I’ve always had control issues, which doesn’t massively surprise me. My eating first started wobbling when I was 12/13 and I can’t really say it’s ever been 100% healthy since. I can’t actually remember the last time I ate without having to think it through. I let myself get hungry, then just a tiny bit hungrier so that I’m in control. Writing this I know how out of control that sounds. But it feels in control. But that’s more obsessive eating control issues.
OCD. This little gem of a word used to make me go cold. For a couple of years of my life, it ruled me. When I think back I think only of the abuse, but actually in some ways the OCD was far more damaging. It had been on and off for a while, but suddenly I was faced with 7 a levels. This on the one hand meant the workaholic hide-behind-your-work-and-don’t-feel part of me was in heaven. It did, however, mean trying to juggle 7 a levels…and 3 jobs…and rehearsals…and babysitting…and actually also being abused at the same time. Even for me – who thrived off of work and business – this was extreme. I’d had no say in taking the a levels. So I had no control of the madness.
Until one morning where I woke up, and a little voice said: make a timetable. It’s the only way you’ll cope. Fair enough. So I did. Initially it was a reasonable time-table; a vague idea of an hourly plan for the day. But very quickly (as in, within a matter of days) a daily timetable was several pages long. Every minute of my life was planned out; even telling me when to drink, to shower…when I could hug my siblings, when to plan the timetable. I felt in control. It got worse. Soon it told me when to breathe. It was pages long. I suddenly felt like I couldn’t survive without it. I literally couldn’t breathe without it (previous blog post not so much a metaphor, huh?)
I also scratched the back of my neck, unconsciously. I don’t know why. Some anxious tic that calmed me somehow. Also I needed the wrinkles on my hand to be less. So I’d stretch out my hand, without realising it, until it was smooth. I suffered pains similar to RSI as a result. The pains made me feel in control though. I also had to run water over my hands, to make me feel clean.
Somehow…with a fair amount of help, I got out of this. Depression isn’t great but in a bizarre way, I feel safer with it. I won’t say depression makes anymore sense; it’s an illness…but it feels less alien to me. OCD felt like someone else was living inside me, and telling me what to do.
I’m scared. Because it’s starting again. The last 3 weeks or so it’s been creeping up on me, fast. I’ve been trying to deny it, or ignore it. Surely I won’t go back there, I think…because everything’s so much better now? I’m not juggling anything like that much. For what reason would OCD swallow me now?
But it’s starting to. And denial has only fuelled it. I woke up in the night, a few weeks ago…and I heard the voice. “You need to check the plugs are switched off, else something terrible will happen.” I don’t know if anything terrible will happen…it seems a bit absurd, why on earth would something happen? But now I know there’s a risk…for what sane reason would I not check? Surely it’s just better to check and be safe? It’s just a small act…
But the small acts grow in amount. The voice grows more powerful each time. Now I’m catching myself scratching my neck and scalp frequently. I’m also an internal hysterical mess if I’m even 2 minutes late for something; I feel terror. Pure terror. I try to hide it; maybe I’ll go to the toilet, and the terror will make me sick. I don’t know. But what if something terrible happens because I didn’t keep enough control this time – because I was late? I have RSI pains in my wrist and only today noticed I’ve been stretching my hand backwards to make the skin smooth, which caused pain. But then I’m stuck: do I want control, which causes pain…or no control, but no pain? But then if I’m in pain maybe that means I’m losing control. “No, but look how smooth your skin is. Everything will be safe now.” Well, then I have no choice.
Now I get up every night to check plugs. I’m also growing in obsession with keys. I need to play with them during the day, and when I lock the house I’m sometimes okay – especially if with someone – but other times lock and re-lock the house 4 or 5 times. I’m having to resist making a timetable.
If I don’t do all this, then something awful will happen. That’s what the voice says. Of course I don’t want to believe it, but what if I ignore it and something terrible does happen? Then what? Surely it’s better to just do as the voice says?
I rationally know the answer to this. I also know how extremely quickly OCD took me and crushed me last time, and that this time it’s taking me pretty quickly too. I’m scared. I won’t deny it. It turned me into a cold, manipulative person as well before. Now I have some amazing friends I don’t want to hurt. But it’s not me. It’s the voice.
I have an appointment tomorrow so I’m going to try and tell them what’s going on. I know the voice will tell me not to. But I might try and be a bit braver, and then if anything terrible does happen…there’ll be professionals around to help me.:/