I’ll never forget the day my life took a major twist. I was only six when the obsessions began. I was far too young to comprehend the complex nature of the disorder I suffered from. I wasn’t aware I’d be forced into a gory, lonely world – my Whinnie-the-Pooh and Little Mermaid thoughts would soon be overtaken by a plague of terrible thoughts. But I can still trace back the day where I was forced to mature well beyond my years as I tackled with the horrible, gruesome images my imagination painted for me.
It was a family celebration, Christmas. The events were just starting to dwindle and friends/family were heading home. There was snow outside and it was very cold. I was sitting on the couch in my little festive dress, which my mother had purchased for me.
Someone had left the television on, and it caught my limited attention span. It was the story of a young (but older than me) girl and her favourite teenager babysitter. They were close friends and the girl adored her.
One day, the babysitter drives the girl and herself to her boyfriend’s house. While in the car, (alone) the girl (whom I assume now was experiencing a sort of jealousy) notices a knife her babysitter has sitting in a cup holder. Her babysitter returns to the car, only to have the girl stab her in the heart.
I felt a pain of revulsion in my stomach , and at the moment, my heart leapt from my chest. I swiftly got off the couch, a weird feeling in my stomach.
I knew of murder (The Lion King was still fairly new, but Scar was pure evil), but I hadn’t comprehended it.
I had plenty of babysitters, as my parents worked full time jobs. I loved my babysitters.
Instantly, questions swirled in my mind, questions I had never pondered before. Questions like: “How could she have done that to another human being when she loved her?” “Doesn’t she miss her?” “Wouldn’t it have hurt her?” “She was young, like me!” “Everyone will hate her once they find out the truth!” “God will punish her.”
That’s where the fear was born and that’s when the thoughts would cling to me. They would continue to haunt my childhood and eat me up even into my adult life.
I began obsessing over stabbing people. I thought, “What if I could do such a thing for such a silly reason? God would hate me, everyone would hate me! I would hate myself!”
I went to bed with uneasy thoughts that night and a weird pressure – what I presumed was me thinking I was just going to stab my babysitter. I went to sleep hoping the thought would be gone the next morning. I was wrong.
Not only was the thought there to stay, but it drastically distracted me from school. I would look around at my classmates and ponder, “Do they have the same fears as me? Am I abnormal and crazy? Am I bad because I’m having such bad thoughts? No one else seems to have these thoughts or seems upset.” My teachers took note of my behaviour and informed my parents.
My stomach hurt and the thoughts lasted for weeks. My babysitter would come over and I would wake up very early so I could play Super Mario Brothers and distract myself from the fear that I would stab her before school.
My babysitter was an elderly woman and, to me, much like a grandmother. She would make lunch every day and play with us (I have two other younger sisters).
Sudden flashes of me wielding a knife and my hand covered with the blood of my babysitter flashed in my head. I would close my eyes, but these thoughts and images were mental. Eventually, the stabbing thoughts not only surrounding stabbing my babysitter – but progressed to my younger sisters, parents, and friends, too.
After a few months, I could no longer take it. I thought for sure one day I would crack and grab a knife. I felt sickened and crazy and evil. I liked my life, but I thought myself to be undeserving. As a six-year-old, I was considering some pretty terrible truths. One day, late, around 12:00 AM, I received the courage to express myself to my parents. The nervousness I felt while explaining nearly made me faint.
“This is it,” I thought. “My life will be over soon. Mom and Dad will hate me for having such bad thoughts, and they’ll put me away. Everyone will hate me. But I don’t want to kill or hurt anyone, so this is the way it’ll have to be.”
“Mommy, I need to speak with you of something very important.”
My Mom sat up from her bed and looked at me curiously. My Daddy sat up, too. They both cast worried looks in my direction.
“Are you sick?” She said getting out of bed.
Dad got out of bed and picked me up. He placed me on the counter in the washroom. (The washroom was like their examining place for when we were sick.)
“Daddy…Mommy…I have to tell you something because I can’t take it anymore. I’m having very bad thoughts. I think I’m a bad person. I’m worried I’m going to hurt people with knives.”
