Thursday, October 9, 2014

OCD Saved My Life...

As annoying, frustrating, and agonizing OCD can be, it literally may have saved my life last night. I won't venture far enough to say OCD is my hero but this is one time I am thankful I just can't stop obsessing about stuff.

Earlier this year we had a total of four gas leaks.....yes I said four. The first two were from my faulty and old water heater which we had replaced. Let me just say, that I have one of those incredibly sensitive noses. It has been a bain of my existence that some small smells literally drive me insane but one of the things my senses pick up on is natural gas. I am not sure if my sense of smell is so uncanny because of my OCD or because of my bad eyesight, but I can smell a gas leak, even the tiniest of gas leaks from far away.

The furnace went out right after winter this year. I smelled gas outside and called the energy company. My husband at this point was sure I was crazy as he didn't smell it. He thought I was imagining things, even though I was right the two times before with the water heater. The energy guy told me someone's furnace was about to go out.......sadly, I found out three days later it was mine. Yay me (sarcasm). My furnace was over thirty eight years old, so it wasn't a huge surprise. I went down to the basement and and sure enough, I smelled gas and it was bad. The energy company had to get come out and turn off the gas running to my then defunct furnace. It was scary and I decided that this was just not safe. We had to get a new furnace before this winter. Especially, since last year we had temps of -20 degrees Fahrenheit. This year is predicted to be worse. Most of it was arctic blasts from Canada......thanks Canada......I love Canada but it was sharing a little too much last winter, if you ask me. It's beautiful there and the people are wonderful but in the winter it can be frigid. Please for the love of God, keep your arctic blasts up there where they belong...brrrr.

So, a new furnace was put in two weeks ago and for the first time all year, I finally felt like the leaking gas debacle would be over. My family would be safe. My house would be free and clear of noxious and poisonous air......I was finally able to rest peacefully that we would be safe sleeping in a house that wasn't a virtual death trap. In fact, the furnace installer had told us had we continued to use the old one, we would have gone to sleep one night and never have woken up.

As for the two carbon monoxide detectors we have, never once has either one of them gone off. Sure the hybrid one will scream at you if you try and cook a hamburger patty on a skillet and declare that your house is burning down around you but have four gas leaks in a six month period and it is bupkis. I am not saying they don't work...I am just saying I don't fully trust them. I mean, if my nose smells gas shouldn't the detectors?

Which leads me to how OCD saved my life and my family's lives. Last night...err early morning, about 2 a.m. I remembered that I had forgot to switch over the laundry so my youngest would have pants to wear to school today. As we all know, pants are kind of important for leaving the house. I went down to the black hole (the basement) an started to switch out the clothes and BAM....gas. It was more of a strong grease odor at first, with a tiny sliver of gas smell underneath. I thought I was going insane. I mean, it is a two week old freaking furnace for God's sake! How in the hell could we have yet another gas leak???!!!

I decided, as I sniffed around like a bomb sniffing dog, that maybe just maybe it was all in my head. The smell had ceased so I went back upstairs. Where I sat and obsessed. And worried. And freaked myself out only to decide to go and sniff again to make sure....Something I don't normally do. I usually refuse to give into my OCD reassurances. But in this case I decided that I would not be able to sleep if I was laying there pondering whether or not gas was filling up in my basement making my house into a poison fueled, ticking time bomb.

As soon as I opened the door and went down three steps I smelled it again. It was faint but obviously there. I went to the new furnace and bent over and sniffed. The smell of natural gas was so strong that it made me light headed for a nano second. Thankfully, the new furnace people had made shut off levers on my gas lines when they installed the new furnace for me, so I went up stairs, woke the hubby and we turned off the gas...again. Ugh...did I mention how much I fucking hate having natural gas as a fuel source to heat my home? Well, I do, I hate it passionately.

The furnace people will be here soon to see why I have a leak and maybe just maybe I will finally be able to get some sleep because I haven't slept since last night. Even with the gas turned off I am paranoid about it.

And although, I hate having OCD, I am so thankful that it made me go back into that basement last night. Otherwise, I have a strong suspicion that we would have had a much bigger problem than a restless nights sleep.

So OCD, I sometimes hate your obsessing, compulsing, anxiety ridden guts....but sometimes, like last night, I am thankful that you are an actual thing and not just something I made up in my head. Thanks for bugging me relentlessly and making me go back into the basement to check for the second time.  Thanks for saving me and my family from carbon monoxide poisoning or from being blown to smithereens. Thanks OCD, thanks. My family and I appreciate it.

OCD saved my life, so today I am a little more thankful for it and just maybe, I hate it just a little bit less.

Neurotic Nelly


  1. This post made me smile :) I feel the same way about my depression and BPD sometimes. Funny how something called an "illness" can actually be a good thing for you at times. It changes you in good ways.

    Take care!

    1. Laura, I am so glad it made you smile! I agree, sometimes our illnesses can actually do good things for us which sounds really odd but is totally true. :)

  2. What a nice turn out! I'm glad you managed to get a hold of the events before they turned for the worse. I'm also glad that you saw your having OCD as a positive thing. I totally think the basement would've been up in flames as well, if you hadn't gone back there to check on the furnace. Good going, Nelly! Thanks for sharing that! All the best to you! :)

    Brett Rogers @ Flame Furnace