OCD is a Disorder?
by See Change Ambassador, Sandra Dillon
OCD is a disorder? I wish I had known that all those years ago when I used my super powers to protect my family, at least that’s what I thought I was doing.
After my children were born, I went into a recurring ritual of protecting them from all the dangers of this world.
I had images, doubts that caused anxiety leading to constant panic and pain, and then I found a solution. If I washed everything with Milton fluid and sterilised every item with boiling hot water on an hourly basis, I could support my thinking giving me some relief.
As the months passed, the day got longer because the rituals became more complex. I was part of a cycle of cleaning sterilising and boiling, leaving very little time for life and my children.
I was so fatigued and obsessed it became uncontrollable to the point I had no fingers from the bleach and my hands were sore and cracked. It was as though I was powerless to stop the habits of washing and cleaning. I started to wear gloves in public because I became aware of the discolouration and swelling of my hands and other parts of my body.
My mind was racing with unpleasant thoughts and the fear was so intense I would spend hours just planning in the middle of the night. My obsessive thoughts would lead to acute anxiety, continuing the cycle of my compulsive behaviour the next morning. To be honest I did get relief but as always it was only temporary.
My family and friends called me, [ Mrs Bouquet] from the TV programme. They thought I was just house proud and I suppose I allowed that image to stick because I didn’t want them to actually know the truth.
Eventually, a very kind doctor explained to me the difference between stress and anxiety. He established a pathway allowing me to understand my reactions to my positive and negative stress.
He explained the stress factors. My sleepless nights, feelings of being overwhelmed and other triggers like hormones, adrenaline and cortisol levels all play a part.
My road to recovery began with a listening ear, knowledge and an understanding of my perceptions of motherhood.
I learned OCD was my reaction to my anxiety, characterized by my fears and love for my new born.
I now understand my need to relieve my feelings of dread, impending doom caused by low moods; feelings of nausea and insomnia was the start of my OCD.
However, years later, I am now mindful of what my triggers are, and thankfully I can recognise the habits reforming so my aim is to continue to heal with breath and meditation and to use my digestion of food as one of many of my power tools.
I also plan to target my beliefs, thinking on a regular basis and using a gratitude practice journal to document my journey.
This has allowed me to become conscious of changes in my body and my life.
If you are having a tough time at the moment and need to reach out for support, please contact any of the following