Living with OCD is a daily challenge and can take many forms.
I’ve been having a terrible time over the last couple of weeks as the company I work for is moving offices.
This may seem like a fairly minor thing for some, but for others living with OCD (Obsessive-compulsive disorder) and anxiety it can feel like the whole world is coming to an end.
Now, more often than not, the mention of living with OCD brings up images of someone frantically cleaning, obsessed by dirt and germs.
Let me dispel that particular myth once and for all.
Yes, obsessive cleaning and fear of germs is certainly a common form of OCD, but it isn’t the sole reason people suffer, and it doesn’t come as standard.
I’ve lost count of the amount of times over the years where I’ve heard things like “I can’t cope with this mess it’s messing with my OCD”, rest assured, anyone who actually suffers wants to rip your head off at that moment.
That is having a liking for things to be tidy, it’s not a compulsion that can keep you awake for three days solid, and it doesn’t leave you with a sense of dread that bad karma is coming for you or a loved one because you haven’t completed your routine to ‘keep everyone safe’.
My form of OCD
My compulsion has nothing to do with cleanliness or germs.
I count, I need symmetry, if i don’t cross the road with my left foot and get back on the path with my right I feel like someone I care about will die.
Even numbers are a big thing for me.
I can lay awake at night worrying that I left the office on the wrong foot, then have to battle with myself all night not to get up, walk back to work and make sure I do it properly in the early hours of the morning.
If I don’t lock the doors five times with each hand I can have a total meltdown, silently in my own head.
I get up continuously throughout the night to repeat the process just to be on the safe side, when it’s bad I can spend hours stood at the front door then I’ll hear my alarm going off to wake me up and realise I haven’t slept at all.
Leaving the house can be a total nightmare.
Did I lock the door? Have I left the oven on even though I know I haven’t used it? Are the windows I have checked two hundred times definitely locked properly?
I must add that none of this is for a fear of security, it’s to keep ‘bad karma’ at bay and keep my loved ones safe from it.
The first three hours after moving into our new apartment in November were spent with me outside working out how I was going to get in through so many different entrances and ending with me entering the room I would be sitting in on my right foot.
Sounds crazy eh?
But this is what i go through on a daily basis, I hate change because I know how it will mess with my head.
Every route into any office, shop or friend’s house I visit regularly has been carefully worked out to keep my anxiety at arms length.
If it sounds exhausting, it’s because it is.
Living with OCD is tiring, energy sapping and your mind never rests.
Our office looks like bombs hit it.
Random desks missing in the middle of banks, crap everywhere ready to be moved and general disorder.
For someone who needs symmetry, it is a living nightmare that is making me anxious AF!
My heart has been coming out of my chest with it all and it leads me to be an irritable gob shite.
I can’t help myself, I nit pick about the slightest thing, things that I would usually never notice bug the life out of me until I lose my temper – whether that be under my breath through gritted teeth, or at the top of my voice!
I’ve basically come across as a bad tempered git, when really I’m struggling terribly with anxiety attacks and can’t say it out loud for fear of making it worse.
Not all illnesses are obvious at first
The problem with any form of mental health is the lack of visibility.
When someone is affected with an illness of the mind it is not always immediately noticeable, causing others to dismiss it as nothing to be concerned about.
I’ve had to explain to a few people over the last week why I’ve been behaving the way I have, it’s not easy, it makes you feel even more anxious as you convince yourself they probably just think you are just being over dramatic.
What I have noticed recently by opening up more about my personal life on this blog, is that it has been a sort of therapy writing it all down.
When you struggle to communicate how you’re feeling, writing it down can be a welcomed relief, I know it is helping to calm me at the moment and I’d recommend it to anyone else living with OCD out there.
All I would ask for anyone reading this, is to consider why people may be acting they way they are.
Chances are they could be living with OCD and suffering inside too.
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