Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that occurs when a person gets caught in a cycle of unwanted and intrusive thoughts. These thoughts trigger distressing feelings and cause the person to feel driven to engage in repetitive behavior, compulsions.
Georgia’s OCD manifested in feelings of guilt. Read the story of how she is dealing with her symptoms and searching to find the right treatment.
My OCD showed itself as we entered the new year. The countdown for the new year was like a countdown to my brain feeling broken. After learning it was OCD, I found news articles where others described it in the same words.
Guilt was a massive part of my OCD suffering. OCD would make me feel horrifically guilty for the most nothingness of things. Months were spent living in fear and analyzing tiny conversations, mentally checking relentlessly for proof that I hadn’t been bad. It was a terrible time. I was so anxious I could barely eat. I felt completely lost, like I wasn’t sure who I was or who I had been.
I’d always enjoyed my own company, and then OCD arrived and suddenly I was scared to be alone. But I was also scared to see other people – I only really saw my partner and my parents when OCD was particularly awful.
OCD is such a thief, it feels as though it robs you of all tenses, mourning and analyzing the past, fearing the future and thus losing the present.
Managing OCD Symptoms
When OCD first appeared, mental compulsions took up a lot of my time. These days I’m better at managing them and they bother me less (thank goodness). My OCD is much more manageable than it used to be and I’m so grateful. But I remember the months it was really awful. One afternoon I was in my flat, sobbing, clutching my head, rocking back and forth, and begging my mind to just stop it. I felt so overwhelmed.
It hurts a bit whenever I see a photo of myself from before, when tiny things were not so difficult. When I didn’t have the water burning hot to wash my hands to make sure the germs are gone, or when I didn’t waste my time staring at taps or switches which I know are turned off. I remember when I could be excited about happy upcoming events and holidays, without the fear of OCD ruining them, and then being painfully aware that having that fear may make it more likely.
Being thought-stuck is another one of OCD’s cruel aspects. Once I felt stuck in a specific thought for a few days, and it was during a time when even sleep was no respite as OCD themes would infiltrate my dreams. As soon as I opened my eyes, there was the thought again. It is the most consuming experience living in the same thought, without even a moment’s pause, for hours and hours. No distraction worked.
More recently, however, physical compulsions have been more time consuming. Walking became a struggle, feeling as though I had to stop and check the ground all the time, and I’d loved going for walks before. I remember one evening feeling so distressed that I shut my eyes and just held my partner’s hand.
It’s awful this disorder, it can make you feel so useless. I didn’t think at 24 I’d be proud of myself for putting a ready meal in the oven, or for throwing away it’s wrapping without checking it for ten minutes.
I’m able to enjoy walks again (yay! Thanks ERP) but OCD has completely changed my life, it is such a cruel disorder. It affects me every day, and of course impacts the lives of those around me.