I have OCD.
Intrusive thoughts that can take over my whole life at times.
I thought I was going crazy.
I spent months lying there night after night, wondering what the fuck was wrong with me.
Why did I feel like this?
Why did noises and movements and textures make me want to curl into a ball and scream and pull my head out?
Why was I waking up every half an hour to check my baby was still breathing?
Why was I convinced that if I didn’t reply to Graham’s text message he would be involved in a horrendous accident?
Why did I no longer want to go to the playgroups I used to love so much or meet my friends for a coffee?
Was I going crazy?
I didn’t tell a soul. Not even Graham.
You see, I’ve always been pretty good at putting a bit of a brave face on and pretending everything is fine, that I’m ok.
I wasn’t ok.
My OCD is subtle. It was subtle enough that even I didn’t recognize it. But it was also so big in my head It was taking over my life.
One day, it broke me. I couldn’t keep it in anymore.
I told Graham and my best friends first, who thankfully encouraged me to go to the doctors.
Did I have anxiety? Depression? What was wrong with me?
But – isn’t that wanting to wash your hands all the time, or turn the light on and off seven times before you leave a room, or have all of your tins facing the right way?
I become so focussed on something, with that crumb on your cheek, or that slightly furry sticker on the floor, or that sound in the background, that nothing else matters.
I become so obsessed with my baby stopping breathing that I don’t sleep so I can check.
I become fixated on the fact that something will happen to someone if I don’t do something that I panic.
For weeks, I didn’t sleep because my neighbour bought a windchime. It was all I can hear or think about until they got rid of it.
For weeks, every time I made a coffee, I cleaned my cooker top, even though it hasn’t been used in the two hours since I last did it.
I’m now on medication to keep these intrusive thoughts under control. They have made such a big difference to my life. Things aren’t perfect. When I’m tired, I feel those thoughts creeping back, and some things are still triggering, but generally, I’m calmer, happier and more excited about life than I have been in many years,
Do you know what has helped the most though?
Telling the people that I love how I felt, that I needed help, and talking to them when I feel like I’m going to have a meltdown. It doesn’t stop the meltdown, but it reminds me that I’m not crazy and that I’m not alone.
That’s what’s made the biggest difference. Talking. Opening up.