Why did you do that?
Have you ever been on a diet and tried to resist a bar of chocolate? Been in a shop and wanted to buy something, but know you can’t? Smoked that cigarette when trying to quit? Have you ever tried to resist something that your mind wants but you know you can’t?
It plays on you right? The want gets bigger and bigger and it becomes all you can think about until you give in. Of course there is a little guilt after, feelings of slight shame that you gave in?
Imagine that want or desire for something so much stronger inside. That is what it is like for someone that suffers OCD. It is no secret that I was diagnosed with it. Probably not really a surprise either. Right now I have a really bad spell of it, my hands look like I have ran them along a cheese grater a few times they are that sore and because as a child I developed the need to be able to feel and hear letters pronounced properly and the fact that I am slightly deaf is driving me crazy, because I have to try and block out the outside noise from that ear in order to receive the satisfaction from hearing letters and sounds.
It’ll pass I’m sure, right now I just have things to deal with that come out this way for me.
One thing I wanted to talk about in this post was family members, not mine necessarily, but in general. Family and friends. Why when they know someone suffers this terrible illness do they think it is funny to tease? Stupid things like moving something out of place on purpose, removing soap, putting dirty hand prints on something and various other ways that people like to tease.
I was at Uni not so long ago when someone made a passing comment about their house being so messy due to studying and perhaps they should advertise for someone with OCD to come and clean it for them, of course a lot of the class found this to be a funny comment. Would they say something like that about a person with a physical illness? Would people mock a person in a wheelchair because they can’t run? Put something up high and laugh because the person can’t stand to get it? No, I don’t think they would. So why is it funny to mock the mentally ill?
Perhaps these people don’t realise with these laughs and jokes, and teasing’s they do don’t just make the sufferer feel ashamed to be ill, but they also make the illness worse in that moment.
That’s the word. I say it to myself so many times. Over and over until the tears are rolling down my cheeks and I can’t stop them. I try, but I can’t breathe, my chest feels so tight as I force my tears not to become heaving sobs. I stare down at what I’m doing.
Why do I have to do this? I don’t understand.
I can’t do it anymore. I can’t. I can’t breathe.
I don’t want anyone to look at me. I’m a freak. I know I am. I can’t help it. I say it loud to myself. “Freak, freak, freak. Fucking stop it. You stupid fucking freak. Stop it. Stop it right now.”
I can’t. I can’t make it go away. Nothing makes it go away. I wish I could die. Maybe it would stop then. I wish I could be normal, but I’m not. I don’t want anyone to see me. I don’t want them to look. They will hate me. They will know I am a freak too.
“Stop it, step away.” I take a deep breath.
Another minute more is another minute my chest aches inside. I try not to cry, bite my lip, hold my breath, anything to keep it all away, but I cant. The pounding in my head, I open my mouth to let out a sob, quietly so that no one can hear me. I don’t want them to see this. I don’t want them to see me.
What would they think? What would they say?
I take another deep breath, glance out of the window. The sun shines outside and for a moment I close my eyes and try to imagine the feel of the sun on my skin, the way the warmth seeps inside and makes everything right again. Just for a second I can pretend that I am normal and I am okay, but then the sting brings me back to reality and I remember. I am not like everyone else.
The niggling feeling inside beckons. I look at my hand, the blood that comes from them, like tiny bubbles from each and every cut, but still I pump the stuff into my hands, try not to wince as the antiseptic sting feels like a million needle bites. I rub It in, all around and try to fight the pain. Like someone is peeling the skin from my hands. I want them to stop, but I can’t, because it’s me.
If I just did everything right, took it slowly. I stand, not moving for a moment and then I rinse the solution from my hands, the warm water offers some comfort for a moment as it eases the pain a little, enough that I can think and gather my thoughts. So that I can calm myself down. “Just do it slowly, get it right this time. Don’t fuck it up.”
I start again, reach over, pump the stuff into my hand one more time. It hurts again, makes me lose my breath for a second because the pain is sharp, but it is good. Slowly, slowly. Do it right. I rub my hands, the tears still roll down my cheeks, it hurts so badly, but I have to do it right. It’s the only way out. The only way to stop this.
Happy now? I rinse the solution off again, slowly, watching that its right this time. I did it correctly.
“But what if?” that voice again, I hate it. What if I did it wrong? What if its still there? What if they are not clean enough?
I sigh. Begin again. Do it right this time.
If you saw this would you laugh at me then? Would you think it funny to make jokes? I wish people could see these moments, so in the times they chose to laugh, they see this is what they are laughing at.
I think… No I know that we are all freaks in our own way. I also believe that we all have some type of monkey upon our backs; subtle or crippling, we all have them.
And yes some people do laugh at things like you have described; whether it’s because they are uncomfortable, ignorant, or just plain in cruel. Sadly, I think there are people who will always look for something or someone to make them feel better about themselves; no matter how it hurts the one who is the target.
I won’t say that I am glad you have this affliction, but I am glad it is you who is bringing to light, as it is a subject that needs to be shared, taught, and understood, if it is ever going to be treated differently by society… if the souls who have it, are to be accepted.
Not diminishing the pain and frustration that I know you experience each and every day, I say to you again, how boring this world would be, if we were all the same. And being accepted for who you are, freakish flaws and all, makes all the difference.
I’m glad you are who you are, James. I just wish it was easier for you.
Thank you for writing this, for making us “see” and for doing in a way that only you can do.
I hope this monster loosens its grip upon you, a little more each day.
~ Hugs ~