Choices

Most people love having a lot of choices, but for me it feels like torture. Something as simple as going out to eat has become a daunting task. I never realize how many choices I make in a day until my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) makes them my enemy.

The hardest choices for me have become the ones that should be the easiest to make. For harder choices, like what classes to sign up for or what activities to do, I have plenty of time to think through all of my options and settle on a decision. However, with simple choices, people expect an instant answer, one without taking time to consider the effects of the choice made.

I remember as early as elementary school, while folding my clothes, I would become unable to choose which piece of clothing to fold next. It should be an easy decision right? Just grab one at random and go? Not according to OCD.

My OCD told me that each choice of clothing represented a different path, ones that would lead to different outcomes, since with one different choice all of the next actions are completely different. That would mean that some pieces of clothing lead to horrible events, like someone close to me being killed or injured, while some of them had normal outcomes.

The only issue, my OCD was sure to remind me, was that I didn’t know which pieces of clothing had which outcome, and my entire future was depending on which piece of clothing I took next. It also made sure to add that since my decision caused a chain reaction, any bad thing that happened to anyone I knew or interacted with somehow was my fault, since I could’ve picked a different piece of clothing and saved them from the horrible thing.

I’d sit and stare at my clothes, frozen. The lives of everyone I know was weighing on me, and I had no idea what to do. The clothing showed no indication of the path it would lead to, no clue to the future that would await.

Eventually, I’d pick a piece of clothing, absolutely terrified of what would come in the future. Every bad thing that would happen became my fault, or so my OCD said. I felt guilty for each and every little thing that went wrong, knowing that my choice lead to the outcome.

To this day I still have occasions where my OCD strikes and I’m unable to make a decision, too afraid of the outcome and the guilt that comes with. Often, I have people make decisions for me, to take away the responsibility of the outcome. If I have to make the decision myself, I try to think through any immediate outcomes and chose the best option for the near future. However, the quick decision isn’t able to take into account all that will happen for the rest of my life, and guilt still comes.

I cannot continue to let OCD hijack my decisions in life. I am not responsible for every bad thing in the world, no matter how much my OCD says otherwise. Decisions are a part of life, and all I can do is believe that somehow, everything will all work out in the end.