Numbers. We see them everywhere. For me, it’s a bit different. Numbers are exhausting. Numbers consume me. Numbers are a big part of my life. What do I mean? Allow me to explain…
11, the age at which I was diagnosed with OCD.
60, the number of milligrams of Prozac to which I am currently on.
80, the number I’m actually supposed to be on.
12, the age I first contemplated suicide.
2.5, the number of hours it would take me to shower.
7, the number of times I had to wash each body part. Left side. Left arm, chest, right arm, left back, middle back, right back, left leg, right leg, left foot, right foot, pelvis, and vagina, then my backside, then vagina again. Each area, 7 times. So much washing, I actually burned the skin around my neck and armpit. It was as if I had an extreme sunburn in these areas for weeks to months. Once it would start healing, I wouldn’t be able to turn my head. If I were to, the skin on my neck would crack and open (yes, you could actually hear the tearing). I wore turtlenecks in high school. You would think it would be to cover up hickeys. Nope. I used them to cover up the burns. Sometimes you see dandruff on people’s shoulders, mine looked like dandruff, only it was skin falling off from my neck. I would wash my vagina so much that I discolored the skin and have to now undergo reconstructive surgery to get the lips back to normal due to stretching them to make sure every inch was washed.
5, the number of shampoo applications I had to apply to my head: top front of head, left side, right side, middle, bottom of scalp.
12, the number of ounces I wasted with one shower.
32, the ounces of body wash I used in that one shower. Both equal to a full bottle of shampoo and body wash for the 2.5 hours in the shower. I usually need to have a large glass of ice-cold water outside of the shower so I don’t dehydrate and pass out while I’m in there.
9, the total number of therapists or specialists I’ve seen to this day.
14, the age I tried to hang myself.
2, the time I would set my alarm to in the middle of the night to clean my room for 2 hours.
13, the number of taps I do on the washer while reciting “I put soap, in the washer.”
3, the number of times I bite my tongue when I see something bad while driving.
Then there are the walls.
3, 5, 7, the number of wall panels I count. They have to be odd numbers.
5, the number of strokes I brush my hair after a shower. I start at the top, then the right, then the bottom right, then the left, then the bottom left.
21, the amount of deodorant I would apply in each armpit in middle school.
8, the amount of deodorant I apply now as an adult.
6, the number of towels I put in my washer.
4, the number of paper towels I use at work to dry my hands. It has to be 4 or something bad will happen.
3, the number of bubbles I blow with my lips to release contaminated air that may cause cancer.
Steps, I count my steps. I count how many steps it takes me to get to a place. I choose a number and must reach a place before I get to that number, Sometimes you’ll see me making big strides. As long as I stay below that number.
Digital clocks. I somehow have to get all the numbers to equal 10. 12:34 is the time I like best. It’s the simplest.
4, the number of hours it took me to write one single page of notes in college. Perfection. It needs to be perfect. What do, you ask? Everything.
84, more or less the number of times I wash my hand per day. My hands bleed. They’re cut, and they are wrinkled due to all of the washing.
21, the number of times I cut myself with scissors. I sliced my forearm. I sliced repeatedly but felt nothing. Completely numb.
4-5, the number of hours I would nap after school. I needed some sort of peace. Sleep gave me the peace I needed. That is until OCD made its way into my dreams.
There are so many more compulsions I do with numbers, but off the top of my head, these are the ones that come to mind. There is one last number, one I look forward to. I don’t know that number yet though. My doctor told me I have to deal with this and be on meds for the rest of my life. So whenever that time comes, whatever age that number maybe, maybe I’ll finally have some peace.