Where do I start, from about the age of 4 I can remember things that I now know were OCD, most of my fears as a child stemmed from a fear of being sick. I remember avoiding being near people who had been off school or felt ill, fearing being sick at school and going home from school because something had triggered this unknown fear I had and had caused me to feel very ill myself which I now recognise as Anxiety. I never went on any school trips as I could not handle the fact someone could be travel sick on the coach or I might even get sick when I was away. As I got older it turned to hand washing where I would make my hands bleed where I washed them so much, I remember searching for a toilet that hadn’t run out of soap before I could eat my lunch. Everyone knew I had a fear of sick but I being young and my parents not knowing enough about OCD didn’t know I had it, I never really discussed any of it with them as I hated talking about sick and telling people when I felt unwell because people making a fuss and checking if I was ok would make me even more anxious.
When I was about 10 or 11 I started getting very fearful of sale buy dates, if something went out of date on the day I was going to eat it or even the day before I wouldn’t eat it. I would look at everything I ate for signs of being ‘gone off’ which led me to throw away a lot of food that there was actually nothing wrong with but I had in my head that they didn’t look ‘right’ or they tasted funny. I started to get thinner as I was throwing away so much food and reached a low weight of 5 st 10 lbs. During this time I would pick things up with kitchen roll in case they were dirty and wash my hands even more than I used too! This is when my mum and dad took me to the doctors, the doctor told me I needed to put on weight and that it sounded like a had OCD. So that was that I put on some weight and my OCD seemed to leave for a bit, I was still afraid of sick but it wasn’t interfering with my life as much.
Which leads me on to about the last 4 years of my life when OCD has taken over. When I was about 15-16 years old I noticed I felt compelled to do certain things In fear if I didn’t I would be sick. As people with OCD know this grew into a much bigger problem and compulsions took over and soon enough I was doing everything until it ‘felt right’, It would take me hours to get ready for anything, which made me very very late for school, not only that I was staying up till about 4 in the morning crying, arguing, kicking up a fuss trying to get things to ‘feel right’ and to try and get my mums attention in hope she would come and do the things for me, but of course crying, shouting and being nasty doesn’t get you positive attention and my mum did not understand where her happy, confident daughter had gone. Couple of years went by and actually being sick in someone’s car got me over my worst fear of being sick in public, now looking back I’m actually glad this happened as it made me face my fear!
When I was about 17 my OCD started to change and it had turned too mainly Pure O which you can find out more about HERE, I can put my finger on certain things I may have watched on TV which triggered my next fears. I have never really talked about this with anyone outside my family besides Professionals, My pure O obsessions are basically fearing I am a bad person and could do bad things. Anything that is classed as bad I have most likely feared I could do. When this first started I was so scared, I can’t even explain how scared I was, I had never felt like this before, I was thinking and worrying about things I thought only a psychopath could think about, which of course I thought MUST mean I am one! During this time my compulsions of wanting things to ‘feel right’ had returned but this time I no longer knew what ‘felt right’ so I would ask my mum to do EVERYTHING for me because in my head if she done these things for me they would be ‘right’ because she is a good person and then the decision is out of my hands.
My freedom to do anything how I wanted and be independent had gone, not only was this very hard on my self-esteem but also very hard on my mum as she felt like her 19-year-old daughter was asking her to do things she could do when she was about 5. Buying things was also a BIG problem for me, I would go shopping and buy clothes and all this nice stuff I wanted/needed then suddenly get the feeling it was ‘bad’ the feeling it wasn’t ‘right’ that if I kept this I could do something terrible so I would be forever be returning things I really liked and wanted to the shop. No matter how bad I wanted these things I could not keep them I would think it would be so selfish for me to keep these things believing that I could do something terrible to someone just because I like some clothes, I now know this is all magical thinking, which is a big part of my OCD. Find out more about magical thinking HERE, along with other types of OCD. It felt like my whole world has turned upside down and that all this time I hadn’t noticed what a horrible person I was.
The ‘What if’ questions came in strong and fast, ‘What if I could do what that person the news done?’ ‘What if I enjoy my horrible thoughts?’ everything around me suddenly became linked to these thoughts, ‘Could I do that?’ ‘Would I care if I done that?’ ‘Am I bad?’ and I never came to awnser the questions just spun around and around in my head which I now recognise as rumination, which is where you go over and over things in yourself but never really come to a conclusion or an answer. Everyone was forever telling me ‘Anna your not like that, you’re a lovely person’ but nothing anyone said helped, the belief I had about myself was too strong. I am now 19 and during this whole time I have seen many psychologists and therapists that have told me the intrusive thoughts and questions I have about myself are ALL OCD but this does not stop OCD making you doubt, OCD is the disease of doubt and will make you question you have OCD, it’s a liar and it tricks you into believing everything you think and feel is real. and must mean something about you.
All of this anxiety and fear caused me to go into deep depression, which was a really tough time for me where I done some very silly things to myself. It made me become very isolated and alone, I no longer wanted to go out and meet people, I was no longer the happy, bubbly and confident girl I once was at school, I had never felt so low in my life and until you have felt that I don’t think anyone can understand the severity of that feeling, the feeling of giving up and no longer knowing what to do with anything and everything.
Are you bored of my life story yet? Don’t worry I’m nearly there!! So after having many CBT sessions and feeling let down by the out come, My mum thankfully searched the internet for private treatment which you can read about HERE, going to this treatment was the best decision I ever made I wrote a testimony which you can also find HERE, when I wrote that testimony I was very positive and on top of the world with what I had achieved with the therapy. Since then I am struggling with my OCD once again, which is because OCD is sneaky, you give it any attention and it creeps back in and before you know it you’ve got the same old battles going on in your head, but I am determined to fight this awful disorder and put the therapy I have learned in to practice. I can’t go back to how I was!! I have purchased a book I was recommended called Break Free from OCD, which I will link you to where you can buy it HERE, I will be doing a review on the book once I have read through it and I will let you know how it goes!!
If anyone would like any advice on OCD please feel free to message me on my tumblr or twitter and I will try my best to help! If you can relate to anything I’d love to hear about your stories!!
Stay Strong and keep fighting?
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