When I look back, OCD had gotten its sinister hooks into me when I was a teenager and was fully eating away at what confidence I had. I had no idea why I would continuously check things or make sure I at least looked presentable to be in class. I was heavy into cannabis and alcohol back then and when I later became an adult I would blame my youth for causing me to feel this away I became strongly anti-drug in my 20’s in the last few months with the dawn of legalization in my country (Canada) and some input from my Psychologist I realize that this was just placing blame and that alcohol and drug use is generally typical adolescent behavior to a degree. In all truth the drug use didn’t make me have as many bad experiences as alcohol.
If you want to know the recipe for destroying a young mans self esteem it goes like this some social rejection, failure and sadly hairloss when I think about the last one and having a shaved head now it feels so trivial but at the time it felt devastating in high school.
The self esteem issues causing OCD had led me to have jealous and judging tendencies with the opposite sex both in my teens and has returned fully even now in my mid 30’s despite being married for a long time. The OCD has pushed itself into ROCD right now truly a nightmare in the darkest parts of ROCD you start to wonder if you would be better off alone rather than inflicting pain on the one you love most and the rumination trap your own mind falls into. The ROCD is going to be something I bring up again during therapy yet again this week. Hearing from my wife about my jealousy and issues fills me with shame and guilt as this feels so different than who I want to be as a person.
My behaviour besides the intrusive thoughts and ROCD is checking and it becomes difficult to accept leaving the house and checking all the lights, taps, doors and of course the stove…why can’t the taps be off lol. It extends to my jobs as well which I do my best to try and cover them up. I’m also the one who locks the office when I leave so you can imagine how that goes. It has at this point gotten to the point where I take pictures of taps and locks on my phone just so I have a second image to make sure things are as they should be I do not like this and neither does my phones memory card. My jobs graphic and web design have a large level of uncertainty with them which of course as any OCD sufferer knows is a struggle. The latest checking behaviour has moved to making sure my car is properly parked… Its amazing how the OCD can shift among obsessions.
In 2016 I went to my family doctor and she said I have mild to moderate depression and the OCD and anxiety went along side those conditions, I was prescribed a light anti depressant which I had taken for a few days when I woke up in the middle of the night crying and then again the next morning… definitely felt like I went down the Rabbit hole. I returned to my doctor and she said it wasn’t the pills it was accepting I had a problem.. I thought great thanks brain how do I get back on track. Inside I knew it was OCD the whole time I mean when you check the locks multiple times something is obviously wrong.
I met my psychologist a week later having never been to therapy before a nice man whom seems genuinely interested in helping me, CBT and mindfulness are his tools of choice and while they pulled me out of the depression the OCD remained and its still a work in progress as Im sure you can tell.
I have told many about the issues I experience but no-one can truly relate as all this OCD and anxiety seems heavily subjective to the individual I know that if you are reading this now your symptoms and story are completely different. My wife has been as supportive as she can but she has a more logical style of thinking “Accept it” “That happened over 15 years ago” ya I know some of you know how that feels too it can be hard. We all have our limits. The ROCD pulls me back to when we first met and the confusing times that went along with her in my early 20’s. I decided I cannot keep bringing up the same things and seeking reassurance it puts strain on both of us and gets nowhere.
My son was born 5 years ago and I remember the panic attacks that surrounded the pregnancy. For the OCD sufferers that have not had a panic attack before consider yourself lucky as they are quite frightening my advice to those whom may find themselves in that place is keep breathing and attempt to realize you are going to be ok. My son started a new school this month and it has changed my schedule im not the type to like change so this has set off the anxiety for me again, added to that both our dogs had passed away last month one was quite suddenly it was hard to handle and still is. I feel their is a therapeutic effect to having a pet but right now is too soon for a new one. My true nightmare is if their is a genetic component to OCD and if I have doomed my son to an OCD future filled with eventual torment I do take some solace in the fact I will be at least able to explain to him how the thoughts are causing him distress.
Mental health is something that gets sidelined alot and access to service is quite costly but fighting against it (or fighting it by acceptance ACT) seems to be a constant struggle I have had times where I have been completely fine for weeks and accept the OCD checking behaviour but a relapse into depression with OCD is hard to deal with. When the OCD and depression were at its worse I had the energy to start running surprisingly… I had lost 20 pounds literally the only upside to having mental distress.
While my story is still a work in progress navigating a vast amount of knowledge, resources, medications, mindfulness, acupuncture, CBD OIL I have almost come to terms that a “cure” for OCD might not exist. Next up might be bungee jumping or a sensory deprivation float tank.
I feel like I get closer to being ok there are pitfalls along the way but things that help are meditation, exercise, of course therapy, the occasional Alan Watts audio book. Most importantly are the stories and information being presented by real people. Treatments in the future might share more light on why some of us seem tormented like this maybe through medication or tech devices like RTMS or neural feedback. But the bottom line myself and you whom have read this far we need to take a deep breathe hold it exhale and say right now we are doing the best we can. The late philosopher Alan Watts said something that really hit me “Start by watching all your thoughts” it helps build up a separation to your thoughts.
Thanks for reading. Also, Thanks to the The OCD Stories a valuable tool for those seeking answers I have seen the site grow over the last few years and despite being a bit of a ghost. I’m happy it continues to help more people I still remember episode 1 . Well that’s it I finally submitted my story it only took a few years but I did it.