Becca has had OCD since early childhood, including Pure O, POCD, ROCD, compulsive checking and most recently, contamination OCD with the latter being the most disabling. Following a difficult time at University and a destructive relationship, she started to experience crippling anxiety with regards to dog faeces. More specifically, the fear that she would go blind as a result of coming into contact with it. Since then, Becca has essentially been a prisoner of her mind, rarely venturing out with loved ones or leaving her home, other than to go to work. She has lost jobs, relationships and friendships because of the anxiety disorder. Here she shares a snippet of her experiences with the condition and provides a little positive reinforcement for those of you in similar situations.
OCD: The Selfish Side-Effects
If someone were to ask me what I felt was the most challenging and upsetting part of living with OCD, I’m pretty certain it would be the selfish, albeit often unintentional, aspect of the disorder. More specifically, the prevention of me being able to take into account the thoughts, needs and/or feelings of others, particularly when I’m having a difficult time in coping with the day to day safety behaviours or ebb and flow of associated emotions and anxiety.
I think perhaps the most poignant of examples of this is when my boyfriend returned home after attending his Nan’s funeral last month. The ‘real me’ wanted to wrap my arms around him as he came through the door and preceded to walk towards me. However, the other side of me, the ‘OCD side’, couldn’t shake the feeling that he was contaminated and may have come into contact with a dog whilst outside.
When this thought enters my mind, it can lead to me feeling incapable of being near him or showing him the necessary physical affection that I especially wanted to show him in that moment. And on this occasion, it was this OCD side of me that won. I’ve honestly never felt more frustrated, upset and lonely as a result. This is someone who means the world to me and yet, because of a mere malfunctioning of neurons in the brain, I was unable to show him the compassion and love he so deserved that afternoon.
It was then that I realised I couldn’t let this ever happen again.
Now I’m not saying this will be easy, as I’m almost certain that if confronted with a similar situation at this point I would do the same. However, what has changed is my utter determination to resist the urge to run and hide. Of course, this is a determination I strive to achieve each day but this one moment affected me in ways I hadn’t experienced prior. It was a complete 180 of my ‘true self’.
To end this blog post, I want to leave you with this message: if you’re faced with a similar issue, please don’t punish yourself like I did. Instead talk with your loved ones and explain to them that you’re not forsaking their feelings for your fears. But most importantly of all try, try and try some more because sometimes that’s all you can do. It won’t be easy and even if you have to shower for an hour after, just hug them because touch is a very special thing in this world and I can guarantee it will bring you out of your thoughts and into the present.
No matter how terrifying that may be, it will be worth it.
Thanks for reading,
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