My O.C.D Journey
This is going to be a very long read, so just giving you the heads up haha.
Ages 0 - 11
I was born in the summer of 1992, my parents tell me I was a little one full of energy and had a bad temper but other than that, a normal toddler haha. When I was a few years older, it was becoming obvious that I wasn't your typical kid, not listening to teachers and causing chaos. At around 5 or 6, I was classed as special needs until they assessed me more. I remember going to a hospital doing all sorts of tests that seemed more like games but I new something was up. I got into fights and was a menace at school up until I was 9. I just seemed to have no control and would attack the teachers and sometimes other kids girl or boy. I just took each day as it came and it all feels like a blur now but I do remember wandering what was going on. I had a bad temper and I was running around the school like a maniac and would go home and often be violent towards my mum. Now looking back it feels like I was living a roller coaster and I couldn't deal with all that was going on, like it was all so much to take in, I never felt settled, I don't think I ever have.
At age 9 me and my family moved towns, I had already moved town at age 6 but it wasn't significant to me, I don't think I was old enough to really be affected by the change. At 9 though I was fully aware of what was going on and it felt like I had moved country rather than a town that was a 20 minute drive away. I felt scared and small, whereas before I didn't have a care in the world, its like I was drunk and this move had sobered me up. I still carried on as usual but I felt I had changed and I lost that careless confidence. I remember my first day at my new school, I tried to introduce myself to a kid but he just ignored me, I felt like this was more than me being the new kid. I managed to make a friend and the first year went ok, I just put my head down. The last two years at middle school were hell, I am not sure what changed but a new kid called Tyler joined and was shy, I went up to him one break and he joined my other friend. We were a trio and the saying is true, 3 is a crowd. It wasn't long before my two best friends decided to bully me and so did most of the class. I did not instigate anything, it happened gradually but by the last year I was fearing every day at school. Looking back now I just want to give myself a hug and tell me to fight back but I was too scared too apart from one time I decked up one kid that would bully me a lot, ironically the first kid I tried to introduce myself to in the beginning. It was everyday, my once best friends sat at the side of the field shouting abuse whilst I tried to play football with all the kids who bullied me just to pass the time, they would just bundle me everyday.
All the stress and sadness came out at home, I would hit my mum and fight my sister, my mum would try her best to help but the teachers got so bored of being told I was being bullied. In the end to try and help me they asked me if I would be ok if they spoke to my class about me and try to get them to be friendlier with me, this sounded great so I agreed. I was only 10 and I don't think I realised what a big decision I just made. The day came and I left the classroom, a few hours later it was done and it was break time, I ran up to the classroom to spy on what the classroom looked like. I opened the door and all the chairs were in a semi circle around the white board. My name was written in the middle of loads of circles, with the title 'circle of friends'. The idea was to create a support network for me but all it did was humiliate me and make me even more withdrawn. The two kids that use to be my friends had there names put in the inner circle as close friends but I think that was done because it was assumed they were friends lol. Then they had got kids to volunteer to look out for me. I ran outside in a state and a kid that was one of many that bullied me came up to me in a really sarcastic way and asked if I was ok, I demanded he told me the truth and he admitted he was only doing it because the class was told to basically baby me. I sat at the back of the class crying, I got through my last year and went to secondary school. My OCD started around the middle of middle school and would affect me at night mostly. I had a set routine that would start by have the TV remotes at a specific angle, then have a cup of milk, go to toilet and make sure the mat on the floor was not creased. I would then make sure the bathroom windows were closed and if they were opened again, I would get out of bed and shut them again lol. I then made sure everything was in its place in my bedroom. I then climbed into my bunk bed and would tap my wardrobe 18 times or until it felt 'right'. I then moved my door so it was a specific amount open which would annoy my sisters as the door creaked haha. Finally I would make sure all my teddies were in there place around me and would always hold one. As you can see this is extremely long and I got very frustrated by it but I couldn't stop and this carried on for many years until I was 14.
