To Save Your Soul She Will Take Your Sanity

| Friendly | February 12, 2017

(I have OCD which manifests in an obsession with the number 6. I’m in my first year at university and staying in halls of residence. One of my flatmates notices that I keep the lock on my kitchen cabinet defaulted to ‘6 6 6’ when locked. It’s ridiculously early when she knocks on my door. Up to this point she has never given any inclination that she is religious.)

Flatmate: “Just to let you know, the lock on your cupboard has 666 on it!”

Me: “I know; it’s deliberate.”

Flatmate: “But, that’s the devil’s number. You have to change it!”

Me: “I’m atheist so I don’t really care about it in that regard, and my OCD doesn’t allow me to do that. Otherwise it feels like the lock doesn’t work.”

Flatmate: “But, the devil will—“

Me: “Like I said, atheist. The superstitious side to that number doesn’t bother me, my own convoluted sanity permitting. Anyway, it’s my lock, not yours.”

(She gives me a disgusted look and walks back to her room, mumbling what I recognise to be the Lord’s prayer. Over the next couple of days whenever I use the kitchen I notice the numbers on the lock have changed. It does trigger my anxiety, but it’s a quick fix. I haven’t seen my flatmate since then but make a note to speak to her about it. The next time I’m in the kitchen she comes in, heads straight to my lock, and changes it again.)

Me: “[Flatmate], could you please not do that?”

Flatmate: “I have to. I’m saving your soul! You may as well be letting a demon into you, having such a satanic symbol on there.” *taking something out of her bag* “And here, I got this for you. We can save you together.”

(She presents a bible to me.)

Me: “I already own a bible from when I was at Catholic school. I’m not interested, sorry. But I am begging you, please leave my things alone. My lock and cupboard have absolutely nothing to do with you. I’m not telling you to change because of my beliefs, so I expect the same.”

(At this she takes out a crucifix necklace and taps me my hand with it.)

Flatmate: “You aren’t taken yet, so there’s still time. I’m going to be wearing this at all times from now on, and making this whenever I see you.” *making a cross with her fingers* “If you’re going to resist the will of the Lord, I need to be protected.”

(I was not pleased, and she continued to change my lock every time she went in the kitchen. My school work began to decline as my brain began to obsess over and over about her changing my lock, leading me to run out of my room whenever I hear a door open or close, or sprint back to my halls after lectures, expecting the lock to be changed. My other flatmates told me they were noticing a change in me and offered to help. We tried different locks with keys, but it didn’t help. My brain was stuck on that specific lock and that specific number being the only combination keeping my cupboard secure. After about a month I was racing home between lectures to check, only to find the lock was open. I wondered for a second if I forgot to lock it, but when I opened the cupboard I saw a cross and bottle of holy water on the top shelf. My flatmate must have unlocked it when changing it and decided to “protect it” or whatever. This was the last straw for me and I put in a complaint about the conditions I was living in. Coincidentally, she also made a complaint, about the continual noise I was making, opening and closing doors throughout the night, every night. We went to a hearing in the student union to sort things about, and my other flatmates decided to support me. We explained the situation and our representative is surprised by the lengths our flatmate went to, to “save me.” The complaint against me was ignored after taking into considering my mental illness and the circumstances exacerbating it. The only solution we came up with is for one of us to move out. I volunteered, but our rep decides that our flatmate move out, after seeing which side my other flatmates chose to take. I still see her on campus from time to time, wearing the necklace and making a cross with her fingers whenever she sees me. Now I’m just thankful she didn’t find out I’m gay as well!)

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