With this post I am going to be sharing something very personal to me, my back seat driver (because we all know anxiety likes to take the passengers seat), my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. This subject is a touchy one, and hopefully this can bring some light into what your loved ones or even yourself personally may deal with mental disorder(s) in their daily life.
I always knew there was something different in the way I acted and reacted to things, I felt like an outsider for as long as I could remember. I loved organizing things. I loved clean up time. I didn’t like many childhood games or being around others my own age.Which, at the moment, was just fine for me! I loved my playstation and was perfectly content sitting in my room in the dark with my cousin, whom I lived with at the time, and playing the night away.
Now, who remembers that amazing Amanda Bynes movie “What a Girl Wants?” Where the main character “Daphne” goes to London to meet the man she discovers is her father, and lets all admit we wants to be as cool, carefree, and generally awesome as Daphne. Now, the villain of this film is a very uptight, snobby, and just plain old awful. There is a scene where Amanda’s character is telling her off (rightly so) and says, “You’re a snotty little miss cranky pants and I go with the flow kind of girl”, and I thought to myself, “I am really not a go with the flow kind of girl….. am I bad? Is there something wrong with me?” And thats when I really started to notice.
Notice that a change of plans sent me into complete disarray. That when I am in the passengers seat I will count the lines in the road as they match the beats that I’m listening to in the car. That it REALLY sets me off when people don’t merge one after the other in exact order when driving. That I have the same process in the evening and in the morning that I have had since high school, and when It isn’t in order I am in an instant bad mood. When I take the same exact steps in each “Square” thats on the sidewalk. When I pull on the door three times every day to make sure its shut. Constant thoughts of “What if” and every single scenario that could possibly happen run through my head every where I go.
Even all this did not make me realize that I wasn’t just this way because I was weird. For years was isolated in myself, made myself the class clown, I was loud and annoying, bursting with energy. I wanted everyone to see anything except what was really going on. I remember being in the car for a long road trip with my best friend in middle school (she’s still my best friend, and has never heard this story, so here goes nothing!) and I was doing my thing, counting the lines, being quiet, and she exclaims ” Dude! You are so quiet its like the weirdest thing!” I was petrified. I thought she caught me doing one of my weird things that I didn’t know how to even begin to explain. ” Hey sorry I was just counting the lines in the road”. What?! No way. So I stuck with the “Car rides make me tired” deal.
It took me until high school when I was doing some personality tests for school to realize what was really going on. I used to joke about it, “Oh I’m totally just OCD’ing out right now” When cleaning etc. But never admitted to myself that it wasn’t a joke, and I’ve been suffering from it. And I still have trouble talking about it. Honestly, this is the first place I’ve actually ever discussed it in full. Maybe its easier when someone isn’t right in front of you, no fear in judgement.
Luckily as of now I have put in some good work to provide myself with outlets, I found happiness in my wedding planning business and have enrolled myself in college for the first time, which will be good! (Fingers Crossed) I am still learning and have much to learn about this disorder, and the more I learn the more comforted I am because I know I am not alone. But the biggest part of all this is realizing that its okay. I don’t have to be any way other than what I am. I will try my hardest to be the best version of myself I can be, thats all we can rally ask for.
I can only hope that this may help others, its okay to not go with the flow, and its okay to admit that you have something you can’t control. 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. Suffer from a mental disorder, and I think by allowing ourselves and others to open up and share their experiences we can really change the way we view people as a whole.
Do any of my friends out there deal with similar issues? When did you first realize that you have a mental disorder? What helps you?
Thank you for reading a little chunk of my life,
Love you as always,