Intrusive thoughts and illogical worries
Last week’s post was a little intense, so I’ma keep this post short and lighthearted (not that you’d guess from the heading). I have two dogs. Small tiny cute chihuahuas called Louis and Poppy. I’ve had Louis since I was fourteen and he is literally my best friend. He’s helped me through the darkest times, and kept me company when I’ve been unable to leave the house. These little guys brought out a nurturing instinct in me that I didn’t know was there. Blah blah blah. You get it – I adore them.
CUE MY DESPERATELY CLINGY EX-BOYFRIEND; Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. (Yay)
Intrusive thoughts are an absolute vibe-killer. Any of you who suffer with them understand exactly how they can impact upon your life. When the OCD was at its worst, it felt like my brain had become self-sabotaging, and any moments of notable joy were killed with an intrusive thought. At one point, intrusive thoughts were interrupting tasty food, relaxing baths, and blissful sex with my then-boyfriend (whom I didn’t explain this to because I was embarrassed at the time). One delightful little sub-unit of intrusive thoughts, is the belief that I may accidentally kill my dogs DEAD.
Luckily, these thoughts are few-and-far-between these days, but the little blighters ruled my brain for a period back in 2016. OCD made me feel like a useless, bumbling idiot who could not be trusted with anything or anyone. When I’d gone to bed at night, my brain would ping;
“What if their water bowl is empty and they die of dehydration overnight?”
“What if you dropped a grape on the floor as you shut the fridge and one of them chokes on it and dies?”
“WHAT IF THOU SLEEPWALK AND MURDER THEM WITH THY VERY OWN (impeccably clean) HANDS????”
The list goes on…
These intrusive thoughts then led to compulsions such as checking their water bowl, their beds, the kitchen floor and their general demeanour. This was mildly irritating, but the compulsions did manage to reassure me to some extent – as long as I repeated them multiple times whilst indulging in a cheeky little out-loud commentary of what I was doing. Sort of like a desperately obsessive version of a YouTube makeup tutorial, complete with a shaky voice and two little dogs blinking up at me wishing I’d f**k off back to bed.
The most distressing worries always occurred after I had handled or stroked Lou or Pops, which was a near constant thing when I was in the house. My brain would spitefully interrupt me within five minutes of leaving the room, to tell me that I’d probably poked them in the eye and blinded them, or stroked them too hard and broken their ribs. This is the part of OCD which I found most frustrating and upsetting… I knew that it was simply illogical, but I had no control whatsoever over the thoughts. There was no logical way of trying to reassure myself that I hadn’t harmed them, because the root of the thought itself was entirely illogical… if that makes sense?
Thinking that I could harm those I love the most became common theme for me, and it was a symptom of OCD which never failed to bring me to tears. I’ve cried for hours in total at the thought of my dogs, or a family member, or a friend dying because of an error on my part. (This post has turned out to be a little heavier than I originally planned lol my bad…)
Anyway, my dear obsessive friends, it is now January 2019. The Spice Girls Reunion Tour glistens upon the horizon, it looks like Trump may at some point be impeached, and my dogs are both alive and well AWW YISSS. I have committed neither sleepmurder nor petslaughter. Life is good. A combination of the medication I’m on and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has helped me to conquer these thoughts. I am John Cena. Intrusive thoughts are my weak, pitiful opponent. THEY CAN’T SEE ME. As with most symptoms, I have my off-days when they can creep back in, but I manage to bodyslam them. (I’ll chill out with the wrestling references now soz).
I’m endlessly grateful that I’m currently able to cuddle my dogs without the constant fear that I might accidentally kill them… imagine someone glancing at my blog and just catching that one sentence haha. Of course the worry of OCD making a comeback nags at me occasionally (I’m talking a huge, Take That, stadium tour magnitude comeback with extra key changes and extra-toit pantsh) but at least I know that there is always hope that I’ll elbow drop it again. Also, at least my dogs are alive.