|Ten years ago this sort of thing would have almost sent me over the edge. A phonecall would have been made.
Most people just thought I was neat. They had no idea of the anxiety behind it. I had a friend who would come over and challenge the neatness by randomly upending rug corners and making my pictures crooked when I was out of the room. I once made all of my girlfriends help me clean the apartment after a cocktail soiree before we headed off into the night. There was absolutely no way I could come home to mess. It wasn't just at home either, if I went to someone's house and they had a sink full of dishes, I would get up and do them and I would take great enjoyment in this act. You people know who you are and it will never happen again.
every single time I got spewed on. Hammerhead was a serious vomiter. I soon ran out of clothes and it was winter which meant that drying the washed clothes was virtually impossible in the timeframe I needed them. I became extremely upset and anxious about this and very depressed. I needed help.
My wonderful obstetrician and the extremely patient HM steered me in the right direction. I embarked on a course of cognitive behaviour therapy over a period of twelve months, directed by a fantastic psych. She did such a number on me that I now simply ignore mess and even help create it. Now, I don't care if people come over and I haven't vacuumed. I don't care if there are dishes in the sink overnight or, heaven forbid, when people visit. I don't care if the baskets of unfolded washing are in full view. Actually I DO CARE, I just don't have the compulsion to worry about it or worse, get up and sort it right then and there.
I am not completely cured either. I still have remnants of the old behaviours. For instance, HM cannot stand the way the kitchen table is constantly being wiped down--sometimes I lift up his cereal bowl while he is mid-spoonful to do this. I also don't think he comprehends my need to whip off the kids clothes the minute they dirty them and put clean ones on. He endures movie after movie where I sit there constantly spotting continuity errors rather than focusing on the plot of the movie we are watching. He does not understand how this makes me almost as excited as he gets when watching an AFL grand final with his team in it.
I also have a new set of compulsions that have replaced the old ones. Now OCD means Obsessive Computer Disorder. My folders and documents are always neat and ordered. My desktop is clean. It is something that I can control and that no-one else can touch! I am a squeaky-clean geek.
I still dream of a real world of clean surfaces and spotless floors. But it's never going to happen in our house. At least not for another 20 years. And I have realised that I can live with that. I think.