Every so often, I happen to watch the TV series “Haven.” Last week’s episode spoke to me because it talked about a character with Obessive Compulsive Disorder.
Titled, “Audrey Parker’s Day Off, ” has our lead character reliving the same six hours over and over ala “Groundhog Day.” In each instance she sees a different friend get killed by a hit-and-run driver. She tries to do what she can to prevent the accident from happening, but she keeps seeing her friends die.
Towards the end of the show, we find out that the reason she is living these hours over and over is because of one man who happens to have OCD. Anson is a man whose marriage broke down over his condition and because he thinks he caused the accident by not counting the right way or what have you, his guilt basically “resets” time and keeps Audrey dealing with the same day over and over.
The Anson character is either counting the numbers of buttons on his shirt or wondering if he should touch the phone and so one. A choice that might seem inconsequential to most folks causes him sheer pain.
The time loop ends when Anson in a way frees himself from the guilt and chooses to step in front of the speeding car, which kills him.
I bring this all up because this display of OCD is all to real for me. Aspergers can come with other conditions which are considered co-morbid and for me, one of those is OCD. Over the last 10 years or so, my struggle with OCD has been tamed with medicine, but it can still pop up. Daniel notes the times I tend to wash my hands more than once. But it was worse before I was medicated. I can remember trying to go to bed and getting up again and again to check to see if a rag was on the stove or I had turned on the stove thereby filling my apartment with gas. I would do this so much that I then could not get to sleep because I was now just filled with worried. When I was younger (high school days), I would fear that I had hit someone and would even turn around to see if I had struck down a person.
I could share other stories, but I think you get the picture. I know that writing about this might give people the impression that either a) Dennis is just a nut; or b) that I am drawing attention to myself. I guess I just want to share this with folks. For a long time I didn’t share out of shame and probably because yeah, people would think “wow, Dennis is just nuts.”
But the thing is, a lot of us deal with this. Some of us have forms of autism and this kind of comes with the package. It’s not easy, but the thing is, we do get by and can still lead normal lives.
So if we meet somewhere and I get a bit fixated and start washing my hands a lot or something, just be patient and nudge me a bit. I’ll get the message.
And I’ll keep taking my medicine.