Billy, 19, Warrington, UK
I would sit in the same the place on one specific sofa from 9 to 6
From the age of 13 my obsessions all began. It’s hard to remember what the exact obsession was that led to a dramatic compulsion but the first was most definitely not the last! I was your average “normal” lad! Happy at school and had an amazing social life and a fantastic family. People would often comment on how I was always smiling and making others smile and laugh and bringing the best out in them, but how it all changed! I went from a happy go lucky lad that was surrounded by positive attitude and amazing people to being alone, trapped in my own world of thoughts and negative behaviour. I can remember constantly washing my hands until they bled. Never feeling clean and always feeling like I was filthy. I started to repeatedly clean my hands one day in front of one of my close friends. He stared and laughed and ask me why I was washing my hands so strangely and I couldn’t answer as I didn’t have a clue why. My mother decided to take me to the doctors after I broke down to her begging her to help. I was diagnosed with depression and referred on to CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health service) where thankfully I was then give the right diagnoses of OCD. What was to happen in the later months gave me the record of becoming “the worst case of OCD the NHS and CAMHS has on record” ……..
After having to quit high school as the school was as supportive as a wet flip flop on a windy beach and I had a breakdown, I was forced to do intense counselling at CAMHS. I had lost contact with all my friends and no one was allowed in the house other than my mum and dad, not even my brother and my little nephews or my beautiful nan that means the world to me. I was described by my mother and counsellor as a “shell” an “empty soul” . I would sit in the same place on one specific sofa from 9 o clock till 6 , shower for 2 hours and then sit in the same spot again, brush my teeth and rinse my mouth out with detol for over 1 hour and then finally have the battle of getting into bed. This was my life ……….. How times changed , from the happy go lucky lad to the sad unlucky lad! A few weeks would pass by and then a few months and then a few years. Within these years I had tried desperately to take my own life, drank bleach and numerous bottles of dettol and had quite a lot of breakdowns. I can remember my counsellor and psychologist sitting me and my mum and dad down. She said in her Irish accent “there’s no easy way to say this Billy but your case is the worst we have ever seen or have on record. We really don’t know where to go from here” ……. I can always remember my mum’s face as she listened to those words. It was like someone had just stuck a needle in your beloved pet dog and said to say your last goodbyes! My expression gave no help , I was blank. I didn’t care, I didn’t know what date it was , all I could think about was “what if that is dirty” , ” is the seat I’m sitting in clean” , “what if the person who abused me has sat here”.
People often use the words OCD in their conversations with no emotion or understanding behind the words and clearly don’t have a clue that it’s a real mental illness that ruins lives and can destroy families. I had to learn the hard way. To cut an even longer story short , I had intense CBT and was put on fluoxetine. A few more months and years went by and I was finally getting better! I started a much better school where there counsellor and head of departments actually helped me and I went on to achieve my GCSE’s which led me to do child care and now I’m a training counsellor! We finally discovered where my OCD started and what triggered it and that I had developed OCD as a coping mechanism from a post trauma I had faced when I was much younger. I can finally say after 7 years of battling I’m living a much happier “normal” life ! I’ve gained many life long friends and my true old mates have entered my life again and I can openly talk to them about my OCD and struggles and they accept who I am and why I have OCD. I have an amazing family and with out them I can actually say I wouldn’t be here today! I’m in a relationship with a beautiful girl that accepts me for who I am , I still battle with OCD and some people would class it as pretty severe OCD but after my battle it seems like a walk in the park! it has taken me many years of therapy and counselling to overcome the mast majority of my OCD but I’m finally in a place where I can live a life that’s worth living and my first thought when I get up isn’t to clean my hands but is to check my phone and text people, like a “normal” teenage lad should be doing! Never take things for granted because sometimes, overnight your life can change! Much love and happiness , Billy