Uhh, hi, I don't really expect anyone to read this but, I just spent the last 40 minutes typing it all to get it off my chest, and if this is weird or whatever its okay to delete this! Really sorry if it is. Just sorry altogether um... Well I.. yeah here...
Hi, I’m Lauren, I’m 15 years old, and this is my OCD story. Its 1:00am, and I’m awake thinking, so maybe writing it all down (or typing, aha) will help me, and hopefully be a little inspiring for anyone like me.
I guess I’ve had OCD traits since I’ve been little. I grew up in a flat with my mum, brother, and sister. Me and my siblings all have different dads, and to put it frankly, none of them were in a good relationship with my mum. When I was born, for about a year everything was fine (not that I remember it, but I believe it), and then my mum and dad started fighting. Obviously being one or two, I didn’t have the capacity for obsessions or compulsions, but it was frightening. My parents split when I was three, and my mum had a new boyfriend, who by the time I was four, was in a abusive relationship with my mum. I remember believing that if I could count to twelve, they’d be so proud of me they’d never fight again. Obviously this didn’t ever happen, but I spent most my time counting to twelve over and over in my head. The fights got worse and more scary, and I kept making things to stop them. I would secretly tap corners (it had to be secret, or it didn’t count) which I fought would stop them fighting. This wasn’t all the time though, and probably wasn’t noticeable at all. I got older, and found I could block out the fights if I really did focus on things like counting, so I did it. I guess that’s where my tapping and counting to prevent ‘bad things’ happening came from.
When I was 6, 7 and 8 I was already having urges to do dangerous things. I would be walking to school, and stop and stare into the road, because at that moment all I could think about doing was getting hit by a car. It would seem like that would be the best thing in the world that could possibly happen at that second, and I would fight really hard to get the thoughts to go away, but they didn’t. I stopped eating when I was 8, because I was convinced someone was secretly putting extra fat in my food, and I’d get fat and wouldn’t be able to be a dancer. I was really skinny as a kid too. This is also about when the my least favourite part of my OCD started - the lying.
At first, it would be something as meaningless and silly as getting the urge to tell my friends I had magical powers and could fly. Seems pretty normal, right? And because my thought pattern was just urge->action, most of the time I’d say it. But it got worse. I started telling my friends completely untrue and irrelevant stories, purely because I’d get the (as I would’ve described it) ‘falling feeling’ in my stomach if I didn’t. I know this is anxiety now. Some of the things I remember telling people are-
there was famous people in hospital when I was born (?)
I didn’t like cheese (-I LOVED cheese)
I ran away from home (I did not.)
There was no lock on our bathroom door (there was a lock.)
There was plenty more stupid things like that, and it would happen all day everyday. I started to hate myself for it, but couldn’t stop. I remember hitting myself in the leg every time I told a lie, to try and punish myself and prevent another one. And from this, I started tapping on corners again, more frequently, to prevent myself lying.
I was still in primary school when I first started acting on my dangerous impulsive thoughts. I’d see a dressing gown cord and tie it around my neck, or slam my arm in the door to try and break it, climb out of the window. I didn’t know why I was doing this, everything that happened in my head was too quick to notice. This is when my tapping probably first got noticeable, because I did it to (1) Stop fighting (2) Keep people safe (3)Stop lying (4)Stop myself getting hurt. It was more frequent. I don’t think my parents saw it as concerning though, or maybe they didn’t notice.
When I came into secondary school at 11 I still did not have control of my lying or tapping or counting or impulsive thinking, and I pretty much did not have any friends. I was scared to talk to people, worried I would lie to them, and no one really wanted to talk to me - I was so anxious all the time and you could tell. Being in a constant panicked state isn’t very good if you’re trying to make friends. Halfway through my first year I started acting on more serve dangerous impulsions. If I got the thought to put a piece of glass in my arm, chest, neck, I’d think “why not?” and do it. No one knew for a while, because I knew if people saw gashes and bruises and cuts on me they would ask questions I couldn’t really answer. I smoked in secret when I could to try and calm myself.
