A Battle Against Myself!
‘How bad can OCD be?’, ‘Isn’t OCD related to cleanliness' these are the questions usually asked while discussing OCD. But no OCD is not just about cleanliness, there is much more to it and yes it can be really bad.
I have been on the road to recovery for around a year. Recovery to me meant, only to resist compulsions, I believed that this was the most healthy thing to do. Little did I know, it made my OCD worse. I realized it takes more than just getting over compulsions but self acceptance was also a key aspect and completely eliminating my intrusive thoughts were equally important. However earlier this year, one of my rituals went wrong and it was difficult to ‘fix’ it.
A ritual is a set of unexplained, irrational compulsions that follow in a certain order.
One of my key rituals is my shower ritual.
One day in the early days of the summer, I was getting ready for my shower. I had planned my routine all out in my head: wash my hair, soap myself, shave my armpits and legs. Whenever I take a shower where I wash my hair, I play 2 five minute songs from my Bluetooth speaker so I have enough time to complete everything while bathing. I then queue a 4 minute song and a 1 minute song that follows so that I’m not in the bathroom for a very long time. As soon as the 4 minute song begins, I must step out of the shower and start drying myself. However, on this occasion, my routine became delayed, meaning I had to rush before the 4 minute song started. Immediately, I became stressed and increasingly anxious. Because of this, I deeply cut my leg with my razor whilst shaving. A line of blood that was split into 4 sections started trickling down my leg at a relatively fast speed. I was in pain but I knew I couldn’t act on anything before the 2 songs had finished. It’s a shame that I would rather take stinging physical pain over the chronic anxiety that OCD emits.
As soon as I walked out of the shower, the blood from my wounds became very intense. I knew that if I’d pace out of the bathroom while the music still played, my intrusive thoughts would sneakily follow as I HAD to stay in the bathroom the entire time until after the songs had finished. I was very close to tears as the stress and anxiety had corrupted my brain at this point.
Finally, after my mother had put plasters on my cuts, I sat down and took a deep breath. The experience had completely exhausted me. That was when I realized, not only can OCD cause you persistent mental and emotional pain but physical pain can also be a result of this. To this day, the scars are still imprinted on my leg. I knew, then and there, I couldn’t fall back into the traps that OCD constantly withholds. If I did, I’d still be entangled in the illogical beliefs it provides for me, the beliefs that lead me to perform actions that are completely pointless and are minutes of my life I have wasted.
The experience really enhanced how much of an impact OCD had on my life. I couldn’t live freely with it. As soon as I noticed this, it influenced me to try harder to resist the urges, to self accept and to persevere. This, was when recovery truly turned serious. It became my number one objective to escape this mental torture, battle against myself and try my best to fully recover.