I Go to Extremes (OCD and Me)

I sat in the therapist’s office. Coat on. Hands in pockets.

‘So, what can I help you with?’

I’ve already clocked the box of tissues to the left of me and wonder how many boxes she goes through every week. Does she bulk-buy? Anyway, we go through the usual questions like, ‘On a level of one to ten, how has your anxiety affected you in the last two weeks and are you about to top yourself?’

No, I don’t want to top myself. I just need some help in lowering my anxiety levels from 10 to a 5, ta.

My eyes struggle to connect with hers. I’m way too anxious so I stare at the carpet, which is clean and has no pattern. Good. Because I’m in no mood to be coping with patterns and stains..

‘I don’t think we will have enough hours to address all my stuff.’

‘Well, just start with what’s easiest, OK?’

I blurt out, ‘I HAVE INTRUSIVE THOUGHTS’.

Pen poised, the therapist replied, ‘Really? In what way?’

I gave her the example of the hour before when I was partaking of a cup of coffee with OH in Costa. The sun was shining outside and there were only a few people in so I wasn’t overwhelmed. I felt relatively happy. Yep, I can do happy. Just as I acknowledged the happy feeling, a thought clouded my mind..

What if masked men burst in now and started to shoot?

My body reacted as if it was real, not that I’ve been in many hostage situations, thankfully.

Next thought was my son who was at school. Then my grown up boys. Adrenalin flooded my body and my undigested sausage bap was in danger of being barfed back up.

Then I remembered that it wasn’t real..

‘Calm down, nutcase, it’s just your mind being a bastard again. You KNOW this. Drink your coffee, there’s a good fruitcake.’

It was just a thought that had barged it’s way into my mind when I was feeling calm. One of millions of irrational thoughts over my 47 years. Even though I knew it wasn’t real, it threw me. Maybe I need to lay off on the police dramas?

I comforted myself with the thought, ‘What’s the likelihood of Costa being raided? What are they going to say, ‘Everybody on the floor and give me all your muffins?’ Then I researched it and there has actually been such an incident, only they were after money, not muffins. It was prior to opening and thankfully, nobody was hurt. I guess wherever there is money, there is motive..

See, I have this problem with safety. I can’t remember when it started but I’ve definitely done it for the majority of my life. It’s to do with fire, mostly. I have a thing about the house burning down so I have to check plugs and sockets.

Then I have to check them again.

I’ve noticed it’s worse when I’m stressed. The other day I literally couldn’t satisfy myself that I’d turned my straighteners off, despite me holding the disconnected plug in my hand. Then, I have to touch candle wicks to make sure they are cold and sometimes I stick them under the tap to be EXTRA sure. Once upon a time, I taped up all the knobs on my gas cooker in-case they turned themselves on while I was out because everybody knows, cookers can do that, right? I blame that one on surge in pregnancy hormones but I have been known to turn the electric cooker off too. You can gauge my anxiety on how many things I turn off but even on my best day – sockets, plugs, windows and doors are a given.

I refuse to go out and leave things charging up, like phones and Kindles. There’s, like, NO WAY I can do that. OH struggles to understand it. He says it knackers the batteries. I tell him, ‘Battery or insanity, mate, your choice’.

To get out of the house, I have a routine of going round and checking all doors, windows and sockets. If the chain of thought is broken with ONE of these things, I have to go and check them ALL again. Thankfully, I’m not incapacitated by it. I’ve often thought it would be easier to say sod it and stay in but that’s a road I know I don’t want to go down. I have my ritual. As long as I do this, I cope.

I don’t know why I do it. There isn’t a logical explanation for it. There has never been anything to justify it as far as I am aware of. No fires. No burglaries. I’m just a loon, innit?

With this is mind, I often wonder how I managed to be a school caretaker and NOT go totally gaga? I still have dreams about doing my ‘checks’. The alarm was the worst thing because I would convince myself I hadn’t set it so I would go back again and again. I’ve gone back to the school late at night because I’ve convinced myself I haven’t set it. Of course, I always had. It’s a wonder I wasn’t arrested for acting suspiciously, eh? On the positive side, having a security obsessed lunatic as a caretaker isn’t such a bad thing as in ten years of service, I was never called out to the alarm going off. No window or door was EVER left unlocked on my watch.

There seems to be some confusion regarding repetitive behaviours of autism and OCD..

Basically repetitive autistic behaviour, like stimming, is comforting. I stroke my little furry (NOT a euphemism) because it comforts me and picking scabs is on par to a decent orgasm in my book.

New word.

Scabasm.

