Seeking Serenity from Chaos: Mental Madness Pt. 2 of 2
Sleeping on my back with my hands not touching any part of my body because I'm afraid that whatever area they touch, I may get a disease there-- specifically, the Big C. Having "the Big C" word just pop in my mind during random times and quickly thinking of another word so I don't get it. Not wanting to hold a baby for fear that I may cause deliberate harm to it. Sitting on my hands while in the passenger side of the car because I'm worried that if I don't, I may lose control and grab the steering wheel and force us into on coming traffic. OCD is knowing I just flossed the right side of my teeth but doing it one more time because did I really? It's checking my alarm over and over just to be sure it really is set for the correct time and that nothing changed within the last five seconds. This post has been a few months in the making (I originally planned on making this post earlier this year, shortly after I made the first post about mental madness) and since OCD awareness week is this month-- October 9-15-- today works. When I was younger, I was very tidy and a huge neat freak, I still am. I always had to have everything arranged "just so" and nothing could upset that arrangement. This isn't really OCD.
OCD isn't always just the excessive hand washing and number obsessions, it's the irrational thoughts and fears behind those behaviors that make no sense and have no bearing in reality. How in the world would the position in which I sleep cause me to get a disease? It makes no sense... Yet I slept making sure that none of my limbs touched any part of me for YEARS out of that fear. Today, I am delivered from that, thank You Jesus!! A former friend and I would discuss why we thought we had OCD and I remember he would tell me that he felt as though he had to complete certain tasks or "rituals" in order to keep his family safe. He was so broken up about it because he couldn't control it and he hated it. I thought that he was crazy and from what I thought I knew of OCD, he had some weird form of it. I thought OCD was just being neat and tidy and meticulous (which I SO was), little did I know that my own "crazy" fears and rituals were actually rooted in OCD.
I still do struggle with some things that I feel are rooted in OCD but God has definitely delivered me from much. Constantly checking something to make sure it didn't change from seconds ago is not fun. Walking in a certain way so that every step is "even" (whatever that means) sucks. There are so many more "crazy" things that involve the beast that is OCD but having it doesn't mean that you are crazy. I have had embarrassing intrusive thoughts concerning harming others, scrupulosity, and unwanted sexual thoughts that I won't even share because of how crazy they are and the rituals used to diminish them are ridiculous. I've noticed that these thoughts have increased in severity lately and it's uncomfortable to deal with. As embarrassing as this subject can be to discuss, I would love to create a conversation about this disorder because there are sooooo many misconceptions surrounding it, some I even used to believe. You can not be obsessive compulsive disorder, you can have it. You're not a monster, you're not stupid or crazy for those torturous thoughts. I know it's embarrassing to admit to them but find someone you can trust and get some help before OCD takes over your life.
I've never had an official diagnosis but during my Renfrew stay, my team was aware of a few of my less embarrassing behaviors. It's hard to seek help for something that you feel as though you must do in order to have a certain peace of mind, especially when you know it makes no sense. I've been there and its very uncomfortable but I think by speaking up about it and raising awareness as to what OCD actually is (and isn't), it will really help to change the perception towards those who have it. The more we speak up about it, the more we will speak up about it. Help for it is out there and there is no need for shame in getting the peace of mind that you need. Consider this post an open invitation to share with each other about your struggle with this monster or to ask questions and get clarity. You may have symptoms or know someone who does and you may still be in the dark about what OCD is. That's okay, let's just talk about it and get the truth out there. Help is out there.