It took me about a year to go to the doctors, since my symptoms started. At first I thought they’d go away by themselves, the thoughts, I’ve felt like that before and it was over in about two months. I was scared. It took me half a year to tell my boyfriend what vile thoughts I’ve been having about cheating on him, and that I deserve to be dumped and not loved by anyone again. The harder I tried to stop thinking about them, the more of them appeared and the more of my day was dedicated to pacing about my room, sweating, trying to “explain” or “undo” the thoughts I had. To persuade myself that they weren’t real. I kept telling my boyfriend that “it wasn’t me.”
When I opened up to my parents, they said it’s my boyfriend’s fault and that I should dump him if he makes me feel like I’m cheating. They didn’t understand a single word I was saying to them. I felt alone, and stuck. For months, I wasn’t able to get a good night’s sleep or eat very well. The more time passed, the worse I got. My compulsions became physical. I stopped wearing nice clothes or make up. Blocked people on social media, stopped talking to a lot of good friends, but none of it lifted the constant guilt and anxiety I had over cheating.
Then, when my boyfriend finally persuaded me to get a doctor’s appointment, after I kept “confessing” to him as a compulsion. My step-mother told me not to go because they’d “just put you on antidepressants” and said to try and eat better and exercise instead. When I did finally go, I was on a waiting list for therapy for about 2 months and ended up not being able to make the appointment times. This dragged, I moved to uni and struggled to make friends, outside of a small group. Going out was a complete an absolute no. This lasted until last summer, when I finished CBT over the telephone, and learnt to manage the OCD.
I wasn’t cured, or freed of it. The thoughts are still there, but they don’t bother me anymore, unless I’m under more stress than usual, but I have the tools to snap out of the anxious circle almost immediately.
Why did it take me so long to tell someone about the suffering I went through inside? I thought OCD was something else. I looked online and no mental health problem “suited” my symptoms. I was desperate and sometimes ready to self harm… I felt like the constant vile reoccurring thoughts I’d had were mine and that it just meant that I am a bad person and had to learn to deal with it. I’d always thought OCD was about people who put things in order or clean too much. This awful stigma on OCD actually made it very hard for me to get diagnosed early, and is a symptom and problem for many people who suffer in silence for literal decades.
This is what I want to spread awareness of and about. It is why I will never be okay with “I’m a little bit OCD” used as a casual comment. OCD is a DISORDER, there is nothing positive about it. I’m not here to blame people, but when I hear a misconception I explain it politely. I wouldn’t wish the constant anxiety caused by OCD on anybody.
To find out more about OCD you can visit ocduk.org and ocdaction.org.uk