an OCD Fourth of July

October 25, 2009
While other families celebrate their Independence Day with picnics and swimming holes, mine began in front of the TV. I walked into the living room to find my mother engrossed in one of those special shows that analyze the most specific, peculiarities of humanity. Like those specials of people with fears of bananas and cacti. This show was focused on the extreme cases of OCD. The camera focused in on a seemingly normal woman, maybe in her mid twenties. This woman who could not stand the sound of the letter “k” was sent through rigorous training. I immediately sensed danger. My brother and I had both been compulsive as children. He grew out of OCD when he was 10, but I did not, even at the age of sixteen. Mom watched this show with growing fascination. I read the understanding on her face as the mother of the woman in question appeared on the screen as if to say I understand what your going through. Needless to say my compulsion was not nearly as severe as this woman, who started breaking down when her mother read a paragraph about “Katie who liked kites.” After my brother entered the room, his girlfriend soon following in, the fandango began. My mom turned to her, delight bubbling in her voice. “You know, you're boyfriend was compulsive, used to walk up and down the stairs all night long.” The way she said it suggested that she was proud. Not for him overcoming his OCD, but for him having it. She smiled and relayed all of the compulsive moments my brother had. That’s when I realized, our problems make us special. Maybe if I were born with a fear of plantains, then Mom would still be beaming, smiling at Sam saying: “Oh yes, she ran at the sight of them.”

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