Ages 12 - 15
At secondary school, I got my first diagnosis. I was told by the head of a special unit (The Link) within the school for kids with difficulties, that I have Asperger's Syndrome ( Now known as High Functioning Autism). Surprisingly I didn't have any reaction, I just carried on like nothing happened but with the understanding of why I felt different, even now I still don't know why I didn't get any negative emotions about it. I didn't make many friends but just hovered around a few different people and was a bit rebellious, mixing with the wrong crowd at times. Considering how bad my school years had been, year 8 was manageable but that was the only respite I would get. I think its best to just sum up the following 3 years at secondary school as just a continuation of the hell i faced at middle school. I had a close best friend but was very selfish and took more than he gave but I clang to this friendship to survive. By the last year, I was having to do all my lessons in the Linc as I was bullied in almost all of my classes. Where we lined up to go into class I would be repeatedly punched and hit by some other students. I was called names in class and the teachers did nothing to help me. The second year of secondary school is where my ocd flipped from being ordering things and tidying to being in my head. I remember just being so bored of having to do this long routine every time I went to bed and just stopped, bit weird how I just did it but I think I had so much stress and obsessive energy that my mind just went into overdrive. It started with obsessing over my breathing, blinking and swallowing but intrusive thoughts quickly appeared, mostly pedophile and incest thoughts but gay thoughts did happen too.
Ages 16 - 12
The plan was to go to sixth form but I was done with school, I had only suffered and I wanted to try and make my own way and got lucky by getting a stockroom job at Debenhams with the help of a friend at the time. I saw this as a move forward but I was a anxious wreck and unlucky for me again, the supervisor was a arrogant bully. When I'm anxious I act a bit strange, say stupid things and act stupid in the hope to make people laugh and like me, this usually worked but with this person he just upped his anti and made me feel like a useless worm. It got so bad that I had to tell him that I was autistic in hope he would leave me alone and he came out with 'you have mad me feel bad now'. I don't believe in anything but sometimes its like karma exists, as just over a year into the job my supervisor was forced to resign as he had been stealing from the stockroom. It was far better at work as I got on well with who became the supervisor but my OCD did carry on affecting me badly but I managed to carry on with the help of some medication. I also met a new friend at work who became my best friend. At 18 I managed to shout to my mum in the middle of the night to tell her about my intrusive thoughts as I couldn't cope being alone anymore. She actually surprised me and was supportive and I calmed down a bit after but the reassurance was short lived of course and I carried on my struggle. As always when you think nothing is going to change and get set into a routine, that is when something comes and changes everything, my first love.
I was determined to become a man and not this anxious obsessive mess. I got a new wardrobe and got rid of the baggy clothes I hid in for years. The 2012 Olympics inspired me and I used it to push myself outside and join the local athletics club. The second time I went I met this girl who was 16, I was 20. I asked her if she had Facebook as I didn't have guts to just task her out haha, we got talking on Facebook and she actually asked me out. We went on a date and I still couldn't push myself to make a move, again she was the one who made the move and went in for the kiss. I remember screaming in my head as I had always been scared I would mess up as I didn't know how to kiss but I just went for it and after that moment everything just seemed like a blur, like I was living a dream. We got close very quick and went on multiple dates but it didn't take long my intrusive thoughts to start trying to ruin it from worrying I didn't love her to thinking I wanted to cheat on her. As time went on it was clear she wanted to go to university and that would most likely mean moving far away. The anxiety of this led me to act very selfish and it put a wedge in the relationship. I did everything to be the man in the relationship, I changed jobs for a bit more money and moved out from home. I was in denial, I thought if I could offer more as a partner she would not go far away, my fear of losing her in the end pushed her away. All the change and stress made my already just about manageable OCD intolerable. I had intrusive thoughts going so fast through my mind It was affecting my work at my new job which was being noticed. Ranging from thinking I was a pedophile, to being gay and harming others. In desperation to save my relationship I tried to get more help as I had never told a doctor about the intrusive thoughts and was terrified of doing so but I thought if I am a pedophile at least I am doing the right thing and I won't be a threat. I gritted my teeth and went to the doctor, she said she didn't think I was a pedophile and referred me to the local mental health team. I had an assessment, which the psychiatrist diagnosed me with G.A.D (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) but I disagreed and said I know I had O.C.D but I left it and tried doing some C.B.T sheets (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) as he suggested. It was too late In the end, the relationship broke in 2014 and I went onto a downward spiral of chaos.
