Cw: obsessive intrusive thoughts, self harm, mention of violence.
Alot of people wrongly assume that Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a cute tidy ‘quirk’, a need for everything to be organised and ‘just right.’
When in reality OCD is often a very disabling and harmful condition which chips away at a person’s energy levels, emotional regulation and grip on reality.
In more intense periods of OCD, people can be trapped in obsessive checking of windows and doors and whether they have turned off the oven – the safety of themselves, their home and their family can become all consuming.
Some people can take hours to do their rituals when locking up for the night or leaving the house. Sometimes leaving a room can be laden with compulsive steps which must be done entirely *right* before the person can move on.
Some people with OCD are enveloped by their need to be extremely clean and germ free. This can be very tiresome and take up the emotional and cognitive energy of the person. Compulsive cleaning can also cause medical issues due to the over use of harmful cleaning products. This can take over people’s lives making it difficult to be outside of your own low-germ household.
Consistent intrusive thoughts can also be a part of OCD. These are often interlinked with PTSD and can cause someone intrusive thoughts when awake or intrusive dreams when asleep. These thoughts can be violent and aggressive and are often the antithesis of the persons morals.
They are frightening and they make you question your own personal beliefs about yourself and others. These thoughts can be one-offs or can last for days or even weeks. They are often exacerbated by periods of high stress, hormonal changes and physical health issues.
For me they often involve self harm or the harm of others – this is a thought I have carried around with me for years, I have never and will never act of them but they are horrifying all the same.
My OCD ramped up after having my baby which is not unsual – there is a whole new person dependent on you, another person to obsessively worry over and have intrusive thoughts about.
OCD is exhausting, it is draining, it can feel humiliating and shameful. Some of the thoughts I’ve had sicken me and they don’t leave my brain. No matter how politely or forcibly I ask them. There they remain.
Intrusive thoughts and obsessive routines are really difficult to talk about publicly, people often dismiss them or they are just too painful for people to talk about. I am worried what people will think of the thoughts I have.
People with OCD routines are often ridiculed or invalidated by phrases such as ‘we all do that’ and ‘yeah, I’m a little OCD about my car being locked.’ When their struggles are so much more than that.
I find with being OCD I am often very alone in my experience and because I live up to the tidy, everything-in-its-place stereotypes I am told that my being OCD is of no surprise. People are not seeing appreciating the very real struggles those of us with OCD can have.
My OCD is not being tidy- which is more likely due to my fastidious Autistic being – its actually a very difficult and emotionally harmful thing to live with.
Some people, myself included, struggle with compulsions to self harm and sometimes those compulsions win.
OCD is real, it is intense, it can be disabling and isolating. The only way we can make it less so is to end the myths and stigma related to it.
I want to own my struggles so I can help others. I am Katie, I am OCD, I take medication for my mental health, some days I am fine and others I feel like I am losing my very soul.
See me. Support me. End the stigma, end the shame.