• Roger Chen

A Long-Lasting Compulsion



For around a year up to the Summer of 2019, I was experiencing an extremely horrid compulsion. I felt physically uncomfortable with doing it and scared with what would happen if I didn’t perform the compulsion or alter it slightly. The compulsion involved…socks.


During the winter of 2018, the weather became cold and blistering. Typical England! I begin to shiver quite quickly so a parental figure told me to wear a pair of thick, fluffy socks that I was newly gifted to keep my feet warm hence also keeping the rest of my body warm. I enjoyed wearing them, I felt cute and comfortable as well as feeling warm as my feet were constantly insulated. After wearing the socks for around a week, I realised I should probably throw them in the wash,however I couldn’t bring myself to do it since I believed something bad will happen if I did put them in the wash.


Therefore, I continued to wear the socks for a couple of weeks later. Eventually, a bad odour filled my room and I realised it was the socks that were causing this. Because of this, a parental figure noticed the odour and told me to finally put the socks in the wash. For some reason, being told to do it made me feel more obliged to and less scared.

After I put them in the wash, I panicked because I had no fluffy socks to wear. This was when I realised wearing the thermal socks had become a compulsion. Luckily, I found another pair of thermal socks in my wardrobe and breathed a sigh of relief. The socks had become an item that I initially looked forward to wearing and kept me cosy to completely corrupting my brain with fear.


The compulsion continued throughout the year of 2019. On the hottest day of the summer, the temperature rose to 40 degrees centigrade. Despite this, I still wore the thermal socks as the anxiety I experienced when trying not to wear them was too immense to handle. I cannot emphasise how difficult it is wearing thick socks in 40 degree heat. Luckily, the compulsion didn’t require me to wear them outside.


Me and my family then went on holiday in August. We went to various places that were often rather hot. I didn’t bring the socks with me but I distinctly remember uncontrollably scratching the top of my feet before going to bed and also at some times during the day. Sometimes the scratch was so intense my foot began to bleed. I immediately realised this must be caused by the perpetual wearing of the socks and began to realise I couldn’t put up with this compulsion anymore.

As soon as we got home, I changed from the thermals to light trainer socks. For the first night of wearing the trainer socks, it was quite overwhelming and frightening for me but as time passed, fear became eliminated. This example proves to anyone suffering with OCD that rituals and compulsions can always be eliminated!! It will take a lot of time and self-acceptance but to all sufferers: you will get there. You are stronger than OCD and it doesn’t and will never define you.

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