I have an obsessive compulsion.
So what, you might ask. A lot of people have obsessive compulsions, you're not special. Hear me out, okay? After I explain you will understand. I have had this problem for quite a long time where before I go to bed at night, I must wash my whole body down with soap and water. This can take a long time and I usually wind up going to bed at a very late hour because if my body touches anything along the way from the bathroom to my bed I feel I am contaminated and must start over. If I don't do this I will suffer anxiety and panic. People have told me I don't need to do this, that if I just go to bed without doing it I will be fine and that my body will not be contaminated and I will not have anything to worry about. Even my therapist encouraged me to try it as "It will be easier the more often you do it".
So, I took their advice one night and did just that. After going to the bathroom I only washed my hands and then climbed into bed, turning off the light and pulling the covers over my body. I closed my eyes and tried to get to sleep.
Things were fine for about ten minutes but then my mind began to fill with horrible thoughts and questions. What if I don't wake up tomorrow? What if tonight was the one night I really did get contaminated? What if? What if? I gritted my teeth and tried to push the thoughts out of my mind, forcing myself to think of something else, anything else besides those questions. I wanted to beat this and I was going to do it. Even if I didn't sleep that night and spent the entire time in my bed it would be a win for me. I could prove I had done it!
But then it happened. As I lay there, my fingers began to tingle and then grow numb, I tried not to think much of it, convinced it was my mind playing tricks with me but when the feeling started to move down my arms I began to notice. My heart began to pound as the realization hit me that this feeling was beginning to happen in my toes as well. This was not my imagination after all! Beginning to panic I forced myself out of bed, stumbling my ever increasingly numb body out of my room and down the hall to the bathroom. If I could only get to the sink or even the shower I could wash myself and maybe reverse this ever increasing numbness. I limped into the bathroom and, nearly tripping over myself, I reached the sink. I fumbled clumsily with the faucet, my numb hands doing hardly anything. It took a long time but I finally managed to turn the water on and get some soap on my hands to scrub.
But it did nothing. No matter how hard I managed to wash, nothing would happen. By then my lower legs were completely limp and collapsed underneath me. I fell hard to the bathroom floor and lay there unable to move no matter how hard I tried to force myself to. I could feel that numbness beginning to make its way further up my thighs and forearms and moving slowly toward my heart which pounded loudly in my ears.
I knew it was too late, there was nothing I could do now. I was going to die. My vision began to swim and I thought I saw shadows moving across my wall and the sound of voices whispered in my ear. They repeated the same horrible things over and over, taunting me as my senses swam and the numbness made its way to my pounding heart. I opened my mouth which had not grown numb yet and started screaming, though to me, it sounded like nothing came out. The instant before the numbness reached my heart and silenced it, I thought I saw a face, light gray with glowing yellow eyes and razor sharp teeth smiling at me, its clawed boney fingers reaching out and touching my face. It seemed to be waiting for something...
A long time later I woke up in the hospital with my best friend sitting beside me. She explained that a neighbor had heard me screaming and called the police. When they got to my house they had seen nobody but me, laying on my back in my bathroom with a look of utter terror on my face and completely unresponsive. They had called an ambulance and the paramedics had pronounced me dead only for me to suddenly come back to life gasping for air and screaming. I had to be sedated then I'd been taken to the hospital where they'd discovered, after taking off my pajamas, my limbs were purple as if they'd been restricted of blood and oxygen for an extended period of time. A police investigation was underway but so far there had been no suspects. I was no help to that investigation either as my story would only make them doubt my sanity.
I could explain what had happened or what had brought it on but I know for a fact it never would have happened if I had not tried to overcome my obsessive compulsion. Whatever that thing was that I'd seen before blacking out looked as if it had been waiting a long time for me to do something so foolish. It wanted me and I cannot figure out why but now I am a little more aware of why my body would react so negatively to me not doing my routine. Subconsciously I must have been aware of it being there and I was protecting myself from it. Maybe my washing covered up my smell and preventing it from finding me.
I have not ever skipped my routine since.
Written by lady-warrior