It’s been eight-and-a-half years since I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder. In all the time I’ve been aware of having anxiety disorder, I have been a careful student of its manifestations. What I know is that when I tell myself some physical symptom is just anxiety often enough and long enough, my anxiety stops bothering me about that particular and switches to another.
It’s been thirteen years and a month since I was diagnosed with OCD. I’ve long since gotten the promotion to OCD tendencies. I’m still super good at obsessing, but less with interference into my daily life. When I was a youth, people called it dwelling. Dwelling sounds nicer, reminiscent of thatched roofs and chipped paned windows, but it’s more like being locked in. Stuck.
I have stopped obsessively cleaning. I stopped that in 2012. As far as I’m concerned that’s one of my greatest accomplishments. There’s a whole mess, haha mess, of words there, but that’s not where we’re going.
Motherhood keeps me leaning over the hole looking in. Also not where we’re going, but worth mentioning.
I know, as well as any of you, that the thoughts in my head are irrational, but that isn’t enough to stop me from having them, although most often it’s enough to stop me from acting on them.
Car crashes do happen every day.
People do get abducted.
Houses do burn down.
If I never leave the house and never let my kids leave the house and none of us ever ride in a car, how much life can we live? So like, we buy insurance and give the kids phones and don’t leave hot things plugged in after use. Space heater, iron, hot tools. I don’t run the dryer when I’m not home. I don’t bake stuff in my oven all day while I’m gone. Crock pot? Hell no.
I have never failed to secure the hot things in my home. Not once. I’ve turned around more times than I can count and I’ve never failed. I’ve driven back to work to make sure I unplugged my space heater. I’ve even texted my boss to ask her to check! I’ve driven back home to assure myself that no one left any hot danger. Not once have I found hot danger. It’s irrational.
Do not use your logic to remind me there’s electricity running through every wall in my house or that there are flames in the furnace and the water heater, or that I live in a wooded area or that lightning can start a fire, cause I know, okay, but I don’t obsess about any of that.
what if moo left the kettle on? or her oatmeal pot? did she have the iron out this morning? did i unplug my straightening iron? omg, did sassy straighten her hair in the main bath? think, joey, was her hair straight this morning? well you’re going to have to go back. well that’s just stupid, isn’t it? do you really want to make that merge onto the ramp AGAIN? have you ever found anything on, ever? no. then why must you check? because obsessing. must relieve obsession. anxiety paralyzing. could happen. is possible.
I HAVE FORGOTTEN SOMETHING. SOMETHING BAD WILL HAPPEN.
So, like Rachel and the crazy fire/flood/baby/bird story, I recently did a very good job at checking all the hot things in the house (supportive ritual occurs one time) and felt confident in my departure. And then I drove for about five minutes and began to wonder if I had replaced the batteries in the charger.
Anxiety couldn’t fucking let me win one, could it? No. I said NO. I said to myself if the kitten has batted loose batteries off the counter and they then ran into errant silverware on the floor and started a fucking fire, well so be it, because i never liked that tile anyway.
I mean — What are the odds? Isn’t that right up there with fire/flood/baby/bird? I think so.