Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Anorexia do, in my experience, go hand in hand. Little habits started within a few months of me starting to lose weight, and the more weight that I dropped, the more ludicrous my thinking became. For example, if I sat down on the seat of my bike instead of riding standing up, then I would immediately gain a stone. Or, if I didn’t check four times that the shed where my bike was kept was locked, then one of my family members would die. Death of a loved one or weight gain were the two main threats.
Everything that I did would have to be done in even numbers. For example, if I touched the door knob five times instead of four, I’d have to touch it an extra time to make in an even number. Odd numbers were hazardous. Odd numbers threw everything off.
By the time I was hovering just above five stone, everything in my life had to be neat and in its place. When I made my bed in the morning, I could spend up to fifteen minutes ensuring that everything was straight and absolutely without creases. When I was admitted into hospital I had my own room, and its tidiness was paramount. My toiletries would be lined up on the counter next to my sink, not one bottle out of line. But my OCD was something that was, after a few weeks, challenged. I can recall a nurse messing up the order of my toiletry bottles then sitting back down. I wasn’t allowed to get up off my bed so had to sit there, look at the mess, and stress out. As soon as she left the room with my half eaten breakfast, I darted up off my bed and put them back into their proper order. Calm was restored for a while, until she did it again.
Another of my OCD behaviours included ensuring my writing was as neat as it could be. I would write page after page in my diary in immaculate gothic font. But if one word was spelt wrong, or didn’t look right, the page would be ripped out and I would start all over again. The same thing happened when I was still going to school. I would take five or six hours on homework that should have taken just two. Every single word had to look perfect.
Overcoming OCD has taken an extremely long time. Even when I was back at a healthy weight, I still had routines that needed to be adhered to in order for my life to run smoothly. I’d say that it’s only within the past few years that these behaviours have dropped to a bare minimum. Nowadays, I try and catch pesky thoughts before they imbed themselves deeply into my consciousness, though I try not to be too hard on myself if I don’t catch them in time.