Sunday, December 6, 2015

In the Chokehold of OCD

Picture this: a sobbing, hysterical wife in the trenches of OCD with her rationale husband as her witness.

I needed to get home. We were a 12 hour drive away. But it didn't matter. We didn't take our vehicle. 

We had just flown to The Big Apple that morning. Maybe we could fly back that night. A $900 plane ride for two. But the flight wasn't until 10pm, the flight didn't even arrive that night. An unnecessary lump sum.

I had two nights before we would be home. Two nights. Two nights might sound easy, laughable, even.

But I had made a horrible error in going on the trip. My cats were going to die because I chose to go out of town. Two nights were irrelevant when my cats were going to die that night. That night. Their deaths were on my hands. The regret curdled. 

There had been signs, forewarning me to cancel: a friend fell ill and could no longer join us; we didn't get tickets to The Tonight Show; Late Night with Seth Meyers was on holidays; the forecast was calling for rain. 

I got on the plane anyway because I could recognize the triteness of the "signs": friends get sick; thousands of people attempt to get tickets for The Tonight Show; Seth is entitled to holidays; weather is unpredictable. I was lucky to be returning to NYC, to make new memories. But in that hotel room, in that moment of hindsight, they were glaring indicators of danger I had ignored.

It wasn't worth it. Traveling wasn't worth it. I didn't need new experiences at the cost of my beloved pets. I felt utterly trapped, panicked, desperate. 

My husband saw me through the lens that I now have as I write this: the lens of rationality. He knew that I hadn't been sent ominous warnings. He knew that being out of town had no bearing on our cats livelihood. He knew I'd find my way out of the darkness. But the thing is, I didn't know any of this.

I was irrational. I wasn't of sound mind. My emotions were dictators of my experience, they had made a premonition and there was nothing I could do about it. Danger felt imminent.

This is why I advocate for what OCD is and what OCD isn't. OCD is ugly, messy, and in this case, embarrassing.

But I stayed those two nights. And that, that is worth writing about.

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