Not just relationships. Boy-girl relationships. Romance. How does it work?
I’m thinking about this because I just had coffee with my dear friend Caitlin and we were talking about when we were first discovering that we had hormones.
Two memories for me:
1) Reading YM Magazine beneath a desk with a girl named Lindsay in 4th grade. We paged through the magazine, and Lindsay would say of a celebrity, “Oh, look at him. He’s hot.” I had to think about it. Was this okay to say? It seemed kinda risque (ha!), but I figured it was all right. Page turn. My turn: “Oh wow. Hot. He’s totally hot, isn’t he?” Repeat.
2) Watching Little Giants with my friend Jacki in 6th grade. Devon Sawa made us giddy. Like, lie-on-our-backs-while-screaming-and-kicking-our-feet-in-the-air giddy. Hormones, I decided, were wonderful things.
As I got older and my struggle with OCD magnified, things got more muddied in this arena. (Relationships got trickier than a tween crush on Devon Sawa and JTT? SHOCKER!)
A couple thoughts on love/romance and OCD, the doubting disease.
In tenth grade, I liked Zac Hanson. Yes, of MMMBop fame.
It was 10th grade. It was a stupid celebrity crush. And it would drive me crazy– way too crazy for a 10th-grade celebrity crush. I would overthink my love for him– and sometimes I would think that maybe I liked Taylor instead, which felt absolutely TREACHEROUS to me. Then I would feel guilty. Then I would think in circles until I could boil whatever “issue” I had down into one statement, which I would write in a notebook with a Crayola bold marker.
I mention this because I would carry this action with me for quite some time– thinking in circles until I could come up with a “summary statement.” I can see now that this was my way of trying to get a handle on things that were too overwhelming for me.
I also mention this because, um, hello– this was too overwhelming for me. And that’s ridiculous. And that’s OCD.
(Is this post getting way too long? Just wait. I have several more stories.)
One day in 7th grade, I thought my friend Lisa looked pretty. Just a simple thought: “Lisa looks pretty today.” Then I tore myself to shreds wondering if I was gay. Years later I would discover that this is SO common of an obsession that there’s a name for it– HOCD, homosexual OCD. Wow. I was a textbook case. I didn’t even want to be gay– and I definitely liked men– and yet, somehow (cough, OCD) I still worked myself into a tizzy.
Along came college.
Freshman year I liked a boy who liked me back. We got along great, had awesome chemistry, enjoyed each other’s company, the whole shebang. My OCD chewed the relationship up like a junkyard dog eats garbage. I remember the night that he told me that he liked me. We sat in his car till late that night, holding hands, talking over everything. I was on Cloud Nine. This gorgeous boy somehow liked little old ME– actually thought I was incredible!– and I remember going back to the Northwestern dorms, waking up Tracy to tell her about the DTR. Then I went back to my bedroom and cried myself to sleep, completely sick over it.
Doubt creeps in that fast.
I spent the next day convinced that I had to end whatever had just begun. I can’t tell you how sick I felt over it. It’s that same feeling when you’ve betrayed your dear friend and she doesn’t know it yet.
He was crazy about me, but I couldn’t handle the sick feeling I had (OCD-induced, although I didn’t know it at the time), and soon after, I had to call it quits. I remember spending many days down by Lake Johanna, doing another of my little rituals– making list after list, still trying to do the old trick of finding a summary statement I could live with. I convinced myself that I liked his roommate (whom I did not like) even, which is another whole stupid story. I just felt like a murderess all the time– and so sinful! It was doomed.
(Don’t feel too sad– in the end, it wouldn’t have worked anyway! I don’t regret it.)
One last story. I hope you’re hanging in there with me on this post.
Post-college. I had a massive crush on the sweetest boy in the world. He was adorable, nerdy, wonderful, and we were good friends on our way to becoming even better friends. I convinced myself that I was not “allowed” to like him and that God would not approve of my crush on him. Let me be clear on something: this was OCD-induced, not Spirit-induced, which is clear to me now. It was agonizing.
I felt torn between this boy, whom I loved and who could have helped me to grow in my relationship with Christ, and Christ Himself, who I half-convinced myself was against the relationship. Notice: half-convinced. Some days I was certain that it was sinful for me to like this boy; some days I thought I’d be throwing away God’s gift to me if I were to let him go. OCD, the doubting disease. I shredded my heart.
It’s interesting to look back through the years now and see OCD’s clear but ugly hand pulling the strings in my life. What a thief. Thanks be to God who has rescued me from such an ugly enemy (who sometimes masquerades as a friend!! LIES!). When the time comes, and the right boy comes along, this time I’ll be ready for him. All glory to Jesus for that!!
Devon Sawa begging the coach for gametime is still one of the greatest moments in cinema. 😉
I could completely relate to your blog post – this is the type of OCD that tortures me and it doesn’t let up. I am just now learning some great coping mechanisms after being tormented in my last three year relationship that ended in January. I have just gone on to an online dating site (as per therapist – exposure) and so far it’s going well!! The way I am handling it – I mean. It’s going VERY slowly, but that is just fine when I am learning new ways of doing this whole relationship/dating thing. Thanks for this!
I’m glad/sorry you can relate! Pure O messes with so much; it’s ridiculous. I hope hope hope that through your ERP/CBT you’ll be able to put OCD under your foot!
Thank you so much for sharing your stories!
I kinda wish you would have ended up with JTT.
Aaron, maybe I still WILL …
I also had a secret crush on Devon Sawa in Little Giants and Casper! But I totally had a crush on Taylor 🙂
All the OCD stuff=Sadness. All the celebrity boy crushes when you were too old for them=Hilarious.
I would have fought you to the death for JTT in 1994. But now he’s too short for me.
With JTT, I truly believed our relationship could happen. I wrote to him and told him that on every letter I sent, I would put a green star; then whoever sorted through his mail could just look for the ones with green stars. I mean, I didn’t expect him to have to read ALL his fan mail. Just mine. 🙂
Thanks for sharing, Jackie! I can definitely see now how a crush would be sooo much more tormenting with OCD behind your thought processes.