You guys know I have OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), and I am very open about it here on my blog. A lot of you have very kindly said that you had learnt a lot from my posts in the past about emetophobia and OCD which is reassuring to hear, but some of you don't completely understand it or want to find out more about the disorder.
As part of my recovery process, I like to write down some of the intrusive thoughts I have in my head. I call these lies. There lies my brain tells me because it wants to trick me into thinking things that aren't true. Sometimes I can stand against them, and sometimes I can't. OCD is not just about being neat, clean or liking order- far from it. It's a serious and debilitating mental illness.
Unfortunately, I'm not the only person that has to live with this devil of a disorder. Through blogging, I have met lots of other supportive and understanding individuals who also struggle with OCD, one of those being Naomi from Tea time with Naomi. Today we are both going to be talking about lies our OCD tells us. Please check out her post, as OCD affects suffers very differently, meaning that I on my own will never be able to give you an accurate reflection of what OCD is like for everyone.
1. That I am a bad person
We all have worried that we have done something bad, or we will do something bad in the future from time to time, this is completely normal. We are guilty, feel like we have hurt someone who done something and regretted it afterwards. But these feelings shortly pass, and you get on with your day. But imagine waking up every morning with your voice inside of your head telling you are a bad person, that you are leading a bad life, you are going to do bad things in the future, for no reason whatsoever. This happens to me every day. I worry I don't wash my hands enough, which makes me a bad person because I will make someone ill or I have said something that has offended someone or I have done something wrong, no matter how insignificant that thing is, it makes me a bad person.
2. That if I throw away a bottle of hand sanistser even if it's empty something bad will happen or I will hurt someone
Yep, even though the rational part of my brain knows that's absolutely ridiculous, my OCD is much stronger and controlling. I have a lot of empty bottles of hand sanister, stored away neatly in lines in my bedside draw. If I throw even one of these away, I fear that I will get ill and infect/ kill everyone around me. Therefore I can not bear to part with them not even one. Even the thought of putting one in the bin my OCD will flood my brain with horrible and intrusive thoughts.
3. Every door handle, switch, plug, stair rail or surface is infected with harmful and dangerous germs and bacteria
If I ever met you in real life, one of the first things you will notice is that I will always be wearing long sleeves and tights/ jeans. There are many different reasons for this. Firstly, it provides me a barrier from all the germs and contamination. I can pull it over my hand and open doors, hold handles, etc. Which doesn't make me look abnormal which I would do if I wore gloves. However, always having my body covered up means I suffer in the heat. Summer and I, we're not friends. Secondly, it means that I can hide my hands when they are sore, red and bleeding. Sometimes my OCD plays tricks on me, and it makes me forget how I opened a door or closed it, did I use a sleeve or did I use my hand? My mind goes blank so to stop the thoughts I have to repeat the action over and over again to ensure I haven't touched it.
4. That if I pour neat bleach on my hands, I will be clean and won't get ill which subsequently means I can't harm those around me
This is the most dangerous and severe compulsion that I perform; it's equally the one I desperately want to stop. Soap never makes me feel clean. I could wash my hands 30 times, but I still won't be clean. I soon started to use diluted bleach, but that wasn't good enough either. My OCD tricks me into thinking that bleach will solve all my problems and will make my hands clean. Of course, I want to stop the thoughts, so I comply at a very large cost to my physical health and comfort.
5. If I learn to drive, I will kill someone or the passengers, and I will be a murderer.
This is something I have wanted to talk about for ages on my blog, but never have got around to it. I'm 17, and I can't drive, I haven't even had a driving lesson or ordered a provisional license. The main reason for this is because of my intrusive thoughts about driving. My OCD lies to me and tells me that when I am in a car, I have no control. I will run someone over, drive the vehicle off the cliff on purpose or crash into something and hurt others because I am a bad person and a murder. I get a lot of intrusive thoughts about driving even when I am a passenger in a car. I have horrible images appear in my head that I have no control over. It really upsets me seeing all my friends passing their tests and me not even being able to sit in driving seat of a car without having a panic attack.
6. If I have a child, I will kill it and be a murderer.
One day I would love to have a child but in my current condition, I don't even know if it would be possible. Yes, you may be thinking changing a shitty nappy would be challenging for my OCD or risk of sick with my emetophobia would be tough, you're right but the main reason for me not wanting to have a child is because of all the intrusive thoughts I have about killing the baby. I worry that I would purposely forget to take he/she for their vacations, and they would die as a result, and I would be a murder, or I would shake my baby to death, drop it down the stairs on purpose or purposely feed it the wrong food. A fear of germs and sick would never stop me having a child but the uncontrollable intrusive thoughts would.
7. Everyone around me feels sick and has been sick recently, and I am going to be infected, infect and kill my loved ones around me.
A simple walk to the post office can be a real challenge for me. I could walk past 20 people and each time my OCD would replay the same thoughts in my head. It tells me that everyone around me as been sick recently or they have something that would cause me to be sick on their hands, which they might have passed on to a door handle when they touched it and what if I touch it. If I get sick, I am going to pass it on to everyone around me, and they will die as a result, and I will be a murder. I am constantly being told by the voice in my head that people feel sick, and they are going to be sick over me, meaning I will be infected and die as a result.
8. I won't get a tummy bug or be sick if I wash my hands over and over again of if I Scrub and burn them till they bleed.
Although I hate putting myself through the pain, my OCD lies to me and tells me I have to do it. Otherwise, all these bad things will happen. A short 10 minutes of pain is nothing compared to death, serve illness or being sick, which my OCD tells me would come as a result of not performing my compulsions. I wish I could just wash my hands once, like everyone else, but my OCD won't let me. Once is never enough. Five times is never enough. 20 times is not sufficient. I will never be clean unless I am in pain and bleeding.
9. If I make physical contact with another person, it means that I will get ill, infect those around me and I will be a dirty human being
This is one of the hardest thoughts and obsessions I have to deal with. It's really upsetting not to be able to kiss or hug your parents properly. It's horrible being scared of getting into a relationship with someone because I will have to touch them. They won't understand, leave, and I will be alone forever. This obsession even makes me scared ever to have a child in the future. Which is a really really distressing thought. I struggle daily with this obsession. When I go out, I worry that someone will accidentally touch me, or be sick over me and then I will be contaminated forever and forever. Although I am not housebound, I find any excuse not to leave the house, and if I have to, I am extremely panicky and stressed because of the uncontrollable obsessions in my head.
It's pretty, though! But I get through! Somedays are better than others but I do my best, and that's all I can do. I hope you found this post informative and gave you a greater insight into living with OCD is like. Please don't forget to check out Namoi's post about OCD HERE.
Thank you for reading, as always X