By the time I was 13 I had quite a few scars, and everything just carried on. I started tapping and counting less, lying less, and acting on thoughts to hurt myself more. I thought I was normal, and I really couldn’t see anything wrong at the time. When I went on a week long school trip, I didn’t eat a thing because I was worried about it being poisoned, and got referred to a therapist, but they discharged me quickly. I’d hide things from my mum and other people, but I knew I could make friends if I could calm down, stop lying and try real hard, so I did. And I was happy for a while, despite constantly having thoughts that they didn’t want me, they hate me really and are just too nice to say it, they think I’m annoying and things like that. I still don’t know if I was thinking this because I was anxious, or because it was true.
Year Nine was my worst year for social interaction. People found out about me hurting myself, and assumed I was suicidal, depressed, self-harming. I believed them for a little while, until I started thinking about it and knew I did not really want to hurt myself or die. I wasn’t really sad either. I tried to tell people this, but they didn’t take me seriously.
I was doing crazy things, like bringing sharps into school so if I had a thought to hurt myself, I could act on it before I got anxious. I was really anxiety fearing. I’d stand in roads, I’d overdose when I got the urge to. I had to go to the hospital a few times when I was hurt, but I’d put up a fuss because I hated that. I got sent home from school all the time for hiding from people, convincing myself that the people in my lessons were gonna do bad things, I had panic and anxiety attacks all the time. I never understood why I was being sent home, why I was on antidepressants, why I had to see a therapist. I was so wrapped up in my own little imaginary world of fear and other not real things, I could simply not see anything that was wrong with me. When people asked me if I was sad, an impulse to agree started to kick in and I’d say yes. I’d make up a story for them, and then go home and cry because I was a nasty liar.
School just got more and more concerned about me. They put me on a half timetable, said I could only come into school in the mornings. I hated this, and got mad, because I wanted to learn and couldn’t see why not. I see it now. Sometimes back then I would get an urge to bite all the way through my lip, and one time I did it. Blood everywhere, I wasn’t in my lessons, people from years below me stared at me and teachers asked who’d beat me up. It didn’t stop bleeding for hours, kept opening up again, and later on that day my bottom lip was 3 times its normal size, extremely painful and infected. I had a bad fever all night.
The end of year nine started to get a bit better, and I was alright all through the summer holidays too. I rarely acted on an urge for a while. But school came back and things slowly crept back to usual, and in January, I hurt myself too bad and got moved to inpatient.
I still didn’t understand why I was there. For a month or so, people were telling me I was depressed, until they started to notice the tapping and counting, and I finally got diagnosed with OCD. But even in hospital, I was extremely impulsive. I screamed for them to let me go home, tried to run away, smashed crockery and glasses whenever I could, tied ligatures(a hospital word for tried to hang myself) all impulsively and this resulted in most cases me getting restrained, IM’ed, and eventually sectioned. After a while the unit decided they couldn’t cope with me, and I got moved to a secure unit. But before they moved me, I started to realise that I wasn’t too well, and I started accepting what was going on, and trying to change it. But they moved me anyway.
I did not (and still don’t) like the new unit. I tried to tell them I was better so I could leave, but being sectioned isn’t as easy as that. My tapping and counting got to its worse, but the rest of the obsessions seemed to be easier to ignore. I could ignore an urge to lie, or do something dangerous, most of the time. I convinced myself (probably because I hate/d the place so much) there was bad people out of the windows, and would check them all the time. I was getting better though, I was/am doing my psychology work and understanding what was going on in my head, and finally getting towards discharge. I’m having leave, like right now, I’m on section 17 overnight leave. I’ve been getting urges to do things tonight, but when I do, I can remind myself its just a thought, and it can’t hurt me, and I’m in control. Today is the 17th of July, so I’ve been in hospital over seven months.
I’m so happy that I’m finally in control, and I know I can get out, if I keep on listening to the right part of my head!
Screw you OCD!
My OCD is tapping on the corners to stop myself thinking bad thoughts.
My OCD is lying without thinking
… is suddenly wanting to do something dangerous and not knowing why.
...is worrying my food has been poisoned
...wanting to jump in front of cars
...thinking bad things have happened and rethinking and rethinking to make sure they havent
...checking out of windows
... so uh, what yours? Maybe it'll help someone else here to get it off their chest too. And thanks for reading you brave little thing, that was longer than my attention span!!!!!!