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Jowsec1

#Did I Turn The Light Switch Off Tim3s?

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JokesASide;

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, otherwise known as OCD is far more extensive than a malady of someone that flicks the odd light switch 3 times in a row, or thinks they’ve left their straighteners on, when in fact they haven’t. It is reflective of complete panic, anxiety and guilt which affects every aspect of life for those who suffer from it.

OCD has always been part of my life, since I can remember. It isn’t something I talk about often, due to the lack of knowledge on the audience part. But as I get older, the harder it is to cope with my OCD “ticks”, “rituals” and “repetition”.

No one really knows the depths of my disorder, but friends and family like to speculate and analyze a situation that has occurred where I have freaked out when my food Is touching each other on my plate, or I’ve had to leave a do early to go check if my straighteners are on or they see me sitting down and then getting back up 5 times in a row.

From as far back as I can remember, OCD has played a vital role in my life. I’ve always been very sporty, adventurous and sociable, however, even talking to someone can cause stress which is so overwhelming. Friends and family always laugh and say “It’s a Courtney moment”, “We love you the way you are, warts and all”.

Even in my early teenage years, my mam had to force me to walk on the cracks in the pavement, reassuring me that I won’t die if I stand on a line, or that an family member won’t get severely ill if I walk on equal number of pavement slabs.

Still now I check behind every door, under every table, bed and chair, in every cupboard, even down the toilet, every time I come into the house, just to make sure that there is no one there. Every night before bed I have to do the same ritual 5 times in a row, with no errors otherwise I have to do it 5 times in a row another 3 times (total 15) until I have it just right. Crazy right? As you can imagine it can take me up to 3 hours before I am allowed to close my eyes to sleep. I have to look at something that brings me happy thoughts and that can’t be changed into a negative thought.

Sleep time – Is the hardest part of my OCD, as the irrational fear of something happening when I’m asleep is too much. The formidable prospect of me not preforming a ritual perfectly is petrifying. The thoughts that run through my mind are all too realistic, regardless to how stupid or naive they make me seem.

I never sleep right through, it is always intermittent sleep. If I am not asleep by half 2, I have to stay awake until 03:29 as I am petrified from 3am – 3.29 as it’s the devils time. Some people are quite skeptical about “Spirits” but I am very much a believer.

When I am asleep I suffer severely from “Sleep Paralysis”, “Sleep Apnea” and “Panic Attacks”. I can honestly say unless you’ve suffered from a Sleep Paralysis you cannot comment, as it is the worst fear you will ever feel. You generally feel like you are going to die. I feel like I am facing death every time I have a Sleep Paralysis.

When people with OCD get sick, they think the worst-case scenario of things, the main reason being as with OCD comes Anxiety and Paranoia. My mam constantly tells me off for ringing her when I have a headache as I think I have a “Brain Tumor” or when I get cramp in my leg I think I have a “Blood Clot”. She is forever shouting at me for self-diagnosing on Google.

As I grew up, school filled me with constant stress, as trying to hide your OCD from a class of circa 30 people is extremely difficult. I went through a really bad OCD tick, where is anyone touched me I had to wipe it off, but for example, if they tapped my left arm, they would then have to tap my right arm to make me feel balanced then id had to wipe both off. This caused me extreme embarrassment and also offended many people, I ended up having to go on my dinner 15 minutes before anyone else so I didn’t have to stand in a queue of people to where I was at risk of someone touching me. This caused me to feel quite isolated as by the time my friends got to the dinner hall I was already finished.

OCD also affected my school work and exams. If I made a mistake I’d have to start the full thing again, this was sooo time consuming. This is because perfectionism is something that comes with OCD so making sure

everything is perfect is vital in life.

Showing up on time you would think would be completely vital in every situation, however, with me it was and still is the opposite. Don’t get me wrong I hate being late, but I hate being early even more. Being the first

one there at an event or at the pub where I plan to meet friends, makes my skin literally crawl and my stomach turn. The thought of people staring at me, wondering why I am by myself just terrifies me. Absolutely ridiculous, I know. I hate shopping, because as soon as I leave the house (every day) I feel my blood rush through my body, and I start to have hot flushes, pretty much feels like I hit menopause every single day, but it’s all because I hate people staring at me or even just looking regardless to whether they’re thinking nice or nasty thoughts.

For me while there is so much negativity that comes with it, OCD has benefited aspects of my work and school life, I generally believe if I did not have OCD I would not be as driven, persistent as I am or have an eye for detail like I do.

Travelling to airports is probably when my OCD is at its worst which causes the worst source of anxiety for me. My fear of flying literally hits the pit of my stomach and makes the tears stream down my face. Whenever I am due or a family member is due to fly, about a week before I get the shakes, my mood changes quite significantly, and my rituals become more frequent. The thought of not being in control of the airplane and of mine or a family members lives petrifies me.

Even tougher than airports, nothing gives me more anxiety and makes my OCD tick then not known something. I’m one of these people who if asked a question and I don’t – drives me insane I feel my heart beat faster instantly. Let’s just say thank God for google.

The hardest thing’s about having OCD are;

· Self Acceptance

· Understanding you aren’t the only one with OCD

· You won’t die if you don’t do what the voice in your head tells you to do

· Holding a relationship

Self-Acceptance – This is an extremely difficult one for me. OCD is more than just worrying, and people who suffer from it – like I do – the hardest part is self-acceptance. You accept yourself, you learn what triggers you and you learn how to deal with it.

