Mother had so many compulsions that before obsessive compulsive disorder was a recognized diagnosis, she shared many of the traits. She would obsess about a certain food she had never had and would talk about it non-stop until she acquired and consumed it. Or about a book that she had to have that very second or she would spontaneously combust.
Unfortunately, she never obsessed about healthier or more productive pursuits such as cleaning the house or laundry or mothering. It was always a particular book, usually a tawdry dime-store novel, or a very obscure magazine, or a specific (and often hard to find) food item.
My sister Abby and I knew that when she was on the hunt for one of these items that there would be hell to pay until she had it in her hot hands. This served as a lesson for us to never be dependent on things – material goods or possessions – for bringing us joy.
We also learned from this how fleeting that moment of joy actually was once the item of her obsession was acquired. She would be overjoyed one moment and the next minute she could turn into a raging maniac.
How tragic to have such highs and lows in the same day. Maybe her hormones were wreaking havoc on her body, or the consumption of liquor and/or pills, or some mix thereof. All I know is that Abby and I are not prone to such wild displays of emotional roller coasters. In fact, we do not like riding on them, ever.
Mother was never officially diagnosed with OCD, though I informally diagnosed her with a syndrome I called DOC – Dangerous, Outrageous and Clueless!