This guest post is a very special one – it’s from my college roommate and good friend Jess! All of us have our own issues in life, and the BEST thing we can do is open up about them in hopes of helping others, inspiring others and letting others know, “Me too.” I am so proud of Jess for starting a blog about her struggles with OCD, and I have no doubt this is going to help many in similar situations. You are amazing Jess!
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I’m a friend of Holly’s – a Midwestern, blue-eyed, married twenty-something, just living the [OCD] life. Here’s a little background story for ya…
I had been having trouble sleeping at night. And it was more than just being able to fall asleep. It was the whole process of going to bed, falling asleep, staying asleep, and even dreaming peacefully. Living on a ground floor apartment, I tried to quell my anxiety by simply making sure the doors and windows were closed and locked before going to bed. Normal before-bed procedure, even for all the non-OCD folk out there.
However, I soon was no longer satisfied with simply locking the door, and it became necessary for me to re-check the door to confirm it was, in fact, locked.
As if I would have locked it incorrectly – yeah, right.
Eventually, I started searching the house. For what, I’m not exactly sure…some creepy person slash boogieman just waiting for me to fall asleep so they could attack, I guess. I would walk through every room, file through the clothes in the closets (including my roommate’s – when she wasn’t home, of course – providing a convenient opportunity to see if there was anything I wanted to borrow the next day), throw back the shower curtains, open every kitchen pantry door, and check underneath and behind all major pieces of furniture until I was completely convinced that no one was in my apartment.
Then, I added even more steps to my nightly routine.
I started to feel the need to shut and lock my bedroom door. But I guess my mind figured someone could easily pick that lock (which would’ve been nearly impossible. I mean, the previous tenants’ kid had put a monkey sticker over the hole in the doorknob, for crying out loud. Pretty fail-safe, if you ask me). Regardless, my next line of defense was to shove my slippers under the door to jam it closed. No joke. Did I truly think slippers would provide the best possible barrier between me and a crazy murderer?!
After going through that ridiculous and painstakingly long process every night, I would slip into bed – always facing the door – and lay awake, listening. Listening for every little sound I could hear, making sure I was alert should anything sound outside the norm.
There are two problems with this:
- Living in an apartment complex, there are more noises than you probably ever want to hear.
- Anyone who knows me knows I would benefit greatly from Miracle Ear. I’m a 20-something with 80-year-old hearing.
And so my nightly battle with falling asleep would begin.
And it would take hours…
Reading only kept me up longer (in my defense, I had just started the Harry Potter series). Listening to music made me anxious because, how can you hear an intruder breaking in if music is playing? But I would fight my irrational mind until the wee hours of the morning, constantly trying to convince myself that nothing and no one was breaking into my apartment. More often than I’d like to admit, I would get up out of bed and go through the entire bedtime routine all over again.
It was terrible. I was living like a zombie, month after month. And despite all of their recent popularity, living like a zombie is really not as glamorous as the video games make it look. (Now a vampire, that may be more exciting…) Of course, I would tell bits and pieces of my ‘problem’ to my family, always careful to leave out the embarrassing parts (like the slippers). Finally, after weeks and weeks of complaining to my mom, she told me to go see a therapist. So I did. Out of pure desperation.
…and to avoid laying massive amounts of text on these otherwise beautiful Everythingtarian pages, I’ve posted the rest of the story over at my blog, Living the [OCD] Life – come join me!