I think that quite a lot of people (well, not that many really, because not that many people know about my madness) think that I have OCD 'for fun'. I think that this is also a fairly widely held view amongst the general public.
That we do weird things, probably for attention, and we'd stop if we wanted to.
I think that my own family, understanding and wonderful as they are, think - deep, deep down - that I could stop if I wanted to.
Any OCD sufferer, however, will tell you that it's really not like that.
Today, I have been annoying myself. Some days, as with anything, I find it easier to cope with my obsessions/compulsions than others. And today was not one of those days. I suppose that the days when my compulsions are more random are more difficult. Let me explain:
Some days, and these are the better days, I have my 'base compulsions', things that I do all the time. For example, all mug handles must be pointing West and the milk tops must always point towards the front of the fridge. That is by no means an exhaustive list, but they're things I build into my day. Things I've come to expect and plan for.
Other days, and these are not so good days, I compulse about other things as well. So I'll be walking down the street, and suddenly I won't be able to step on any of the darker areas of pavement; or I'll be trying to make a cup of tea and I'll have to pour the water in first. On days like this, sometimes it takes me an age to get anything done at all and by the time I get to bed, my head is reeling from the constant struggle to balance 'fulfilling' my compulsions with getting anything done at all.
On really bad days, I compulse about everything. From the moment I wake up, to the moment I go to bed, OCD fills my head. I can't do anything without repeating it, or counting, or thinking about what will happen if I don't do it perfectly. On these days, I want to shout, 'I can't be here.', and run away somewhere else, far away. Preferably leaving the compulsions and the obsessions, and everything else that goes with it, behind.
Why do I do it? I don't know. I think that today it's because I'm going out for the day with some friends tomorrow and I'm anxious about doing something out of the routine. I really want to have a nice day, but my OCD tells me that unless I complete a ridiculous number of compulsions, I won't be able to enjoy my day, or that really horrible things will happen.
Some days I can cope. Some days I just want it all to go away.