This blog post is a little different to usual and a whole lot more personal, but I hope it educates those of you who haven’t experienced OCD before, and that it helps some of you who might have found yourself in the same place I was before being prescribed medication for my mental health.
I’m using photos from my latest visit to Yorks Cafe + Bakery throughout the post to sweeten the subject at hand. Warning: you will be craving doughnuts by the time you’ve finished reading the post.
I’ve never mentioned this in previous blog posts – let alone to people I know in person – but I’ve been on antidepressants for just under a year now to treat severe OCD.
I find the amount of ignorance in relation to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder incredibly frustrating, so I’m hoping this post will educate those who don’t know what it really is. Because to put it simply:
OCD is not enjoying when things are clean. It’s when you become so cripplingly anxious that your mind tricks you into thinking that if you clean things then your worst nightmares (which are completely unlinked to the compulsion) won’t happen. Surprise!
After years of undiagnosed Anxiety Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, last Summer I found myself painfully isolated, cripplingly anxious and completely and utterly in the dark. Every single compulsion was taking over my life and I was miserable. I’d lost control of everything I did and I felt totally powerless.
Every single minute of the day I was obsessively acting on a compulsion and I could not stop. Tapping a pencil on a table a certain number of times; washing my bed sheets countless times over and over again; spending over two hours washing up some cutlery; buying food and being unable to eat it because of how the cashier scanned it (a classic that cost me far too much money); having to go back to my front door to check I’d locked it when I was already three blocks away.
You name it, I was obsessing over it.
Last October it got to the point when I just couldn’t stand it any longer. I hadn’t eaten a meal in days because I was too scared to open any packets or boxes for fear of contaminating their contents. I hadn’t had a single sip of water to avoid the anxiety of twisting open a lid in case I touched the lip of the bottle and couldn’t drink from it. OCD was ruining me and I was growing worryingly and intensely frustrated with myself for not being able to ‘just stop doing it’, as I was often advised by those around me.
This lifestyle was breaking me mentally and physically, so I set out to the doctor on a mission: to get rid of OCD.
I know what you’re thinking. Girl, why didn’t you go years ago? It’s pretty simple: it had never gotten this bad. Girl, why didn’t you go as soon as you realised it was getting this bad? Well, this is where the magic of anxiety kicks in:
I was too anxious to take the medication. This was the medication that would help me deal with anxiety.
Bit of a dilemma, right?
I was lucky enough to meet a lovely doctor who should really have been a salesperson for the concept antidepressants because HONEY I was ready to buy the antidepressants, join a cult with him and be his intern on an obscure and unheard of pyramid scheme. Okay, a bit of an exaggeration there, but I’m so glad I spoke to a doctor that said it like it is.
Did I want rid of my OCD? YES. Was a terrified of antidepressants? YES. Did I want rid of my OCD bad enough? YES HONEY YES. I started taking them, and I’ve never looked back.
The only way I can describe what it feels like to be on antidepressants when you have OCD is that it feels like someone has pressed ‘Mute’ on the ‘What if [x]? What if [x]?’ department in my mind. It’s as if I don’t have the brain power to wonder to such elaborate (and ridiculous – yeah I said it – @ OCD what are you gonna do about it mate?) thoughts and worries and distressing images and flashbacks.
And it feels f*cking amazing.
If you have OCD and you’re too scared to start taking medication for it, like I was, I 100% urge you to (if the doctor wants to prescribe it, of course). It has changed my life for the better and I’ve never felt more like myself or in control of my actions. Sure, it’s a gradual process – I still experience quite a few obsessive thoughts and compulsions – but I’m able to stop myself believing them or acting on them in my tracks.