I was enduring the season opener of Big Brother UK last night. Fionnuala watches this every year hoping to recreate the halcyon years of Nasty Nick, Craig the Builder and Tourettes Pete. But by Week 2 she has invariably given up as that years conveyor belt of desperate wannabes have her diving desperately for the remote control.
This year promises to be no exception. The Bible tells us to love our enemy. I am reluctant to include perma tanned, obnoxious, Z list reality TV stars in this admittedly open ended verse. Serial killers, yes. ISIS, yes. But the Season 3 cast of Geordie Shore? God is really testing me here.
But I digress. Lurid as they were I manfully watched each contestant totter out on stage to give vacuous, insipid answers to questions posed by an increasingly bemused Emma Willis. Sexual conquests, excruciating personal hygiene issues, nothing was taboo for this motley crue. If nothing else it made my self-worth and value to society soar as the night progressed.
Out traipsed Miss Nigeria UK (the best looking Nigerian woman in the UK or the best looking British woman in Nigeria I pondered) to proudly declare herself as the ‘definition of OCD’ to the baying audience. She loved cleaning or something like that.
Once again OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) had been dismissively stereotyped as a positive attribute, something to aspire to be, something to shout from the rooftops. OCD was quirky, fun and an invaluable life skill. Yet whenever I hear the words ‘I’m a little bit OCD’ or ‘I suppose we all have a bit OCD in us’ it is akin to scraping nails down my mental blackboard.
OCD is not fun. Asking your manager at work the same question 46 times in one day to the point where they look at you as if you are insanity personified is not fun. You know the answer in the first place. They have confirmed that to you 46 times. But did you hear them correctly? What if you misheard them each time? Or the answer wasn’t in exactly the sequence of words you needed it to be? Best ask it one more time. Just to be 100% certain. This will be absolutely, categorically the last time. Unless of course….
OCD is not fun. Binge eating eight days in a row to the point where you are nauseous but having to ensure that you eat certain foods in a certain order, in a certain room while reciting a certain mental mantra in exactly the right order is not fun. And if you get even one of these variables wrong then it’s onto Day 9. And you can’t finish on an odd number. So roll on Day 10.
OCD is not fun. Thinking you are a paedophile and a threat to your kids is not fun. Convincing yourself that you are a closet homosexual and you need to confess all to your wife is not fun. Compromising every living relationship in your life by wanting to blurt out unwanted, obscene thoughts about that person is not fun.
OCD is not fun. It never sleeps. It is the wriggling monster in your mind that you can never pin down, that you can never drown out. It is brutal, uncompromising and seeks to overwhelm every other rational thought in your mind. It wants to take over. It wants to break you. It wants to destroy you.
I’m not a little bit OCD. I’m 100% OCD. It will always be there. Lurking, waiting, probing for the slightest chink in my armour. An armour of counselling, family support, medication and prayer built up through bitter experience and countless battles. An armour that works for me 99% of the time now after twenty years of utter chaos at the hands of this crippling mental illness.
It’s there. It always will be. And it’s not fun.
Do you have OCD or know of someone with it? Tell me about your experiences?
If you need support or prayer please comment below. We can help.