You might be surprised to know…

That I am kind of a mess. When most people hear that I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, they assume that I suffer from the type that they’ve seen portrayed in movies or on television shows. The type of OCD that makes people clean their homes like they are prepping for surgery to happen on their kitchen table. Think Monica Geller on speed. This is not the case for me. Not even close.

I can guarantee you that if you come to our house on any given day, you will find the following things:

Dishes in the sink. Yep, the only time the sink is empty is in the middle of the night, and even then it is not a given. Breakfast dishes remain in the sink until we get home from work/school. I then put those in the dishwasher and prepare dinner. After dinner, dishes remain on the table and in the sink until the kids are in bed. Once the kids are in bed, if I am not too tired, I clean them up and set the dishwasher off. But, anytime during the day, you will find dishes there, probably half-full of Riley’s uneaten cereal, and Bode’s bottles, which had accumulated in every room of the house, and have been collected and deposited in the sink to be sterilized. It is a constant and surprisingly, I am ok with it.

Laundry folded on the couch. Laundry is a never-ending battle in our house. Many people think of laundry as a two-step process: wash and dry. No, it is a four-step process, and if you can’t do all four steps, you have failed. The steps include: wash the clothes, put the clothes in the dryer, fold the clothes, and put the clothes away.

In my house we usually wash the clothes and let them rot in the machine for three days. Then, we wash them again. If we remember to put them in the dryer, we then move them to the couch, where they rot for another three days and need to be rewashed, because they are now completely wrinkled and in my mind covered in filth. If the clothes do get folded in a timely manner, they usually remain on the couch for an additional day, or six, before we bring them upstairs and put them away. During that time, people pick out of the piles to find what they need, and then leave the rest to sit there and continue rotting. It is a struggle and I am always in complete awe of people that can do laundry and put it away the same day. Cheers to you! I don’t see us accomplishing that anytime soon, but it is always good to have goals.

Toys. EVERYWHERE. Riley and Bode have a playroom. It is amazing. That being said, toys slowly 2BEEF825-D023-487A-98D0-2B3BDECF8715migrate into the other living areas during the day. I am surprised I haven’t paralyzed myself by slipping on Legos, stamps, or “don’t break the ice” pieces yet. Winning!

In addition to not being tidy, I do not care about things being in order, being in the right place, or being organized.

For example, one place that my OCD is not, is in my email inbox. People who look at my phone’s home screen usually freak out. I don’t clean out my emails. It is just not something that I do. Of course, I read my emails and then sort them into proper folders, but I don’t delete them. I also keep them as unread, especially if I think that I will need to reference them in some way in the future. I guess it would be fair to say that I, Jenna Stewart, am an email hoarder. You may think it is strange, but I think it is completely normal to have 10,000+ unread emails at one given time.


I also have really annoying habits that drive Pat crazy and would make other OCD people cringe. Including:

  • I leave the empty toilet paper roll on the holder and put the new roll on the back of the toilet. I do the same for paper towels. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know.
  • I have a collection of coffee cups on my bathroom sink.
  • I leave empty shampoo bottles in the shower in addition to the new ones that I buy, but if you leave the empty milk carton in the fridge, I will freak the f*ck out.
  • My fridge is often filled with many multiples of opened condiments, two mayos, two mustards, and two ketchups… oh man, maybe I am a hoarder.
  • My car can only be described in one word, disgusting. It is dirty. I wont go into details, but there is usually an unidentified smell, accompanied by discarded yogurt pouches, coffee cups, art projects, and Hannaford’s bags containing clothes covered in poop, vomit, or urine. Oh, hey! I found the smell. Winning again!

So how does my OCD manifest itself? Well, mine focuses on contamination and keeping my family and myself safe from harm. So, basically, my dirt is fine, but your dirt, well, that is completely unacceptable.

Things I do and don’t do:

  • I will not use your bathroom. I barely use the ones in my own house.
  • I will not let you try my beer, actually I will, but then I won’t drink it.
  • I don’t like to share food, same as beer, so order your own, ok?
  • I wash my hands, a lot. They bleed sometimes. I wash them more in one day than most people probably wash their hands in a month. So if I tell you they are clean, they really are.
  • I have compulsions. I check the carbon monoxide detectors in our house three times each before bed. We have six of them. At each one, I tap my leg in multiples of 2, three times. It takes a long time. If I get out of bed in the middle of the night, I do it again. Why? I have absolutely no idea, but if feels wrong to go to bed without doing it.
  • I check the oven before I go to bed and before I leave the house. I click the button on and off three times and then count the burners four times saying “off” as I do.
  • I don’t like blood. In my mind, everyone’s blood is diseased. This is something that I’ve been working on a lot though, because people (kids especially) bleed. They just do.

