Jamie, 27, Iowa, USA

I “see” random acts of violence everywhere I go

jamie-no-textMy OCD started when I was doing overnights at a group home for people with disabilities.  I would check the doors 20-50 times a night to make sure they were locked.  I’d check the oven over and over to make sure it was off.  Then I’d spend the night watching the smoke detector blink so I knew that we’d be safe if a fire happened (and it was going to happen if I didn’t watch the detector blink… I just knew it).

Then my obsessions became much worse.  I couldn’t go out of my house without “seeing” random acts of violence everywhere.  I’d close my eyes for a second and in my mind, I’d see someone come in with a gun exactly where I was and start shooting.  These thoughts would paralyze me.  I became extremely reclusive, only going out for doctor’s appointments.  When I would drive, I’d “see” myself drive the car off the road over and over.  So I stopped driving.  I’d go to take my meds and would “see” myself pouring the entire bottle of pills in my palm and swallowing them all.  I started getting my meds in individual packs and my mom would give me one day’s medicines at a time.

When I was in the psych unit being treated for my severe depression, I read the book Brain Lock.  I learned the four steps and it helped me realize that, as they say in the book, “It’s not me, it’s my OCD.”  I became a pro at distraction techniques.  Sometimes an activity would only help for 30 seconds or so, so I’d flit from one activity to another very quickly.  My checking behaviors diminished greatly.

Categories: The Wall

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