I am fascinated by the A&E show Obsessed. It chronicles the lives of those suffering from OCD – from those with germ phobia to a deathly fear of driving. One episode featured a man who was extremely germaphobic— washes his hands 50 times a day and doesn’t even keep a trashcan in his house. If this dude ever came to my house, he’d go into cardiac arrest. Anyways, to overcome his OCD, the therapist forced him to experience an extreme cause of “germiness.” I’m not really sure how experiencing the most extreme manifestation of your fear is supposed to help, but I guess it’s kinda like throwing your kids in the deep end of the pool in order to force them to swim. (Because, swim lessons, who needs those?). Or, I suppose exposing someone to the most severe version of their fear helps put everything else in perspective. This poor germaphobe had to hear his therapist announce that she had just used his bathroom, including his towels, and that she was on her period. Because, truly, what could be worse, for a germaphobic man to learn, than this.
Then, the therapist forces this man to not only touch the towel that she has “used” (I’m sure this was all just a tricky little mental game, but that is beside the point), but to touch it to his face. This man, sweaty and trembling does as he is told while the therapist informs him that, yes, he has in fact absorbed some of the germs, but what is your anxiety level on a scale of 0 to 10 right now?
I’m not even sure what his anxiety level was, but would it be wrong for him to say 10! 10, 10, 10! I mean, eww therapist lady, this is just sick.
I realize this is a serious disease that can get to the point where it interferers with normal life to a debilitating state. But let’s focus on the non-life impacting, yet equally odd cases:
- A friend’s future sister –in-law has a strange pre-sleeping routine. She has to repeatedly bang her feet and head up and down, alternating, before she can fall asleep. First of all, how does this in any way usher in sleepiness? I also wonder how that conversation went the first time she slept over with her fiancé. How do you drop that bomb? I think, for all involved, its best to not waste time discussing it and just let the chips, or your head and feet, fall as they may. He might think you’re completely insane, or he’ll find it strangely attractive and it’ll put some spice and mystery back into the relationship. (Said spice/mystery may fade significantly after the nose breaking incident that will inevitably occur at some point during sleepovers.) I sorta wonder how fast she does it, and if she just passes out from fatigue when it’s all over? I’ll try it tonight.
- I have a friend who only writes in blue ink. If forced to write in any other color, she suffers anxiety for the rest of the day about what she wrote. It even progressed to the point where she went out and purchased all new planners because there was black ink written on one of the days. Dear friend, I commend you. Black is bland. Why settle for black when you can stand out with blue! I mean, think-outside-the box, throw your reader off and flaunt that blue. I personally prefer red, but that’s just crazy talk.
And then we come to my own personal OCD. As I mentioned, it involves my alarm clock, numbers, letters, and two fine major league baseball players. It’s a little diddy that goes something like this:
A, B, B, A
1, 2, 2, 1
Jeter, A-Rod, A-Rod, Jeter
(repeat 3 times)
And then, I know, without a doubt, that my alarm is properly set. I nearly died when A-rod was almost traded a few years ago. That would have really messed up my life and nocturnal patterns. I can only hope that my future husband does something equally as awkward, or maybe there is another soul out there that sings a similar hymn to their alarm clock. Come to me, lover!
I shudder to think how the therapists from Obsessed would combat these OCD tendencies. I can only assume that mine would involve the Red Sox and chanting blasphemies such as Jason Varitek, and that is just a form of torture I am not willing to endure.
Excuse me while I go set my alarm.