And I will be the first to admit at times I still am. But there was a time that leaving my house was so hard. I always knew growing up that I had “something”. Maybe it didn’t manifest itself fully enough for me to recognize it or for those around me. But it did exist. I can remember in my deepest darkest moments feeling lost and always wishing and wondering why I couldn’t just be “normal” like the other guy.
But the moment I realized it is a story worth repeating to those of you that have followed me from blog to blog and one worth repeating for my newer readers. But more importantly for those that find the courage to type into google “OCD” or “OCD symptoms”. I never was that brave until I had been diagnosed despite being pretty certain I did have it.
So let me simply set the stage: I had horrible food poisoning that took a year almost at recovery, I had a pregnancy loss, a hard move, and I had a baby and while this was over a span of years it caused what my therapist labeled post traumatic stress disorder. Or simply put I had quite a few HUGE things happen that I had no control over how they ended up. Therefore, the PSTD caused my always there OCD to go into over drive. I began believing the way I could control my world was by hand-washing, being clean and label people/places and things “safe” and “not safe” and proceed accordingly.
But to get to that point even to ask for help I had an epiphany. Or as Oprah calls it an “ah-ha” moment. Or as I label it, “the moment I realized this OCD was controlling my life.” I took my #1 out to lunch for her 4th birthday. She wanted Wendy’s. So we went. Before going in I poured some antibacterial on her hands for the 3rd or 4th time. I had taught her this special way so that no part of her hand was missed.
We head inside and we order her lunch. A kids meal hamburger and fries. I touched the money, never “safe”, so therefore everyone in my presence had to wash. We head to our table. I proceed to sanitize the table with the antibacterial soap and for safety sake I had her wash again. I meticulously laid out napkins so that none of her food would have to touch any part of the dirty table. And yes we washed again. She starts to eat and is just so excited to eat lunch with her mom for her birthday. But her mom…me…I have my eye on the crowd, “Are they coughing?” “Are they covering their mouths?” “Do they look sick?” I was miserable and so not in this special moment with her.
One woman starts hacking. I remember feeling extremely tense by this. #1 is clumsy and some fries fall off the napkins I have placed. I kind of fuss at her for being clumsy. The woman continues to cough and not cover her mouth. #1 picks up on my tension and gets fidgety. She loses more fries off to the side. I became irritated. I picked up her lunch and threw it away and made her leave. But not without me letting the coughing woman know what I think. I totally yelled at someone for having an uncontrollable cough.
In my car, we have this mirror that attaches to the rear view mirror. So you can move it to see kiddos. I watched my daughter’s face as we drove home. She was devastated. She had the sad and silent cry. But not me. I had the huge ugly cry. I came home that day and told my guy I needed help and I called the doctor. Within a week I had an appointment at my doctor and within two I was in therapy.
That was just the moment I had had enough and decided to take my life back. But it is hard one to think about because that little girl she is almost 11 now and I still feel that sadness in the car that my OCD put on her. That I put on her. I am not proud of how I acted. But I am proud of what I have become.
I live a very decent and normal life now. So if you found your way here because you are seeking out the answers and the help I am here to tell you. Take your life back. You can live a normal life with OCD. You just have to be brave enough to admit you have it.