OCD Episode: You Dropped Something, Mister!

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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.

Around 1:00 PM or so, walking home from the grocery store. Across a fence, on the other side kids at school recess.

“You Dropped Something, Mister!”

Said, shouted, as I walk by. Shouted by someone right near the fence, a young girl that can easily see me.

I think to myself, did she say “you?” I think… did she just ask me to drop something? That makes no sense, but it also makes no sense that I would ever drop anything. I run a tight ship on my body with everything I carry. That’s part of my OCD that I have down and don’t even have to think about.

Crap. What could I have dropped? I’m not thinking about what I did drop, but what I could have dropped, as this seems like an impossibility.

I stop, frozen. She could be mistaken, but that’s not how my brain processes possibilities. If there is a possibility, then while with all of my preparation to not have it happen, I need to consider that it happened.

I have my keys, wallet, my bookbag is closed, my watch is where it should be on my hand, and I only have one thing in my grocery bag. All still there.

Ugh. Now I am thinking about this. Again, external forces (this time a third grader) causing me to overthink and go into obsession.

I need to confirm that I have not dropped anything. That’s rational. I look around anywhere within this girl’s vision.

Back up the story. I don’t feel like engaging with anyone socially at this point, so I wait until the kids are lined up to go inside so I don’t look like the fool I’m going to now look like.

And now I go back and search the area. I have no idea what I am looking for. What could I have dropped? What could I have dropped? What could I have dropped? There’s nothing actually dropped by anyone, anywhere nearby. Unless someone was carrying dead leaves. There are no personal items of anyone’s.

Why did this girl say this? And I ask that in terms of the actual content of what she said, and I think to myself also: what would anyone tell someone with OCD that they dropped something?

I’m not going to leave this alone until I prove a negative. Which is impossible. But OCD is often impossible. It often requires proving a negative to myself.

I leave the scene, I start to walk home. I can’t. I have to go back and check again. I need to confirm I saw nothing on the ground. And I see nothing again.

I walk towards my home again, making it to the front door. I’ll leave my groceries in the house, and I have to go back and check again. I don’t trust that I saw nothing on the ground.

I note that of course everything that should be in my possession is in my possession. I even explore the notion that a credit card could have somehow flew out of its tight pocket in my wallet and fallen to the ground. I have all of my credit cards. Or so I think. Did I bring an extra card I don’t normally bring?

My stomach sinks a little. Not a lot, but a little. That’s it, I had a credit card on me that I normally don’t have on me, I remember doing that. I look for that card in my desk, and… it’s there. I didn’t drop that.

So I go back and check again. Three blocks away. I am now in the world of the irrational. I am looking for nothing. I am literally looking for nothing, but I have to keep looking.

I can’t shake this out of my mind, and it is going to dictate the next few hours of my life. Or more.

Unless something else comes up to obsess over. Absent that, I’ve lost something I know I did not lose, though I don’t know what that something is, I know it is a situation my brain has to disprove.

Which it can’t.

So I keep looking.

For nothing.