In a world of locked rooms…

I hate hearing people describe quirks as “OCD.” Keeping your house tidy isn’t OCD. Putting on your shoes the same way isn’t OCD. Those are habits. You want to know what OCD is?

Me, sitting here, dutifully typing away after 11pm, because that is when it says I can write. Closing the doors in my bedroom three times each before I go to bed. Changing clothes exactly five times a day. Cleaning my teeth three times at night. Ordering my life into neat groups of fives and threes. The fear that missing any of this will end my life in a horrible way. 

The panic attack when my two hour nightly rituals are interrupted for any reason, and starting them all over again until I can complete them in the right order. Losing sleep for a week at a time because I’m fighting a new compulsion, wanting added to the list. 

Never going to sleepovers as a kid because I couldn’t carry out my rituals. Having to adapt my rituals when I travelled for my career as an athlete. Doing things the exact same bizarre way for years. Counting the ice cubes in my drinks. 

Being afraid of opaque containers, juices, bright lights, small spaces, chipped nailpolish, most people, most smells, germs, cash, grimy dirt, aphids, dirty dishes, soapy water, knives, needles, many fish, large bodies of water, sand, red clay, and being dirty. Each of the above having a ritual to make it better and to soothe me. 

It looks like a world full of locked rooms that I could unlock, but I’m too afraid to do so. It’s being paralyzed by irrational fear, and giving in to compulsions that aren’t even sensible. It’s medication after medication, behavioral therapy, and counseling, all failing after a short time. 

It’s having an IQ in the 180s and feeling like a moron because I can’t just go to bed like a “normal person.” 

It’s holding the key to my own escape, but hesitating to put it into the lock. I could unlock the room, and be free, but I could just stay here. I know this life. I don’t know what the other life would be like. I don’t know if I want to know. But I’m holding the key, and that is some solace. Kind of. 

In a world of locked rooms, the man with the key is king. And honey… you should see me in a crown.

-J. Moriarty



One thought on “In a world of locked rooms…

  1. It’s not as simply as being able to stop, if it were OCD an similar disorders wouldn’t exist. Those of us with mental illness have some level of control but we can’t make things go away. I’ve found that it’s easier to deal with my depression if I make myself do something that requires mental engagement beyond staring at a screen but that doesn’t mean my depression is gone. It just means I’m focusing on it less so it can get less of a hold. Even then it doesn’t always work. I’ve also got some form of compulsive disorder (yet undiagnosed) but I haven’t found ways to cope with that unfortunately. I’m sorry to hear so many treatments have failed for you and I hope you eventually find something which helps.

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