A Queen. Of Sorts


Never having experienced psychosis, I was, without a doubt, the Queen of Neurosis.

At the ripe ol’ age of 40, I was anxious, tense and had a zillion phobias. I’m okay with that now, but it took some work. As Woody Allen said, “I’m so used to being anxious, that when I relax I get tense!”

Yes, I learned to accept the me that is me AND somewhere during the process I learned that humor was my best friend.

I washed one article of clothing at a time. That, of course, is my O.C.D. (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) rearing its bizzaro head. Consequently, it took FOREVER to do laundry.

At one point I attended a support group for O.C. D. types. One lady shared that she takes all her clothes off of her hangers and washes said hangers weekly. A gentleman confessed that he takes a 2-hour shower. He counts as he washes; shampoo hair 14 times, wash face 6 times and so on. IF he makes a counting mistake, he must start this process from the beginning.

Of course, this is a disorder full of angst and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. But, honestly, some compulsions cause me to giggle. My favorite is when I ate out at a restaurant, I brought my own flatware.

This disorder comes about for psychological, neurological, and genetic reasons. I was molested when I was a mere 7 years’ old. And, my grandmother had O.C.D. She washed all her groceries before putting them away. She tied my child father with a leash to an outdoor tree so that she could wash all of her indoor walls, twice weekly.

An O.C. D. brain does not allow a thought to go from point A to point B in a straight line. It spasms about causing folks to check that the stove is off upwards of 100 times, for example. It can take that long before a neuron settles into “Finished” mode.

Yes, over the years, my symptoms have decreased ten- fold. An excellent therapist taught me Cognitive Thinking, and I take the anti-depressant, Tofranil, which has also been shown to guide those neurons in a more straightforward manner.

Interestingly, if you met me for coffee, you might not know that I’m an “ex-ish O.C.D.er,” I look normal, act normal and will not share my foibles until I know someone intimately. Often when I do share, I hear that X person has some type of an issue also.

My adult child blessedly did not inherent this gene, nor did he experience significant trauma while growing. Raised by an O.C.D. mom was never easy, however. I ALWAYS made it clear to him that I have O.C.D. and that our pristine home was excessive. I didn’t make him clean his room to my standard, nor did I pass on my germ-a-phobia or my fear of ALL bugs and reptiles. (My dear friend has a pet iguana and I can now be in the same room with, “Max.”)

My son and I visited an eclectic type museum recently. One wall was dedicated to O.C D. comedic art. We laughed so hard and loudly that I feared we’d be asked to leave!

I have to head out now and run some errands. Let me first turn the lights off…

and off,

and off,

and off…

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