Ages 22 - 26
My new boss was another bully, I had left a job that was low pay but I was comfortable to another warehouse where the manager would purposely try to humiliate me even with me telling him from the start I was autistic. He put me under so much pressure I was making constant mistakes. I did start to become rebellious and stand up for myself but it as to late in the grand scheme of things. I never drank and was against it but trying to fit in I did a little with my ex. I turned to drinking and going out extensively after the split. I was just about managing, started to work out and got back in touch with that best friend from Debenhams. I had distanced myself from him due to being so engrossed in my partner, the fact that he was unreliable, would just disappear for many weeks at a time and ignore me. My drinking got so bad that I was drinking more days of the week than I wasn't. I went on a lads holiday and got drunk all 7 days, taking a caffeine pill every 6 hours to keep me going. I had a blast but it was whilst being crippled with my heartbreak of losing my first love and struggling with my OCD. I had moved back home after the break up but I moved back out 6 months later because I didn't want to revert back to the boy I once was. Having Asperger's means I struggle with change and social things. I have managed to work on the social stuff quite well but change does still freak me out and another stress of moving again was a stupid decision. I was alone, getting iller and iller, my flaky best friend was coming and going still and my new friends didn't care about mental health. The new friends I had distanced themselves as I self destructed, at one point literally leaving me in the gutter intoxicated. I was found wandering through traffic, was arrested and taken to hospital to be put on the drip before being fined. My OCD got so bad that I couldn't work properly, In the end I had enough and walked out of my job. I carried on drinking more and more and started to self harm, I called the non emergency line but blacked out on the phone from having so much alcohol and woke up to the police kicking down my door which terrified the other housemates. This led the landlord to evict me and I ended up on my mum's floor. It was the start of 2015, I had no job, no home and was a broken mess.
I had another assessment with another mental health team in the area I was now living in. I was diagnosed with O.C.D and Depression and put on 200mg of Sertraline. They referred me for face to face C.B.T therapy and I had a mental health worker that would check in on me whilst I waited for the therapy. It was supposed to be a 3 month waiting list, I waited 14 months. During this time I met a new partner through a dating app that I saw was suffering with her own problems and I wanted to help her. When I first told her of my O.C.D, she literally ran out of my flat and I chased chased after her. She calmed down but refused to help her self at all and I ended up trying to push her to get help. She got a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder but she never tried very hard to get better and instead of trying, when I got exhausted from being her emotional slave, she would cheat on me even with my best friend. I tried to end it with her but I was too weak to and I just went into Hibernation state as I didn't know what to do. I became desperate and in 2016, I married her in hope that by showing I was dedicated to her that she would try to get better and make a great life with me but that never happened. After 14 months in 2017 I had the therapy but the therapist was rubbish and I quit after 2 sessions. A year later in 2018, I paid for therapy privately and my partner actually got offered therapy too and she attempted it. I had to basically keep on at her to go but in the end she just gave up and my therapy didn't work due to the fact she caused me so much stress. The first few years of the relationship she had hit me quite a lot and mentally abused me, after a year of it I did snap back a few times and became verbally abusive as well. We became stuck in this stalemate like state where she wouldn't make any effort and I couldn't end it with her because I loved her and she was all I had.
