I don’t know what to say or how to say it but I’ll just try to let it out…
The things I do, the feelings, the thoughts, I can trace it back to my childhood. Looking back I realise this has stayed with me for a very long time, it’s taken so much from me.
The first time I noticed something wrong with me I was about 9. My little sister is 9, sometimes the thought comes to me… I was her age and I was feeling all these things, I can never image my baby going through something like that. I don’t pity myself but I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t break my heart a little thinking about how scared I was.
When I was a child, I used to say some things and do some things constantly, repetitively, uncontrollably. It started off small, I used to say thankyoop (thank you), it sounds so silly but I said it to everything, everyone, millions of times a day, without knowing why. I didn’t even notice it until people pointed it out. People asked me why I kept saying that, but I didn’t know why. People laughed but I couldn’t control it, I didn’t want to say it. I tried so hard, clutching my fist and biting my tongue but it was useless I had to say the damn word. No one thought anything serious of it, some people just got annoyed. Once my mum shouted at me, I didn’t stop but I became much more conscious of it. I’d have to leave the room in order to say it or look away and cover my face, just try to make sure people don’t hear me. I don’t know when I stopped repeating the word thankyoop or at what point I started saying another word. It was almost like a chant.
Around that time I used to do this action with my hands. This thing where I twist my hands several times and then click my middle finger on both hands by pushing it back and it looked like I was putting my middle finger up. I hated it. I hated it so much. But I couldn’t not do it. I can’t explain the feelings in my hands it made me do it. It looked wrong. Once these kids in class noticed me do it and laughed asking what I was doing and I was so nervous, I just said my hands were aching I need to click my fingers and they said well it looks like you’re swearing you should stop. And another time this naughty kid in my year saw me do it and made a shocked face as it looked like I was sticking my middle finger up and laughed, and I was so so so scared he’d tell everyone. I was 9. I should’ve been thinking about what to eat and what to watch on tv. But the two main things occupying my mind were the helplessness from thinking about how to stop doing this thing and the fear of what if people find out.
I didn’t dare tell anyone. I felt like there was something wrong with me. I thought I was weird. I felt disgusting. I felt like an alien. I literally didn’t how if I was human. I didn’t know what I was. I felt like I was crazy. I was convinced I was mental and blamed myself and felt stupid and wrong and just horrible.
And as I grew up, it grew with me. The unwanted, uncontrollable thoughts hammering in my head. Actions I felt compelled to do. Stress, worry, fear, pressure built inside and all around me. As a teenager especially it affected my personal identity, who was I, what was I, why am I like this, what’s wrong with me, if people knew the real me would they still like me, who would ever love someone like me? It affected how I felt about myself, I so desperately wanted something other than myself to blame.
But…I learnt I’m not the only one. There are people who experience similar things to me in varying degrees. This revelation helped me greatly. I never really put a name to it but after hearing other people’s stories of ocd and anxiety, I finally felt like I wasn’t alone in this. I still can’t say I’ve put a name to it because I don’t know what it is that’s wrong with me and I don’t want to say anything lightly, but just knowing that I’m not alone gave me so much comfort.
After 12 years of going through it alone, I told 3 close friends. That experience is another story itself. I feel like I’m in a better place.