💥Atomic Essays

Short-form lightly edited, lightly structured essays, written in 30 minutes.
Published on:
June 14, 2024

🤫 My Dirty Little Neurodivergent OCD Secret: Embracing Controlled Chaos

I've held onto a dirty little secret. It's a secret that, for many, might seem trivial, but for someone like me, with a touch of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and a dash of neurodivergence, it's a notable deviation from the norm. The secret is this: I allow myself two messy things in my life. The first is not making up my bed, and the second is not hanging up or putting away my clothes—instead, laying them on the couch.

To those who understand the relentless grip of OCD, this might sound counterintuitive. OCD is often associated with an unyielding desire for order, symmetry, and cleanliness. However, these two acts of "controlled chaos" are a form of rebellion, a subtle pushback against the internal pressure to be perfect. These small acts are my way of reclaiming freedom from the relentless need for order.

Leaving the bed unmade is like a small, quiet protest against the meticulous voice in my head that demands everything be in its place. In the grand scheme, an unmade bed is a harmless indulgence, a minor act of defiance that allows me to focus my energy on more important things. It's a reminder that life doesn't always need to be picture-perfect to be fulfilling.

The pile of clothes on the couch might look like a mess to an outsider, but to me, it's a system. In my organized chaos, everything is within reach, easily accessible, and perfectly imperfect. This small corner of disarray is a testament to the fact that comfort and control can exist even amid chaos.

These two "messy things" in my life aren't just about untidiness—they're about embracing the nuances of who I am. They recognize that perfection is overrated and that sometimes, letting go of the little things is OK. It's a way of embracing my neurodivergence, acknowledging that my brain operates differently and that it's OK to live a little differently, too.

So, while these small acts of defiance might seem insignificant to some, they are, in reality, a vital part of my mental health toolkit. They remind me that it's OK to be imperfect, to let go, and to live in a way that suits me. After all, life is messy, and sometimes, that's exactly how it should be.

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