I know I have OCD, I’ve had it for a very long dwelling 20 years. However, even though I accept I have got it, I won’t accept that I will always have to learn to live with it. I have tried everything, 5 different types of medication, cognitive behavior therapy, I’ve even had brain scans, and none have worked. My last chance is hypnotherapy. Now this may sound really weird after everything you have read so far, but I am so scared of having Hypnotherapy, as what happens if it works? What happens if I can finally put the volume on an even number? What happens if I can go shopping without nearly passing out? What happens if my OCD is cured and I don’t feel like me? I am scared, I think about, who I will be without my OCD baring in mind it’s all I’ve known for 20 years. It’s such a strange thing to think but I can’t help but think I may be a different person without it.

Understanding you aren’t the only one with OCD – So, right up until I was 14 years old, I thought I was the only person in the WORLD to have OCD. I honestly thought it was a super power, I was the protector of all humans. That is just hilarious don’t you think. But that goes to show OCD is not spoke about in a clear, honest and detailed way for people to understand the seriousness of it. My doctor put me through years of therapy, and not once did they actually explain to me what it was, they just wanted to know what weird “shit” I did. I think it intrigued them. Still now people think OCD is “Did you turn the light switch off 3 times?” “Do you have to go back to check your plugs?” and my personal favorite “How many times have you washed your hands today pet?”

You won’t die if you don’t do what the voice in your head tells you to do – I am yet to complete this. I know before and after I’ve done my OCD tick or ritual that nothing bad is going to happen, however, at the point of me doing it, you think yours or someone else’s life in your hands. It is the most ridiculous thing for anyone to think “If I don’t walk in and out my house 3 times in a row perfectly I am going to die”.

I laugh even though I am the one who does that. Because come on lets be serious – who is the one that is in control whether we live or die? For anyone to think they will be struck with a terrible disease if they don’t do their OCD ticks is crazy. Well, I’m not crazy, as I completely agree it’s ridiculous to think it, but I can’t help but do it anyways. The fear is too strong. It can take me hours before I can leave my house on a bad OCD day. I can get stuck, in what I like to call, “OCD Holes”. An OCD hole is where you have to stay in the same position doing your OCD ticks until you snap out of it. The longest one I’ve been in is 6 hours, and that was in the shower, my OCD brought so much fear upon me that I literally could not get out the shower…needless to say I came out looking the same colour of a smurf as the water went FREEZING.

Relationships - These are a whole other ballgame. I have found it really hard to feel comfortable in a relationship with my ex male partners The main reason because I always knew I was “gay”, however, my OCD hated the fact I was gay and I used to try and fight it since I was 13 years of age. There’s times I’ve bleached myself to cleanse me from the sexual thoughts I had towards women. I am not at all religious, by the way. Just for some reason something in my gut would tell me it is wrong to think the way I did.

After fighting my sexuality all these years, I finally came out to my mam and close friends in October 2014 just before my 22nd birthday. I can honestly say I have never felt so content in my whole entire life, don’t get me wrong my OCD has been at its worst in a long time the past couple of months because of this. However, that said – I am happy I have come out and can finally be the real me.

I suppose the worst thing about having OCD to the extent that I have it whilst being in a relationship is, if your partner doesn’t understand what makes you tick, or makes you anxious or makes you angry, then you’re setting yourselves up for a loss. Whenever an argument has occurred whilst I’ve been with someone it’s been down to the fact they’ve done something that has made me tick (knowingly or unknowingly) to where I have reacted. Or lets be fair, they’ve been a total T**t! J

My advice to OCD suffers including myself when in a relationship, make sure you’re very open about it to your new/potential partner, hiding anything like your ticks is no good as they won’t know unless you tell them. I would also advise you to give them this link >>> https://www.thecalmzone.net/help/get-help/obsessions-compulsions/?gclid=CjwKEAiAoJmlBRCxjKeizPHVs1ESJAC6cxjUPeix7seYtPIz6GmkXST6sde6iK5CRGrbOHuWWbrrERoCysPw_wcB – get them to read up on it, it will benefit both parties and make them realize, you aren’t the only crazy one out there!

#MakeADifference

As I have found more personal acceptance within, I have come to learn that, just like my hair, it is a part of who I am. So I am going to treat it like my hair, I can change my hair length, style and colour just like I can change how many times I do a ritual. Like my hair my OCD will always be a part of me. If anyone loses their hair, they still have a trace of their hair follicles, so I believe even if Hypnotherapy works, I will still always have a trace of OCD like everyone else. “She worries way too much about things” I would hear my family say, and they’re right.

We can’t choose how things affect us and we can’t choose the cards we are dealt in life, but we can them and play the best game possible. Or like me you can change the game completely.

My goal from here on after is to make the public aware to just how serious being an OCD sufferer is. Of course we can laugh about some of the things we do psychically, but it is the mental draining things that I want to make people aware of. I plan to get in touch with Claire Gerrard (who previously won an award at the 2012 Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival) to see if she would work with me to capture in depths the stigma that OCD causes.

I suppose the most positive thing I can leave you all to think about it is;

Difficulties in life don’t come to destroy you, but to help you realize your hidden potential.

Thank you for reading – I wish you all a Happy New Year and all the best for 2015 – Keep flicking those light switches my fellow OCD sufferers! J

Jowsec1

xxx

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Hi Jowsec1,

Welcome to the forum!

What a great post, not great that you're suffering, but you write really well, and you come across as a smart, insightful and kind person.

I wish you the very best, and I really hope hypnotherapy works for you. I do understand your fears, the unknown is always scary,

but you will still be you, just a freer, more relaxed version of yourself. I wish you the best of luck and a Happy New Year :original:

Alyssa

xxx

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