Something happened to me four years ago. I developed Pure Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. What is that, OCD? You like things in a certain, organised manner and get irritated if they are not left that way? That’s not what I had. Obsessive, Compulsive Personality Disorder is different from OCD, or POCD (P means pure – intrusive thoughts only, no compulsions).
This will not be easy for me to write about. In fact, only now can I really talk about what happened to me. But know this, if it hadn’t of happened to me, I would never have left my job and that would never had led to the life I am now living, so yes, all things happen and we must take the positive from that at all times.
Today I will talk about how it starts and what it is and on future blogs write about how I overcome it. If you are currently suffering with P/OCD then I’m hoping this acritical will help you. It’s worth mentioning that the World Health Organisation have labelled OCD as being the most deliberating mental health issue you can have. Yes, you read that right, especially if you throw in some pretty horrid ones like Bi-Polar and schizophrenia.
How did it start? My therapist told me that I probably had a pre-disposition for it anyway. So I have some little chemical mis-fire in my brain that means that when I have a thought, I attach a feeling to it and instead of letting it go, I delve into it a little more deeply then say the guy sitting next to me. This could be fine on its own, but what we also need is for me to have an authoritative and strict parent who inadvertently is on the neurotic side. That parent’s worrying had conditioned me from childhood. In a nutshell: if you go outside of this house, you will probably end up dead by teatime because of murder, car crash, tsunami…piece of glass flying through the air, you get the picture.
Then you need a good dollop of high sensitivity, over active imagination with a twist of over thinking thrown into the mix…….this can all be fine for a few years, however what we need here is the trigger….its the trigger that gets the ball rolling for POCD for it to really get its swag on.
My trigger: hormones, after having my little girl. It took a full two and a half years for my POCD to reach the surface because I must have suppressed it somehow. It showed its ugly face when I had another trigger, which is stress. My little girl was a toddler and my employer was really piling up the work on me, so for me that equalled disaster. The sad thing was, I had no idea what the hell was wrong with me until I googled my symptoms (for once, google was right!).
What happens then? POCD takes many forms, or themes should I say. I’m going to try and explain this in layman’s terms for you:
Every human being gets a thought in their head. When you have a baby, as a mother, you look down at your child and apart from thinking all the normal, wonderful stuff, you also think “bloody hell, I am completely responsible for this human life. If I don’t feed her today, she will stave, if I drop her, she will hit her head, if I throw her out the window, she will die”. Those thoughts are completely normal in a new parent. However, the person with OCD will think those thoughts and then analyse very quickly, how that made them feel and question why they felt it. Because the person with POCD will most certainly always take responsibility for pretty much everything in their lives, they will more than likely have control issues and also feel wholly accountable for other people’s feelings and emotions. If that person had these thoughts, they will suddenly feel guilty for thinking such a horrendous thing.
The question of why will still be ringing in their ears. The sudden need to put meaning to the thought will become overwhelming. They cannot let go of the thought. “I want to throw my baby out of the window”, says a voice in your mind, as you then tell yourself that of course you do not want too. Then you think it again: “Why have I thought it again?”, so you push it out of your mind. The mis-fire keeps happening, you cannot let go of the thought. Round and around it goes, on and on in a loop in your head. It gets to the point where you try to distract yourself from the thought of throwing your kid out of the window. But an hour later you are still thinking of the thought. Someone talks to you, you hear them but you also hear the thought.
You get to the end of the day, you realise that you have spent several hours re-numerating on the thought. What is wrong with me? Am I a child killer? Because this is what a child killer would do! I am obsessed with killing my child, that’s why I can’t get the thought out of my head……..you go to sleep, you wake up, the very first thought on your mind? I want to throw my child out of the window……and so another day begins. You find yourself avoiding your child “just in case” you are a threat to them, because of these thoughts. Then you feel guilty. Then begins the self-perpetuating cycle.
That is the start of your journey. Your long, painful, isolated and lonely journey of just you and your thoughts. I think its pretty important to mention here that the person with OCD is one of the safest, trust worthy individuals you will probably ever met. They are not going to throw their kid out the window. If they wanted to do that, they would have done that on day one. The thing with OCD is that it chooses your biggest fear and exploits it.
This is it for this instalment as its too long for me to continue anymore on a single blog post, however on my next one I will go into my personal journey with Pure OCD.
Until next time,