying to tell me what to do.

Admittedly, I do listen to you a lot of the time, but it’s not like I enjoy it. In fact, I hate it. I don’t want to listen to you because you don’t make any sense. You don’t. But you sure are convincing, huh? Yes. Very convincing. Especially when I’m stressed. You just love getting in there when I’m stressed and anxious, love making things worse. You do, you make things worse, but I’m not sure you understand that. Maybe you think you’re helping because I feel calmer after doing what you say. Maybe you think you’re making me happy, because I smile a relieved smile when everything is to your specifications. Maybe. But you’re wrong. You’re not helping or making me happy. I’m only truly happy when you shut your mouth for a while. It’s never quite long enough though, and you never really shut your mouth. Rather you lower your voice a bit. I can still hear you.

Hey, remember when you said something terrible would happen if I didn’t check the door the right amount of times? Do you remember when I couldn’t relax at work because you were distressed by how the desk was arranged? Do you remember when you said it would be fine, everything would be fine, if I just didn’t step on the cracks? I think you do, and I certainly do. I remember because you say it a lot. I was reading a book just before, I’m sure you know, and I’m sure you know just how long it took for me to read 17 pages because you kept insisting I had missed something. And I can’t miss something. It’s important I don’t. That’s something you’re very clear on.

I’ve tried to compromise with you, I have. I’ve tried making changes in the little rituals you tell me to conduct. I’ve tried to reduce the number, change the wording of what must be said to make everything safe, to delay when I do what I must. I’ve tried to be civil, and to make us both genuinely happy. I know you’re quite comfortable here, and we’ve been together for a long time. What is it now, four years? Time flies.

And I admit, I’ve also been aggressive. I take my medication every morning in hopes that it will placate you, or at least muzzle you. But, like I said, you just lower your voice. I don’t appreciate that. I don’t think you’re doing me a favor. I think you just need to zip your lips, you know?

Because you’re a bother, you’re a hassle at best. I’d say that’s when the medication is doing its job. At worst, you’re a nightmare. You exhaust me. You make me cry. You make me feel like I’ve really lost my mind. Really, I don’t appreciate it. You break my concentration, because you insist something isn’t right. You annoy my friends because I can’t relax at their place without your rules being adhered to. In short, you hurt me.

I am more than you. I’m better than you, and that’s why I know who is going to come out on top every time we fight. I suppose, OCD, that this was less of a letter and more of a warning. A warning that I will win every time, no matter what you say. The hurt you inflict is always going to be temporary. So, the next time you think about opening your mouth to tell me something will go wrong unless I do what you say, remember this:

You just stay out of it — or else.

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Thinkstock photo via Andyborodaty

Originally published: October 12, 2017
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