How Meditation Helped Me Rein in OCD and Anxiety


For most of my adult life thus far, each day begins something like this: I get out of bed, brush my teeth, take my antidepressant, and make coffee. I leave my bed unmade until I am somewhat caffeinated, at which point I return to my room to tidy it. Most notably, I always make my bed, and double check that my books are stacked and flush on the upper right corner of my nightstand by pressing my index finger against their spines. I’ve always thought of this last step of my morning routine (the entirety of my idiosyncratic cleaning ritual) as the most important, even as I recognize it to be an irrational source of comfort and control.

Don’t be charmed by what sounds like an apparent hyperbole. I am not just “a neat freak.” Despite the quirky and endearing examples of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) pop culture provides (Jack Nicholson’s character in As Good as it Gets comes most readily to my mind), having OCD involves much more than being neurotically organized. Sure, I probably spent hours of my childhood repeatedly making sure that the McCormick Cinnamon Sugar bottle was in alignment with the other spices in my parents’ kitchen cabinet after making myself toast. My weekend-morning routine in third grade centered on Windexing our glass coffee table and rearranging magazines. Even as a young kid, I knew that my seemingly uncontrollable desire to clean was bizarre, and that my parents always seemed to think it was a little funny,…

What do you think?