OCD (Overwhelming Crucial Demands)
Rituals ruled his life
Tapping the front window four times when passing
Adjusting his chair twice after sitting down
Most noticeable at table, where his mother
would fret over her son’s obsession
Each bit chewed exactly 18 times
and finishing first the meat, then potatoes, and finally
vegetables – no portion touching the next
as his dish was divided into three compartments
Followed by a milk in his blue glass
swallowed in five long, perfectly even gulps
Napkin folded into a perfect triangle threading it through
a silver ring placed just so on the table
Brooks arranged first by genre, then by author,
then by color – spines aligned in precise rows
He measure boundaries for his daily routine;
I understand the gravity of crack avoided
One thousand, two hundred and eighty-nine
steps to the psychiatrist’s office downtown.
Unfortunately, he never opened the door,
lacking a Kleenex to ward off germs
© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For Sunday Scribblings, “I Understand” was the prompt. Yeah, ya think?
Kids are cruel, and peers pick out students like this boy to bully, an easy target. While OCD is a minor part of my chemical imbalance, it loomed large when I was younger. One example: If I misspelled a word in English class, I first was compelled to complete writing it in full, and then, with a calm sweep, I would erase the entire word… but finishing it was critical. There were fingerprints by the exit to our bedroom from my habitual taps, and grazing a fence with a stick, if I missed a picket, it meant going back and starting the whole fence again. I get this kid because I was this kid, but the symptoms abated when manic depression started to take over. One pain in the ass replaced by another is small comfort.
Notice these traits and show understanding to the “different ones,” those who may not be diagnosed but whose disorders are easily recognizable. Good example, if you see a “twirler” who eventually singles out one hair to pluck, be aware. It’s called trichotillomania and can be managed NOT by drugs, but by behavior modification.
Peace and health – physical and mental, Amy