When I was discharged from hospital my keyworker and I did the masses of paperwork in a visiting room with a lumpy sofa. Working our way through 1-5 scales and word selections we came to it: “I help other people when in need”. We paused.
OCD is a gremlin. It tells you what to do, how to act and who to be. It’s more than just anxiety- it twists your arm into doing what is *best* but the success never comes.
We paused on that question because we both knew that I love to help people. I love it when people take comfort in me and seek my support. I like the toasty feeling of being given trust to hold on to. I go out of my way to help other people. But there are many scenarios where I won’t help someone. Quite pathetically- It’s because OCD won’t let me do what I want to do.
If someone is feeling down I sometimes am so scared I will say the wrong thing and that they might kill themselves that I have to walk away. If they are ill I am afraid it might be contagious and deadly. If they are hungry I can’t offer food because I’m scared they might be allergic to what I give them. OCD loves hyperbole and the cold seasons make me cold too. I’ll avoid stuff, if I can’t avoid it I’ll panic, and if that goes on for too long I’ll end up hyperventilating.
I’m writing this because one of the carers I am close to has a bug. She had been physically sick but was on the night shift so couldn’t go home. I wanted to give her a hug. It’s the day after and I still want to give her a hug like I usually do. But instead I spent the night making my room reek of disinfectant and scrubbing the germs off door handles. I am too scared to eat the food in the fridge for fear it has been contaminated. A person that I am so close to, and love to bits, is now terrifying.
I feel like a bitch. I’m scared to let her near me and scared to touch anything she has touched. I’m hoping she doesn’t take this personally. I know I would if I was her. I’m angry that this disorder controls me and what I do and how I act. How I can’t touch anything with my bare hand until 48hrs have passed. I rationally know that even if I did get the bug it wouldn’t kill me. I’d recover. So why does this fear grip me so tight? Frustrated is not the word. I am cold because I am so frozen with fear.