I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I don’t have OCD as loosely termed and incorrectly defined by most as Type A personality with rigid schedules or absolute discipline. Everyone loves to say they have OCD. But I REALLLY have OCD. My doctor diagnosed me September 2008. It was liberating to have a name for my odd behavior.
I have a compulsion and need for everything to be white; white linens, white towels, white duvet covers, white tablecloths, white couches, white chandeliers, white shirts, white underwear, white dog, etc…
I need things (linen napkins, glasses, towels, pillows, throw pillows, flatware, dishware, etc.) to be in sets of 8 and 12 (or 24 because Anita Messina once told me that you need 24 to properly host a dinner party; if you haven’t been invited to one of Anita’s dinners, I suggest you immediately figure out how to get invited, although any Messina sister will do…there are 5 sisters, get to work). If the set is of 10, it is absolutely useless to me. We either make it a set of 8, or add 2 more to make 12, or just get rid of the whole thing. I can not have it in my home. It will throw me off balance, igniting a nervous breakdown of epic propotions.
I can not see a floor or counter with crumbs, a drawer open, a sink with dishes, a bathroom trash bin with paper, a chair pulled out of its place or a dryer with clothes. This constitutes a catastrophic mess (visualize an atomic bomb setting off) and makes me “antsy” (much cuter word for panic attack). “Antsy” enough to either have to remove myself from the setting, or grab a microfiber cloth and start wiping, sweeping (vacuum is best), or folding laundry.
I need to shower before I change clothing. It is physically impossible for me to put on one piece of clothing without having showered. If I took a shower at 10am and have not dressed in 30 minutes, another shower is required. Yes, I shower a lot, one day my skin will permanently prune and fall off, that I am sure of.
I do not fear germs, but the thought of them fully makes me gag and curl into the fetal position. When I think of bacteria and germs, I am consumed by an intense feeling that I am contaminated with an infectious disease and need to call the CDC, STAT.
I NEVER touch the rail of an escalator or elevator buttons with my hands. I will NEVER grab a grocery cart without disinfecting it first. Conjunctivitis is always one handle away.
Public bathroom door knobs make me cringe. I will NEVER sit on a couch or on my bed with clothes I wore on an airplane. An airplane is equivalent to a petridish of vileness. Zero details, we all have to get on a plane and I am not going to ruin it for you.
Now all the above said, I have never had to be medicated for my OCD, because it really does not hinder my life or the life of those around me. On the One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest Meter, my OCD is just short of one nutty, eccentric housewife. Like Mirka says: “Una loca mansa” (a harmless lunatic).
Poor Mirka is used to watching me endlessly count my linens and disinfect the most random objects. Juan Carlos patiently knows that I need a good 30 minutes before we go anywhere because I need to shower (with Hibiclens http://www.hibiclens.com) before I leave the house no matter what. Micaela understands that I have to wipe my yoga mat more than a handful of times before class and few more times after class and that I would have a mini breakdown if anyone ever stepped or sat on my mat. My mom doesn’t question why I have to clean her house even though it has just been thoroughly cleaned. Katy knows I always have rubbing alcohol in my purse and that I am able to disinfect anyone and anything in 0.3 seconds.
Really, my OCD is more of a quirkiness. If I do not tell you I have it, you might not even notice. With the exception of Sailis, my manicurist, who has to constantly ask me to relax my hands. Manicures are relaxing to some, to me it’s a test of mind over matter loaded with tension and visions of bacteria swimming like tadpoles in the mani/pedi tub.
Silver lining? This OCD is GREAT for organizing and cleaning! I have renamed it ORGANIZED CLEANING DISORDER and because of this, I have a crazy fixation with cleaning products. I loveeee them all! You want to make me a gift basket, skip the fruits, send me a Lysol or Mrs. Meyer’s basket!
I have a thing with the cleaning section of the supermarket. It’s my haven! I find a deep sense of euphoria and comfort in all things that involve killing germs, bacteria and mildew and leaving a fresh scent afterwards.
Heaven you ask? The TARGET CLEANING SECTION! SWOOOOOOON! AHHH! It is life!!!!!! I analyze every single product, cartwheel app on hand, like a woman in rapture. To my husband’s dismay, I could spend endless amounts of hours and dollars there alone. Word is that Letty Rivera’s shoe closet is to be envied, I say look at my cleaning pantry!
Being a housewife with OCD has made me a self professed chemist. I love making my own cleaning formulas/potions. From homemade fabreeze to glass cleaner to the best stain remover known to man (dawn and hydrogen peroxide mix). It is so easy, less toxic and so much cheaper.
I confess, I am lazy and do not always make them. Let’s be crudely honest, there is no way of replicating Mrs. Meyer’s lemon verbena or as Mirka calls it “Mistolin Gringo” (American Mistolin). Hands down, Mrs. Meyer’s are the absolute BEST cleaning products on the shelves and there is no copycat recipe for it. Frankly, google did me wrong on this one.
I do have a great all purpose cleaner I make. The cleaning power to it is off the charts, and the smell is great. I have perfected the formula over the years. I like strong scents, so you will have to adjust the essential oils to your preference. Moreover, I bet you have every single ingredient at home.
In a bowl mix the following:
- 1/4 cup of white vinegar
- 1/3 cup of rubbing alcohol (I like 90%, but 70% is fine)
- 1 teaspoon ammonia
- 1.5 teaspoon dishwashing liquid (I am a Dawn girl.)
- 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice (the real stuff, not the bottled junk)
- 20 drops lemon essential oil
- 20 drops lemongrass essential oil
- 15 drops tea tree essential oil
- 2.5 cups of hot water (maybe more to fill the bottle)
Funnel into a 10oz spray bottle.
I alternate the oils. I love lavander and substitute the lemon and lemongrass for it. I also use a local oil. It’s cheap and the quality isn’t the best, so I use much more product. You can use whatever essential oil or none at all. Does it smell like Mrs. Meyer’s? NO. Does it work as well? YES!
I hope this post doesn’t deem me a complete nutcase! I want to be honest, flaws included, about who I am. I really have tried to embrace my weakness and spin it into something that works positively for me. Life is full of challenges, how we confront them is what makes us strong. Follow me on instagram @jessicathehousewife and on Twitter: @jthehousewife XOXO!