OCD, however, is anxiety driven. The fear that something will go catastrophically wrong if I don’t touch my plugs ‘n’ shit. I am autistic but I obviously have OCD too, it’s just never been diagnosed because I’ve never sought help for it. Nor has anybody ever suggested I get help. Mostly, they are amused or frustrated by it. Maybe now is the time to address it? In for a penny, in for a pound, I say.

What’s the betting that my therapist will go off on the sick after she’s finished with me?

A slice of fruitcake says she does.

Image via Pixabay

 

 

 

 

24 thoughts on “I Go to Extremes (OCD and Me)

  1. Oh Tracy……need to say that again…..Oh Tracy, that literally tired me out just reading it let alone how you have to live it. I hold onto the hope that a therapist can and will be able to help you. For all your sakes.
    But hold the thought that you are brace and leave you house and DO sit having a coffee. I want to process the things that you do achieve and credit you with those points. Maybe put up a small chart on your kitchen wall like we all have done with the kids…..give yourself a sticker for each thing which is an achievement to you. Start with giving yourself a star for writing this blog! 🌟
    Someone will give you the understanding and help one day! 🙏🏽
    Big loves 😘💋xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks lovely. I count myself lucky that I am not house bound because of it but I know it’s not normal behaviour and maybe I can do something about it. It is exhausting. It is frustrating for me and those around me. Who knows, maybe I can kick it in the proverbial arse. 😉 Lufs you xxxxx

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  2. I actually think ANYONE who leaves the house with something charging in a plug socket needs their head examined, it’s basic safety 101. Or alternatively I should join you in the nutters’ corner 😀 Either way, I’m the queen of turning stuff off and rippling chargers out of sockets because apparently, when not in use, they shouldn’t be plugged in.

    Don’t even start me on the straighteners.

    I do leave the kettle plugged in but I’m almost always filling it up, so that’s my excuse. You sound a lot like me. ((((hugs you))))

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I have OCD and a lot of irrational thoughts/checking. I can identify with this, especially more stressed/anxious more triggerable X p.s. if you use facebook there is a good group on there called British Women with Aspergers – UK (and Ireland) Connect Group

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hehe there’s no chance of them being left on with me about. Like I said, he’s too laid back. Thankfully, I’m the opposite – keeps us safe. Me insane but us safe. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well hello soul sister!!! So we might be (we totally are) moving for multiple reasons and the largest of those reasons is that I can’t handle having anyone sleep upstairs during a thunderstorm. In all fairness to me, we did have a tornado skim the top of the house one time but this is Texas – tornado shmornado. At times I find that the internet helps because it validates my need to confirm statistical probabilities of various incidences possibly happening. Analytical therapy. However as you already know, the internet is also the spawn of the devil and leaves me worrying about my unknown but ever present prostate cancer. My being a woman and knowing with certainty that I don’t have a prostrate appears to be irrelevant. So again I am with you dear one. I wish we were neighbors so we could hit the deck during the great muffin heist of 2017 together. Love the post. If you can put it out there and see it all for what it is, you may still be hosed on a day to day basis, but I think you are also much more healthy than you truly believe. To put it simply, sounds like you are a badass to me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      • And I loved the post so we are even Steven. (Btw on the OCD note, I just wanted to share that I am having trouble allowing myself to post this responsorial comment of mine because I can’t decide if I should have written it as Even Steven, even Steven, Even Stephen, or even Stephen. And don’t even get me started on the Stephan variations!)

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Feel like a lie down after reading this.

    I had a few months where horrific situations would enter my head and while I knew it wasn’t real, emotionally it felt like it was (if that makes sense). It was mentally and physically exhausting, so you have my upmost respect for dealing with it long term. In hindsight it was something I should have dealt with at the time and I might have avoided what followed but I’m a bloke, innit. We think we’re coping.

    Weirdly, one was also in Costa. They really need to look at their decor or choice of music!

    It was around this time I also developed my distrust of odd numbers which is the only bit I’ve never shook off, but I’m comfortable with that. In a strange way I feel it gives me some sort of control and convince myself I’m not a ticking timebomb.

    Thank you for the honest insight, as always it’s great to read about someone way, way WAY crazier than me (I’m joking, obviously).

    Liked by 1 person

    • While I’m sorry that you have had similar struggles, it’s also comforting when somebody else says that they understand me. I have a distrust in things being unsymmetrical lol but that’s down to my autism, more than anything else as things have to look aesthetically pleasing to my eye. It’s something I’m really working hard on because it’s so limiting.. my therapist has mentioned that CBT could be useful with the OCD and maybe it would but I’ve also had it THAT long, that I can’t imagine not going through my ritual. At the moment, while I’m recovering from the breakdown, it’s definitely not top of my list. I’m way crazier than anybody I know or have ever known. I’m long term term crazy – a lifer ha ha. 😉

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