Hello all. Seeing as I have just created this profile about fifteen minutes ago, I doubt that I need to state that this is my first blog post on this site. Anyway, it is about two o'clock in the morning in the "great" Midwestern part of the United States. I am currently sitting on my three-piece sectional couch that I bought at a garage sale for $25. I always sit in the same place on this couch. The other two pieces of the sectional serve no useful purpose, except that they are occasionally used when we have visitors at our apartment. Otherwise, I inhabit one small part of the couch and my roommates inhabit the loveseat across the room. Anyway, it was not my intended purpose to write about couches today. That is one thing you should know about me. I often must digress in both conversation and written speech.

My intended topic of this particular blog post is my turtle, whose name is Tiger. He is approximately 29 years old and has been my pet since I was six years old. He has been with me since right around the time I was diagnosed with OCD. Therefore, since the beginning of my struggle, Tiger has been the only consistent thing in my life. My parents' divorce was finalized when I was about seven. My father remarried about two years later and my mother's second marriage followed shortly thereafter. My relationship with my father has been completely dependent upon his relationship status. In other words, romantic relationships have always come above his children. In junior high and high school, I became obsessed with boys. Most psychologists and gender experts would probably say that I was trying to "fill the void" left by my father. I know this because I am studying to be a gender expert. Anyway, I digress. I have simply listed some of the life altering occurances in my life as a means of explaining that inconsistency has been a theme for me. Many other traumatic occurances, not listed above, in my life also contributed to the inconsistency and, as many of you know, inconsistency for someone with OCD is absolutely terrifying and can cause many issues.

This is why caring for my turtle has become my biggest compulsion. My roommates are constantly making comments about how obsessed I am with my turtle. I talk to him and am always worried that his needs are not being met. For quite some time, when I was away at college, I left my turtle with my mother. During this time, he was not cared for in the way that I wish her were, and so I opted to bring him to my dorm room for my last year of college. Ever since then, he has lived with me pretty consistently. The only other person that I trust to care for him is my boyfriend, because he and I have developed a list of guidelines for the appropriate care for my turtle. I think my boyfriend realizes that caring for Tiger makes me happy and helps me to stress less about other things in life. However, I do not think that either of us realize the implications that this will have for my future. In an attempt to find something to focus my attention on and direct my focus away from my obsessive-compulsive tendencies, I have developed another obsession and another series of compulsions. This situation will likely be harmful to my OCD recovery because of another key fact. Tiger was 12 years old when my parents bought him from the pet store. That would make him approximately 29 years old now. I recently asked a gentleman at the pet store what the life expectancy is for a turtle of his type and size and the store attendant said that, although it depends entirely on the turtle, Tiger's life expectancy is approximately 25-30 years of age. This means that Tiger is elderly.

Although I have done a good job at putting thoughts of Tiger's death out of my mind, I know, deep down, that it is bound to happen sooner or later. When I think about this fact, only three words come to mind: Tiger can't die. I've always hoped that he, like some turtles, would outlive his owner. However, that thought also scares me because I can not imagine another owner, besides myself or my boyfriend, who would be suitable enough to care for my precious Tiger. I am absolutely grief stricken about the imminent possibility of Tiger dying. He has been the only consistency in a life full of inconsistency. He has made me feel needed and loved in times that seemed the most desperate. My boyfriend says that, once Tiger passes, we will get a new turtle. But OCD is not pleased by that. You can't replace something that has always been consistent. Also, I do not believe that replacing one obsession with another will be the best option. However, I do love turtles and having another one may make me happier in the long run. It's a catch-22, and I guess I won't know what will happen until it happens. However, as anyone with OCD will understand, I still can't help but worry about it until that time comes. Any comments or advice are greatly appreciated.

Peace,

Keri

4 Comments
  1. keri 9 years ago

    Thank you, Simplify, for your comment. You are right, my boyfriend is definitely a keeper. I am trying my best to enjoy my time with Tiger. I hope I don’t sound like a weirdo when I say I talk to him. My boyfriend talks to him too. It’s just like when people talk to dogs and cats. I do not notice anything with the way that I associate with him that is different than anyone that has a dog or cat that they care for deeply. I think that viewing reptiles in a sentimental fashion is just seen as “strange” because they are not cuddly and “cute” like cat’s or dogs. However, I think it is a need to be depended upon that makes me feel so strongly about my role as a pet owner and makes me so worried about my pet’s well-being. OCD only brings up all the “what if?” questions that I need to do my best to put out of my mind. I know that I have suffered very devastating changes in my life, and when it is Tiger’s time to leave earth, I know I will cope. I am strong and have proven to myself many times that I can handle change. The OCD just makes it a little more difficult to do so. Thanks for your support.

     

    -Keri

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  2. keri 9 years ago

    Thanks again for your understanding, Simplify. I appreciate all the support.

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  3. Authoress37 9 years ago

     I get where you are coming from. My best friend, my rock, my EVERYTHING was my dog Sable. I adopted her when I was seven or eight. I grew up with her. And I grew up in a pretty unstable home, but I always had Sable. I would curl up with her when my parents would fight and she would lick my face. If I went outside, she kept me safe in our unsafe neighborhood. Sable was my everything. Even when my parents got divorced, she was there. There was a moment when my parents split up and we couldn't take Sable with us to our apartment. When my parents got back together the first person I hugged was her. 2 days before I graduated from high school, she passed away. I was so upset. It was even hard to be happy on my graduation day. But what kept me going was the belief that even though she wasn't physically there, she was in my heart. My memories. I believe in spirits, and I believe that her spirit is following me forever. To keep me in check and keep me going. You still have Tiger. Cherish him as much as possible. And when that day comes, know he's still there. He will always be part of you and the person you are.  Just as Sable is always going to be part of me. Hope this helped. 

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  4. keri 9 years ago

    Thanks a lot, Authoress. I'm very sorry for the loss of your dog, but I'm glad you have found a way to cope. Reading your story has helped me to be more confident that I, too, will find a way to cope if/when Tiger passes on. Thanks again!

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