Posted by: Chelsea Novak | July 14, 2006

A little less OCD, a little more colourful

I like to do little things to challenge myself. Like really, tiny minute things. I enjoy creating boundaries, patterns, preferences and routines. Some are normal, some are problematic. So I challenge small aspects of them. That way I feel like I’m testing myself enough and I can stave off the necessity of fixing the greater issue.

An example. Every day I strive to leave the house in such a way that I wake up to it clean. In a perfect world, I would wake up to a home where the dishes are all done and put away, the laundry basket empty, clothes ironed and put away, the floors vacuumed… You get the idea. When I used to live by myself, I would often stay up until the wee hours of the morning cleaning my apartment to this state of perfection. Yes, even my neuroses are uncool. Anyway, that kind of behaviour isn’t the picture of mental health, so I’ve gotten to a state where I can leave dishes out to dry, leave ironing for days at a time and just go to bed and accept the place I wake up to (I still can’t handle the fact that M leaves his clothes out every night. It drives me fucking bonkers, but what doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger and this is clearly an indulgence of being in a pretty good place in life if something like that is what troubles me).

So the larger problem of being an obsessive cleaner… Still there, but it’s tempered with bouts of doing normal things like leaving the ironing to sit for awhile.

My neurotic behaviour extends far beyond cleaning. It’s part of everything. Beyond my food allergies, there are some things I just won’t eat. Don’t even get me started on how fear-inducing trying new food is. And while I’m good with colour and makeup, there are colours I just will not wear, like yellow. My skin has a yellow undertone and when you put a yellow shirt on top of that it looks like I’ve become jaundiced.

None of this is crippling. It’s just the way I deal with stress and create my comfort zone. If I feel like I’m not in control of my life then all my fixations seem terribly important. This last week I’ve felt a little like I’m about to ride off the rails and have been fine form. The highlight of which involved M lying down on the bed, refusing to move while I pleaded with him to just let me make the bed after I’d put clean sheets on it. Sure it was 11 p.m. and he was about to get into it, but that didn’t stop me. No sir.

So to create some kind of OCD-related balance I wore a yellow shirt today. A tiny victory for normal and hopefully no one will wonder if I have malaria or casually suggest that I have my liver function checked.

Today’s sing-a-long song: “Sick” by The Sneaker Pimps.

HRH


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