OCD Episode: A Decision Made


This is part of a series of ongoing OCD episodes, which I will post as they happen. This is live, stream of consciousness. It happens. Often. Sometimes the subjects are different.

I smoke. I am a very nice person, especially to strangers. I need to be, it is the only way I can keep social awkwardness at bay. I am walking down the street, in a city, back to my home. There sits a homeless man asking for change. He picks me out, I don’t want to be picked out. He asks for a cigarette. I am a very nice and selfless person when it comes to situations like this. For no reason I can think of, I blow him off. I don’t give him a cigarette—a cigarette that probably means around fifty cents to me.

In one moment, but fading as I walk on, I am instantly consumed. Why did I not give this man a cigarette? I don’t know. But I am walking. Still. Away. This is not like me. I realize why I am giving to others when they ask me for change or cigarettes—because I don’t know… my brain has to go to the highest levels of existence and beyond… I don’t know how I am judged on my morality. I’m not going to think of God or a god—well not much. That doesn’t matter. What I know is there is the slight potential that what I just did—blow off a homeless man—created an omen.

It is selfish, my selflessness. A fraud? Maybe. Maybe both selfish and selfless at the same time. Regardless, I am now walking past the point where turning back would not seem foolish and weird. And I do not want to be seen as weird by anyone.

Here’s the situation now: I am worried about people thinking I am weird, yet I know no one is observing my every move. I still won’t do it, walk back and give him the cigarette. I am also feeling the oncoming dread of Karma. Bad Karma. And I don’t even know if I believe in Karma, because I’ve never seen empirical proof of it. But I believe in it, because why gamble?

I’m back home. It haunts me. I cannot stop the thoughts. All I had to do was give this man a cigarette and all would be fine now. Oh, all is not fine now. I am absolutely, very near one-hundred percent consumed by the lack of action taken. Simple action.

I could go back. I can rewind time. I am with my friend now and going back would seem absolutely foolish. What am I to say? I could say I forgot something at the store. (If it matters, that is where I was coming from—but I wasn’t burdened with carrying heavy stuff—I could have given the cigarette to the man who asked me for one.)

Omen: something bad is going to happen to me now that I have blown off this homeless man. I feel it, it is my fault and one is punished for their faults. The ones of their own doing or not doing. I will be punished. Something will go wrong because of this, because I deserve it.

Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait!

My friend and I are going back out, down the same street. This is perfect. I can rewind time. I can make this all better by finding this homeless man and giving him a cigarette. Or two. Or a whole pack. Anything to release the omen from me.

We leave the house, we walk down the street and… he is gone. The homeless man has moved on. I am stuck. My thoughts are in a spiral and will not stop. IF I HAD ONLY JUST… UUUUUUUGGHHHH! Bad things. If he were only sitting there. Where did he go? Why did he have to leave? I needed to make this right, and it all could have been right.

Right would have been giving him the cigarette, on one of the two occasions. But now I cannot. I must live with the omen. I cannot think the omen out of my head. I cannot enjoy the rest of the day. I have to rewind time. I have to rewind time. I have to rewind time. I have to rewind time. I have to rewind time. I have to rewind time. I have to rewind time. I have to rewind time. I have to rewind time. I have to rewind time. I have to rewind time. I have to rewind time. I have to rewind time. I have to rewind time. I have to rewind time. I have to rewind time! I have to go… back. There has to be a way to go back. There is not.

I am… thoughts… in a circle that will not stop. Bad things, things I should have done. It is stupid—I know I am stupid for thinking all of this. But I can’t not think it… all. But I don’t care about how I think or my mental disorders or any of that… I know they’re there.

I just… want to… give this man… a cigarette.

And have it all… be ok.

But it is not. And will not be. I am resigned now to waiting until my brain is done with this exercise. It is leading all of this. I will wait.

If only…