Why I Blame Epilepsy For My OCD

Breathe.

You know when you have so much to write- right there- on the tip of your tongue, your pen, your fingers, but oh boy it’s deep. It’s easily judged. It’s a bit psychotic.

Strangers will say- “Wow, she’s screwed up.” And friends will say- “Oh my God, I didn’t know she was so crazy.” But that’s the point of a blog right? To reveal?… and there will be a group of you out there that say- “She’s me…. I know who that person is.” This is for you then.

We’re all a little cray cray about something. There’s a pet peeve, a neurosis, a quirk everyone possesses; we’re unique after all.

However, I may be on the heavier end of neurotic, quirky, OCD…………. Obsessive. Insane.

So here it goes. My good friends and family know I don’t allow shoes in our house. Yes, I’m the Nazi standing at the door, smiling but glaring at your feet ’til you take your shoes off and I move aside to welcome you in. On the outside I’m calm yet on the inside, I’m overwhelmed by ridiculous anxiety. I don’t want whatever you’ve schlepped through to contaminate my sanctuary. Keep those germs away from me. Please. My husband shakes his head in frustration but has grown accustomed to my neurosis when it comes to shoes… He knows it’s a losing battle and I willingly take responsibility for the “no shoe” policy to spare him some embarrassment when we invite people over. I guess I see it as, it’s my house- don’t like it, don’t come over. (Sorry.)

That’s minimal though. Here’s the basic list:

-We wash our hands as soon as we come into the house. Don’t touch a single item til that’s done.

-Cell phones stay at the table in the center room and hands are washed after every time they are touched.

-Clothes are off and shower is taken as soon as we come in from school or work. I don’t want nasty preschool clothes or work crap in my house.

-Mail stays outside in the drop box in the garage, not inside.

-No keys, wallet, money, etc. go beyond the hall table. That sh*ts dirty.

-When other kids bring over their own toys, I cringe thinking about where they’ve been before they’ve graced my carpet, my son’s clean room, my house in general. (Just thinking about it now makes me panic.)

-I put down a towel before bringing any of our luggage in the house because I don’t want it contaminating any part of my environment. I mean, think where it’s  been!…

-I even sometimes shudder at putting my son’s artwork on my fridge because I can only imagine what that paper’s come into contact with while at preschool.

-When my son was a baby, if he dropped a toy somewhere “really public” I’d leave it. No amount of boiling could scald away the memory of where it had been in my mind.

-I can count the number of times my son’s gone to bed without bathing (even if it’s 1 in the morning when we get home) on one hand. (Yeesh, that looks almost cruel in writing.)

-Every time I do a load of laundry, I wash my hands after putting in a dirty load before I touch anything else just so I don’t transfer those germs.

There’s so much more. In fact, we rarely have people over to the house since I’m terrified of what they might “bring in” with them. Insane. What if someone’s coming from Disneyland, the airport, play gym, and they sit on my couch? And then I want to cuddle up there in my PJs to watch a movie later… do I just transfer those germs when I go to bed? And on the rare occasion people do come over (because my house is my haven), I clean everything- I’m talking wipe down the handles of the fridge with disinfectant wipes- before I can go to bed. I don’t care if it’s 2, 3, 4 AM. It has to be done.

I’ve vowed though, to give myself a break, to break some of my neurotic routine. To put forth my best effort in minimizing my OCD lifestyle in 2017. My poor husband can’t take much more of it. 😊 lol

And so I’ve had people over… other than the usual small crew. There are couples/best families that know many of my quirks and don’t mind the drill. They’re okay, but the group of those is tiny. And I fear as I get older, I’ll miss out on life for want of keeping my environment “clean.” My son will miss out, for want of my maintaining control. Protecting myself almost to the point of detriment. My husband talks about when we get a bigger home, he wants both sides of our family to all converge on our house for the holidays and friends come and go whenever. The idea paints a pretty picture and I would dearly love it but the actuality scares the sh*t out of me. I can’t control it all. People will “accidentally” put their shoes back on and wear them through my house, but “oops, it was just a minute” to pick up that jacket they forgot. Cell phones will be everywhere, etc. and I’ll have to disinfect it all… my head’s spinning.

This is not normal. I know.

I. Hate. It. But I can’t seem to stop.

You’re asking yourself- what does this have to do with Epilepsy? Isn’t that the focus of her blog? I don’t need to read about the rest of her garbage. lol Yet it does have to do with my Epilepsy.

I wasn’t always obsessive. In fact, it began after I was diagnosed- and now the obsession’s gotten progressively worse. To the point of what I’d even deem insane.

But it’s what I can control. It’s the only aspect of my health I rule. My fortress, my domain, my sanctuary. It’s clean, it’s shiny, it’s healthy. My home is my shell… Don’t I deserve one?

Tonight was the 3rd time we’ve had friends over in the last few weeks and each time I restricted myself to “normal people” cleaning- vacuuming the crumbs, washing dishes, putting away toys- and I’ve managed to survive. I take a lot of deep breaths, yet I’m still here. It sounds absolutely absurd to almost all of you reading this… most of you are wide-eyed with jaw-dropped by now. BUT for those of you feeling trapped, neurotic and insane, I know what you’re going through. I know you’re trying your best to be a “normal” adult and live like the majority of the population. I know you feel ridiculous and vulnerable and are ashamed of your paranoia…

Most importantly, though, I know there’s a reason… Acknowledge that first. Then, take a deep breath and put one foot in front of the other.

I promise you, we can let go.

One thought on “Why I Blame Epilepsy For My OCD

  1. nursesnotions says:

    I don’t have OCD, never been diagnosed, but a lot of people have commented on how organized and neat I am. Yes, I’m fully aware that being neat and organized are completely different than being OCD. However, people have commented that it seems very obsessive at times. To the extent of your true OCD, absolutely not, but I believe more so than usual. I also have epilepsy and I think the correlation you make is very accurate. Before I got diagnosed when I was 15, I was a slob. A typical teenage who left their dirty laundry on the floor and never made their bed. All that changed. I think control has a lot to do with it, like you mentioned. Because we cannot control our epilepsy, but we can control our environment, but for me one of the major things is having a dirty environment causes me stress. Stress is a trigger for epilepsy. I need to know where everything is in my house, and it all has to be clean and presentable otherwise I get irritable and stressed, which can end up leading to a seizure. I’ve learned to prioritize because I have to, and while I still live in a neat environment, certain things sometimes wait because other things take precedence. Especially when I’m at work. I’m a nurse and obviously surrounded by germs, which actually strength your immune systems ability to fight infections. I wash my hands a billion and more times at work, but when I first go to work I straighten out my work station. However, I know that no matter how many times I clean it up my coworkers will end up messing it up again because there are other things that take precedence at my work, so I clean as much as I can and then tend to my patient’s needs. I can’t imagine living with true OCD, but maybe try taking baby steps.

    Like

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