I can't believe it. I've actually survived it. I survived four years of severe obsessive compulsive disorder. I've said nearly 100,000 prayers (I actually calculated this) and have completed endless rituals that consume my daily life. But not anymore.
Today is my Mum's birthday. Every time I try to talk to my Mum about my OCD she starts to cry. It breaks her heart. I asked her a few weeks ago if she would be happy if I stopped doing my compulsions. She said that she would 'rejoice' and started to cry again.
So today, for her birthday, I've decided to stop. It's going to be hard. It doesn't mean I don't have OCD anymore, but it does mean that I'm fighting it. I'm going to do my absolute best to get out of this hell hole that I've somehow thrown myself into.
I started to show OCD symptoms at only age nine. It didn't fully develop until I was twelve. And it wasn't until about June this year that it started to get really bad.
I can remember quite easily the worst OCD experience I have ever had. It was early September (this year) and I was standing in my dad's bathroom (my dad doesn't even know that I have it so it was difficult trying to hide it), practically gasping for breath (partly because my OCD wouldn't let me breath and partly because I was having a panic attack). But I remember looking at myself in the foggy mirror and something inside me said, “Jaslyn. What are you doing? It's okay. It is actually okay.” But I didn't respond. I couldn't believe that without these prayers everything would be okay. By this stage I was hunched over begging myself to breath. Every part of my body was screaming, “BREATH FOR FUCK'S SAKE” but my OCD kept saying, “Don't.” I literally thought that I was going to die. I thought I would pass out right there and then and die.I had to then walk out from that bathroom and pretend that I wasn't half dead to my father down stairs and I couldn't seem to say anything. I didn't. My Dad had to take me home early because he thought I was 'sick'. I've never told him the truth.
OCD is literally like a living nightmare. No matter where I go or what I do, it's there, like a shadow. Following me. Like I'm walking down an endless tunnel with only minimal light, thinking that I may never see true daylight again. But I'm nearly there. I will see that daylight again. I said my last prayer last night. I did. I thought I was about to start sobbing. I can't believe that after four whole years of absolute torture from my own mind, that that was the last time I was going to do it.
I can't even count the times that I've sobbed and screamed and had panic attacks over my OCD. I've stood at the kitchen sink for about five hours, washing and wiping over and over. My legs have nearly given out after standing in the same position with my legs crossed for about three hours. I've been late to school, classes, and made everyone else late with me. I can't count the amount of times I've cried over it. The amount of times I've had to leave class so I could cry in the bathroom. The amount of times I've screamed into silence, “PLEASE LET EVERYTHING BE OKAY”. The amount of times I've fallen to the floor on my knees in tears. The amount of times I have sobbed and sobbed because of that horrible fear. The amount of times I've lied down on the floor, on my bed, on the lounge, anywhere, and I've looked up above me and I asked “Why?” I don't know if there is a God, I don't even know if I believe in Him. But if there is a God, I thank Him for giving me hope. And I'm not even a Christian, but something inside of me has told me that it's okay. And for once, my OCD doesn't have anything to say about it.
It's taken me four years to realise that I can't possibly live the rest of my life like this. It's taken me four years to realise that my prayers do not affect my Mum's life, my life or anyone else's.
I'm going to do this. I will overcome this. I am not my disorder. Not anymore.
This doesn't mean that I don't have OCD anymore, but it does mean that I have the strength to stop it. This doesn't mean that I'm no longer depressed, but it does mean that maybe that will get better too. And this doesn't mean that I no longer have anxiety, but maybe, just maybe, I might feel normal for once.
So to anyone out there struggling with OCD or depression or anxiety or anything else…
Please remember that it will always, always get better.
No matter whether it's four days, four weeks, four years, four decades.
It will always get better.
And the only person standing in your way…
I've never been more proud of myself in my entire life.
You can feel this way too.
Happy Birthday Mummy <3 I love you more than you can ever imagine. I'm doing it for you <3
– 25th November 2012