No Tumblr, That’s Not OCD

No. OCD is ritualistic behaviours and habits that are created in order to soothe one’s certain persisting anxieties and or fear. For example: a person who has a cleanliness based OCD who is afraid of something being contaminated with germs; they will come up with ways in order to avoid that from happening as much as possible. For example they will not touch dirty laundry, railings or doorknobs with their hands. They might meticulously and constantly wash their hands to the point where the skin becomes raw and in a very poor and unprotected state. These behaviours are compulsive and can lead to a very large portion of the person’s life being swallowed up by those habits. Take another example of a manifestation of OCD nicknamed ‘the checker’: these people will check and recheck and make sure everything is okay and will not go about whatever they were doing until they have done so. It stems from an irrational and debilitating fear that something bad might happen if this isn’t done or they don’t do this. For example: when I was a kid, probably as young as 5, I had to say goodnight to my parents. Every night. If I did not, I was not be able to sleep whatsoever because if I didn’t I was convinced that something disastrous would happen and I would deeply regret it. It sounds incredibly idiotic now and definitely embarrassed me (and continues to do so), when I’d reflect on those years when I got a little older. At the time the fear was very real. OCD is not just some ‘clean person thing’ it is a very serious mental illness that has the ability to destroy people’s lives and even possibly end them in worst case scenarios. Sometimes it can manifest in small ways and is relatively easy to control like mine was and is. Other times it does get to the point where a person’s life is completely devastated by it. It’s not something to take lightly or misidentify.
So for all the confused 15 year old girls on Tumblr: no that’s not OCD that’s just a really mild case of OCPD. 

Dear Stigma:

I have depression, general anxiety disorder and a whole other buffet of various anxieties. But my depression’s always been the one that embarrassed me most. There was a reason why I was always afraid to even utter the word ‘depression’ let alone admit to my own depression that it did in fact exist.

About a year ago now, I was eerily close to suicide. I was prepared and willing to swallow boxes of all the various prescription only medications I had at my disposal. Sure, I know, I know, overdoses are the most common form of suicide, yet wield the least ‘successful’ results. That’s right, I did my research. But you see, I had an ace up my sleeve. I’d been diagnosed with ADD as a kid and still take the medication when needed. With the anti depressants I had already owned, the ADD medications, sleeping tablets and various pain killers I was sure I was at an advantage when compared to my adversaries. I, funnily enough was not strong enough to follow through. I went to sleep that night giving myself an ultimatum and left it all to chance. It takes a certain strength to willingly end your life. It’s strange to say given the stigma, but it’s true. To put the gun to your head is on thing, but to pull the trigger is another. 

I spent the next couple of months weaving in and out of psychiatrist appointments and psychologist, the lot and in secret taking my frustrations out on my arm with various items. One desperate attempt included a pen lid.

I often hide my arm under a sleeve. I am ashamed still that I had come to that. Every so often with a liberal and forgetful, tantalisingly human movement of my arm in which my sleeve falls down to wherever it may. Whenever I catch someone glancing at my arm. Whenever I feel vulnerable I feel ashamed at myself.

I however have chosen to push past the embarrassment. Every time I feel a situation calls for it I bring out the obligatory speech which explains my history and eventually extends the hand to those who need it. To those I suspect might be in a similar boat to what I had been. The stigma itself is terrifying. 

It is the stigma associated with it that made me feel so weak for succumbing to it, in bowing down and bending to it’s will. It is the reason why I fell so far. The stigma must go. I refuse to stop being open about my experiences until all are comfortable in having the conversation.