OCD. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I suffer from it. I have done for 13 years to be precise. It’s taken a lot for me to write that sentence. I’ve hidden it for so long, because I was ashamed of it and I thought that I was weird for having it. It affects all parts of my life.
I hate OCD. Absolutely hate it. I’d describe it as a constant rain cloud over my head. It will find a way to manifest itself into all parts of your life.
So what is OCD?
Obsessive Conpulsive Disorder is a mental health condition where you have reoccurring thoughts and repetitive behaviours that you cannot control. For example, I will have to check I set my alarms on my phone several times and in a certain way. That’s the repetitive behaviour. The thought is ‘what if I forget to set my alarms and I wake up late. I’ll be late for work, I might get into trouble, I could lose my job and then my house’. So that thought makes me check and check my alarms. But you see, after I check it so many times, I start to not believe what my eyes are telling me, so then I lose focus and I will only finish it when it ‘feels right’.
For me, it’s the thoughts that do the most damage. If I didn’t have those thoughts, I wouldn’t have to do the compulsions (repetitive behaviour). I wouldn’t lose so much time in my day to this and I would be far less anxious. If only!!! The trouble is, once you start doing the compulsions, it’s difficult to stop and even though it might make you feel better for a brief amount of time, it’s a trap and you get stuck in this cycle going round and round. Some people call it ‘brain lock’. Once you give in to that first doubtful thought, you open the floodgates and the more you do it, the more anxious you become and the harder it gets, until everything is perfect and ‘feels right’. Then you feel a relief and whatever you were worrying about goes away……But it’s only short lived and before you know it, your doing it again.
Everyone has thoughts. We have 100’s of them everyday. The problem that people with OCD have is processing their thoughts and recognising when to act on them. For example, when you leave the house, what do you check? The windows and doors? I will literally check everything, windows, doors, cooker, microwave, taps, candles, plugs, the list goes on! It’s not even as if I’ve used half of these things, but because I’m the last one leaving the house, I feel I have to. The worst case thoughts start to kick in. ‘What if I left the window open, someone could get in, steal all our possessions’ ‘or what if I leave the tap on, it will flood the house and damage everything.’
I find that it affects me a lot more if I’m stressed. If I’ve had a tough day at work, I will find myself checking a lot more and my anxiety will go through the roof. ‘That pot hole I drove over, was it really a pot hole or was it a person’. They’re awful thoughts, and I hate them. I hate them because it’s totally the opposite of what I’m about, and in a way I think OCD tries to play on that and go against your beliefs.
I will avoid certain situations so that I don’t have to deal with certain things. I used to love going out, even if it was just to the shops. Now I avoid it because it means I have to drive. How crazy does that sounds, a basic thing such as driving and I avoid it.
My OCD tends to be about safety, of myself and others. And also a fear of offending people. There’s so much more I want to say, but it’s taken a lot for me to say this much, so i will save it for another time.
OCD is such a crippling disorder, but I’m determined to overcome it and help others at the same time.
Thanks for reading