To Check or Not to Check? That is the Question. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) by Bam Bam.
Windows check, taps check, gas check, oven check, fridge closed check, freezer closed check, boiler off check, door shut check.
When I was younger I’d watch as my parent ran up and down the stairs before finally deciding they had run up and down enough, that they could stay on one level. Or turn on and off the light switches enough times for you to think you were at a disco. They also used to check under my bed before I went to sleep; when they moved out guess what…I started checking under my own bed.
I wake up in the night I’m cold, I walk downstairs and see the door has been left wide open. I get back from school and notice the cooker flame is on. Its first thing in the morning and I stroll downstairs to find my cat snuggled under the heat lamp in my lizard's cage which is open. My lizard is, of course, pretending he is part of the tree branch to prevent being eaten.
These are a few memories of both my parents from when I was growing up and from them came me! Yay! … I guess most people that know me would describe me as quirky and a bit different, but hey is there anything such as normal anyway?
These are a handful of experiences which I believe may have contributed towards my ‘OCD Brain’. I’d like to point out that I do not believe that OCD is a solely nurtured behaviour, that I only learnt it, but that certain experiences can trigger certain behaviour and reactions in people more susceptible to them. Hence my sibling who had the same upbringing does not have OCD.
Living with OCD for me is having to constantly battle with Mrs DOUBT! She is an annoying COW who likes to try and make my life difficult:
Me - yes I checked all of the taps
Mrs D - Did you?
Me - yes I literally just did it
Mrs D - Are you sure that wasn’t you remembering when you checked them yesterday? You don’t want the place to flood, do you? People might drown in their sleep! And it will be your fault!
Conclusion- I’m walking back into the house to check again! I suspect that on some occasions the neighbours have heard me shouting profanities at Mrs D, they may have heard me cry because I’m so pissed off at her that I want to punch her in the face, but I can’t because Mrs D is me! Well a part of me anyway. Although I’m not going to lie and say I haven’t wanted to smack my head against a brick wall on many occasions.
Anxiety, self-doubt and guilt all play key roles within my OCD and feed off of each other because ultimately if something bad would happen I feel it would be my fault hence I don’t avoid feeling this way so will check until I hate myself.
I have spent years of my life working out how to cope with my OCD; Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, counselling and tablets, although let's be honest who really wants to take anti-depressants when they are not depressed!
I think in the end for me coping with it means having a routine that's compacted down, as minimal as possible, without Mrs D freaking out; a routine that doesn’t rule my life. I worked out I can get out of my house in 5 minutes instead of 25 if I video myself checking, this way I can just look back at the video if I’m worried.
I don’t ring up work telling them I’m going to be late because I can’t stop checking the taps anymore and hey I don’t check to make sure there is not a cat in my fridge either which is progress, or maybe its because I don’t have a cat! who knows! xx