living with obsessive-compulsive disorder

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Answered by: kisha, An Expert in the Life with OCD Category
I need to brush my teeth, I know this. I know I need to brush my teeth. But looking at the toothbrush I bought yesterday, I can't pick it up and put it in my mouth. It feels unclean. I can't handle the fecal matter that has floated from the toilet onto my toothbrush. I put the toothbrush back down and continue with my daily routine. The toothbrush won today, and it is a horrible defeat. Although this is a battle I fight with obsessive-compulsive disorder every day, its a battle you can never fully when.

Imagine that you have to try to explain to your boyfriend that you can't stay at his house for two days because you know you cant poop in his bathroom. You know that his bathroom is cleaned. and it shouldn't be an issue using the bathroom, you have been together for a year. But no matter how long you sit there, nothing happens. You decide today is going to be the day. You aren't leaving his house until you use the bathroom. In the bathroom, you do your rational thoughts exercise, but no matter what you do, nothing is happening. The fear of the water of the toilet water hitting your bottom is just too much. Now, you are in the bathroom crying. You can't hold a normal relationship like everyone else in the world because of your fear of the poop on the toothbrush and poop water in the toilet.

These things have crippled your life to the point that you have gathered your belongings and left his house crying because you realize that the fear is something that is not rational but its terrifying. You can't eat when you don't have your plate, fork, and spoon. You can't eat foods that aren't fried when you go out to dinner because you fear that you will die of food poisoning.

It's nine am and I am waiting for my sister-in-law to answer my call. I can't wash the dishes until I talk to her. Our talk time is eight o clock am, at nine I find myself coming overwhelmed with fear. Is she hurt? Is she dead? I didn't talk to her at eight. That is what keeps her alive. If I don't talk to her I put her life in danger. She calls at noon. I know she is alive and now I can wash the dishes. I know now that there isn't going to be enough time for chores. I can't do the chores out of order so what do I do?

Life with obsessive-compulsive disorder is crippling. As I sit here, waiting for my blanket to dry at alone 2 am because I can't sleep without that blanket, I feel how much of life I am missing. There is a man that loves me across town that I can't build a life with because I cant handle the idea of change. Simple things, like moving to a new apartment cause insomnia and health problems. It takes months to get used to sounds and smells.

I am in a prison I have made by my own fears. Even with medication, the fears win on some days. Each morning I wake up and battle my fears. Somedays I win and use a toothbrush more than one day. Some days, I lose and I end up rocking back and forth on my floor devastated because the lack of my ritual has put the life of my family in harm's way in my head.

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