But in 2019 this all changed when after feeling something wasn't right, when she going out to see a friend became to frequent. She had been having a 4 month affair with my former best friend. When I found out, she told me it was because I left her on her own but she would never go out with me, so sometimes I had to go out to breathe. I happily told her to leave but she wasn't quick to jump which just proved to me as usual that she just found another new man to use because she won't help her self and sticks to people like a leech but finally after 4 years of hell I was free. I started to do therapy sheets and workout and I felt the best I had done in a very long time.
Age 27 (Now)
I still craved that love and affection, even though I never had it from my wife and matched with someone I new was another hot head but I just thought fuck it lol. I was a bit anxious as she had 3 kids but I felt quite good in myself. I went out with her and the kids and hung out with them a lot for 4 weeks. She listened to me about my intrusive thoughts and was supportive, I told her that I had done a couple of compulsive actions but I did not believe I would ever do anything to her kids. We then decided we wanted to be together and I had got the love i wanted for so long, she looked after me I was very happy. I felt well in myself and that I had better control over my obsessions, I enjoyed being a step dad and would help my partner out by taking them to the park and to see my family. However over time the stress of 3 children, my partner becoming often verbally abusive, taking out her stress on my constantly, I quickly deteriorated and my OCD overwhelmed me and I started to struggle to cope. With my wife I got worse slowly over time but stayed in a just about manageable survival state as I was often just laying depressed on my sofa. However with this relationship, I was helping my partner keep the family going and couldn't sit back, I very often had lack of empathy from my partner and just nasty comments, strange how it changed when she was so supportive in the beginning. This with the constant stress of the 3 children, of which one caused constant stress, likely to have some sort of disorder as she constantly screamed and hit her siblings and often me.
My partner started to keep breaking up with me and coming back, this just further scrambled my mind but I was in love and couldn't walk away. It was inevitable something was going to happen but I wasn't sure what It was. My thoughts got horrific and I was keeping my distance away from the kids as my mind twisted everything. It came to its worst when the youngest boy of 3 sat next to me and asked me to help him on his tablet. I was hesitant because it would mean my hand being in between his crotch and the tablet. I felt guilty about not helping him so i quickly id what he asked but I had obsession as soon as I helped him ,thinking do I like my hand being here and I tilted the back of my hand against his crotch as a text and pulled away. I felt like I did like and then I didn't, I went over it in my mind for 24 hours but I couldn't rationalise it and new I had to tell my partner. I waited until the next day when the kids were back at school so they didn't get upset. I packed all my stuff and messaged her about what had happened. She was of course horrified but didn't want to lose me, I decided to go to the local emergency department to see a mental health nurse, where I told them about what happened and I was referred back to the mental health team. I thought it went too well because I know regardless if this is OCD or not its serious. These suspicions proved true when social services turned up at my partners house and said I could no longer be around her kids and effectively ended our relationship. We saw each other in secret but she kept coming and going from fear of losing her kids and it made it unsustainable.
They didn't bother to assess me or offer insight into what I could do to be around her children again. They told my family I couldn't be around my sister's kids as well which they just accepted because they think social services are the law. I have a right to be assessed but they are telling the parents off the record I can't be around there kids when they have the right to ask for me to be assessed. They won't talk to me because they refuse to accept my mental illness, I have no convictions, I am not on any register, I am not banned from being around children but social services tell any parents of children they know I see that I can't be around them. This leaves me in this limbo of legally I can be around children but social services are telling parents I can't and the only people that can challenge them is the parent but they get so scared by the way social services talk to them, that they do what ever social services say because they think they are the law which they are not.
