I suppose I should say a thing or two about myself before anything else. I’m a first year Physics student at UOIT (although I recently switched from Engineering), I’m very passionate about physics and maths, I love film and video games, I’m an aviation and railway enthusiast, but most importantly I love music. My friends describe me as someone who can play every instrument under the sun, and I’m incredibly passionate about 70’s progressive rock music (My username is a reference to the song Sometime World by Wishbone Ash from the 1972 album Argus, which you should listen to).
But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and it affects me every day, although not to the extent that it used to. I should also say that this post isn’t necessarily meant to help so much as it is meant to inform. In future posts I’ll talk about how I’ve overcome certain things and how you can too, but for now I just want to explain how obsessions and compulsions affect me.
There’s a joke I’ve seen online a few times. It goes something like “OCD should be spelled CDO because then the letters are in order!” You have no idea how much I hate that joke.
Obsessions can come in a variety of different forms. Some obsess over hand washing, some have intrusive sexual thoughts, some grow attached to mundane inanimate objects and can’t throw them away, and the list goes on.
For me, it’s the latter.
I remember in grade 5 when I was outgrowing my twin bed, and my parents had to buy a queen-sized bed for my room (I should point out that I’m ridiculously tall). My parents put the bed in my room, but the garbage truck wasn’t coming for a few days, so we kept my old twin mattress under the bed. When I went to bed that night, I started crying, and I couldn’t stop. It was like having a panic attack. I had to sleep on the mattress on the floor for the last five nights we had it. On the day the garbage truck went by our house, my mom had to pick me up at school because I couldn’t stop crying. I missed my old bed and mattress so much that I slept on the hardwood floor with blankets for two weeks. When I did start sleeping on the new bed, I couldn’t go without crying for another week.
Getting rid of old things is incredibly difficult for me.
You know that TV show “Hoarders”?
There have been a few times in the past where I’m watching TV, a commercial for the show comes on, and I start crying. I realize my obsessions aren’t as severe as those seen on Hoarders, but I am terrified that someday I might get to that point. I certainly have more obsessions (one of which being quite debilitating), but I’ll get to those in a future post.
This post is probably already way too long.
So what about compulsions?
Being conscious of word count I won’t talk about all my compulsions, but I’ll talk about one that has been especially troubling for me over the last few years.
You know how sometimes every few months your feet build up a callus and some really thin skin starts to peel off? Well, when I was 13 I noticed that on my feet and I pulled the skin off. I once saw someone online describe OCD as “like being addicted to everything.”
Well, I got addicted to picking that skin off my feet. This is called dermatillomania, or compulsive skin picking. For about five years now I’ve been using knives, scissors, and nail clippers to cut off the hardened skin on the bottoms of my feet every single day. I have had to throw so many socks in the garbage because I bled through them all day. My feet bleed almost every day, and it hurts to walk. I haven’t walked comfortably in years. I usually wrap my heels in bandage in the morning, which can help the pain sometimes. I keep my blades sterilized, and I always wash the cuts to prevent infection.
In the interest of blog length, I probably won’t go on any further.
Again, this blog wasn’t here to help so much as it was to inform. This is what OCD is TO ME, and other sufferers will have entirely different obsessions and compulsions.
In future blogs, I’ll talk about other things I face, such as obsessing over how I look and some of my earliest memories of compulsions.
At some point, I’d also like to examine how OCD is portrayed in the media and how Hollywood’s description of OCD compares to real life. I’ll probably post every couple weeks or so.
Thanks so much for reading and have a wonderful day!