I didn't come to this decision lightly or in the hopes of appearing trendy or casually damaged. I would gladly trade every minute I've spent bent over the sink scrubbing my hands—worried that my contamination would negatively impact my children—for some mundane life in which I meant nothing more to anybody than a paycheck or a meal. The hours spent showering or attempting to control the world around me would have been much better spent scribbling with crayons or playing with action figures as opposed to clinging so desperately to soap and water. I remind myself of that every day, but in the heat of the moment, I falter. Life takes a backseat to cleanliness as the image of my family shrinks rapidly in the rear view mirror of my disorder.
Recently, I've found myself less concerned with my own well-being than I am with stemming the tide of my symptoms. I've been drinking more often than I know I should. That said, I haven't missed a day of work as providing for my family comes first a foremost. Still, I have to imagine that there's more to life than working ten hours in solitude, all the while dreaming of when you'll be able to go home and kick back a bottle just to negate the stress of the afternoon bathroom visit during which you washed your hands for ten solid minutes. It all seems so silly to explain, but living through it is a whole different matter.
O.C.D. isn't just a part of me these days, it's who I am. I mean, sure, I like to write poetry and play music; I entertain friends and go out on the town every once in a while, but absolutely none of that happens without first considering the artificial limitations of my disorder. And what's worse is that I realize how all of it is self-imposed. No one in my life expects anything more of me than simple mediocrity. I make an average living, I live in a modest home. I drive a mid-range, fuel-efficient car. I eat fast food regularly out of familiarity and cost-efficiency. I am so incredibly “normal” that I oftentimes feel like my existence doesn't even matter. Couple that feeling with the unnecessary impulse to avoid contact with most of the people and objects in your life and, soon, life begins to lose its meaning altogether.
Why do I exist if I am physically unable to make a difference in the lives of those I love, given my self-created limitations and boundaries? Why do those boundaries exist at all if I am able to recognize them as self-created? Why am I unable to overcome those limitations in spite of all of that? My mind races with these questions, uninterrupted by any sufficient answer or convenient compromise.
In the end, I suppose there is no definite answer. Sure, there are medications and psychiatric treatments available. Sure, there are support groups and therapeutic strategies. And while each of those options are most definitely clinically accepted and typically prescribed, I still feel empty somehow—like I'm missing out on the authenticity and validity of life by accepting the fact that I need such help. Like being “normal” is a goal to achieve as opposed to being the natural state of my existence. And, in the end, this confession means nothing. I'm not looking for help or sympathy. While I most certainly entertain thoughts of suicide, I feel like such thoughts are an unfortunately common occurrence for most people these days and I also know that I would never act upon such ideation. And I'm not as constantly depressed as this diatribe might make me seem. I'm generally a happy traveler through this life who just wanders into very dark shadows from time to time.
I suppose, if anything, this whole narrative is just me revealing a part of myself that I don't typically describe in such detail to the people in my day to day life, just to get it out if me. If you've taken the time to read this, thank you. As I've already said, there's really no purpose or meaning behind any of what I've written here. I just felt like being honest for a little while tonight.