You know those people who use OCD as an adjective to describe themselves for being a little bit particular about things being tidied up or in the right order? Yeah, I’m not a fan of that. I’m not so particular about it that I go out of my way to correct people, but it is in the back of my mind.

I’ve dealt with OCD before, since it seems to flare up during high-stress periods of my life. Up until about a year ago, I was counting my steps, insisting on ending every walk I took on my left foot, and waking up in the middle of the night to ensure I had flushed the toilet. I thought that was bad, until this postpartum period came around and brought with it a whole new collection of fixations.

My apartment is getting cleaner and cleaner, which is nice. I wish I could owe that completely to just enjoying a tidy home, but it goes much deeper than that. I can’t leave things out at the end of the day. I can’t have a mess in anything I have previously cleaned. Tonight, I nearly had a panic attack when I realized I had gone to bed without the dishes being done. Lucas needed me, so I fought it and stayed in bed to comfort him, but it was not an easy task.

Sometimes it can be helpful in a way – I am so relieved every morning when I wake up to a tidy apartment and can move on to deep cleaning the next section, or just rest with my little man. However, there are times when it is far more intrusive. As an example, whenever I get extremely anxious, my face starts to feel oily. It can be dry as anything on the outside, but my brain interprets it as ridiculously oily and I feel the need to wash it. The other day I gave in to that urge and ended up washing it for a half hour… until it was completely raw.

People focus so much on the depression part of the postpartum period that I can honestly say I didn’t expect this to hit so hard and so quickly. I’m lucky that I have a good team – my doctor is adjusting my medication and my psychologist is helping me work through it mentally. I would hate to see what a mess I would be otherwise!

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