Recently the need arose for me to do something about my hair.

The Situation

Basically, I needed a trim and to touch up my roots (ah to be a lady with unnatural hair color). The person I wanted to go to only works certain days, and between our two schedules, I decided I ought to go on a specific day at a specific time.

However, my husband was going to be out of town on this specific day. My daughter was going to be in preschool, and my son was at school. Perfect, right? Well, I began to worry. What if it took too long to do my hair and I missed preschool pick up? My husband wouldn’t be around as a back up. What would happen? Cue obsessions.

The Problem

Basically, I worried that I would take too long at the barbershop. I worried that I would get in a car crash and be hurt or die, and nobody would know about it. I wouldn’t be able to contact anyone (especially if I died!). I thought that maybe my friend could pick up my daughter, but I realized she was probably working and I imagined the preschool calling my husband, this friend, anyone they could and them all trying to text and call me to see where I was. But I would be dead or seriously injured in a car accident and unable to respond. What would happen to my children? My husband? Our family?

I’ve had worries like this before. I used to worry about my husband and I dying our sleep, especially when our children were little. What would they do? Would the children just eventually starve to death and someone would find all of our bodies in the house?

Sorry, I know it’s a bit much, but most obsessions are. So, you might ask, if this is really OCD manifesting itself, where are your compulsions? That’s the thing. Maybe I’m just also a worrier. Maybe this isn’t technically my obsessive compulsive disorder at play. That’s the rub, right? When do we know if it’s OCD or just being anal? Shouldn’t an obsession go along with a compulsion if it’s OCD?

For me, this obsession regarding missing preschool pickup because of my hair getting cut/colored didn’t force me to do any ritual. Mostly it just caused worry and also made me seriously question if I should go or not. Before I went to get my haircut, I even felt a little “ill.” My body likes to do that before events that I have built up in my head as important and essential. It’s like my body is trying to give me an out, but it’s not always appreciated.


Even driving there, the thoughts came. I kept driving. Once I was doing it—actually in the chair and unable to run away—my worries subsided. It was like getting my hair cut was the exposure for the obsession, and I conquered it. I couldn’t help what happened then. I just had to hope I made it out in time.

Which I did. I was even early.

Would you say this was just a worry or OCD acting out? Have you had similar things happen?