Envision living life with little demons running the show. It is practically a living hell. You find a superb helper that assists but turns into a demon itself. You are just surviving life instead of living it. You get a meager amount of enlightenment that is the size of light squeezing through the door into a dark room. This can make you so subsided, that it becomes a norm. You can’t even tell if you are depressed since you have been there endlessly. If this is you or someone you know, it is not a fun way to exist. I would know. This has been my existence for 35 out of 40 years of my existence.
Most kids I knew were experiencing and enjoying life thirty years ago. They were forging friendships and experiences in life. I was existing alone and taming these demons. I was obsessed with choking a dog, that I would actually do it. Once I performed the act and the dog had a coughing spell as is regained its breath. I cherished dogs more than most people, but I HAD to do this task a few times. I felt like these hell-like thoughts had strings, like puppets, governing my life. I was able to govern them but felt dreadful for what I did to the dog. As I was getting older, it started affecting me more and more.
When these thoughts would intrude, I would do something to counter the thought. If I sensed that I didn’t lock the door, I would check it. If I felt like I dropped something, I would check and make sure I didn’t drop anything. This was a big comfort for me. It was detrimental when the checks were so involved that it became a problem. When leaving to go out, this was some of my lowest times. It would consume an hour to exit the door. I can’t illustrate how stressful my head felt in this state. It was trying to survive instead of living.
I also had attacks when I felt like I dropped something. I would be on my bike and ride five miles to where I had the thought to check. I spent three hours going around in circles and getting laughed at. This is a confusion and stress that I can’t explain unless a person has been there. I am lucky I didn’t get beat up in this rough part of town. I am also lucky that I didn’t get hit on the road on some of these busy roads. The only thing that mattered was that I did the checks, but the checks themselves became pure hell.
If my story resembles yours, then welcome to the wonderful world of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). It is hell on earth. These terrifying thoughts can cause bad emotions and actions if not managed properly. The toughest thoughts are the ones that are more subtle. I recently discovered these are the ones that don’t come off so scary but more subtly are.
I discovered this recently. I found little demon thoughts tell me about others aren’t always true. Because of my abusive upbringing, my social skills have taken a beating. I also have a low opinion of myself. So when I see others successful or acting “macho,” I get jealous and angry. I have lashed out at these “bad people” even though they didn’t mean harm most of the time. These thoughts are some of the same thoughts as OCD, but not as terrifying. The thoughts are scary, but there is help.
If you have this disorder, there is hope. If you can breathe deep with techniques, it will be a great comfort. Managing the hundreds of thoughts is the essential way to halt the problem. Know thoughts aren’t real and you can start managing them. This is not easy, but with practice can help. Choose, choose, choose. When a bad thought arrives, treat it as music you’re not fond of. For example, if opera music comes on and you don’t like it, you turn it off. Do the same with a bad thought. It will battle you but do it anyway.
There is also help in others ways also. Medicine is available and therapy with special psychologists. If you have this terrible disorder, I hope you are in the position to get the correct help.
– This story was written by Jason McKean as a testimony of living with OCD.