Last evening I walked into a public restroom. There was a woman at the sink. She walked away from the sink and left the water running. That's when I just knew. It had to be OCD. She walked into a stall, grabbed some toilet paper, and used the paper to turn off the water faucet. She apologized to me for taking so long. I was in no rush (and frankly even if I had been, I would never had said something to make her feel any pressure) so I said, "No problem." She then used the same toilet paper to open the door to the restroom and she held the door open with her foot while she tossed the toilet paper into the garbage. I could tell she was very embarassed. As she walked out, she laughingly said, "When I was in my 20s this stuff never bothered me, but now that I'm in my 30s . . ." I mentioned something about how it was no big deal and she left. I felt bad for her.
It wasn't until I was driving home later last night that I realized that I had missed an opportunity to reach out to her. I should have said, "Hey, I'm no one to judge. I have OCD, so I totally get it." Maybe that would have started a conversation, maybe not. But now, I'll never know and I'm kicking myself because I could have possibly comforted her and given her some information or support. It kills me because reaching out to others who suffer with mental illness is a passion of mine. Grrrr. Well, I know what I will say the next time something like that happens. And sadly, because of the hideous OCD monster, I know there will be a next time.