Trapped

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I can’t get out.

I checked the locks. I checked the windows, the alarm, and the closet doors. Are all the lights off? What about the front gate – is it closed and locked? I checked them all once, twice, three times.

I’m almost out the door. The car keys are in my hand.  In ten minutes I’ll be at work, where I won’t worry so much about the locks, the windows, the alarm, the lights, and the closet doors.

Wait, did I check the lock on the back door?

I have to go back and check. Then, I have to check all the locks, again. Every doorknob, deadbolt and window latch. I touch each lock and turn every knob to make sure it doesn’t twist open. I turn the deadbolts just to make sure they are all hard over in the locked position.

Then, there’s the windows. I pull up on them to make sure they don’t open. Recheck the latches to ensure I didn’t shake one loose when pulling up the window. All are fine, but now I can’t remember if I turned off the upstairs light.

Up the stairs I go. The light is off, but I touch the light switch just to make sure. Then, I go through the house and touch all the light switches to prove they are all in the off position.

I can’t stop.

I can’t get out. I stand in the middle of the living room, clutching my car keys. The exit is just through the kitchen and out the door, but I can’t leave. This is ridiculous – I know this as well as I know I can’t stop.

And then, I wonder: Are the doors and windows locked? I close my eyes and take a deep breath.

“Stop.” I whisper to myself, buy my voice is not strong. It shakes as I stifle the tears. Once again, the demons inside are winning. I draw another deep breath and dig for what little strength I have left.

I race through the kitchen and force myself through the door. I’m in the garage and I can see my car. I lock the last lock – once, twice, three times. I jiggle the door knob just to make sure . . . but, wait.

Is the refrigerator closed? And the pantry door? Is the oven off? I didn’t check! I lean my head on the door in defeat. I have go back inside, again. It never ends. A voice in my head says, “No. You don’t have to,” but I cannot obey.

I’m touching every lock, window, doorknob, and light switch. Once, twice, three times.

I can’t get out.

– – –

c.b.w. 2014

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6 thoughts on “Trapped

    • I guess I should get bored at faculty meetings more often … I wrote this piece because my brain wandered off and I asked myself what it might be like to be a person with OCD in the middle of an anxiety attack. I had time to let myself get into that mindset and this little story came out.

      Like

    • I’ve never experienced anxiety to this degree, but I do know how it feels to a lesser extent. You’re right, it’s not pleasant on any level. In many ways, anxiety is misunderstood and I wanted to give it a voice.

      Like

  1. Wow! This is a very real glimpse into what it’s like. Since my dad’s in the mental health arena, he’s made casual conversation about what people with the disorder endure, and this sounds so much like the things he describes.

    Anxiety and other mental issues like this deserve a voice.

    Like

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