**Ok folks – I’m talking OCD (obviously), body image, a tiny bit about self harm and A LOT about checking … This is your heads up warning!**
Alternative title: My fingers are numb, rain and hail are bouncing off my face mixing with the tears, I’m sobbing … I’m counting … I can’t seem to stop, because it doesn’t feel safe. Because it isn’t safe. Because I can’t feel my fingers the ritual feels broken … I’m hunched over the drivers side door, yanking at the handle … Over and over and over.
It’s assumed that when you crack the ritual once, that you have cracked the OCD cycle, but it isn’t true. Some days go by without checking being at the forefront of your mind, other days you spiral and find yourself back in that all-consuming place … Stuck in a loop. The need to complete the ritual overriding everything else and panic floods your system with each ritual that fails to complete.
Lost to a cycle of broken rituals.
Because I’ve been isolating myself from those around me since undergoing a few therapy sessions that have left me feeling raw and vulnerable, it has been relatively easy to hide this from them. They don’t ask … And I don’t tell. I’ve been letting emotions tear my insides apart as negative thoughts pry open the logical parts of my brain and shred them … I’ve noticed the slip back into old checking habits. I’ve let myself slip back into the old habits.
Because I don’t feel as though my environment is safe …
Because I don’t feel safe …
Because I feel as though I need some semblance of control over something … And that’s the kicker isn’t it? I don’t have control over my OCD, completing the rituals gives me that false sense of security … But it’s a finite sense as the next time I lock a door or window or turn off the oven or use my hair straighteners or one of the myriad of other things the Anxiety will take over again as the intrusive thoughts go from whisper to shriek in under 3 seconds. The OCD is very much in the Captain’s chair.
And I don’t feel strong enough to argue with it … To fight back.
I know part of this is due to therapy, I know we’re addressing a part of me that I didn’t feel entirely ready to explore … There is a link (apparently) between my OCD and my body image/food issues and that link is ‘a need to be perfect’. I have a warped sense of responsibility when it comes to keeping people safe … I have a warped sense of my appearance. Both have rituals … Both have cycles … Both create a (misguided) sense of control. Compulsions. Intrusive thoughts. So by inciting one of those, I am inciting both of them. The heightened stress and Anxiety felt by one, prompts the other to act (or gives rise to my Depression).
It feels as though I’m constantly fighting with myself over something … And it almost feels like a losing battle.
I keep trying to remind myself that therapy is not an easy thing, far-freaking-from-it … Shit I don’t think I’ve cried as much in life as I have since addressing my Mental Health problems.
There will be good days when I feel as though I have everything under control (without the rituals!) and then there will be days like this … Sobbing because I know a door is locked but am convinced it isn’t safe so spend a lot of time counting though the checks, picking at my skin until it bleeds, waking up at 3am to check that the oven has actually cooled (despite it not having been used), bruising my skin because I can’t stand how disgusting it looks, repeatedly checking the handbrake is on so the car can’t roll into someone …
Days like this my brain feels like an utter mess.
Days like this I need reminding that things will get better.
So send positive vibes, words of wisdom, silly cat videos or some inspirational tunes … But not “Shout out to my Ex” because geez my colleagues have been singing that (quite badly) since it came out! *cringes*