Having recently has a bit of a bad patch with my OCD I thought I’d write a little blog about what it’s actually like for me. Hopefully this will help others understand that it’s more than someone liking things near and tidy.
I experienced a double whammy last weekend. I was facing both contamination fears and security fears.
With both of them, when a thought gets into my head it lodges there and no matter how much self-talk about the logical side of things will shift it.
My heart rate increases, my throat constricts and my breathing gets shallower and more difficult. I can become like Lady Macbeth wringing my hands as an outlet. It often feels like a metal ring is tightening around my heart. My hands shake and I feel nauseous.
If it’s to do with contamination then the only way to readily relieve these symptoms will be washing my hands in hot water with antibacterial hand wash. If this isn’t an option then the gel will suffice. I have also been known to wash my hands, use antibacterial spray and wash my hands again. If necessary I will change what I’m wearing. On rare occasions it might mean throwing stuff away. Last weekend wasn’t too bad and putting them in the wash was enough.
All the time my mind is whirring with the negative thoughts that usually centre around bad things happening to my family. It stops me thinking about anything else, it’s like I have blinkers on. I’m only thinking about the issue and how to fix it.
The only way to get relief for my security fears is by checking, be it the doors, gas, or my family. At the moment this is only at night when I worry that my family need my help and I keep getting up to check on them. I lay in bed trying to convince myself the only noise I’d heard was my rustling my sheets or my iPod’s earphones playing. But it’s no good, my mind will not let me sleep until I’ve got up and checked. The panic comes into play and at it’s worst can make me cry.
Probably an unusual compulsion is offering up little prayers asking that everything will be okay, the stain wasn’t what I imagined, that everyone is alive and well and that no one will contract any deadly diseases. It’s a comfort, although the compulsion to say them more than once is great. In fact I’ll continually keep saying them. As I need to close my eyes whilst saying them thus can be very difficult and the stress of not being able to say them is awful.
Eventually I’ll fall asleep or will think the rituals have been sufficient or I’ll get distracted. That’s really the best thing.
How I distract myself: