I didn't realize I had Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) until I was an adult.

I started to type, "I didn't realize I was OCD," but I am not the embodiment of a mental diagnosis. I have a mental diagnosis. There's a difference.

When I was growing up, OCD was defined as being attracted to certain numbers, and repeating acts like checking to make sure the door is locked and washing your hands. I don't do those things, so I never even thought to tell my therapist about the things I do that are comparable. Like telling myself stories over and over at night to drown out the self-doubt until I get it "perfect," or fall asleep. And making sure all my steps land within the sidewalk squares. And getting stuck on a moment at a bus stop with a complete stranger I will never see again that may not have even lasted more than thirty seconds. And reading and rereading an article until I'm certain it says exactly what I mean for it to say. And compulsively turning my head when someone breathes in the general vicinity of my face because I'm worried they've re-breathed that breath so many times that by the time it reaches my lungs it will be pure poison and I will suffocate, even though, logically, I know that you can't suffocate in a single breath. I share that phobia with our lovely hostess.

My OCD relies heavily on my social anxiety. Most of the things I obsess over involve my interactions with other people. Did I smile right? Did I put my foot in my mouth again? Did I embarrass myself, or my owner, or my host? Am I wearing the right clothes? Was I too loud? Do I smell okay? Does this shirt make me look pregnant? Do I even make sense?

When I say that, it sounds...almost normal. People tell me all the time, "Oh, everybody worries about those things. It's normal."

And sure. The worries are normal. What's not normal is I have to talk until I can't breathe, or I'll throw up on someone's shoes. If I begin to think that I'm violating one of the many unattainable social rules I've made for myself, I will start to shake, and eventually, I'll convince myself everyone's against me, and when someone compliments my hair, I'll be sure they're making fun of me, and I'll snap veiled insult about their skirt, and storm out the door.

During a play session, all that falls away. All that is there is him and me and his whip and even if the music is blaring, all I hear is blessed blessed silence.

At night, I don't lay awake telling and retelling the story of the moment I fucked up with Master until it's perfect in my mind, and I have confidence that I will respond appropriately the next time it happens. I don't have to. He tells me exactly what I did, and how to correct it, and life goes on.

I don't question. I just follow him. I let him obsess about it.

Because I know he does. When it comes right down to it, right next to his happiness, in Master's mind, is my happiness. He believes that property performs better when it's well taken care of, but I'm also his wife, and he loves me. With that comes a certain amount of desire to please me as much as I please him. Not in a subservient way, mind. We both know that any pleasure he allows me is because he wants me to have it, right down to letting me buy a pack of gum at the grocery store.

I won't pretend kink's a magic cure-all, and I sure as hell won't suggest it's a cure for OCD, but it does help mine when it comes to M. He's the first time in my life I haven't had to be paranoid about a person's intentions because he doesn't hide anything from me. He's the first time in my life I've been able to just let myself go because he doesn't judge me. He's disappointed when he expects me to do something, and I don't follow through, but he doesn't hold it against me. He figures we'll try again when I'm up to it. He knows I'm not always up to it.

Of course, there are consequences for my actions. Even actions that are motivated by my mental disabilities. This is as it should be. There are consequences to everything we do. It's how we learn. That's not to say that he whips me when my depression gives me couch lock, or he takes away privileges when my anxiety makes me lash out in fear. But it has other consequences, like Master having to back off of a lesson for a time when I'm more emotionally stable and will retain it.

The other day, I breathed him in. My breath hitched for a moment, and my head went, "Jesus, fuck, Rayne, what the hell are you doing?!" And then...all was well with the world. So I breathed him in again. Maybe some day, I'll get this thing under control after all.