I have a lot more, but I want you to still like me and not run away thinking, “freak!” So, I’ll stop for now. I think a lot of people have OCD tendencies. But, I also don’t think that people completely comprehend what it really feels like to have OCD and anxiety in general. It can be crippling. I tend to laugh about it, because internally there is so much suffering. I find it helps to be open and honest. I also am really proud that I was able to recognize that I had a problem and get the help I needed.

Medicine? AMAZING. Therapy? Also AMAZING. If you are struggling with something, it doesn’t mean something is wrong with you. Talk to someone. It is such a freeing feeling to know that you have tools to help and that you have people supporting you as you make strides to make your life better.

What are your OCD tendencies? Tell me, it makes me feel better about putting my crazy on display!






8 thoughts on “You might be surprised to know…

  1. Girl! Im laughing only because the similarities of what u do and go through I can relate to so much! When the ocd was at its worse I was super messy! No one believed I suffered from ocd. The detectors were huge, I had to stand there till I saw the green light flash twice counting in between. The stove, I had to tap each burner twice counting 1,2,3,4… I had to do that before I left to go anywhere. I had to do similar rituals with locks and lights too! The only ones that I still do (when I go through stressful periods it gets worse) is running my hands over the bathroom outlets 4 times counting to 4 and I check our water heater room before bed to make sure nothing is touching the water heater… Even though there never is, just can’t help it… So, yeah definitely understand!

    1. I used to do locks, lights, outlets and stove before bed too but after 3 years on medicine and talking to a therapist I’ve gotten better! I think we’re meant to be friends!! Xx

  2. Hey Jenna, Monica here. I can’t stand dust on countertops and wash them 2-3 times a day. Carpets need to be completely clear of fuzz, string, dirt, etc. Dog hair doesn’t bother me anymore, obviously, I have two golden retrievers – but I do go around and collect balls of hair at least 3 times a day. I should just vacuum, but sometimes that’s just too hard. Although I do vacuum at least once every other day. Folding towels for me is as satisfying as a cold beer on a summer day, or a million dollars. Either one. If Kyle’s bedside stand is out of order, which is usually is, I organize it when he leaves the room. I think he knows, but he doesn’t say anything because he understands how calming it is for me.

    So, you are NOT crazy! I used to have more time consuming obsessive tendencies like counting the ceiling tiles every time I went to the bathroom, or organizing all of my clothes by color and size, but I outgrew that somehow.

    I know how you feel! xoxo – Monica

    1. I bet your house is spotless, Monica! And, beautiful! I want to come see it! Can you believe your wedding is coming up so soon! xoxoxoox

  3. I don’t feel comfortable openly admitting to how many times I open the door to our garage to check if the garage door is closed…or the light is off… I do the same thing with the front door…and other doors… Car door? You guessed it…I pull the handle to see if it’s locked every time. Drives my husband nuts. I check behind me a lot as well, but I try to be stealth about it because I’m sure I look crazy. I’m also pretty sure I’m not as stealth about it as I believe I am.

    1. Oh, I am sure anyone who witnesses me doing any of my “checking” thinks I am an absolute nut-job that has gone loose from the loony-bin. 🙂 Oh well.

  4. I have been over the top OCD as far back as I can remember. It has become somewhat of a joke with my family and friends that the next party is at my house because they know darn well they won’t make it past my front door even if they need to use the bathroom! I am that girl who writes with a ruler even if a piece of paper has lines to guide you. As my 3 daughters get older I find myself spending extra time being more aware of waiting until they won’t notice to correct the chores I’ve asked them to do with the main purpose of the request being made to teach them responsibility and ease my load. Each time is an EPIC FAIL as I do it “my way…the right way” the minute they turn their back. I want to not pass my ways on to them and instead let them become amazingly them, however wouldn’t be too upset if they like to keep their rooms clean when they get into high school! Thank you for sharing and making me feel like hey…maybe I’m not alone 🙂

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