When you think about OCD what comes to mind? Someone who has an unusually clean home? Someone who continuosly washes hands? All I knew about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder was what I have seen on tv or heard when people said they had it because they were "neat freaks" something I most certainly was not.
This Christmas, three months into my medication for postnatal depression and as things were finally running smoothly disaster struck in my head. I put it down to Christmas being hard for everyone, the stress and the anniversary of the death of a very dear friend. At first, it was the usual..feeling sad and empty for no reason, racing heart, aching bones and dizziness but then back came the post natal thoughts. Like a flash of lightning I was struck with complete terror once again. This time, however things got weird.
The first time it happened, my husband had just done some diy in the bedroom that night as I lay in bed, I saw he had left a hammer there and my stomach turned. My mind was racing with horrible thoughts "what if I sleep walk and unintentionally harm my family with it? What if I go crazy in the night and do it?" The thoughts were so intrusive I picked the hammer up, ran downstairs and hid it in the laundry basket. Afterwards I felt sick and ashamed. Why had I done that? I knew it was wrong. A few days later I bathed the kids and put them to bed but forgot to empty the bathwater. I woke in the middle of the night in a panic..what if? I was horrified again these thoughts brewed in my head and sickened my stomach. I ran down and emptied the bath, again knowing it was wrong and feeling very fearful and ashamed. Day after day fears were piling up and smothering me I was hiding knives and scissors and was terrified. I had no idea why I was so afraid when I knew I had no intention of hurting anyone. My stomach was sick with fear of losing control. The day I threw a screwdriver out the kitchen window was the day I decided to ring the doctor. I hadn't told a soul..I had been hiding my dirty secret from everyone, even my husband. I was waiting until alone and making the place safe from something I was afraid I might become.
I was terrified the day of my gp visit, convinced that I had some really severe mental illness and that I might be taken from my family. I cried the minute I got in, I shook with fear, I took a deep breath and exploded the words from my mouth. Once again, I was answered with warm kindness and understanding. We spoke more and I realised that for a couple of years now I have been obsessed with some things..counting the letters in a sentance and adding in words to make it even, for example. I thought everybody did that. So my diagnosis was ocd. OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER. I was slightly relieved it had a name, now it was not so scary. Now I could treat it and try to beat it.
Onwards and upwards...