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John Plumeri

OCD

just another day and new realities

I have a pretty firm hope that the more I act the way I want to be, the more I’ll become exactly that.

The first time my OCD played a role in daily life was when I was in middle school. I was at a friend’s house and we were going to watch a movie. Before he was able to open to DVD case and put the disc into the player, I insisted that he wash his hands. I didn’t want to get anything from his hands on the case. Begrudgingly, he said OK and went to the bathroom. One of the worst episodes of OCD I’ve ever had was about a year ago. I was getting out of bed and checked my phone for the time. As soon as I tried putting the phone down, I felt off, worried, out of control and obsessed. I couldn’t stop touching it, moving it, pressing on the surface. After about ten minutes of this I went outside to catch my breath, though I knew I wasn’t finished with the compulsion. Out on that porch I began breathing heavier and quicker. I started sweating, even though it was a brisk day. I squinted my eyes and held my eyelids closed, trying to psych myself out of what I knew was coming. Then, panic attack time. I spent the next 30 minutes on the couch, listening to Guns N’ Roses, trying to will myself out of it. Nothing worked, though, which I knew would be the case. I just had to manage and ride it out.

The loose point to my OCD story is that you can always make it out to the other side. In the moment, you’ll never get any clarity. Nor will you find any solace. People close to me always try to remind me that I’m not crazy, I’m not the only one who experiences this stuff, and it’s not as bad as I think it is. None of those observations help. Or they don’t help me. I’ve had to find ways to deal with my OCD on my own, because, let’s face it, OCD is a very private thing. I, for one, am not quite embarrassed to show it to people, but I am very hesitant. The judging, confused eyes are unnecessary. And the fast, five cent “advice” from those who don’t have this disorder is often painful.

Wisdom from those who know nothing about a topic is rarely useful, and bordering on useless.

I write about, share on social media, and talk with others about various mental health issues because I want to. Because doing so sometimes sheds light on the issue. It sometimes erases just a bit of the stigma around certain ones. And it helps me sleep at night and function throughout the day; knowing I did my small part in informing, educating, or just plain sharing.

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