CW: suicide, self harm

If you ask random people what OCD is, they’ll talk about being super clean, washing one’s hands often, or being extra fixated on order or numbers. I, too, once thought that having OCD simply meant obsessing over certain rituals, ie switching the lights off and on three times over, something on these lines.

But this is not entirely right, and I learned that the hard way – when I’ve been diagnosed with OCD myself.

OCD is not just the rituals, it’s what came before them, what causes the rituals. A person living with OCD will have first and foremost obsessive thoughts, for example one may obsess over being contaminated – hence the washing your hands part – or may be dead sure that if they don’t do a certain thing, bad things will happen.

My OCD manifests itself in a variety of forms. For example, I have to buy two or three pieces of clothes at the same time because otherwhise I know (even if, rationally, I acknowledge it’s not true) that the clothes will rot. So we have the obsessive thought, ‘the clothes will rot’, and the compulsive ritual to keep the thought at bay, buying multiple pieces of the same piece of clothing.

But I also suffer from a more vicious form of OCD, called suicidal OCD (because, of course, I couldn’t suffer from kittens OCD or smth). People who live with suicidal OCD, such as myself, have obsessive and intrusive thoughts about suicide. Here I am, walking down the street, when an intrusive thought, a thought that is not mine, orders me to throw myself in front of a car. Or in front of a train. Or down from my balcony. Which is pretty ironic, since I have a phobia of death and especially of dying by suicide, because I already lost two family members to suicide.

Unfortunately, the rituals connected to suicidal OCD often involve self harm. In my case, the only way to keep those thoughts at bay was the sight of blood – my blood, of course. One day, those intrusive thoughts were so strong I had to break a glass and use the sharp shards to cut myself. Not because I wanted to feel pain, but because I needed to see blood to soothe myself.

Blood for the blood God. Except the blood God is my brain being totally fucked up.

Still, my form of OCD is very mild, and with the right medication I can still live a fulfilling life. Other people are not so lucky. OCD is a terrible illness, so don’t use the term lightly!