I have OCD and I have had it for many years now. I find that my OCD feelings, thoughts and behaviors are directly affected by my general state of anxiety and my feeling of mental stability….or instability.
There have been times when my OCD was so bad that I thought I was going to lose to my because it was so hard to leave the house. I was in a relationship which began last May which was 2014. This relationship lasted until he finally cruelly discarded me and did not even tell me we had broken up.
This “break up” was in March…actually it was on my birthday…at least the last time he talked to me on the phone…with one more very short conversation for a few minutes on the day after my birthday. That conversation seemed to be him confirming that I was completely broken so that he could feel victorious.
Anyway, this post is about OCD, not abusive relationships, but in this case there is a cross over. So, this relationship was emotionally and mentally abusive. I will not go into too many details here, in order not to take away from the topic of OCD and anxiety.
I was very happy at the beginning of this relationship and my OCD behaviors were there but they were not so bad as to be endangering my job or to really interfere with my life too much. I was used to these behaviors and I had to do them in order to avoid extreme anxiety when I was out of the house…or when I went to sleep.
I do have the germaphobia thing..with the constant handwashing. I was able to hide that at work for the most part. Since I worked at am assisted living with elderly people,
I had to assist them in the bathroom. I would wash my hands several times when I was in the bathroom with them and no one was there to see this but the person with dementia …and they did not think it was weird or even notice it.
After I brought them out from the bathroom. I would bring them to the tv room and quickly run back to wash my hands again. Sometimes I would tell the coworker that I had to go get some supplies of some sort.
The big thing about my OCD is the fear of fire when I am out of the house and my kids are home. The intrusive thoughts are about fire and the fact that there is no fire escape on the third floor apartment where I live.
I also had this same fear of fire when I lived in the last house. That house was much safer and they would have been more likely to get out if there had been a fire, than this house.
So obviously having to move into this house increased my anxiety about fire but the compulsions to check. recheck. and recheck all of the plugs for the appliances was still bad at the last house too.
There were days at the other house where I drove ten minutes and then turned my can around to go back home to check the plugs. This was at its worst when I was in the middle of a severely stressful situation when I lived there.
The OCD compulsions are always worse when my general state of anxiety is high.
So …back to this story….in May I was happy with this relationship. He was a narcissist and at the beginning they do this LOve Bombing thing which means you are on top of the world and can do no wrong.
As the relationship went along the mental abuse including gaslighting tactics got more and more. As the abuse got worse, my anxiety got higher in general. Not just when I was interacting with him. It was all the time and especially bad when I had to get out the door to get to work.
He had convinced me that people at work hated me and that I was in danger of losing my job at any minute. He had convinced me that I was unable to conduct myself properly at work and they were going to fire me for having mental illness.
He also caused me to believe him about my own mental state being much worse than it was. This cognitive dissonance of what I perceived my mental state to be and what he told me my mental state was….caused me to question my own perception of my mental stability.
This caused me to become more unstable because I thought I must be unstable since I thought it was less bad that he claimed that it was.
This was like a scene right out of the old movie Gaslight! But I knew nothing about this movie at the time and had no idea about gaslighting tactics and that people actually did that on purpose to cause you to become unstable and unsure of reality.
The truth is the main mental illness I was having was being caused by him. He drew me into depression, caused me to be on high alert anxiety, and caused me to be very paranoid as he pulled me into this duet of psychosis that psychopathic narcissists do.
But my OCD focused on the plugs in the kitchen. I would check the plugs and then walk away. In would walk back to check them again. I would walk down the stairs and then walk back up again to check them again.
Some days were so bad that I got all the way down two flights of stairs and to my car…only to walk back up all those stairs to check once again.
I would send my teenage daughter texts from work to check the plugs again. I would be uneasy until she texted me back that they were already unplugged.
I felt a general feeling of detachment from reality and often questioned my ability to perceive reality properly,,,,hence I was unsure if I was remembering unplugging things or of it was imagined.
The incessant hand washing also increased and became bad enough that I really had to work hard at hiding the repeated hand washing from coworkers. I would come up with excuses to leave the room so that I could wash my hands and under my nails again.
I just think it is so strange how the brain works. My fear was focused on those plugs and not on the real danger of the abuse, or the danger of losing my job because I was being lead into paranoia about the people I worked for and with.
I did not really know where the true dangers were, so my brain kept telling me that I was going to forget to unplug something and the house was going to burn down with my kids in it, while I was at work.
After the relationship ended the OCD about the plugs went back to what it had been before,,,with the checking them three times in the kitchen and then walking away and then walking back to recheck them.
That is what I still do and it is okay. It is somewhat tormenting but I can get out of the house without crying while I am driving. picturing the house burning down.
So I am wondering if a anyone else who had OCD, notices a difference in the intrusive thoughts and / or the behaviors when you are under severe stress in general in your life. Let me know in the comments. Just curious if anyone else has experienced this.