In the decades I have suffered from OCD, the obsessions and compulsions I have experienced have evolved considerably. Sometimes these vanished compulsions feel something like a missing limb, or a quiet shadow filling in the space where an unrelenting, unexplainable need use to be. This is especially true of my childhood compulsions, which I performed without knowledge that something about my actions deviated from the norm.
As a child, thinking my actions were normal, I wondered how so much time could be spent out of a human life on such meaningless tasks, and yet people were still able to achieve things like build skyscrapers and cure diseases and become president. The fact I remember these inner monologues is a reflection, I think, of how much time I spent wondering about this. It was a great, unanswered question about Adulthood and Growing Up that I assumed would be answered in time.
I could never step foot on a crack in the pavement. There was a nursery rhyme that told you not to, and I followed this with unwavering dedication. Of course those cracks were sinister; the earth beneath them could break apart and swallow you whole, and your mother, with her broken back, would be left searching for you, beneath the pavement, forever.
I never understood how during recess, other children would carefully pick their way down the sidewalk, and then forget the game as soon as the bell rang. It infuriated me, their casual disregard for something that was so clearly an important, unwavering rule, important enough to be passed down through generations of children on the playground. It took me careful, painstaking ages to walk the distance back to the classroom. At this rate, I wondered, how would I ever become President?
5 weeks ago