In August of last year, I became overloaded with the fear that I had done something really bad to two people. The first of these instances was 12 years ago and the second one 9 years ago. I was extremely drunk on these occasions and had no proof that I was innocent. I had no defence.
I could not get this ‘thing’ out of my head. No matter what I did it was always there. Some days I was reasonably ok but it lingered and I could feel it always in the pit of my stomach.
During this period, I started a new job, was best man at my brother’s wedding and was renovating my first house. All of these things were amazing but I really struggled to enjoy these fantastic times due to this worry that I had committed these crimes. Which if they were true meant I was a truly bad person. An evil person.
At the height of this I was not sleeping and I could hardly concentrate, so giving a best man’s speech and learning a new job became very hard. My overriding fear was I would be sent to prison. The lower spectrum of worries were I believed I would have to leave my new job and that I would lose my house as I would have no income to pay the mortgage. I also thought I was going to let my brother down on his big day.
I decided I would confide in my friend Tom. And that is what I did. If I hadn’t have done this would have eaten away at me until some of those fears would have come true. In addition to this I rang the Samaritans. Now I volunteer for the Samaritans so that may sound like a strange thing to do. But I was desperate and needed to talk to someone.
However, I am so pleased to say that I did my best man speech, I am still employed and I still live in my house. But it could have been so different.
I looked online at what this was and it is a form of OCD. More importantly it is categorised as Pure O. People mistakenly believe that people suffering with Pure O don’t suffer from compulsions however the anxiety provoking compulsions happen in the mind. These can sometimes be unseen rituals.
I was doing small rituals, for example, if a car went past I’d say, if that car doesn’t have a letter ‘A’ on the number plate then I am guilty of committing the act in question. Plus, other related things where the result effected my guilt. If I passed the test I would be ok and if not, I was in a lot of trouble. The problem was if I passed a test another one would be set almost instantly.
I suffered with this condition for 4 months and I believe that by confiding in someone it helped prevent this from becoming an ‘episode’ which would have meant I could not work or face the world. That could have quite easily been the outcome.
In the end after a long time I decided to contact these two women in question and ask them directly if I had committed these acts. They both replied to confirm that I had not. It was such an intense time whilst I waited for their replies.
So many people who are suffering with this type of OCD can’t always ask people who have the ability to put their mind at rest (like I could ask my previous partners).
In addition to this they don’t talk about it.
I firmly believe there are a high number of suicides relating to Pure O. After all, how could someone seek help when they are convinced they are a really bad person, or in my case a rapist?
It is so true to them that by seeking help they fear that they will be arrested and punished. Seeking help is not an option in their mind. So, the symptoms become worse and people take drastic action as they cannot live with themselves.
I was so lucky to have a friend who I could confide in. I may not be writing this if I didn’t.