I have had Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder since I was 9 years old. I am now 19.
My Nan was severely ill and died in 2002 and since then I have suffered with OCD. I remember having to tap the bedrail four times before bed time so she wouldn’t die. When she died, my OCD got worse and I still feel I have to do certain things to stop others dying. There are times when my OCD restricts me from doing ‘normal’ things. Some days I cannot get dressed quickly because of my rituals and obsessions, such as making sure my hands are clean and doing certain things the right number of times.
I have facial tics and have to do them a certain number of times, which caused me to get bullied in high school. If something I touch is ‘contaminated’ I immediately have to clean my hands and can’t get anything that is clean near them due to my fear of getting diseases and illnesses.
Seeking reassurance is a main part of my OCD, and it helps me calm down, but it’s not a good thing to seek when having OCD, so I am working on not doing it so much. It’s a struggle!
I have to turn the taps off with tissues so I don’t get any germs, and open the doors with tissue too. I even have to wear tights under my trousers so I don’t contract any diseases when sitting down anywhere. The anxiety is physically and emotionally draining.
Most days, the only thing I can think about is my OCD. Will I get any germs from this? What will happen if I do that? If I don’t do that, my mother will die. The rituals are exhausting and when you have OCD, it feels like your thoughts are in control, not you.
I started my treatment in 2008 (which was when I was diagnosed) under the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Team (CAMHS) and my school work and family life suffered due to me having Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. There were many times when I never went to school due to my OCD. I was also diagnosed with Clinical Depression and stayed in bed for most of the day, lost my appetite and lost a lot of weight. Eventually, I dropped out of my A-Levels in 2010 and started working in Administration. However, due to me becoming ill I had to leave in April of this year.
When I was 18, I was transferred to the Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) and had the opportunity to do a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. The course helped me understand that my thoughts and obsessions are not me; it’s OCD! I have obsessions and intrusive thoughts regarding death, contamination and bad things happening.
I have learned a lot from my treatment and I am now learning how to manage my OCD and get better. I have good days and I have bad days. I know one day I will be free from OCD, one day it will have no control over me and that ‘it’s always darkest before dawn’.
- If you think you have OCD, please see a GP. They will give you the help you need.
- Remember to do things you enjoy, like reading or cooking. I enjoy writing poetry.
- I find that eating and sleeping well really helps me manage my OCD. If I don’t get the right amount of sleep, I’m very emotional and irritable.
- Talk to someone you trust about your OCD, whether it’s a family member or a friend.
- OCD does not have to define you – you are you, not your OCD.
Click below to order Check Mates, the first ever collection of fiction poetry and artwork about OCD