Everything needs to be perfect. To the way items line up on the desk to the way the clothes are folded in the dresser. When I was single, keeping my OCD a secret was easy. But now that I share my life with another person, it has brought on a whole new challenge to this disorder for both my significant other and I.
Trying to explain OCD to someone who does not have it is nearly impossible. People just do not get it. The process of which my thoughts go through is not normal compared to the general population. So let me try and explain it to y'all in the simplest way I can.
First, you start with obsessions. Mine usually consist of the dangerous "what ifs" and doubts about myself and my decisions. This then sets me into an anxiety phase where I actually get worried and fear those "what ifs" and doubts even though they are not reality. The anxiety leads me into my compulsions which are any behaviors that bring relief to the anxiety. For me this includes repetitive cleaning of anything and everything, straightening up my desk repetitively, checking that tasks are completed and things are in the correct place five times, etc. I could go on and on about my quirks and they are different for every person who has OCD. When these behaviors bring relief to the anxiety, the cycle is not far behind of starting all over again.
I am one lucky girl because I have a boyfriend who loves me for me unconditionally. He accepts all my flaws (trust me, there are a lot) and I accept his. He was with me before I even knew I had OCD, to when I got diagnosed, and to now when I'm still trying to understand and live with all my quirks.
My boyfriend and I have had our fair share of struggles with OCD, though. When I am doing my compulsions, my boyfriend either tries to help or I try and allow him to help. Whether I am cleaning, straightening up my desk, or checking tasks five times, it must be done a very certain way. If I allow my boyfriend to help (bless him), it usually ends in a mess. I become flustered and cry because he's not doing it right and he becomes annoyed because he does not understand how to help me or why I am flustered. If he raises his voice at me, I shut down emotionally. This then leads to him getting more annoyed because now he can't reach me. This vicious cycle has occurred too many times in our relationship to even count.
I get self-conscious about my OCD because my thoughts are not 'normal'. I didn't think I would find someone who would love me for me, including my OCD. As someone with OCD, I just wanted my significant other to understand why I am the way I am. I wanted them to be able to support me, to understand when to help me, and when to just let me do my thing. My significant other and I are still together and stronger than ever. We are constantly learning about each other and what works and does not work for us as individuals and as a couple. He loves me for me and that is all I have ever wanted.
To my boyfriend — thank you for being my rock through the good times and the rough patches. You are one amazing man.