Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can be misunderstood, it’s not always about been extremely clean or organized, there’s so much more to the disorder.
Standing at the top of the stairs with tears streaming down my face and just wanting the cycle to stop, my body and mind were exhausted. When eventually in bed, my palms would become sweaty, my heart would race and the intrusive thoughts of “just one more check”, “what if you didn’t check it correctly” would slowly creep back in. 1,2,3,4 had become my prominent numbers, these numbers would be continuously repeated whilst I checked the oven, windows and door handles. I felt isolated, misunderstood and lonely. It had become more than a worry, it was consuming my life. 16 minutes per night was an average for my nightly repetitive behaviour however this had reached up to 30 minutes on occasions. On average this totalled to 5840 minutes per year that were consumed by this behaviour. The compulsive behaviours and intrusive thoughts were amplified when a traumatic experience changed my life.
I knew I had to seek support when my little boy was born. I would have intrusive thoughts about his wellbeing. I was getting family members to do checks for me just to prove that I had done them, I had the fear I would pass these behaviours onto my son. I was taking photographs of doors, windows, straighteners just to prove to myself I had done the check. I was late to work on numerous occasions as I had to turn around on the journey as the nagging voice would tell me I hadn’t checked the oven was off. The intrusive thoughts made me question myself as an individual, “is this normal to be thinking this way” too embarrassed to actually speak to anyone about these thoughts. The thought of my GP appointment was scary, to disclose my behaviours to someone outside of my family unit was daunting and I felt ashamed. After the appointment I felt relieved.
Mental Health Awareness is so important, we can create a better understanding of each other and gain a personal understanding. Every individual’s experience is personal, talking therapy has supported me to find techniques to manage my OCD and mindful activities have created moments of relaxation. Daily life and lack of motivation can get in the way of this however I now have an understanding that my mental wellbeing should be my top priority. When the intrusive thoughts creep back in, I acknowledge that it is an intrusive thought and not a reflection of me. I don’t believe the intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviours will ever fully stop, however with ongoing support, mindfulness and prioritising my own mental wellbeing I am hopeful I will find some peace.