It was OCD Action Week a few weeks ago and I wrote a post last week about what anxiety is to me. I decided that if I could write about my anxiety, that I could write about my OCD and what it is to me. There are two parts to OCD, the obsessive side and the compulsive side. I would say that I have both. I would also say that there is a ‘cleanliness side’ and a ‘intrusive thought’ side. Again, I would say I have both.
I can remember when I was younger, (I would have said little, but I’m still on the little side!)…that I would collect ‘useless things’, like the tops from fruit shoots or I’d be scared if I couldn’t find something, like a pencil, incase I’d swallowed it (this links to my health anxiety) or be over conscious about the volume on the TV or the amount of biscuits I got out the tin. I could not have an odd number on the TV and I did not like certain numbers.
With OCD you get intrusive thoughts, these are thoughts that don’t go away, or don’t go away easily. I used to get really bad intrusive thoughts, thoughts that made me become agoraphobic. I stopped wanting to go outside and found my room comforting. I stopped eating, drinking and other things…and I was not myself. This happened over the space of a few weeks. I was applying for my degree at the time and had interviews too. I was so scared that I wouldn’t get in. But I did. I then decided to try CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), where the therapist tried to change my thoughts in order to change my behaviour. But in short, it didn’t work. My boyfriend suggested meditation and it worked. He suggested writing things down, it worked. He also suggested other techniques, which worked. I then decided that I could get better myself. That I could recover on my own, with the support of my family and friends. Without this support, I can honestly say that I would not be here today.
OCD also has coping mechanisms, which are called compulsions. If you do these compulsions then what you think will happen, won’t happen. My coping mechanism was and still is hand sanitizer. I used to watch my hands a lot, going through 3-4 bottles a day. Now I can make one bottle last a week and a bit, which is a big improvement. I know I have to get to the point where I don’t need it anymore and I will get there.
This is what OCD means to me.