OCD therapy did not work for me

But it might work for you hopefully!

I didn’t give it long enough.  I didn’t attend enough sessions.  I didn’t enjoy the hour long therapy sessions.  I didn’t dedicate enough faith in the homework set.  I didn’t apply mindfulness or meditation successfully.  I failed at making private therapy work for me, after half my life has been detrimentally impacted by it.

I doubt I will ever be free of OCD.

I am very interested, and therefore aware, of body language and the interactions I have with people.  Therefore I found myself distracted whilst in therapy about how the therapist was responding to what I was confessing – it was obviously uncomfortable for me to pour my inner thoughts out.  I felt mentally exposed and embarrassed to be truthful.  What I also felt uncomfortable about was seeing yawns being suffocated, and being distracted by a strange tapping on the notebook by the very experienced therapist and expert sitting opposite me.  I’m sure the therapist I visited had heard it all before, but it was not encouraging enough for me to continue spending money and feeling absolutely no improvements at all.

One piece of advice that I will always remember being given from the therapy experience in 2018 is …

OCD is a full time job.  How right that is.  I suppose it depends on the severity of the condition, but I can relate to this statement and consider it worthy of consideration when I’m not coping too well.

I consider my mind to be like a washing machine, swirling around continuously, and not just for the usual hour or two of a washing machine cycle.  My thoughts are hard to ignore but add in a worry and it’s as if you’ve added a red sock into a white wash – all thoughts are tainted.

Swirling tainted thoughts
OCD thoughts are like a washing machine                with a red sock in a white wash

The obsessive element of this condition is probably more troublesome than the compulsions because whilst you can try numerous tactics not to carry out a compulsion (like checking, double checking, or washing your hands) you can’t stop intrusive and disruptive thoughts attacking your necessary everyday thinking to be able to function as a human.

OCD is generally categorised as thinking continually about germs, contamination, harm etc which IT IS, however additionally (with my condition anyway) I can have something bothering me that I just can’t stop thinking about, not just for an hour, two hours, four hours, it lasts for at least the rest of that day or more. Swirling and tainting every thought.

Here is an example:  Today I discovered that a shop-lifter had stolen a £30 item from the little independent village shop I own and run.  How could anyone be so brazen?  I would have been sitting eight feet from the large item that was stolen – why target my shop?  Did they have a bag to put the ornament in?  Did they have a big coat to hide it in?  I always try to be engaging when customers enter the shop so did they respond in a friendly way and then as soon as my eyes were distracted they took the opportunity?  Did they dislike me?  Will they come back and do it again because it was easy?  What other small things have gone missing that I’ve not noticed yet?

I try talking it through with family, I try to put context to it “it’s only £30” but whilst other people are able to ‘put the thought to bed’ I just cannot.  This tainted thought then grows arms and legs to anything else I need to deal with that day until I get overwhelmed with negativity.  I like to think I try to be positive and optimistic whenever possible, but this powerful tainted thought overtakes – today it is about a shop-lifted ornament, tomorrow it will be another worry plus the shop-lifted ornament.

Above I mentioned a red sock in a white wash, but that would make the clothes pink which is a cheerful colour.  I should have said a black sock in a white wash because then the end result is grey – that is what OCD does – it makes your day grey (I’m a poet and I didn’t know it) smiley face emoticon.

Worry makes the day tainted
Stop having a grey day with an              Obsessive Mind Overload

Obsessive Chair Disorder

I don’t want to be flippant but my partner has to continually remind me that I have a propensity to purchase a disproportionate amount of firm, wood, plastic, or leather chairs – we have them sprinkled around the house and stock piled in the garage – rockers, antiques, modern, stools all shapes and sizes.  The ones reserved for me, even patio chairs,  have pretty little ribbons tied on to remind the family not to use them.

Obsessive Chair Disorder
Obsessive Chair Disorder

I hadn’t realised how obsessed with chairs I’ve become until he pointed it out recently, so I started to wonder why this might be.  The best reason I can think of is that I am fixated about “OCD Friendly” chairs whenever I am out of the house, and in it for that matter!

I can’t bear the thought of sitting on a spongy, sweaty bottom, germ-riddened cushioned seat, so I’m always looking for a hard seat that can be cleaned easily and doesn’t absorb nasties from an undesirable part of the human anatomy.  I really do remember the wonderful feeling of being cuddled into a fabric armchair, but that was before my OCD bully arrived in my life.

I cringe when I watch people touching the seats of chairs, or sitting on their hands yuk.  Young toddlers love to climb onto them and one of my friends has a young son that likes nothing more than having a little nod in our local restaurant whilst kneeling in front of a chair and resting his head and arms on the seat aagghh!

Some unfortunates have incontinence, or haemorrhoids, or are simply just not that clean, and there is only a thin layer or two between that area and the chair.  What can be worse than seating down and finding the seat warm from the last person’s backside.  You can imagine how doctors surgeries, dentists, pubs, hotels, restaurants and other peoples houses present problems for me – I regularly say “I’m fine standing thanks” but this has lead to embarrassing situations.

I avoid (like the plague) having to go to the doctors or dentists, but when I really can’t put it off, I stand up and read the posters and leaflets dotted around on the walls – for one full hour on one occasion – I must have looked ridiculous, especially when the receptionist said “Please take a seat as there is a long delay”.  I made a pathetic excuse up that I was suffering with a bad back!  I hope she didn’t check my medical records and find out that was a lie, but this is the kind of pretending us people with OCD need to do on a daily basis.

Public transport, including planes, is too difficult for me to use because unless I can afford first class tickets, they always involve that awful smelly velour covering, so travelling has to be made via my own transport meaning I will never see the USA or anywhere to the left of the UK on an atlas unfortunately.  I can do the right of the UK on an atlas by taking my mobile home on the Cross Channel Ferry or Eurostar to Europe, and then keep driving, even as far as the Far East!

Getting a lift (especially to a pub or restaurant so that I can have a glass of wine to relax) with family or friends  presents problems because I can’t rudely ask “Do you have leather seats?” so recently I’ve dared to take a plastic rubbish bin liner with me to put down on the car seat.  I suspect they are probably offended but I do this in my own car now we don’t have leather seats.  Love me, love my bin liner I’m afraid.

Toilets away from home are my worst nightmare, with spongy soft chairs coming in a close second place.  My family and friends have latched on to this now and regularly say “You’d like it at xxxx because they have OCD friendly chairs”.  My close relatives are patient enough to keep me my own hard chair in their house for visits bless them.  So there we have it, I think this must be the reason I spend hours looking at chairs to buy and surround myself with.

You can't have enough chairs
You can’t have enough chairs