OCD Episode: The Last Item on the Grocery Store Shelf

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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.

I need to go to the store, as I am out of band-aids. Small dishwashing accident now requires such. So this is easy, all of the stores I need to go to are five blocks away. While I am there I should probably get myself some LaCroix lemon. I drink about a case of this a day.

I walk to the store, I get the band-aids. I then find my way to the drinks aisle. LaCroix, lemon, one case left on the shelf.

My immediate thoughts are two-fold:

1. They must be running out, and I am glad I can at least get one case. I hoard this stuff. I hoard a lot of stuff, but this I hoard for good reason and usage.

2. What if someone else has no LaCroix lemon, and will want to buy some later? I will have taken the last one.

Those are my immediate thoughts. That’s the easy part.

My OCD kicks in. The type of OCD that just spins around in my head. The Pure-O OCD. I can sense the wheels starting to turn. I can sense the snake beginning to eat itself.

Guilt. I’ve taken the last LaCroix lemon. I have wronged someone in the future. I will pay for this through bad karma (or something like it).

I should not take the last LaCroix lemon. This is a bad omen. This is tempting me with… something akin to sin.

But I want to hoard LaCroix. I need as much as I can get, as when I am close to going out another type of OCD takes over.

I am sitting here staring at the one case of LaCroix lemon in my cart and two types of OCD are battling it out:

My OCD that abhors the sense that anything I need may be running out (which has a very crazy threshold for where “running out” begins.)


My OCD that believes if I do anything selfish, I will ruin someone else’s day, and I will be punished for this.

I buy the LaCroix lemon.

My thoughts do not stop. I am walking home, and I am convinced I have just done something very wrong. I am thinking of all the ways I will be punished. Will my house catch on fire? Will my computer crash? Will I lose a ton of money in the stock market? I think of this and maybe twenty other things.

I cannot stress enough, these are not passing thoughts. These are real consequences that I believe will happen. I don’t know which, I just feel I know the magnitude of the consequence. All for one simple case of LaCroix lemon.

Should I go back and return the LaCroix? Can you even return unopened water? They don’t allow that, they assume you’ve laced it with poison, no? I once brought back a can of peanuts that was open, and I got all sorts of weird reactions as they did, indeed, give me my two dollars and change back.

But I can’t risk that. I’m already battling all sorts of OCD. No more!

Now, at the same time, I should be happy. My LaCroix will run out one case later. The more cases, the better. I’ve had up to fifteen cases. And I knew at the time I only had two weeks of cases. Now I have less, but one more. But at what cost?

Maybe I can sneak back into the store with the LaCroix and put it back on the shelf! I don’t care about the four dollars and something. Ok, I do care about the four dollars and something, but my brain is too full to also introduce money OCD.

Maybe. All “maybe.” The consequences, I know, have a very small chance of happening. Ok, if I think about it—with the logical part of my brain that doesn’t seem to have OCD but at the same time doesn’t have much power—there is a zero percent chance of karmic bad happening. Because that is not how the science of this all works.

My OCD flares up and disagrees.

So in 30 minutes, I’ve had attacks of:

• Hoarding OCD
• Guilt/Omen OCD
• Being Accused of Bad Things OCD
• Money OCD

All of this work I’ve gone through in my head, coupled with walking in 100 degrees (no hyperbole) heat, I’ve decided to keep the LaCroix lemon case I purchased.

I will deal with the consequences. That has no chance of happening but my brain doesn’t think that.

Now I just need to put this case of LaCroix lemon into my stack of other cases so that I don’t know which one is the cursed one. Yes, I have to do this. I’ll let it be humorous, but it is a real need for me. If I don’t know which case was the cause of these OCD attacks, I’ll be free to open whatever case I want when the water supply gets low in the fridge.

Otherwise, the single LaCroix lemon case would sit in the pile untouched forever.

Forever, cursed.

Because of a salad of OCD.