A year since my first A&E visit

This day last year I was in A&E as a result of overdosing. That time I hadn’t taken enough tablets to be lethal, but I was still brought to the attention of the local psychiatry staff as a result.

I’ve gone a long way since then, with worse overdoses happening later in the year, and more than one admission to a psychiatric ward. I’m in a much better place than I was. Although my worries have evolved.

Since then I’ve gained weight, not that noticable visually, but definitely visible on the scales. That is what is irritating me today, and my mind briefly suggested another overdose to escape the problem.

My anxieties were heightened today, with a contamination becoming an almost unbearable load; I just left my flat and went to my parents to escape it. Later in the day (about 5 hours later) when I got back to my flat I was able to complete most of the decontamination to relieve the distress.

Today wasn’t fun, and had examples of almost every type of thought that could produce distress, except for nightmare scenarios in A&E or a ward. Fortunately I was able to dismiss them as insignificant. I am exhausted now however.

Contamination is my primary issue at the moment, with large amounts of cleaning materials being consumed. It would be great to obliterate it, but fighting it just makes it more traumatic, and causes my mood to crash. Calling myself “useless” or similar for it doesn’t help; it also provides an unwanted motive to self-harm.

As I’m writing this blog post it feels like I’m getting more and more disconnected from reality. Despite my fingers hitting the keys it doesn’t feel like I’m typing any more.

I suffer from tinnitus (persistent tone in my ears), and the noise has become really noticable right now; normally it’s background noise I filter out, but anxiety makes it get louder.

I’m safe, not about to hurt myself, and I’m going to finish the blog post with that.

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Waking up

I have to do this every single day. It’s usually the worst part of the day though, with the behaviours generated by having OCD.

Step 1: Leave my bed

Leave my bed. This is the easiest part, so long as I don’t touch anything.

My OCD splits all the environments in my flat into different contamination states. In the past being in bed didn’t count as having any contamination, although in the last year it’s evolved into being avoid a state all of its own.

Step 2: Breakfast

At this point I have two choices.

  • I can wash my hands twice so that I can touch my cupboards (estimated time 30 minutes)
  • I can use disposable gloves as a barrier between me and the things I touch (estimated time 30 seconds)

Now onto making and eating breakfast. Put my granola with milk in a bowl and eat it.

Because of the contamination level from the contact between my mouth, which hasn’t been cleaned yet and (in)directly on other items, the bowl, spoon and surface now require cleaning before I can use them later in the day.

I usually don’t clean them until later.

Step 3: Netflix

I know have to change gloves to ensure I don’t contaminate my phone from the breakfast items. I’ll break my phone from cleaning it later, it has happened to more than one phone.

This step is just while I work up the motivation to have a shower. Depending on what I’m doing later and how anxious I am this state could last between 5 minutes and 5 hours.

Step 5: Shower

Including disinfecting the bathroom floor,washing my hands, cleaning myself and brushing my teeth this part usually lasts about 2 hours.

After this the bathroom floor and any sinks I’ve used are now contaminated from whatever I’ve washed off. Exactly what that is and why it’s a big deal doesn’t matter. It just is.

Step 6: Flat cleaning

This bit just eliminates any contamination created on any surfaces or sinks by the previous steps. It means that for the rest of the day I don’t need to worry about contamination as touching the items will no longer feel contaminating.

Done

I’m ready to start the day now.

If that seems tedious and and excessive, that’s because it is. With OCD I’m aware of the irrationality of what I’m doing, but I have no real means to control it.

This is my start of the day, every day. On the plus side, for today, I don’t want to hurt myself.