My True Story #No50

" I have learnt that recovery is a journey, not a destination and is different for everyone..."

"Hello! I’m Shauna. I’m 19 years old and have suffered with Pure O-OCD and agoraphobia since spring 2016. Pure O is not very well known hence why I am telling my story.

It is OCD and is based around obsessions that are intrusive thoughts then rather than physical compulsions, compulsions are mostly mental and invisible. Sometimes it can just be obsessions and no compulsions at all. It feels like hell but inside of your head, like a mental prison and you're the victim.

I suffer from violent or sexual thoughts of family, friends, children or random people. I also think of random things, words or memories for no actual reason. Everything is intrusive and out of my control. These thoughts can come in pictures, words or sentences. Sometimes they don’t even make sense.

My brain tries to adjust words or sentences to make it a better thought so I can feel relief. I often find myself spiralling and overthinking a thought/thoughts for ages, sometimes it can be 5 minutes to 8 hours+. I constantly need reassurance from my boyfriend who is the only person who understands it or Google so I can find answers or feel relief to my thoughts.

I ask if I'm a bad person or deserve to be locked up etc.

I also avoid going places that will trigger my thoughts. It ruins my ability to function correctly and perform simple tasks. Most people don't understand the secret of pure O OCD and I get called lazy because most days I can't even leave the house due to fear of anxiety and panic, my bedroom is my safe place.

OCD convinces me that I'm a bad, horrible person who deserves to be locked up and who doesn't deserve anything good in life because of these thoughts.

I have been on SSRIs for around 3 months, I am currently on a waiting list for free NHS therapy. I am a college student so private therapy is expensive however I am paying privately for help with an OCD expert at the moment with my savings because I couldn't live with the pain any longer.

I started to recieve private ERP therapy since the start of August 2019 and it has changed my life drastically and I see so many improvements.

From being afraid to leave my bedroom just to have a wash to now going out multiple times a week, it feels SO amazing!

I still battle with OCD everyday but I am learning to work with my fears rather than against them. I am not recovered but I am in recovery.

I have learnt that recovery is a journey, not a destination and is different for everyone. It's important never to compare yourself to someone else's journey. You feel like you want to end it all, remember that you’re just like a caterpillar in their cocoon stage. You’re waiting to bloom.

Healing wounds takes time. A seed planted into a beautiful flower, plant or tree takes time. Everybody’s journey is different and healing doesn’t have a deadline.

The problems I face are that I feel like a burden to everything and everyone around me. The worst thing is that you can't tell anyone because they think that you're insane and would make your pain worse.

I have opened up about my story to change the stigma around OCD, that it isn't just a cleaning adjective. It NEEDS to be taken seriously so there are less people who are ashamed to speak up about their thoughts and get help. I'm doing much better with therapy but I don't know if I'll ever fully recover, however I'm taking one day at a time and I have hope which I never had before. Don't give up, let's break the stigma of OCD that it isn't just cleaning and not all compulsions are visible. I want to educate people about Pure O, what I see as the hidden side of OCD. People with mental health issues aren't lazy!

We are fighting a war in our heads every single day. We just want a little bit of support to help us through."

True story told by Shauna @livelifewithocd

If you have been affected by Shauna's story, you can find help here.

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