A smiley little eight year old girl with golden blonde locks in pig-tails could be seen darting about in the summers evening sunshine with all her friends. Her eyes were so big and so blue, her massive smile lit her whole face causing her eyes to twinkle, her laughter, it was electrifying , her giggles infectious. She had many friends on the street in which she played and lived along with her Mother, Grandmother, Little brother and baby sister. She was truly loved by all, such a care free, happy child.
But once all the children had been called in for tea, bath and then bed, the Little girl could no longer hear the giggling happy voices of her wonderful friends, but that of her own thoughts, the ones she felt convinced would drive her insane.
At bedtimes she would pretend to sleep but wait anxiously for her mother to go to bed just so she could finally do what needed to be done. Her mother would sometimes stay up far to late, but more than not the little girl battled her bodies urge to sleep, It had to be done, or she would be punished, Yes, she would be punished by God.
Finally she would hear her mothers footsteps coming up the stairs, first she would go to the toilet, followed by the bathroom to wash her hands, face and brush her teeth, finally the bedroom door would click shut and the little girl would wait a few minutes allowing her mother time to fall into a peaceful sleep, then…..
On her little tip toes, and ever so quietly the little girl would creep down the very creaky old wooden stairs, first stop, ” The living room”
Right… Ashtrays first, next plugs and sockets. With her little fingers crossed she would count,” 123, 123, 123, quickly uncross her fingers, then crossing them again she counted 123, 123, 123! Six sets of 123 but if added together they made the number eighteen! She didn’t do it once or even twice but six times, six times for each and every plug socket in the living room, kitchen and hall way.
What in the hell was this little girl counting for, and in this strange way at such a ghastly hour?
Its like I’ve said, she was counting plug sockets! Is it that hard to understand?
Some items in the little girls house needed to remain plugged in, the freezer for one! This bothered the Little girl she needed to sleep, how could she sleep knowing the freezer was left plugged in? What if their was a fire? It would be all her fault! Ignoring the urge and the thoughts that bombarded her head she sneaked back up to her bed. “Did I check that the gas rings on the cooker where turned off ?” she asked herself! She knew her Grandmother always made sure she turned the cooker off and she was almost certain she had checked it and counted it just as she had with all the plugs and plug sockets and that of the ashtrays. What if she was wrong and the cooker blow the house to pieces! It would be all her fault she would kill her family! It was far to much for an eight year old to deal with so for the second time that night she quietly made her way back down the stairs but didn’t just check the cooker, she rechecked everything in the same way she had before.
Some nights the little girl did this some eight times or more. Sometimes she woke her mother or was unable to face the fight with that of her own mind so she would unplug the freezer, much to her mothers horror!
When that little eight year old girl crawled back into bed so tired she could hardly keep her little eyelids open she would force herself to pray to god, asking that he kept a long list of family and friends safe! To end her prayer she crossed her little fingers and counted in the same way she always did. Yes, sometimes the little girl did this six times, other times she thankfully feel asleep on the first attempt (Thank goodness).
This all started when the little girl was just seven years old, when she first see the TV advert,”Wake up get a smoke alarm!” She had the images of that brown Leather Chesterfield sofa turning into an inferno of black smoke and bight red flames when the cigaret fell from the ashtray! She had the images permanently imprinted in her mind. How could she ever forget what she had seen fore the little girl was sat on that very same sofa!
It was just an advert on the TV right! But that Sofa was the same design, even the same colour… Did that mean the same thing would happen!
Life went on quite normally around her. Days, months and years passed in a haze and when that Little girl was ten years old her world changed for ever.
“Where’s mum and Rachel” asked the little girl when she found herself at her mothers friends house alongside her little brother. Rachel her little sister was now two and a half. She hadn’t been well lately and that worried the Little girl. She was told her mother would be back soon, but she had a horrible feeling. Then sat on the stairs she heard her mummy’s friend crying, she was on the floor crying.
Some days later the little girls mummy told her that her baby sister would need to stay at the hospital as she was quite sick. No one said how sick! Yet neighbours and friends knocked on her door and brought flowers, people visited and hugged mummy as she cried. I’m sorry was the words she always heard. Her daddy who just stayed over at weekends seemed to be staying more often, everything was suddenly different and confusing.
But the Little girl wasn’t stupid! This Little girl was wiser than most ten year olds, she knew this was bad.
Her mother wasn’t at home much anyone and her grandmother and sometimes father looked after her. It felt like a life-time when finally her mother told her she could visit her little sister.
As she sat with her mother and brother she took in her mothers words, trying to make sense of it all! “Rachel’s very sick and because she’s very sick she has been given special medicine to make her better. The medicine is very strong and this makes some peoples hair fall out.” Her mother struggled to get her words out… The little girl asked, “Mum, has Rachel had the medicine, has Rachel got no hair?” The mother who was trying so hard to hold back her tears, shook her head, “No, she doesn’t Claire”
That’s right, the little girl was me! My baby sister had cancer (Leukaemia, known as cancer of the blood) and my mother was the bravest mother in the world.
I remember looking at the little toddler playing in the hospital cot in a side room at the hospital, I remember the look of fear in my mothers eyes every-time the doctors came to speak with her, my father stood at the window weeping, the sounds of her screams with the needles and injections that she soon become accustomed to!
I had OCD, through at the time it had no name, it was just normality to me!
I was ashamed and hid this somewhat oddness that was now a massive part of my life and would be for some year to come.
When my sister became ill my own life was turned upside down forever! We were not a religious family yet I’d prayed for the safety off those I loved since I was seven years old. I had tried to protect them but I must have failed. Only now a woman with my own children, I know it was at this time I took my OCD to a whole new level.
This story can’t be told in one post so I have decided to tell it in two maybe three parts. My reasons for sharing this is to give you an insight into the real me. We all know I’m a mother of three, one with a diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome, but I want to show that although I’m not on the spectrum there are many demons that my son faces and I not so strangely can relate too. I’ve had my own difficulties held against me by Little man’s old school… Many tried to question my own past health issues for those behind my sons. But I’m not ashamed of the child I was and the mother I am today. I just want to show that with in this story. Please if you have enjoyed part one then look out for part two to find out what happens next.