Counting, Cleaning and Corona
Coronavirus.... urgh an OCD Sufferers hell!
I’ve suffered with OCD since I was 10.
The scary thing was, back then nobody knew a great deal about OCD and sadly at that age I thought I would be strapped into a white jacket and shipped to a mental institution if I told anyone what I was going through.
After finally breaking down to my Mum, going to the doctors, a therapist and then hypnotherapist, I got it under control. I also think coming out of adolescence had a hand in it.
Sadly after going through some of the hardest of events recently in my life, which have left me emotionally and mentally broken, I have been told my firm friend OCD is back for vengeance. This time it is more the world controlling worry than time consuming “rituals” that is dragging me down into a hole everyday.
I have a major “worry” about germs, dirt and grossness, it’s always been there and bleach is a firm friend and fear at the same time (worrying about getting it in my eyes, mouth, burning my skin or breathing it in and damaging my lungs.... yep its a thrill a minute with this chick right here! God my boyfriends so lucky!)
I know many people claim to have ‘OCD ways’ and when I hear people say things like
“oh I have OCD, I have to have my desk just so”, it really pisses me off.
I know it shouldn’t but if they knew the time, pain, distress and misery this gives us true sufferers every moment of the day, they wouldn’t say that.
For example when I was 10 to about 16, I used to clean my teeth but I would have to have a happy thought from the sink to the towel otherwise I feared my family would die. If I failed to do so, I had to start all over again.
The longest it took me, at the worst, was 7 hours.
I’m not exaggerating.
Or how about that every door handle I walked past I had to touch and do a big swallow with a good thought in my head or again I’d have to go back and touch it. Thinking of an excuse if I was in view of anyone was embarrassing and annoying. I thought I was hiding it so well from my mum and dad thinking that they didn’t know I was walking back and forth, scared and panicking every day. But they did and they were so upset not understanding why and what was going on. So when these people say it, yeah it gets my goat!
Anyway I digress.. so the germ part of my OCD is one part that has always been there like a shadow in my consciousness. I avoid emptying the kitchen bin, I hate dirty dish water and my worst one, raw meat! That’s just some of it. If you’re close to me you’ll have noticed me washing my hands just watching someone handling something smelly or dirty. I will wash my hands until they bleed and as my other half describes them, “they’re rough as a badgers arse” (don’t know where he gets this reference from... not sure I want to know. 😂).
Everyday is hard, I clean surfaces constantly, and then once they’re clean, I’ll clean my hands due to chemicals and then the thought they might go in my mouth (You exhausted yet? Try living it everyday!).
So imagine how exhausting, pre-planned and envisaged each moment is and then times it by 1000. So now that this corona virus is around my OCD is in over drive. Not just the physical side but the panic and worry. I’ve sat in front of the news and started shaking, I’ve read papers and started to have major panics due to the fear and over thought of future we face with this bug.
The thought of it over me and not keeping clean OR the fact I can’t get products from the shop has had me close to breakdown stage it feels. I basically get to the point that I can’t breath and I’m consumed.
I have to travel to London on the train for work and the thought of sitting on the seat has me feeling like scrubbing my entire body clean. I’ve got to the point where I was feeling like refusing to go in due to my fear. It’s exhausting.
So with the next coming months of this crisis I feel I’m going to be battling two crisis. Two for the price of one!!!
HOW LUCKY AM I!
I’ve grown to accept this fear and “quirk” and I don’t always chose to let others know as, well they don’t need to know. I’ll never deny I have it or be afraid or ashamed to talk about it as I really believe it’s part of mental health people don’t really understand and it’s a bit of a “fashion trend” to have l, which needs to stop.
If people have seen programmes on it it’s to the extreme where people hoard bottles of their own waste or collect old newspapers and can’t move in there house or avoid the cracks in the pavement.
People need to know the middle ground of OCD. The people who walk around you everyday, acting normal but inside dying as they know they might come to a situation where it’s going to take all their strength and all their time to get passed a battle mentally.
Basically this makes me me and if we look for the silver lining, I’m never going to be a smelly person or have a messy or unhygienic house but I am in an invisible prison of fear each and every moment of my day.
Hayley Ladbrook, aside from being an excellent assistant for her current firm, is also an artist and a blogger on her struggles with endometriosis and IVF. She is an inspiration and support pillar for many including myself.
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