Over the years, coming out as a lesbian hasn’t been that hard for me—because I was always too busy hiding something else. Confessing queerness can be a breeze compared to revealing mental illness.
But I decline to play this game of hide-the-worse-stigma any longer. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and a fitting time for me to acknowledge I’m now so out as a person with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and hoarding disorder (HD) that my closet is as empty as Rep.
George Santos’ conscience. Which is a weird sensation, after decades of keeping mostly mum about my conditions. Occasionally I ask myself whether there isn’t something else I’m still hiding, something embarrassing nestled among the hangers and dust bunnies.
Nope, there’s nothing. But it’s not a surprise I ask. I’m checking, which is the primary manifestation of my OCD. I can doubt anything: whether I locked my car door, or spelled a name in a story correctly, or said something stupid in public.