Preparing for a meltdown

Most people my age have their own home. I don’t. Partly because I simply can’t afford it – being single means there’s only 1 income. It’s also partly because of my OCD. I don’t really want to rent because of who might have been there before and I also have a huge feeling of responsibility for my parents.

At Christmas however I took the massive step of moving in with a friend and work colleague. It’s only weekdays not weekends but it was a huge thing for me. It still is.

My housemate has no idea about my OCD. Also because it’s actually her house (she had the mortgage with her boyfriend) I don’t have a huge amount of say in how things are done. She can clean things how and when she likes, she can wear shoes in the house and not wash down the sink or shower. All of these things she does and all of them stress me out. At home I’m much more free to perform my comfortable rituals but here I have to do them by stealth.

I’m getting better and obviously I have good days (eg when I can use the general cutlery) and bad days (eg when I have to use my secret store of knives and forks). It’s still all quite stressful for me which is one of the reasons I think I’m so tired even though I get more sleep As I now live closer to work.

However, this weekend is my housemate’s boyfriend’s birthday and they’ve invited over 60 people to a Barbecue. This would not be a problem if they were all outside. But this is the UK and it’s bound to rain. Even if it doesn’t they’ll go inside to sit, get drinks, use the bathroom (we only have 1toilet -upstairs next to my room). That means 60 people (50 of which I’ve never heard of let alone met) will be going through the house and using the bathroom, touching everything and with their shoes on (I have a real issue with shoes, just in case you didn’t realise).

I know this is going to be hugely stressful for me. So much so I don’t really want to be here to see the things that happen – I just want to live in blissful ignorance. But I can’t skip it. It would be incredibly strange and one of my other bestfriends has made me promise to be here as she doesn’t know anyone.

How can I get through this on the day and the week after?(This amount of stress will set all aspects of my OCD back for a few days at least). Other than hiding in my room on the day I need practical tips on a coping strategy. I’m hoping if I come prepared it won’t hit me as badly as it could and the recovery time will be quicker.

Any tips greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

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3 comments on “Preparing for a meltdown

  1. Can you do something extremely relaxing beforehand, e.g. get a massage, meditate, have some quiet time? Practice deep-breathing beforehand and if possible escape for a few minutes as required to calm yourself during the party. Focus on the fact that you can go back to “normal” the next day. Keep that thought in your head. If you feel a panic attack coming on you’re actually best to go with it instead of trying to fight it. Get to a quiet place and just let it go for a few minutes. I find I get calm quicker if I just allow it to happen instead of fighting which just makes me hyperventilate even more! What usually makes you feel better? Can I ask why you haven’t told your flatmate about your OCD? You might find she’s ok with it and that would take a huge amount of pressure off you…. Hope some of that might help. Oh, and avoid alcohol (suspect you got that one covered already)! Am sure you realise yourself that reality is never as bad as we imagine it beforehand. *Hugs*

    • Some great ideas there – thank you. Will try that. Haven’t told flatmate as I don’t know how to bring it up & it may make things awkward living here if she can’t accept it. I am thinking about it as you say would make things easier, so any tips on how to start that conversation?

      • Not really, sorry. I’ve had many of “those” conversations due to my sexuality as well as my mental health issues and can honestly say none have been easy but all have been worth it in the long run! It’s ALWAYS easier once it’s no longer weighing you down as this huge big secret. You might find she’s already noticed and just hasn’t wanted to mention it….. If you’ve managed to get along as flatmates so far I don’t see why admitting to OCD should make a big difference. She already knows what you’re like to live with.

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