That’s me above, the one on the left. Serena Moden, last September and approximately 8 hours before I broke my foot on an inflatable assault course trying to race a five year old, needless to say I lost!
I’m 28, engaged to the man in the photo after an inventive engagement in our local escape room, we live in a little village with our two cats, Patch and Fluff, they are simply adorable and I like nothing more than curling up on the sofa with a book with those three cuddled round me.
I also have OCD, I’ve had it diagnosed for over 6 years now but had it ever present for over a decade. Funny thing about OCD, it’s not at all like the stereotype, there are a few people that excessively clean, they would soon tell you they would rather not but feel they have to. What is OCD? It is not lining things up on a desk because ‘OMG, I just cannot have an untidy desk.’ It is not, checking you locked the door or switched the oven off, for some yes it does include these things, but ultimately it’s debilitating, crippling and increasingly lonely.
I’m unusual in my suffering, I talk, a lot, about it, I don’t enjoy having it, I’d rather not, but I’ve found it helpful to talk, and subsequently, it’s helped others, be it an education, or simply knowing we aren’t alone in this.
OCD is defined by an obsessive need to act a certain way in order to prevent something from happening. It starts with an intrusive thought, the holding a kitchen knife whilst sorting dinner, best not stab my partner kind of thought, or the standing on a train platform and having the sudden urge to push the little old lady on the tracks. We all have them, difference is most people pay little to no attention to the thought, I asked Gary about it and he couldn’t remember having one, that’s how little they mean to him. Someone with OCD will have the thought and wonder what it means, why did you have it, why would you think that? We grow concerned, what does having thought this mean I am? The thought means we’re capable, the thought is equal to the action. We try to get rid of it, might be by putting the knife away, but next time you need to chop some veggies and you get the knife out again, the thought comes back, you do something different, make sure you’re alone when preparing dinner, say in your head, I do not want to stab my partner, relief. Slowly but surely, the amount you need to do to ‘relieve’ the thought increases and it doesn’t take much to remove all of the sharps from your house, make sure you only think non violent thoughts and become housebound. It’s an extreme example but it happens.
My OCD is what is colloquially known as ‘Pure ‘O” or rumination OCD, essentially mine is in my head, I display minor if any physical symptoms of OCD. I look blissfully normal, happy, smart and unencumbered. Oh not true. I’ll run through pure o in my next post, it’s an interesting one!
If you’re reading this as either yourself, or someone close to you suffers with OCD, feel free to reach out, I’m not a mental health professional but I’m happy and willing to listen.