My Dad gave me an odd look. “Do you feel like you’re going to hurt people with knives?”
“God doesn’t like people who hurt others. It’s wrong. People who hurt others go to hell.”
My stomach fell.
“No. Ray. Is that all that’s wrong? They’re only thoughts. You wouldn’t really do anything. They’re just thoughts that are disturbing to you. I’m glad you told us. Don’t worry about them. We know you’d never do anything.”
I felt my stomach float. For a second, I felt bliss. Now they knew. I confessed and they weren’t going to send me away forever! My Mothers smile reassured me. My mother was a nurse, she’d know if I were crazy or not! Perhaps I was just over-reacting. Perhaps now that I confessed, it meant I was a good person! What killer would confess their dark secrets?
For a few days, I felt free of the thought. But it came back. I was wrong about the confessing to my mother. I decided that from here on out, I would fight the thought. I realized that when I was distracted (in school, ect), I felt normal.
Maybe I could fight off the dark thoughts when I was bored by myself. Perhaps if it was true that I wouldn’t act on them, I would just suffer silently. I deemed myself insane and abnormal, but I wanted a childhood and I didn’t want to ruin it because I was different.
“All I want is my childhood. That’s all. Then I will confess my dark obsessions to the authorities and they can put me away.”
And that’s how I grew up. Every day, flashes of images of me wielding a knife would pop into my head, sometimes when I was at my happiest. I still to this day cannot watch any gory movie, I still suffer from intrusive, unwanted thoughts.
The thoughts have evolved, too. I have obsessed about shoving friends into incoming traffic for no good reason. I started not enjoying public swimming, as I feared I would hold people’s heads underwater and make them drown.
I have had thoughts surrounding sexually touching my younger sisters or other children, despite having positively no sexual interest in doing so. I’ve had thoughts surrounding if I said something horrible to a friend that would result in them committing suicide. I have had religious thoughts in defiance of God during Church.
I developed an obsession while learning to drive at 16 surrounding a fear that I would purposely drive pedestrians over. Because of this obsession, I refuse to drive, which makes life difficult.
I worry I’d choke or drown younger children or the elderly, so I refuse to babysit babies and I refuse to be around old people alone.
In an effort to fight these thoughts, I developed mental rituals (or sometimes physical), like saying, “No!” to myself out loud or in my mind, over and over again. I’ve tried to think of nice images (like a deer in a forest or my parents) to override the bad thoughts. I try to be extra nice and giving, thinking that perhaps this will make the guilt subside.
I’ve had physical compulsions, too. While younger, I developed a fear of germs and over-washed my hands until they bled. I pulled out my eyelashes and was forced to be monitored by a doctor because I could have eventually lost my eyelashes. I like to pull out strands of hair sometimes and I rub my nose. I scratch books because I like the feeling of scratching the pages – a habit which results in my family and boyfriend going insane (as it produces an screeching noise)!
I’ve never acted on any thoughts. I am now 21.
I’ve taken every sort of anti-depressant I can think of. While a few have worked and freed me from my thoughts, I did not enjoy their side-effects and am now in the process of dealing with the demons medicine-free. It’s not working too well.
No one who looks into my eyes would ever guess that at that one moment, in my head, I may be having an intrusive image of me stabbing them. I appear normal. I appear pretty friendly and down to Earth. I’ve confessed to a few close friends, but I keep the secrets of my dark gruesome thoughts to myself, mostly.
It’s a silent war waging in my head as I fight to relax myself, as I fight to free myself.
Balancing my life and these thoughts takes up a lot of energy. These thoughts distract me and cause me to distance myself from others. They distract me from school work. They keep me unorganized. But I still manage to maintain a seasonal job. I still have friendships. I still have family.
I’ve never known what I a normal life may feel like. I’ve battled these thoughts over and over to a point where this is simply my reality. I look enviously at most people – their heads clear, their perspectives and ambitions not over shadowed by intrusive images. And I realize how good of an actress I am. After all, it’s not easy multitasking these distracting thoughts and managing a social life.
Sometimes, I catch myself thinking; “Are they all acting too?”
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