It’s hard to help people–who just don’t understand mental illness–to grasp what it is like to experience what someone with a mental illness goes through routinely. I am going to share some personal things, not just for those that do not understand mental illness at all, but also for those that I consider my friends. Some of the people that I care a lot about have said some hurtful things to me. Now, I know that they don’t mean them to be hurtful, but to them OCD is a joke of sorts.
I am both hurt and frustrated every time someone tells me “oh, next time your OCD acts up, come over to my house, it really needs to be cleaned.” Seriously? I know they don’t understand, and a lot of the time I will just try to laugh it off but…
Beads of sweat trickle down my spine. My heart races, pounding in my chest. Gotta wash, gotta wash, wash them, wash them, wash them. Dirty, dirty, dirty, wash, wash, wash, wash, wash. My thoughts are racing. I can’t breath. I can’t think. I try to fight the growing insanity. I can feel myself rocking, but I’m not there. I’m trapped in my head, just trying to find an escape from all of this… Do it, do it, do it, now, now, now, wash them, go,wash them, now, wash them.
Tears are flowing and hot water is burning my hands. I don’t remember moving, but I can’t stop now, I have no control. I’m shaking and crying. I am telling myself to stop, please stop. But I cannot. My head feels like it is exploding.
Wash, wash, wash, wash, wash, wash, wash. Can’t stop. Want to stop. Need to stop. Wash, wash, wash. STOP!
Shaking. Crying. Shaking. Sobbing. Burning. Please. Stop. Please. Crying. Soap. Hot water. More soap. So much soap.
My hands keep foaming now, even when I keep rinsing and rinsing. The soap won’t get out of my skin. The bad won’t get out of my skin. Get out of my skin. Get out of my skin. Get out. Get out. Get out. Leave me alone. Help me. Someone help me. Help me, help me, help me, help me.
I tell myself repeatedly, I don’t need to wash. And my head responds: wash, wash, wash, wash, wash, wash, wash…. Insanity. I fight. I lose. I fight. I lose. I fight. I lose. I fight. It hurts. I can’t win. Can’t, can’t, can’t. HELP ME!
In the past this is when her arms would wrap around me, pull me away and hold me tightly as I struggled incoherently to try and get back to the insanity. Wash, wash, wash, wash, wash, wash. Arms tight and loving, rocking, soothing. Come back home. Wash… wash… wash… Soft, warm, safe, home. Clearing, but still there. Anxiety throbbing through me.
It is a struggle to keep control. This isn’t the only type I suffered. But this is the most traumatic, the one that I had the least tangible control over. The last episode I had, I recorded part of it. I watched part of it in tears after and wondered, “why doesn’t anyone help her?” Well, because no one was there to. She had to fight for control. Breaking her mind into pieces to rip herself away from the burning pain. Nausea and fear. I ended up having to call the crisis line for my therapists office. They talked to me calmly for a while. Explained to me that my hand washing was a form of self-harm. NO SHIT! It’s not like I was doing it on purpose. I didn’t have control. I didn’t have any control.
Every time someone jokes about my OCD as a “clean freak” thing, it hurts. Please, please, PLEASE, do not ask me to clean your house under the pretenses of my OCD. OCD is very scary. Having to live through that fear even for a moment feels like hours. It is physically and emotionally draining.
When I complain about my OCD, it is not funny. I am not making a joke. When I am talking to someone else who has OCD, it is a breath so fresh air and the. Someone walks up and jokes about it, making both of us pull back into ourselves and stop connecting. Even then, some people with OCD do not understand Other types of OCD either.
And those of you that do not actually have OCD, but are just anal about things being clean, please top calling yourself OCD. If you don’t have the constant anxiety and fear and obsessive compulsions running through your head. You. Are. Not. And do not have OCD!
I have an intense fear of losing control. I have a fear of loss and a fear of contamination. These are not things that I can easily explain. I cannot clean my bathroom without gloves on. I cannot touch animal waste. I don’t try to, but I avoid situations that I think might put me in a place where I will be around people and have OCD issues. I feel insane and out of control.
I will not go into all the details of my OCD. If you would like to learn more about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder you can visit the following websites:
I encourage you all to comment and discuss. If you want clarification, I am happy to talk to anyone about anything I have mentioned in this post.
The Resident Femme