Throughout my entire time of suffering with OCD I have never expected anyone to understand it (unless of course they have suffered too). Although having said that sometimes I don’t quite get it myself.
I would never dream of saying to someone that they had to “get me” and “understand” why I am like I am because in my experience people just don’t and I guess that is why there is still such stigma around the issue.
This blog post is based upon my own personal experience around suffering with OCD but I am sure there will be other people too who have experienced what I have.
In a way this is like an indirect message to all the people surrounding me who “don’t understand” and this is my way of trying to help you with that.
So here we go;
To all the people who offer to do things for me without letting me do things by myself. I 100% appreciate your kindness and how you are trying to help but the best thing to do is not mention it. For example, some of the things I struggle to do I can use the help of the techniques I have learnt through CBT and I can push my way through it whatever that may be. Not always, but I do try and sometimes I can. That to me is a big achievement! If I get into one of my struggling times the worst thing you can do is say “Oh! Are you sure you can do that? How about I do it for you?” because now you have said that you have thrown doubt at me and if you doubt my actions I am going to doubt my actions. Therefore I will crumble, back down, and not even dare attempt it because you are now going to have to do it.
If I need you to help me and do something for me, I will ask. Though please remember I do want to challenge my OCD so please just let me try.
To all the people who have told me they can “cure me”. I don’t want to sound blunt but, you can’t. An ex boyfriend told me he could do that and it is actually hilarious like okay why are you working in a tool place and you’re not a therapist? Because according to him he was better than any therapist.
I have had people think they are being helpful by suggesting for me to “just stop it for a bit”. If I could stop it ‘for a bit’ I would stop it for my whole life. Thanks for the suggestion though.
“Can you not flick the lights on and off tonight?” Cured in a night. No. These things take time and techniques for the mind. I would love to say yes okay tonight I won’t bother and that be it.
To all the people who don’t get it so interrogate me with questions as if they are right and I am stupid.
I don’t mind anybody asking me any questions, like fire away! What I do mind is those that question me as if I am wrong and they can’t get why I do it so I should stop. This is a kind of hard one to explain so I will give an example.
We’ve had terrible snow recently preventing me from going to places. Not just because the snow is bad but because my thoughts have been bad. Telling me if I even attempt to drive I will crash/cause a crash or I will think about driving onto the other side of the road. I also visualise that I will swerve off road into a river/pond, my car will go under and the water will freeze on top so I will be stuck and drown. Brutal I know but it my thoughts can be brutal.
So what if I go by train? Oh no. My thoughts are at me once again. So intrusive. The same will happen to the train it’ll come off tracks, under water etc. The snow will cause it to get stranded and I will be stuck in the middle of nowhere and eventually die because nobody will have signal to call for help. Or my train will be cancelled so I can’t get home then I have the issue of having to trust someone to get me home and wanting to tell them that they need to be careful because if I don’t say it I believe they will end up in this river with me. The list is endless.
So I will explain to people “I’m really sorry but I am just going to stay at home, due to bad weather.” Now I know I am more open about my OCD than I have ever been but I still find it hard to say “Sorry but I will be staying at home because if I leave the house I will exhaust myself in many rituals an excessive amount of time just incase I am to end up under a frozen pond.”
So it is really frustrating when someone says “Oh the roads were clear though. I travelled through fine?” That’s great for you, but are you inside my mind seeing what I have to deal with? I feel bad enough already.
“The trains were running too?! So it was fine to get here….” That just makes me feel even more crap about my situation.
Like I say I don’t expect you to understand just please don’t question me several times when it is hard enough already. I wish I had a carefree mind, but sadly I don’t.
To all the people who clearly see me different now they know I have OCD. This has been a HUGE thing for me to witness and if you’ve been here from the start you’ll know that I told nobody except those extremely close to me, so basically my mum mainly – she knew it all. I spoke out last year and I am so proud of myself for doing so, but along the way I know the perceptions of people change towards me once they know and I don’t like that. I am still me. You don’t need to see me any different, just accept that is who I am and I am working on that. It doesn’t affect you it affects me so why act different towards me?
You see recently I have been having bit of a bad time with my OCD, my thoughts have been quite terrible, I carry out more rituals and also my thoughts keep me awake on a night worrying. This stresses me throughout the day through minor things that usually I am really good at hiding! This has been noticed by people and I have seen a change from them towards me. Now don’t get me wrong they are nobody close to me so it doesn’t bother me, what upsets me is that it is people like them who are part of the reason OCD needs to be spoken about more. They shrug it off as if I am a ‘nuisance’ for wanting to do things my way. I do it my way because I HAVE to do it that way, not because I want to.
I have also noticed small remarks from people like this and you might think you are one upping me by telling me really patronisingly that you will “leave me be because you don’t want to interfere” or that you “don’t want to upset me so will let me do it my way”.
Would you say to someone with an eating disorder “Well I’M going to eat my food away from you so I don’t make you feel queasy?” Emphasising the “i”. No you wouldn’t. You wouldn’t dream of it because that could really make them feel uncomfortable that you have either sarcastically or patronisingly said that.
Don’t ignore me because I have OCD, work with me. Treat me like how you would treat anyone, how you would like to be treat yourself.
The world isn’t always a nice place to live, so spread your happiness and think of others.