After I became a mother, I started having obsessive compulsion disorder (OCD). I know people say that I have OCD in a joking manner, but really I do have it, and it has reached stressful levels after Livia was born. It took me a long while to understand the roots of my OCD. It took a lot of reading and reflecting because I don’t think its normal to have the kind of severe anxiety as I do when the room is not clean, when the dishes are sitting on the sink, or when Lego pieces are scattered everywhere.
Recently, I read that OCD can be inherited and it hit me. I got it from my father. My father has a severe compulsion to clean and organise, and its gotten really bad in his old age that it has caused strained relations with the people around him. Actually his OCD has always been a source of tension at home. For example, he would throw away things that belong to other people without their permission because he perceives them to be trash. He has thrown away some of my most precious items, and he often says horrible things about the state of my room (I am quite clean and organised). I am finding myself repeating the same sort of behavior, and I postulate that its because that when I cleaned up and organized my things, it alleviated tension with my parents. However, its a quick fix and it repeats itself over and over. Something bad happens – clean – feel better. The thing is something bad always happen. That is life.
Of course mothering four very young children is extremely stressful. With the triplets, my OCD has gotten a lot of worst. You would think that I’d be too tired to clean and organize. But no. When I wake up, the first thing I see is mess, mess, mess. I scan the room and create in my mind a mental to-do clean up list. I will feed the girls, pump my milk, and then start cleaning and organizing. I prioritize it over eating, resting and bathing. When I started getting short with my husband and Livia about the mess they leave behind, I realised this is not normal. I am causing grief and anxiety at home. And I was afraid of passing on the same compulsion to my daughters.
Realisation is the first step to healing. Obviously I cannot afford therapy and I don’t think my OCD is that bad, like my father’s. I’ve been trying to read on how to adjust my mental state when I perceive mess. And there’s been some useful tips online and I’ve been somewhat successful at applying them. But daily it continues to be a struggle. I think with time it will become easier because I just started. I am glad though to have caught my condition early. I am always very self-conscious about my relationship with my daughters because I haven’t had the best relationship with my parents. And how we interacted with our parents, those unlearnt traits, tend to sneak up on you when you suddenly become a parent yourself. But not all those traits are bad. Its just the really bad ones, like throwing a tantrum because there is a little bit of a mess, that I am trying to minimise.