My Week with OCD

This past week has been rather full of OCD so I thought I’d do a review – there’s been some highs and lows.

My recent post “When Conditions Collide” explained that last weekend I had a few run ins with one of my greatest fears. I have to say this set my basic anxiety levels soaring. I jumped everytime I saw a shadow or a hair brushed my skin. That didn’t bode well for my OCD. Monday passed off without too much of a hassle – just the usual, but Tuesday was a roller coaster.

First of all there was great excitement and pride when my blog post ‘The Loneliness of OCD” was published by Mind. I’ve got my own blog of course, but this was an opportunity to reach more people. I was delighted that people read it, retweeted it and I was over the moon when it was mentioned by @SocietyGuardian and on the Guardian website. So the daytime was full of highs. It changed when I got home. I arrived back to the house without my housemate to discover a swarm of fruit flies in the kitchen. It was horrific. Probably more so because of my OCD (my housemate took it in her stride when she came home). It set me off. It took me 5 times to boil a kettle of water because when I poured it out I thought it looked discoloured – even though it was fine when I put it in. Eventually I got my sweetcorn bubbling away and then opened a can of potatoes and popped them in too. Then I noticed something sticky on the can. Logically I knew that this had just come off the tin opener because it had the same substance on and I had had difficulty opening the tin. But I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t go through with eating the potatoes – or now the sweetcorn which was in the same pan. I think if I hadn’t had the issues with the flies, and my anxiety levels hadn’t been so high to start with, I could have accepted this and eaten my food. But I couldn’t. It went in the bin. I was so frustrated with myself because my logical side was telling me it was fine. I didn’t give up completely – I still needed my dinner. I cooked pasta instead and only needed 2 kettles of water this time.

By the time I had finished my dinner I was exhausted and ready for bed – but I had to stay up late for the Channel 4’s programme ‘A Little Bit of OCD’ and I was desperate to see it. I wasn’t disappointed – you can read my full review here. Wednesday came and I had been asked by Mind to do a review of the show, which I did and another wave of pride washed over me when this too was published. This sort of thing just doesn’t happen to me. I didn’t want to go back to the house that night. What if I had another meltdown? What if I struggled to cook dinner again? What if the flies were still there? My housemate was away for the night. In a way this was good – I would be able to boil as many kettles as I wanted without her wondering why – but sometimes this observation helps – it forces me to get on with things. I wanted to scarper somewhere safe. But I was determined not to and through the help of my Twitter support group I made it back to the house. It wasn’t easy but I’m so glad I did it. Thank you guys. Dinner was much easier that night which also helped.

Thursday was generally fine, nothing too major to deal with – no additional meltdowns. It was nice to have this relief. The day was made even better as I read some lovely comments about my blog and review. I was so glad to have resonated with others. As my blog for Mind said – I find OCD rather lonely. I also got a lovely comment from the mother of John – the teenager featured in ‘A Little Bit OCD’, who said I’d inspired her to write her own blog from a parents’ perspective. This was one of the nicest things that happened this week. I was rather touched and thrilled that my blog had had an effect on someone – that’s one of the reasons I started it – to encourage others to talk about it.

Then Friday I was faced with one of my triggers. My boss had to update me on some sensitive issues at work and decided that as it was a nice day we would go outside onto the front lawns. There are 2 benches out there and as she’s pregnant I thought she’d opt for one of these because of getting back up again. But she opted for sitting in the shade – on the lawn. There was no way out. I couldn’t go back in and get my rug that I sit on at lunchtimes, and this was not the time or place to explain why I had an issue. I had to sit on the lawn. We chose an area that isn’t walked on that much which I tried to reassure myself with. I tried to go with it and not to panic. Following other people’s examples sometimes helps – she was sitting on the lawn, most of my friends sit on the lawn rather than rugs and most of them even touch the bottom of their shoes which is an absolute no no for me. I managed to get through it knowing that my long skirt had already touched stairs despite trying to keep it off them, and I knew that when I got home I would be able to put the skirt in the wash and change my clothes. I’m very proud of myself for overcoming this. It doesn’t mean that I’ll do it on a regular basis – I will still opt to sit on a rug, but I didn’t have a meltdown.

So this week has been exhausting with some great highs and some lows. I faced some fears and came out the otherside. A couple of battles against my OCD have been won, but the war rages on. Let’s see what next week holds.

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