For me, OCD is like a broken record. A broken record that gets stuck on the same section and keeps repeating the same thing over and over again in my head. Making me anxious about doing everyday things and asking constant 'what if' questions. What if someone gets injured as a result of my actions? What if I, or someone around me falls ill because I haven't washed my hands again? Everything around me becomes a danger zone and I feel compelled to carry out the tasks that, in my mind, will stop the constant questions in my head and stop these awful events from occurring. But of course the questions don't stop. No doubt something else will happen that will start the whole cycle of questions again, this time much stronger than before.
My OCD is also like a scene in a movie that I replay repeatedly in my head. But in this movie I am imagining scenarios and replaying events, trying to reassure myself that nothing awful has happened as a result of something I have or have not done - simple everyday things. And of course, nothing awful does happen! But does that put my mind at rest? No. These thoughts will still come and still try their best to stop me from leading the life I want to.
Everyday there will be times when something will trigger off my anxieties and I will disconnect myself from the world around me and start replaying the scenes and dialogues in my head, hoping to get the reassurance I am looking for. It is almost as if I am in two places at the same time. Not only am I in my head and replaying the scenarios, but I'm also with the people around me hoping that they don't notice and trying to live a normal life. And it's as if these two worlds are in constant battle with each other. I have done this for twenty years. I have kept up these two worlds for twenty years, and not told anyone except my immediate family.
I haven't told others about it because many people do not understand the true nature of OCD. Many have heard of OCD but do not realise that it is not just a simple desire to keep things in a certain order, or concern about hygiene or rechecking something. It is also the intrusive thoughts as well as the mental anguish, suffering and torment that goes along with the rituals, perpetuated by the fact that a lot of us feel we can't talk about it openly.
But this is where it stops! I have come to the realisation that me keeping this to myself is helping no one. It is not helping me and it is not helping all the other sufferers of this very debilitating condition. It is time I took some control back. This blog article is part of that journey, a journey that I hope will continue for some time, raising awareness and helping others. I want people around me to understand, and I want the public to understand. OCD needs to be taken seriously.