The lockdown was hard, I stayed at my mums and each day was the same, it was maddening but after it was over I went back to my flat and spent a few months working out and doing some of my artwork. I met a new woman who I thought was going to be my big break, we had many great times and she said to me she was the first real nice person I would have been with but over time it turned out to be another person who puts an act on and doesn't live in reality. It started with her being very understanding but she wanted to live a life where she never really stayed in one place for long and me with my issues proved to much of a commitment for her. Over time you see beneath peoples acts if they are pretending to be ok, it turned out she was as unstable and had many issues. The difference was she refused to accept she needed help and for someone like me who tries to face my issues this proved a big problem. She broke up with me 3 times in four months and after the pain she put me through I lost it and said many things that would hurt her. Its hard to stay calm when I keep getting messed around with, I know being nasty is wrong but I sometimes I find it so hard when I have been hurt.
During the middle of that relationship I had the assessment with a psychiatrist and a forensic psychologist I had been waiting so long for to prove I am not a danger to children. I had a hour and a half assessment where I told them everything, I was diagnosed to my surprise with a: Mixed Personality Disorder ( B.P.D & O.C.P.D Types), Mixed Anxiety & Depression and Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
I had my suspicions about having a personality disorder but didn't believe I had a serious trauma but it turns out having constant moderate traumas is still enough to develop one it seems. My O.C.D diagnosis was wrong but I only had a quick assessment when that diagnosis was made. In the document of my diagnosis that I might put on here sometime, it said I am a low/moderate risk to everyone, So i am no more a risk to an adult to a child. This is great news because even in the assessment they said they didn't see me as a risk but social services will still push this to court, so the problem remains having a parent have the courage to stand up to them, which is something I can't expect of anyone but I remain in limbo. I am trying through the local ombudsman route because surely it can't be legal to tell people I can't be around their kids but not tell me what I can do to change that decision or at least challenge it. I have nothing legally saying I can not be around children, the professionals of mental health say I am not a big risk, which would suggest at least allow me to be around children with there parents around while I get help for my intrusive thoughts.
It turned out that my intrusive thoughts are caused by my obsessive compulsive personality disorder, rather than obsessive compulsive disorder which was wrongly diagnosed back in 2015.
May 10th 2020 big update:
Its been the hardest time of my life, as it is for everyone during the pandemic but on top of what I was already dealing with, I went to the darkest place I have ever been. The weird thing is, I saw my niece walking past whilst I was on the bus to my nans, the first time I had seen her in over a year. Four days later, I get the government's local ombudsmen findings and decision... after waiting nearly year and 16 months after social services got involved.
The outcome was interesting to say the least, the ombudsmen found no fault with the council but the councils response was unbelievable. They said the parents made their own decision to not let me around the children, which is a lie of course. They were verbally told but this is not legal but because there wasn't any proof that the council did this, the ombudsman found nothing wrong with what they saw. The council responded with it is the parents choice and that even though I had a good outcome from my mental health assessment, it is not up to them to tell the parents to change their minds. So put simply, the council did some dodgy work off the record, i complained and had my mental health assessment which showed i had a mental health issue and not a high risk like the council tried to make out. Backed into a corner they were forced to respond to the ombudsman with the true legal position which i know I would have never been given in a written letter, if it wasn't for the complaint. I new all this all along but now that the council has written it as such, i can now use this, which the very same day I did..
I sent the documents to my sister which told her everything, she called social services and said she wants to let me around my niece and nephew, to which they replied, it is her choice and noted it down. After all the struggle and lies from the council, one phone call from my sister and the prison of a life i have been living for what seems forever, ended suddenly. Now i'm trying to get my head around all of this and the next challenge is ahead, working on myself now, doing my cbt worksheets at home and trying to rebuild myself but at least I can do that now even though i feel so damaged but I will always try, I have my family to keep me fighting. Seeing my family again was overwhelming and I'm lucky I was able to fight but I almost gave up many times, a lot of people take their lives because of how hard intrusive thoughts are and how bad the system that is in place like the council and mental health services which are supposed to help us but often get rid of us as soon as they can.
I will put up the documents of my diagnosis and the response from the council to confirm what I have said but with some of it redacted for privacy reasons but the most important stuff will be shared.
The journey continues.
Thanks for reading