Today is a day where I realize how messed up my habits are. Or really, how I have OCD compulsive behaviors that rule little things that rule my daily life.
I have rules about eating food. They have been the butt of jokes among my friends for years. Well before I was diagnosed with OCD, my friends had always made fun of me for “being OCD” and constantly pointed out my bizarre eating habits as one bizarre symptom as proof. I used to get really annoyed with them for it, and tell them that they were stupid for thinking it, but looking back, oh, I’m realizing that they definitely had some points.
Rules (just a few of them):
- Types of food cannot touch if they are different (i.e. veggies & fruit cannot touch).
- Unless it is served as mixed fruit/veggies, those must be separated.
- Cold food is eaten first, then warm food, then hot food.
- Go by eating fruits/veggies in order of rainbow (red–>purple).
- Eat starch foods before non-starch foods.
- If I have corn, that is absolutely the first thing that gets eaten, outside of all other rules.
All of these are just a few that come to mind consciously for me at the moment. Or that have been pointed out to me as habits I do. I’ve never consciously noted what I do when I eat, but I do know that I cannot go out of a certain order.
My friends think it is hilarious. Personally, I find it frustrating. I’ve gotten better. Those do seem like a lot of rules for me, but it is better than it used to be. It is still bad, I won’t deny that, but it gets better the more I slowly push myself to bend the rules. When my friends make fun of it, I’ve learned to just tell them to leave me alone, and for the most part they drop the issue. My family is actually worse, I think. They’re the ones (my sister was the prime culprit) that used to deliberately make the types of food on my plate touch, which used to seriously freak me out.
I don’t like it when my foods touch each other. It used to be so bad that I couldn’t eat foods once they’d touched. I would refuse to eat anything if it had touched another food on my plate. Now though (and this is a huge accomplishment for me), I can at manage to eat foods when they touch. So, at restaurants, where food is always touching each other on plates, I just have to separate the foods from touching after it is served to me–and then I go about eating it in my order. But, I can eat all of the food without those thoughts going through my head anymore (well, mostly) about the food being contaminated. I know, logically it isn’t, and I feel better that I can actually eat food in public.
So, my food eating compulsive behaviors are definitely strange. I know they are. I know they’re a coping mechanism to help me deal with the thoughts in my head. Still, I have gotten it far more in control than I would have ever thought. It is a constant struggle though, as I know that if I do not work at it, I am going to lose the ground I’ve gained in this.∗