24 April 2017

Life With OCD

This is a scary post for me to write. But sometimes we just have to jump right into it. OCD is my hell.  It's my devil. It's a constant weight on my shoulders and controls everything I do. It even controls what I eat. It's one of the hardest things I've had to face, and for the most part, I've felt so alone.

OCD is a very very misunderstood illness. It's not just about cleanliness and washing your hands a lot, although I'll admit, that is a part of it for me. OCD has two bullies on its side: obsessions and compulsions. My obsession is that I'm terrified of getting sick and getting my family sick. My compulsions are wide ranging and exhausting. For example, if I blow dry my hair, I have to put the hair dryer away on that day, and make sure the settings are just "right". And then I have to check that over and over. I count to five, four times on each setting bar, checking they're in the right position. I do that in two sets, twice inside my cupboard where I store the dryer and twice outside my cupboard where I pack it up. If I don't, I believe something bad will happen. And that's just the start.

Each time I wash my hands, I have to do it twice for them to feel clean. I try not to use my phone out in public in case it gets "dirty". I won't charge my iPad on the same day I'm going out in case I jinx myself and get sick, come back and use it, then contaminate it. I recently had a panic attack because the spout of our kettle touched a mug in the sink. I have to check the settings on my phone and tablet before I go to bed several times (like I do with the hair dryer) or I won't be able to sleep. 

Now imagine all of that, every single day. That's what OCD is like. It's hell. I know I have a problem and I want to get help, but that's where the OCD comes into play again. I'm terrified that if I try and get help, I'll jinx myself and something bad will happen. I'm really having to push myself to even write this up let alone publish it.

It's a horrible condition and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. It stops me from living. I'm existing, I'm not living. Last summer I was able to do so much. I was able to take the train somewhere on my own. For someone who also has a physical illness, ME/CFS, that was huge. I was a completely different person. But then everything changed. My mum became very unwell and it triggered my anxiety in a massive way. And that's when the OCD started. I knew exactly what is was from the minute I went through with my first compulsion. I've had an element of OCD before, although nothing on this scale. 

I don't feel embarrassed about having a mental illness. It's nothing to be ashamed of. In the past few months, there's been more talk of mental health. People are opening up about their battle with mental health. This past weekend, my Twitter feed has been full of inspiration, mainly because of the London Marathon. This year it was called the mental health marathon with its charity of choice being Heads Together. I think it's fantastic that the young royals are using their voice and their position to break the awful stigma around mental health. We need that. We need everyone to know that's it's ok to talk about it. That you don't have to ashamed of having mental health problems. Society puts so much pressure on us to be the best at everything, and to be perfect. There is so much pressure on young people to do well at school and to be the best, both academically and socially. Social media is a blessing and a curse. It's paints the picture of everything being pretty and perfect. There is no perfect. Perfection doesn't exist. No matter how much we try and chase it. 

I feel overwhelmed from the minute I get up, to the moment my head hits the pillow. I'm terrified. Of everything. Of nothing. But I'm not alone. And neither are you. If you suffer from mental health illnesses, or physical illnesses, you are not alone. You have to tell yourself that. There are people out there that understand. That want to help. You can talk about it. You should talk about it. It's time to talk about it. You are so much stronger than you think and you will get through this.

Below are links to organisations that might be able to help you. I'll try and include as many as I can as they all contribute something different and have so many services available for everyone. If you need urgent help, you can always call Samaritans on 116 123. It's open 24hrs a day, 7 days a week.

OCD Action: http://www.ocdaction.org.uk/ support@ocdaction.org.uk/0845 390 6232

Mind: http://www.mind.org.uk/0300 123 3393

Samaritans: http://www.samaritans.org/ 116 123

Anna Freud Centre: http://www.annafreud.org

AnxietyUK: https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk

Keep fighting. You are worth it. You are enough. You are strong. 



  1. I'm so sorry to hear about your OCD. It's amazing that you are talking about it and being so open. You can beat this xx

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