Friday, June 20, 2008

Overcoming the things that grip us

Occasionally I written about my obsessive-compulsive tendencies, but even at my worst, I don't think I ever realized how severe and life-altering OCD can become for a person.

For me, it's just a feeling I get that won't allow me to leave something incorrect, untidy or unfinished. It's what makes me good at my job, but difficult to live with. I can't leave our bedroom if any of the dresser drawers aren't closed all the way. If Jerry places something in a different spot in the house, I can't relax until it's back where I think it's supposed to be. And the dishwasher? Everything has its place. Jerry could fit all of the dirty items in just fine and I would still spend 10 minutes rearranging them before turning it on.

And, ignorantly, I just assumed that was the extent of it for most people.

Until I met Amanda.

She was hired as a reporter at the newspaper I work at a few weeks before I went on maternity leave. Since returning, I've found her to be one of the most caring, optimistic and genuine people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. Because of this, I felt comfortable enough showing her my blog -- something I don't announce readily to people I just meet.

She started reading and got inspired to start one of her own, chronicling life with OCD, including her low point when she found herself curled in a ball in the hallway of her apartment after scrubbing herself raw with bleach. Her best friend took her to the emergency psychiatric hospital in Pittsburgh, and, in Amanda's words, she's been working to "control it with medicine and faith" ever since.

I find her story incredibly inspiring and, even better? She's a great writer. The combination is the perfect ingredient for a blog I think you'll enjoy reading as much as I do. Check it out here.


Anonymous said...

Ugh, I tried to leave a comment on the site but I couldn't, so I'm posting it here in case she happens to check:
Hey, I stopped by from Kelly's site. I'd love to add a new blog to my repertoire (because, ya know, I don't waste ENOUGH time on the internet) and you seem very honest. You are also plenty relatable so don't worry about that(I also lost a large amount of weight when I was in HS and I'm now attempting to do it again since I gained half of it back). Keep up the good work and feel free to stop by me site to say hello!

Randall said...

I sometimes think that my "obsessive" tendencies are compulsive until I realize that really, I'm just neat and orderly and not burdened with serious OCD. I look forward to reading Amanda's blog - thanks for the link!

Erica said...

I never realized the extent of OCD until I read David Seadaris's book entitled "Naked". Sedaris is an incredible writer and very funny/witty. I would recommend his work to anyone. In this book however he devoted an entire chapter to his experiences with OCD. I find myself cracking up because of the way sedaris writes, yet horrified at the same time realizing that people actually experience this.

Chelsea said...

I love that quote from Amanda, "control it with medicine and faith" I think we all need to do that.

kelly said...

Bellina - I just showed Amanda how to enable all comments, so you should be able to reach her there now.

Kelly said...

What is the URL to Amanda's site? I can link through your blog to see it, but the webpage is still listed as, so I can't bookmark it.

Heidi said...

Her blog is amazing...thanks so much for linking us to it. Her experiences are incredible and eye-opening. And you are right, her writing is interesting, informative, and humorous too. I am experiencing the same problem though...I can't bookmark it because it is still listed under your site.

kelly said...

That's strange, I'm not having the same problem with the link. Regardless, here is the URL:

Ray said...

"....including her low point when she found herself curled in a ball in the hallway of her apartment after scrubbing herself raw with bleach."

^^Wow. It's sad the things that people must live with. Just another illness added to the list, of the many that we as humans must battle. I'll have to check out Amanda's blog one day.

Take, care.

the_plainsman@xanga said...

Ha! I don't think leaving in the morning until the bed is made, drawers, closets closed, etc. has anything to do with OCD. It's just that it makes it nicer to come home to after a long day of toil and not be faces with unfinished work to be done. Especially for the majority of us without maids or live-in housekeepers.

Nor does finishing work tasks have anthing to do with OCD, either, that is being responsible for your and your organization's work, an increasingly rare comodity.

Or even stacking the diswasher the way one finds it to be most efficient, even if others like Jerry have other ways that work best for them.

Far different from the disorder that Amanda and author Sedaris experience.