I’m here to talk about OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) but I’m sure you all know what it means anyways: “someone who is very particular about things”. Well, yes and no. If that is the description that comes to mind when you hear those three letters, you are sort of right but there are also some other vital aspects in between the words and its actual description, and for that reason I’m here to inform and get rid of the stigma, in reference to me anyway.
There are many different types of OCD. But obviously, I’m going to talk about my experience with it and how affects me on a daily basis. Just to give a slight heads up, this is kind of, sort of, is the first time I’ve ever really spoken out about this. So be patient or keep reading rather, as it is an article and no one is actually speaking…
In February 2013 I found out that I had OCD. It was after six long months of anxiety and ill thoughts, of missing school and feeling down to the point of being unapproachable. It was great to finally have an answer for these things that I was doing and these feelings that I was having. See with me, although I am a perfectionist, it really isn’t based on ‘tidiness’ or if I’ve washed my hands enough times. I mean yes, they are aspects of it but they aren’t all of it like some people think. My OCD is linked with a lot of things, such irrelevant situations to others but are definitely significant to me. Let me explain, ok so such things as getting exactly eight hours of sleep each night or having to know the exact route we are taking somewhere. They are perfect examples of what OCD is for me.
I’m going to pose a scenario: imagine you’re lounging around at home and you get a text from one of your mates saying “we’re heading out tonight!” To most people nine times out of ten they’re like “Yes, woohoo, let’s do that!” Well for me, that poses nothing but anxiety, especially if I have somewhere to be the following day. Yes, it’s great that I’m young enough to be able to go out. But the stress I experience isn’t worth it which makes me come across as a hermit. But hey, it works for me. OCD leaves me lacking spontaneity I suppose, I can’t go on impulse, I have to be well informed or else uh oh, disaster. Now to bystanders that could be classed as ‘dramatic’ but for me it’s a necessity.
I’ve tried many things to try and help me deal with it and I long to be more forgiving of “spur of the moment” situations. I’ve tried medication, emotional eating and the most common one, ignoring the problem. Yes the medication helped, for a while. But then I became anxious because of how these tiny tablets were making me feel, which is ironic because they are anti-depressants after all.
That’s when I realised how lucky I was to have music in my life. I love to sing, to perform. I’ve been doing it since the age of 15, gigging from 16 onwards. I can go from busking on the streets to singing in bars and sometimes even on a prominent stage, that along with exercise has become my remedy. I know this sounds disgustingly cliché but it works for me. When I’m singing or in the gym, everything else just goes away for a little while, it’s an escape.
These days, I take it in small steps like I’ve been taught to by my counsellor. I take each day as it comes. I’m training myself to be more “out there” and positive but like everything, it will take time. At the end of the day, my OCD might never go away but it’s how you deal with it that makes the difference.