Hey there all,
Thought I'd take a few minutes to talk about my OCD story. I think I've probably had OCD for quite a while now, but only self-diagnosed myself about three weeks ago when things came to a head and I just simply couldn't take it anymore… spent the whole weekend in misery, my mum could notice there was something wrong with me but thought I was hiding something else (such as a fight with a friend as I'd spent the night out before). I just kept telling her it was nothing, I was just tired. But I spent the whole weekend unable to sleep, pacing around everywhere, not being able to focus on anything else, not wanting to eat, just feeling destroyed. Came to work monday morning not knowing how I was going to get through the day. I thought to myself on the tube on the way in that maybe I should go online to see if there were others out there going through what I am. Then I thought to myself that I wouldn't do that because If I typed in what was going on, I might just find people who say I'm weird and some sort of sicko. But I got to my desk and I couldn't focus on any work… or focus on anything for that matter. So I started googling. And there, thank god, I started to realise that there was probably a name for what was going on with me… and that was ocd. I spent the whole day reading and trying to find people with the exact same type as me, because of course, I'm convinced that what I have is the worst type! So what do I have? Well, it seems to me that it is very much the intrusive thoughts kind of ocd. I have developed plenty of compulsions aswell though, believe me, back to that later. Going back to that Monday, after a day of researching at work, I went home thinking I had to tell my mum.. the closest person to me in the world, and the one whom, unfortunately all my intrusive thoughts are centred around. I went home, she asked me again why I looked so upset, I broke down in tears (the first time I cried about what was going on) and started to tell her about these horrible thoughts that were driving me insane, how I'm so worried that they are from within me, and how I think it may be related to ocd. Jump forward three weeks and I guess I do feel better than I did right before/on that Monday, although things are very up and down. Right now, very down. My mum in particular, as well as my sister and my other half have been extremely supportive, and I think that has been key in helping me get better so far. You know, just the fact that they, especially my mum, dismiss the thoughts and tell me they would never come from me, is an immense source of relief.
So… what kind of thoughts am I having? Well, they all centre around horrible disease and normally are to do with my mum. The "turning point" – when the OCD I think really started (I mean, I'd been having worrying thoughts related to this issue for months- had seen a lot of this stuff happening around me and had the natural worries about not wanting this to happen to your family, but it wasn't ocd up until this point I think) was a few months back. I was out one day, buying something in the supermarket, talking to my mum on the phone and *wham* out of nowhere there it comes… that thought… those words… "I hope the (bad word which referred to my mum) dies of (horrible disease)." I wanted to die on the spot. I couldn't believe it. Couldn't understand it. We hadn't even had a fight to make me call her a bad word… not that I would even call her a bad word if we had a fight, but I just mean that it made it seem all that more weird. Yes, I was mildly irritated on the phone, but the thought that went through my head was the exact opposite of what I would ever want. I tried to reason it in my head, spent a while obsessing on my way home and for a while later, thought that I'd explained it away by telling myself it wasn't me, it was just random, but I knew the explanation didn't really work. But somehow, I don't know how, maybe it was denial, I carried on. I didn't have other thoughts like that for a while again, just sometimes ruminated on that one – but then kept telling myself to stop because I'd already "explained it away." But then, maybe a few weeks on, it happened again, this time when I'd had a mild argument with my mum and boom… those same words although this time I was quick to end the word stream with "no/never". And so the rolling stone gathered moss. The next few weeks, everything I saw triggered me off. Worst things were stories in the papers or hearing about people with horrible disease, but everything triggered me… I mean everything. Name a colour, my brain would have probably found a link and triggered me to think that thought. I was lost. Spent hours in the toilet at work, pacing up and down, trying to understand how those words popped in my head. Do I really want that? If not, why is it happening? Why do sometimes I feel like I'm smiling/happy/relieved in the pit of my stomach when I think the thoughts? As if the thoughts aren't bad enough by themselves they are accompanied by that feeling, like its really me. If it was just a brain burp, why does it feel so real? Does that mean all the other feelings I have too are just a consequence of a brain burp? How is this different? And given sometimes it happens when I'm angry, what does that mean? I mean, I might be a bit angry with that person for something so small and silly, which makes me so feel guilty, as if I am such a mean person that I can end up wishing that on someone I love just coz I got angry. Even though the rational part of me knows that even if that person made me the angriest I could ever be, I'd never wish that on them and would rather it happen to me, than them, ever. But the guilt is horrendous. The doubting is horrendous. The feeling in my stomach that accompanies the thought is horrible.. its like my tummy tells me that its not just my head, but the thought is how I feel inside. The obsessing just kills… trying to go back in the moment and work out what process happened to make the thought appear is so horrible because I get so confused as everything happens in nano seconds. And then I feel that maybe I'm confusing my memory to make me think that there's some kind of excuse for what happened, when really could it have just been me? What if I'm just weak and nastier on the inside than I or anyone else knows? Why does it feel so real? Like its really me if its not me?
