Guide A Thought Is Just a Thought: A Story of Living with OCD

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They will doubt, doubt, doubt everything they know to be true.

Intrusive Thoughts

Others may be terrified they have murdered someone without realizing it and be constantly checking news articles to see if their fears are confirmed. It must be viewed like any physical illness and be treated properly. The fact that I am in a position to talk about this with anyone, let alone publicly, blows my mind. I hope it will help others open up if they recognize themselves in my story. It started when I was about It felt so shameful and I was terrified it meant I was an evil person capable of doing these things.

Another was being overtly aware of my hand placement, often sitting on my hands to stop them acting on perceived impulses.

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I would also argue internally for hours to the point of not being able to concentrate on much else and just generally be filled with a great deal of anxiety. At its most severe my OCD manifested itself as an irrational fear that I might harm my 3 month old daughter. She is now 11 months and I am on a life changing road to recovery hence being able to talk about this openly!

Any parent can tell you that the thought of threat to their child will make them feel sick to their stomach. The moment I woke up with her lying in her basket next to me, every time I was alone with her, gave her a bath, changed her nappy. It crept up on me when I was my most sleep deprived and vulnerable. At first I just bawled my eyes out, it haunted me for days and then suddenly it twisted.

It filled me with dread that I could be capable of harming her. From then I became lost in a battle of compulsions. After opening up to my husband, and a few close family and friends, I had waves of relief.

Intrusive Thoughts | The OCD Stories

This was the beginning of my road to recovery. After the initial relief I became overwhelmed with feelings of doubt. It genuinely got so bad I became convinced I should be locked up so my daughter could be safe. I then completely broke down. I called my health visitor in floods of tears and she said she would call the NHS crisis team and have them sent out to me. My husband came home from work to look after us both. We waited, and waited and no one came. Most of the staff were incredible and so supportive but one Psychiatric Nurse had clearly not come across OCD before and although was compassionate, mentioned social services and I completely clammed up and refused to speak to her.

That moment was so damaging to me and I was petrified they would not let me see my daughter. The next morning my husband and daughter came up to see me, just thinking about this moment is so heartbreaking. I love them both so much and it must have been difficult for my husband to see me like that. That was the lowest moment in this whole journey. I ended up being officially diagnosed twice. I needed to hear it from two Psychiatrists.

I called her and she took time to comfort me I was in a real state of panic and share her own experience. There is no real quiet with OCD. But it seems church would be a place to alleviate the intrusive thoughts and the uncomfortable compulsions for an hour a week, right? Being dressed up for church is helpful. It affords me the chance to open the door to the rectory with my necktie thereby avoiding the germs of all the dirty souls who have come before me. Churchgoers are creatures of habit. They like to sit in the same place every Sunday.

This also works to my advantage. Familiarity and consistency are like armor against those serotonin rebuking demons living in my brain. I used to kiss everyone of my beanie baby animals at night. It sounds sweet right?

I would get up and kiss them all again I had a lot , crawl back into bed. Sometimes I could be ok with just that but often times I would kiss them until my lips hurt and I was crying, or until someone in my family said to go to bed. I would wake up thinking it all was silly until I would do it again the next night.

I remember certain rituals. I would get stuck in one place for so long touching back and forth. But I remember feeling stuck in my head a lot. I was fine a lot of the time, no one would of noticed, as I am now pretty functional outwardly.


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My teenage years were hard. I had an eating disorder in high school that I can see now was based entirely on OCD. I would pick out certain foods and amounts that were ok to eat. Would I get very fat? Would everything fall apart? Everything about being a teenage girl seemed to revolve around my OCD.

Much like when I was little I had a ritual every night of doing sit-ups. But if I miscounted I thought I would start over. I see so clearly the color of the carpet in my bedroom, feeling dizzy, upset- thinking if I could only get through this it would be ok, I would feel even. College is when I finally realized what was wrong with me. I started having weird thoughts. Worried I would stab someone I loved with a knife at night.

Compulsive behaviour? It may make more sense than you think

I would get physically ill over it. I would tell him so much it felt like sweet relief to say something until I thought it again. I looked up these thoughts online— intrusive thoughts. A glitch in the brain. I went on Zoloft. It failed, I felt sick and zombie and fat. I always said I could get through anything by walking.

And honestly I think I did. God he pulled me out of that hole so many times. We all have them — little explosions in our minds catching us off guard. Estimates vary, but the average person has between 50, and 70, thoughts a day. His character, Melvin Udall, had to bring his own plastic cutlery to a restaurant because of a fear of germs and has to use a new bar of soap each time he washes his hands. Hand washing, flicking light switches, counting, avoiding cracks in the pavement… These are almost anecdotal ways that OCD presents itself.

Certainly not to be downplayed, for sufferers at the mild or extreme end of the spectrum, these obsessions and compulsions can be one of the most horrible experiences to go through. I think the biggest piece of advice I have received over and over again by my therapist is that to beat the doubt disease you have to trust and have faith. I come from a big Irish-Italian family so we went to Catholic church a lot when I was a kid and it was something that was important to my family so I bought into the whole idea of guilt whole-heartedly and it caused me a lot of anguish even though the things I was guilty and ashamed of were very normal.

But I had no idea. I got a girlfriend my Sophomore year in high school and we stayed together for three years. While there were good times with her, I was in pain for a lot of the relationship and often for very small reasons. The relationship caused me so much pain because for some reason I could never trust her because of my thoughts and it looked like I was just an insecure guy but what nobody including me realized was that I was suffering from OCD.

My OCD grew and changed with me as I got older, but because it was only intrusive images and no obvious physical compulsions it was hard to identify until was 30 years old! Since I was about seven I had an ongoing obsessive image of someone stabbing me at night when I was trying to sleep. I would check under the bed and in my closets multiple times a night to see if anyone was there. I remember knowing it was not a real fear but it felt so real to me that I had to check! But drama was a good distraction for me. I drank a lot, smoked way too much weed and was living as far from the moment as I could because the moment was way too scary.

About a year ago I broke up with a boyfriend and started realizing I had not found a relationship that was good for me because I had not really figured out what was going on inside me.