Adam, 19, Blackpool, UK

My showers might as well have been sponsored by Volvic
Adam PictureI was 19 working at a Wetherspoons on the Blackpool promenade and during the midst of summer the local council found something called cryptosporidium in the water supply. Essentially, it’s a virus that causes sickness, diarrhea and severe stomach cramps unless you boil the water first. So if you want to consume it or prepare food with it you’d have to boil the water first or buy it from the bottle. Showering and whatnot is supposed to be safe so long as you don’t ingest the water. That is unless you have OCD in which case the boil water notice would’ve scared the ever living hell out of you.

It was well known that there were promotion-related opportunities at work at the time, so the anxiety in me put an indescribable amount of pressure on myself to lead and delegate and to be able to handle any given situation, which caused a lot of anxiety (which I suffer enough from as it is) and stress. My hands were dry from all the excessive hand sanitising, and my showers were cold and might as well have been sponsored by Volvic.

Of course everyone’s specific symptoms of OCD are different. Mine mostly include compulsive touching of objects and hand washing. There are other symptoms but they are the main two, with my mind telling me “it’s probably better” if I do those two things constantly. What annoys me the most however are not the symptoms, but everyone else misdiagnosing themselves as having OCD just because they like to be a bit cleaner than others or if one time they had a shower that was fifteen minutes long. It’s a very difficult illness to understand and the key thing to remember for those who don’t suffer from OCD is that it is not, and never should be, an adjective.

However, I feel that this experience in particular has made me a stronger person. For example, I’ve been sick as of late and managed to clean up after myself completely when I threw up on the bathroom floor a few nights ago, although I did deep-clean everything in there as well as myself for half an hour. In the end I got the promotion and am doing well now that I can wash my hands after everything I do, but I still spend £5 a week on sanitiser, I still get anxious at work and I’m definitely still in recovery from the whole ordeal.

Categories: The Wall

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