So I have obsessive compulsive disorder. Or as my family likes to call it, the crazies. And I suppose, some of the things I've been known to do in the past could be considered crazy by outsiders. I had an awful lot of habits. Getting off stairs on my right foot, eating in patterns, counting steps, blinks, everything really, and it all had to be in groups of 4. I had excessive handwashing (particularly when I was stressed- the backs of my hands were often cracked or red raw from washing). I had thumb pressing in a pattern, I had a 'fear of affection' as people say - from hugs, to kisses, to even ruffling my hair, it all just unnerved me. If I stepped on a crack in the pavement, not only did I have to step on a crack with my other foot, it had to be in the same place as it had been on the first foot. It was all about balance.. To add to all that, I was a compulsive worrier- everything from exams, to phone calls, you name it, I had a problem with it. I literally worried my sick on many occasions. And so, during the summer of 2008, when I had a continuous fear that lasted for 3 months losing me sleep and appetite and reducing me to tears and panic attacks almost every night, my mother finally had enough and brought me to the doctor out of fear that I might snap and kill myself..which I wouldn't have. Fast forward 2 years, 2 psychiatrists, 1 occupational behavioural therapist and a prescription for medication to cope with it and for the most part I'm a changed girl.
Although it has its humorous aspects, there are some serious drawbacks to my condition. I fucked up an awful lot of things because of a problem trusting people, because of my 'fear of affection', because I had so many self confidence problems and because I had basically got a chronic shyness coz of a fear of getting to know new people, of getting hurt, of letting people know me. Not only that, but being diagnosed with something like O.C.D. makes it very easy for every single thing in your life to be a result of the said condition. For example, everytime I now have a bad day, I get depressed, I worry about anything, it becomes an automatic reaction of my parents to blame it on my O.C.D. and while, granted, some of those things are related to it, it is also possible that there is something else the matter. A prime example of this would be the end of the summer I was diagnosed, when I came back from a messy holiday with extremely bad pains in my side and back, when I began to get sick and the pains became worse, it was blamed on the O.C.D. and my parents told me I was worrying myself sick again and that was it. It was only after a trip to the doctor where he sent me to hospital, that it turned out I had gastritis, having burnt the lining of my stomach, a problem which, in turn became I.B.S. and an intolerence to cider.
Being actually diagnosed with O.C.D. has changed my life, theres no denying it. The chances are I will be on medication for the foreseeable future, the risk of relapsing if I go off it is not one that I think I could cope with the consequences of at the moment. It's slightly shameful for me to feel that I can't live my life without depending on medication, but at the moment, that's the way it is. It's hard knowing that this is not something I can control without making a conscious effort all of the time. It's hard knowing that this is a condition which will probably affect me for the rest of my life. Knowing that if I plan on having children I will have to come off the medication and deal with the consequences of that is scary. Thinking about a life drugged up is as scary as the thought of a life coping without tablets. The thought that my child would be as screwed up as me is disconcerting and while it's not genetic, theres no doubt that a child would have to pick up some habits from it's mother. And so I've been realising that life won't be as easy as I had hoped it would be. When I take a knock I have a relapse, I get knocked right back and have to sometimes start almost from scratch. And when things are good I worry that I will ruin them because of my O.C.D. And I'm realising that I may never be sane. And most of all, for the first time, I'm realising that I have a mental illness...and that's hard to come to terms with.
Maybe it'll fade as time goes by...but for now, I'm off to press my thumbs and ponder...