As for the compulsions, they’ve become terrible, gotten better since I spoke to my mum. But I've had to do really embarrassing or difficult things to satisfy the compulsion. For example, I may think I can't read something for work that I really need to read because If I do, it means I really meant that thought, or I don't care if that thing happens. Aside from that, I've done things which must look so weird/out of place/awkward in front of other people and cause me a lot of distress, but I just have to do them, because the other distress would be worse. But to be honest, I can live with the compulsions, I can't live with the thoughts because I can't understand them and am so scared that they are from me… the real me deep inside. Even though I can tell you I never want that to happen ever, that the thing my intrusive thoughts focus on would be the worst thing that could ever happen, the thing I am most fearful of – even though I know this more than I'm sure of anything else in my life, this doubting still happens. And I don't get it. I guess it just feels so real when it happens that it makes me doubt the core of myself, everything.
And I understand from what I've read so far that people say one of the worst things you can do is obsess over the thoughts and try to rationalise them. But I can't help it. Each time I have a thought , even though its based on the same theme therefore couldn't really be worse, it seems like it gets more and more real and I'm more and more horrible. How can you not go back and want to show yourself how things happened to prove it wasn't you? Even though I've found that sometimes I can think about a particular "episode" so hard (like today) that I can't convince myself of how my brain (and stomach) spat out something that wasn't actually from me, I can't help but want to go back and keep trying. I'm miserable, truly miserable. My mum is amazing and will talk to me whenever I need, but part of me feels guilty telling her all this, even though she tells me the thoughts don’t bother her because she knows they are not true, says she is just worried for me that I'm going through it, but still, I feel so bad. How will I ever rationalise the thoughts/feelings? How can I ever prove to myself they are not me? What if my family is wrong about me and believing what they're wanting to believe/just trying to comfort me/unaware of how horrible I may really be on the inside? I just feel so guilty and so horrible like I wish I could be someone else. And I'm so scared that I'll have to live with knowing I've had these thoughts all my life and never really knowing whether they came from. Is it that maybe when I'm calm and rational I am convinced I'd never want those things, but when I'm somehow angry/annoyed/weak, I actually feel differently, truly differently about these things? And if that’s the case, how does it make sense to calm down and ask myself do I really want these things? Surely, if I'm so sure, I should be able to be as angry/upset/in as much pain possible and still be able to come out and say that I DO NOT WANT THESE THINGS TO HAPPEN EVER. But what if that wasn't the case? What if all these intrusive thoughts I've had are proof of that and I'm just making excuses for myself by saying its ocd? Why does it feel so real?
Sorry for the thesis… and sorry if its depressing.. I don't mean to add to anyone else's anxiety about writing these things, as in I'm not trying to dismiss what anyone else has said, I'm just showing you all what is happening in my head, and hoping that maybe, some of you, any of you, as fellow sufferers, may be able to show me some light!
Thank you xxx
An addendum!… Dear all, after reflecting on my blog over the weekend I realised there were some probably quite important points I'd missed out… hard to believe in a post this long I know! Well, in case anyone still reads and is interested, I thought it's important to point out that in the few months/year running up to my "ocd explosion" (don't know how to term it), I had heard a lot of sad stories concerning the disease(s) that have been intrinsic to my intrusive thoughts. Relatives of close friends passed away, there was a lot in the media and also friends of the family who had been diagnosed with the diseases. These stories obviously made me very sad and fear for those closest to me. I think it's important to mention as I think maybe this has been a contributing factor. Furthermore, the "explosion" seems to have happened at a time when I became (still am) very stressed about other issues in my life which have been building up for a while. Just thought I should add these factors for context, I'm hoping that they help to explain what is happening to me… and that I'm not using them as some kind of excuse. Oh well, sorry for rambling again!