Something in my correspondence with Sheila (comments section in the post Selectiveness of Misophonia) made me write the following. I wanted to write about this earlier but either I didn’t have a courage or didn’t have a proper inspiration, still, here it is.
First of all and just for you to know in advance, I’ll say that what I consider to be my OCD was never diagnosed by any doctor. I’ve never talked about it with anyone except the people closest to me, and until this moment. I’m writing about this because reading about Misophonia and experiences of other people made me realize that there seems to be a quite large percentage of people that suffer from Misophonia and OCD at the same time. There is a question, unanswered still, are there a deeper connection between two of those?
As I mentioned, I’ve never spoken about myself regarding this subject, like sincerely explaining people why I’m like this and that in certain situations. When I did say something, it was always because I was pushed to defend myself or say at least something because either I was hurting people who spent some time with me or they couldn’t nicely tolerate my behavior anymore.
I didn’t even acknowledge for a very long time that this could be named as my own OCD. I thought OCD is only about extremes, and I’m not an extreme.
The same as Miso, I don’t know when OCD started. I know it started in my childhood and before Miso. What caused it, when thinking about it from this distance, was probably my strong desire to control at least something that’s happening to me, in life.
I didn’t have a “normal” childhood. I didn’t grow up facing the life as it suppose to be. I had to deal with things I didn’t want to and things that were way out of my control. I probably had to have something under my control and organized in the way I want to, to feel capable to go trough the life.
When I was almost 14 I moved to another state to go to a certain High School and lived in a pupils dorm. I lived in a room with 5 more girls there. That was the period when I finally admitted to myself that I am/was a difficult person to live with.
While I was living with my parents my habits and behavior were not that much of a problem because they were accepted and some of them encouraged. My environment had to be extremely clean. No one could clean anything the way I do, I would go after them and clean everything again. Everything had to be aligned. My clothing was folded in a certain way by a certain pattern. No one was allowed to touch anything that was mine, not because I was selfish but because no on was capable to return it and make the way it was before they took it. When eating, I used certain utensils and eat food in a certain way. No one could make me a sandwich or pour a soup in my plate. No one could wash or chop my vegetables and fruit. No one could do anything for me, because no one could do things as I do. My tomorrow had to be organized during today.
My organization and patterns I had to have didn’t stop me to be very social person. I used to hang out with very different types of people and groups, to fill out my personality full of differences. From the beginning I was aware that I ask much from the people, but I explained myself that I give much to them and they’ll tolerate my faults because of that. And people did tolerate me. Up to one point.
I hurt lots of people because they weren’t able to do things the way I thought they should. I couldn’t forgive them the way how they use their toothpaste in my presence, their soap, take butter, jam from their jar and else… (I’m trying to find simple examples that don’t overlap with Miso).
I was a control freak and I could live like that until the moment when someone broke the scheme. When that moment happens I felt “out of order”.
I remember when I was 15 maybe, my bf at the time , while we were walking, said that he would step on every round manhole he sees while walking which then meant that everything will be ok. If he, by some chances stood on a rectangle one then something bad will happen. He was joking , but, from that point I spent years trying to get rid of that from my head. He just unintentionally injected one more thing I became obsessed by.
The feelings I felt when someone starts to reject the possibility of washing my own fruit f.e. and demands some sort of explanation why I wouldn’t accept the apple they give me, were just exhausting. I would try to get away with it with a joke or something but lots of times I couldn’t manage to get away with a joke. I would try to explain something unexplainable and at the end I would just say in an angry manner, “Because it’s just the way it is. I would like to wash that apple by myself, may I!?” My answer for everything was “Because!”
14 years ago I ruined a valuable friendship because of the mayonnaise. I only ate mayonnaise from a certain manufacturer. This is what happened, I spent a weekend at my friends house, that was the first time I was in her apartment. I was a guest and she treated me the best way she could. But by the breakfast she already did numerous little things that I minded (stupidities no one would noticed). We sat and she brought me mayonnaise because she knew I liked it, she bought it just for me, she didn’t eat mayonnaise. I rejected it and told her that I don’t eat that kind of mayonnaise. I crushed her. I saw in her eyes I filled the cup. I couldn’t be polite enough to eat that mayonnaise I just couldn’t. If you gave me a million dollars then, I couldn’t eat that mayonnaise. So I watched how I’m loosing her right there. She had enough of me.
After that weekend everything changed. Over the years we did spend some time together and shared what is going on in our lives but we went to different directions.
Few years after, I remember, I sat in her room, I was trying to explain her how I’m changed now and she can cook me whatever she wants to eat. She was nodding her head and while I was talking she was asking me “What kind of soup do you like?” She asked me that over and over again. I just couldn’t persuade her that I don’t care. She was making us some coffee and brought me a few cups and spoons to choose. I really didn’t care but she wasn’t able to relax and chose a cup for me. She didn’t believe that I’m changed
I loved her deeply and still do and I will never ever forget that mayonnaise. I guess I could forgive myself, but I kind of, don’t want to.
From being able to function only if my environment is spot clean I went to “I don’t really care much about that”. I still chose my spoons but when I catch myself doing that I’ll purposely take the one I don’t like.
It took me a while to correct my brain related to OCD. My strategy, after trying and trying, was to purposely and consciously stop my initial reactions to certain things by ordering myself not to take that well known path I used to take. In other words, I had to persuade myself that the world won’t stop existing and nothing will change if I let a pillow lay on the floor. It sounds pretty simple and easy but in reality it wasn’t. It took time and will and effort and strength to be able to fix this. Even now, I’m compelled to do or say something but I’ll stop myself in a middle of the second word that came out of my mouth.
I’ve almost never been successful in applying the same strategy with my Misophonia.
I did that a few days ago when my husband sneezed maybe about 20 times in three minutes. I changed the movie in my head by laughing at the fact that I’m enraged by his sneezing, but what helped me and the main reason in succeeding was the realization of how happy I am because he rarely catches cold and sneezes. I’m not that lucky when it comes to other triggers and I think that plays a big role in this strategy. Knowing that sneezing is not the usual thing he does made my coping a bit easier.
Nowadays I’m trying to find a proper balance between “It must be like this” and “I don’t really care”.