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When You Struggle to Find ‘Normal’ in Life With OCD

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Why can’t I be “normal?” This is either a passing thought in my day to day, or a bi-weekly meltdown when life seems too unfair. Every day, just before bed, I take an antidepressant. It’s been almost three months since I’ve started gradually increasing the dose as I go along. I was hoping I would pop this magic pill, and I would feel normal.

What is normal? I wouldn’t know, and it’s all pretty relative anyways. Yet, I keep striving for the magical land of normalcy.

I segment my life into bad days and good days. Good days are when I can walk from my car into my apartment and don’t turn around five times to check the ground for hypodermic needles that will stab me and give me AIDS.

Bad days are the opposite. Today was a bad day. I parked my car, pulled up the emergency break, turned off the headlights, got out and locked the car. I walked a few steps away. Then, there it is. I’m urged back to my car because… What if I didn’t turn off the headlights? Check again. What if I didn’t pull up the emergency brake? Check again. Lock my car twice, a third time just to be safe. Then, the five minute walk up the road to my apartment.

I dread it. With each step, I feel the stress and anxiety in the pit of my stomach that I could have stepped on that needle. A hard pebble, a stick, check once, then check again just to be safe. That fleeting thought again, “Why can’t I be normal?

Bad days are tough, but I’m thankful for those good days when I don’t feel the urge to check. It’s like little bits of sunshine poking through a cloudy day. Damn right, it sounds cliche, but it’s true.

Do I feel like obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a blessing in disguise? That my quirks make me a better person? No, not really. I do know most people are struggling with something, and we all have a different battle. Even those who appear to have everything going for them could be struggling on the inside.

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Originally published: January 4, 2017
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