Navigating through life with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is akin to playing a game of chess against an unpredictable opponent. Every move is carefully calculated, and every decision is loaded with anticipation of the potential ripple effect. Meet Olivia, a spirited Londoner whose everyday routine is a captivating dance around her OCD tendencies concerning clothing, crowds, and cleanliness.

Morning breaks, and Olivia is greeted with her first trial: choosing and wearing an outfit. An ordinary task for most, for her, it’s akin to executing a well-rehearsed performance. Each clothing item undergoes an extensive inspection process, with wrinkles and tags being potential show-stoppers. The order of dressing is a meticulously planned choreography, deviating from which can spiral Olivia’s day into disarray. Despite the added morning stress, Olivia wields her wit like a shield, often laughing at the absurdity of her dressing ritual.

Venturing into the city, Olivia faces her next hurdle: dirt. City life is a paradox for her – she loves the vibrant urban energy but dreads its grime and untidiness. The bustling streets become a challenging obstacle course, requiring her to sidestep puddles and dodge signs of filth. A skill she has honed over time, she imagines herself as an ‘urban gladiator,’ fighting city grime one spotless step at a time.

Work brings the challenge of social interaction, a whole different realm of complexity for Olivia. Interacting with colleagues, sharing common spaces, and navigating office routines all require careful planning and multiple contingency plans. From plotting her movements around the office to ensure minimal contact, to managing interactions and spaces for the most comfort, Olivia relies on her ‘OCD toolkit.’ She likens her strategic maneuvers to a real-life strategy game, deriving a dash of humor from the complexities she must navigate.

Evenings bring their own trials, with plans involving a pub, a restaurant, and a play in the West End. As Olivia anticipates her evening, she preempts the challenges each location might present. The pub, with its close-knit seating, requires a careful selection of a spot that allows her a sense of control over her environment. Her personal sanitizer becomes her secret weapon, helping her establish a comfortable zone amidst the crowd.

Next, the restaurant presents potential pitfalls like unfamiliar utensils and the proximity to others. Anticipating these, Olivia always comes equipped with wipes to clean her cutlery and an eagle-eye to choose the most strategically comfortable seat. In her characteristic style, she describes her precautions as preparations for a secret ‘culinary mission’.

The play, with its close-quartered seating and shared armrests, poses a unique challenge. Knowing this, Olivia plans her strategies ahead: early arrival to select the most ‘safe’ seat and personal items to make the shared space more comfortable. Even within the anxiety-inducing confines of a theatre, she maintains her humor, comparing her preparedness to a secret agent on a thrilling mission.

For Olivia, living with OCD means constantly anticipating, planning, and managing not just her surroundings but also her interactions with them. It’s a journey filled with trials, but also triumphs – moments when she can derive humor from her struggles, appreciating her resilience in the face of life’s everyday challenges. This is but a glimpse into the world of those living with OCD, a delicate balancing act performed with grace, courage, and a generous dash of humor.