For years I thought I was crazy and I didn’t mention it to anyone, not even a GP.
It’s only in the last several years that I have learned to accept it and realise that there are many, many people out there that suffer with the same problem. I’m talking about extreme obsessive compulsive disorder.
I also suffer from depression and anxiety. Yeah, you may think I’m a pretty fucked up person! But, I consider myself to be quite a learned and intelligent person, I don’t believe in things like religion, the supernatural or spiritual beings, but for some reason, I believe that there is some kind of evil force that is in control. Lots of negative, bad thoughts and scenarios play out in my head and if I don’t do my daily rituals and routines that they will all come true.
I know that sounds crazy, but it’s how my brain is wired!
It all begin when I was around 11 and it all started from having to do certain things an equal amount of time and then progressed to more and more rituals I had to perform.
If I had to describe what it is like to have to do all these daily tasks and rituals because of fearing that something dreadful will happen, it would be like the movie Final Destination or It Follows where you are constantly being pursued by something evil and if I were to slip up then something bad would happen to me, my family or friends. Basically, I do it to keep the people I love safe!
I have so many rituals I have to do on a daily basis, it’s mentally exhausting and I can’t turn my mind off. I wish I could, but I can’t and for my own sanity I have to do these things else I’d go into some kind of panic state.
I’m pretty good at hiding and concealing my rituals and all the things I do covertly so people don’t even notice I have this OCD problem.
I think that most people do not understand what OCD really is. With media stereotyping the illness, they just assume it’s somebody who is obsessed with cleaning or aligning the pencils on their desk. It’s not. It’s the intrusive thoughts that are always there in your head, like walking into the path of a speeding car, pushing someone off a bridge, the house burning down and other dreadful things that could happen or I make happen.
Like I mentioned earlier I needed to do the rituals to make the bad shit from happening and if I didn’t, I’d go into a blind panic and I wouldn’t be able to concentrate and then the anxiety sets in.
It really annoys me when I hear comments like “I’m being a bit OCD today”, because they are clean and tidy or like things neatly arranged. This is not OCD. Will you have thoughts the world will end if you don’t do it? No, because it’s called being a perfectionist or just a hygiene freak, not OCD!
If I notice I have a bad day then I will recount the things I did that day. Which way I went to work, the places I visited, what songs I heard or TV show I watched, just the little things I did. Then I will try to determine which thing I did or change I may have made that would have caused whatever bad thing happened that day and then I will probably avoid the thing I did forever! That means I can’t watch a certain TV show or episode again or go a certain way or even listen to a particular song ever again!
This also works the reverse way too, that if I have a good day then I’ll remember anything new or the routines I did that day and repeat them daily or whenever they needed doing to make sure I don’t have a bad day.
I’ve tried to stop doing my rituals, but it’s an impossible task, but I have managed to completely stop some of them, but I could never fully stop all of them.
I’ve try to challenge myself to stop all the rituals even it’s for just one day, but I know if something bad happened, even if were a coincidence and not because I stopped doing the routine, my brain would never know the truth. I would have to keep on with the same routines just to try to stop the bad shit from happening again. It’s never-ending!
Recently, I have been able to at least stop adding more rituals onto my daily list, by distracting my thoughts with other thoughts. A soon as a negative thought started to come into my head I would straight away think of something else completely different and positive to drown it out. It’s exhausting, but it is worth it. I’m kinda shouting down the negative intrusions.
There is no cure for me, but there are ways I can make it more bearable!
If you are suffering or know someone who suffers from OCD you can visit ocduk.org for more info and support.
You can also share your thoughts and read the thoughts of other people who have OCD at thesecretillness.com.