OCD: My Journey

It's been almost 5 years since I was diagnosed with severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It's been a long, difficult journey.

Looking at my life now, compared to the places I have been in before, so much has changed. 

There was a time when I couldn't leave my bedroom without using anti-bacterial wipes over every surface and door handle, every item I wanted to take out of my room with me, and showering. I spent hours and hours of my days carrying out rituals. Then, when I was too tired to carry out these rituals any more, I just curled up into my bed and refused to face the world. I cut myself off from my friends, and I worried my family. I remember telling my parents to put me in an institution so that I could start from scratch. I wanted to bin all of my belongings so that I had less to clean.

Using the toilet was such an ordeal for me that I wouldn't drink for days, until my urine was 100% blood. My skin bled from how much I washed it. I would hold a pen and moving my hand would cause cracks in the skin, and cuts to form.

I tried many counsellors, and they were all lovely don't get me wrong, but it took a long time to find a technique that worked for me.

I am not free of OCD, but I am free of the limitations to my life.

I still worry about spending time away from home, where I have to use the toilet and sit on chairs, step on surfaces that may not be clean. I still have the fear that I am a contaminant. I still worry that every brown stain I see is dog poo. But it doesn't control my life anymore.

I have a job, and I am able to sit in a communal office. I never imagined getting to this stage. I could never imagine my future, but now I see it and it doesn't include rituals.

I have decided to post today, because I have now been taking half my dose of Fluoxetine for two weeks. There have been a few hiccups, but I actually feel happier than when my dosage was higher. It took years before I was convinced to take any medications. Eventually I ended up with Fluoxetine and something to help combat insomnia. Without this medication, I may not have had the confidence to work with my counsellor to fight the compulsions.

This has been the most challenging thing that I have ever worked to overcome. Every day I battle with my mind, but I am very lucky to have such a strong support network. 

I can look back now at how far I have come, and feel overwhelmingly proud of myself. 

I hope that everyone can read this and take the time to understand what those around them are going through. Sometimes when someone doesn't offer to hug you, or to shake your hand, or to pick something up off the floor that you have dropped, it isn't because they are trying to be rude or offend you. Opening doors is still something I find difficult, and I can't remember the last time I touched the floor! But now I can say this to people and not feel ashamed that I struggle with my mental health. We all do at some point.

Take care of each other.

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