Hi, I’m Dinah and this is my first blog entry. It regards OCD; a very nice three letter way of describing my giant pain in the backside that needs to burn with fire.
I didn't mean to write so much but I've written an autobiography by accident, so in a nutshell for those in a rush: OCD is crap but it’s going to get its ass kicked.
I don't speak to many people about my OCD but I'm not really sure why. I suppose over the years I've figured it was best to just shut up and put up.
I don't think that's a good thing. The more I learn about OCD the more I realize that it's so much more common than I ever thought and so much more misunderstood. That's why I believe it's really important to be open and fearless in talking about my OCD.
OCD is so much more than just being a neat freak. I've struggled with OCD since I was 10 years old and it's been the ultimate bane of my life. It's been a battle I wasn't always sure I would be able to win until recently (let's light a candle and give thanks to the wonder that is antidepressants).
Imagine this: basically, you should be really happy. You have a great life, a great family, a great job, a great future, whatever. Life's going pretty decent overall. Then some alien dude comes along in his swanky hovercraft and plants a microchip in your brain that makes you doubt everything and fear the absolute worst (the bastard – damn those alien abductions). And just to add to the fun the microchip makes you believe you have to do the craziest things to make it all OK.
"I am definitely going to have a crap day if I don't tap this doorknob exactly five times to the rhythm of the first five seconds of Bohemian Rhapsody."
"I just touched the pen which was sitting on the desk which touched a piece of paper which Jean touched who currently may or may not be coming down with a cold... it would basically be a natural disaster if I got a cold right now... she might even have Ebola. I really don’t want to catch Ebola. Better wash my hands 50 times. Can I substitute bleach for soap?"
I do genuinely believe that somewhere out there I’m being broadcast on some sort of extra-terrestrial version of You’ve Been Framed.
There's the fear that you're going to hurt somebody by accident. You fear this because you're a good person and would never hurt anybody. That’s because OCD plays on your biggest fears.
"What if I didn't close the door and our cat escapes and gets run over?" (I then proceeded to beg my boyfriend to go back to check halfway on our journey to Chester, even though I blatantly remember closing said door. I'm glad he loves me.)
"What if I left the scissors too close to the edge of my desk and my boyfriend walks past and knocks them off, impales his foot and severs a main artery and dies?"
"If I don't chant 'I love deep fried salmon in the morning' seven times my mother will turn into a jellyfish."
Ok, so that last one may be a slight exaggeration. But you get my point.
"I want anybody who thinks they may have OCD to realise that it is not some scary, weird disorder but a very common illness which does not make you a bad person."
Some people fear that they are murderers or paedophiles. Some people may be afraid that if they don’t repeat a certain phrase their whole family will die. Fears of being someone they would simply never be, or of doing something they would never do, because OCD is evil and plays on the most terrifying things you could imagine. Things that never will happen.
I wrote this post because I want to be brave for myself and for those suffering with this illness on a daily basis. I want anybody who thinks they may have OCD to realise that it is not some scary, weird disorder but a very common illness which does not make you a bad person. Your fears are not reality and never will be. Don't be afraid to seek help. Find somebody you trust who will listen. I've been in and out of therapy and am currently on antidepressants and I don't regret a second of it because I have my life, sanity and happiness back. You WILL be OK.
I also wrote this post to encourage awareness of mental illnesses like OCD. It can be difficult to understand something you've never been through and that's ok. But it's important to always challenge stigma and challenge ourselves to become more aware of what people may be going through on the quiet.
If you would like to write a blog post about your experiences of stigma or related issues, email firstname.lastname@example.org