To the roommate of someone with OCD,
I know I’m probably frustrating you. I’m frustrated with myself, but I promise I’m not doing this on purpose. I can’t help the thoughts that swim into my head on repeat, and right now the only way I know how to cope is with rituals. I do these repetitive behaviors to try to alleviate intense anxiety, and you probably don’t even see most of my rituals. I’m very good at hiding it. Thought it may sometimes seem like it, I’m not being annoying or hurtful or rude. I’m in pain.
I’m working on getting help, but it takes time, and specialists aren’t always available. In the meantime, please be patient with me, even if what I’m doing doesn’t make sense. OCD doesn’t make sense most of the time. For example, logically I know wearing the color blue won’t make something bad happen or that someone touching my belongings shouldn’t be the end of the world, but to me it feels like the end of the world. Think of the worst anxiety you’ve ever felt maybe from having an exam or watching a stressful movie. Now imagine that from the smallest of triggers. That’s what living with OCD is like.
I know I might involve you in my rituals sometimes, and I’m sorry about that. Know that I’m doing it out of desperation for relief. In the nicest way possible, please don’t reassure me. In the long run it will only make things worse. The best way you can help me is to encourage me to get help from a therapist and/or psychologist. Most universities have free counseling centers, though they may not have an OCD specialist who does Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy, the therapy recommended by research.
Thank you for listening. Hopefully talking openly will bring us closer. I’m here to listen if you need to talk to.
Other blog posts for OCD Awareness Week:
Day #1: Real OCD
Day #2: Fictional Books about OCD
Day #3: Finding Balance with OCD
Day #4: To the roommate of someone with OCD
Day #5: Peace of Mind Interview
Day #6: (Missed a day. Sorry, not sorry perfectionism)
Day #7: The Worst Type of OCD