Tag Archives: OCD

#HAWMC Day 28 – Why did you do it?

2 May

As I continue on my mission to catch up and complete these last few posts in the “Health Activist Writers Month Challenge” (#HAWMC) I bring you post 28/30

The smell of heated milk and burnt toast isn’t a pleasant aroma, sadly it’s one that will never be forgotten.

I do hate hot milk, I often wonder why anybody would want to pour the stinky stuff over a bowl of cornflakes?

Now, Cornflakes with cold milk… It fits, some things just fit!

Well, it seems that most would beg to differ as on this particular morning the horrid smell whiffed through the air, unfortunately waking me from a somewhat restful sleep!

Sitting up I looked around in a somewhat confused state. “Where am I?” was my first thought, shortly followed by my second thought… “What the hell is that awful smell? Oh my god I’m going to be sick”

I was an 11 year old child who swore that it was that nasty aroma of milk and burnt rubber toast that was to blame for her sudden sickness (some 19 years later I still believe it to be so). However, the doctor with the serious expression upon his face, that stood beside me was quite adamant that the lethal cocktail of prescription drugs I’d willing subjected on my young body, or maybe even the actions needed to remove them was possibly to blame!

Yes, as you may have guessed already, I’m in hospital, a bed in a side room of a colourful children’s ward, walls sporting an aray of children’s drawings and a playroom that was never open!

Looking down at my bruised, tender hand that is connected to a Intravenous line full of saline solution, I shudder at the sight of it, thankful that I have no memory of how it got there!

My mind is a foggy haze, doctors and nurses come and go, reading notes and taking vitals. Each smile but say nothing… Me… I’m to afraid to ask!

As the day commences, a flash of memories greet me, waiting for my mother I feel the need to hide or just run away. “Why did I do such a silly thing?” was something I repeatedly asked myself over and over again… each time I produce the same answer… “I don’t know!”

A moment of madness, an escape, a cry for help, a way to take it all away maybe?

I couldn’t look my mother in the eyes, her face was full of sadness possibly disappointment too, while mine was full of shame.

They wouldn’t let me leave the hospital despite my constant pleads to go home. I had to see a psychologist before it would even be considered.

The psychologist was the very first person (excluding that of myself) who asked me… “why did you do it?”
I’d successfully avoid the question the entire day, I stared blankly into space, lowering my head a tear leaves my eye roles down my cheek before finally dripping from my chin falling to the ground like some leaky tap that needs fixing. Scared they would lock me away I open my mouth yet no words come out. Looking up at his face and into his eyes I wonder what it is that he is thinking.

“I dont know” I suddenly mutter

Silence… Then…

“Well, Do you wish to die” he asked

I quickly shake my head a little uncomfortable with the question.

“No I don’t”

More silence… Before finally covering my face with my hands I let it all out. Once I no longer needed to see that look of sympathy in his eyes I just couldn’t stop speaking!

Rising up from his chair he leant over and removed my hands from across my eyes.

“It’s OK” he soothed… “Everything is going to be fine”

Post 28/30 in the health activist writers month challenge was to raise awareness for Child mental health (OCD and Bulimia)

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Photo credit Wikipedia

#HAWMC Day 7 – The faces of shame

8 Apr

Pretty & slim I know she was, looking back I now remember! But the mirror didn’t lie, why would it?

No longer able to cope with the disgust that stared back at her she began to run, though not physically but mentally she ran!

Food the root of all evil, yet her only control, it’s predicability she feed from, the shame she hid from!

Trapped in a maze, unable to escape the high walls that surround her, she’s falls at each hurdle.

Tomorrow would be better was something she often told herself! it was her mind, she had control of it, it didn’t control her…. Or so she thought.

Deep down did she understand the dangers as her hair fell all around her, her beautiful white teeth crumbled like chalk as her young innocent body cried out to be feed?

I think that yes she did but somehow it failed to stop her. To far she had come, to now let her efforts go to waste and fail again!

Fighting her own mind, her inner voice won every time. The defeat taken badly… The battle never ending, inside she was dying a little more everyday!

To stop would now be a danger, seriously, it meant the lose of control and for that she’d be punished the worse way how! Her family would suffer, quite possibly die around her, how selfish that would make her!

Counting and checking dominating her young life almost as much as food, combined this lead to a somewhat complex way of life. One consumed with shame all at her own blame!

Laid in a hospital bed the mid-days sun shone through the cracks of the curtain, slightly lightening a darken room. Closing her eyes she failed to escape the faces of shame, fuck, it had all gone so wrong… It wasn’t meant to be this way!

This post is 7/30 in the daily #HAWMC set by Wego Health. The freestyle challenge is to raise awareness of child mental health, eating disorders and OCD.

Just a little girl (part 2)

23 Aug

Just a little girl (part 2)

This is a follow on from the post, ‘Just a little girl (part one)’

OCD was now a big part of my life. I can only describe it as a nomality.

As a ten year old child I found it far to powerful to battle. In many ways it made me who I was a paranoid little girl.

Though the fear of fire still gripped me, I now had a far greater fear, “Death” No one told me that the cancer within my little sisters body had the power to take her life! I just kind of knew! This petrified me and practically sent my OCD into overkill!

I never took chances, I couldn’t afford to miss a nightly prayer! I forced myself to continue with the rituals, over and over again.

Looking back, I can see why my, “Odd” behaviour wasn’t picked up by my family. Life was manic which in many ways made the OCD easier for me to hide! Yes, though OCD was a big part of my life, I still knew, deep within, that my behaviour wasn’t the, “Norm”! OCD may well have been a nomality to me, but it wasn’t for everyone else, it was, “strange, weird, odd, carzy and a little bit loopy” Did I see myself as a crazy child? Yes, I guess I did!

This was nineteen years ago, I didn’t have google to turn to. As far as I was concerned, their were no others like me. This fact a lone made it far harder to even comprehend telling anyone, so at this point nobody knew, (and if they did, they never said so)!

There was no discerment, I didn’t know why I made myself carry out what I knew deep down to be pointless actions. Yet, the OCD just obscured any practical thinking this ten year old had, leaving me relentless to it’s powers.

Despite my OCD and my sisters illeness, my childhood was a happy one. I loved that I lived with both my mother and grandmother. I remain close to my father despite him not living at home with us.

The years that my sister was seriously I’ll must have been the hardest and most tiresome in my mothers life. My mother had always worked & continues to this very day. Rachel was so sick my mother was forced to take leave. She was now frightened to leave her daughters bedside. Rachel’s care was now shared between three different hospitals, ‘Lewisham’ (our local hospital) ‘Great Ormond St’ (the London based hospital for very sick children) & ‘Barts’ (another London based hospital with a specialised Cancer unit). My mother didn’t know if she was coming or going.

Only now as a mother do I fully appreciate just how difficult a time this must have been for her.

I remember all to well the effects, ‘Leukemia’ had on my sister, who was nothing but a toddler when it struck. I was visiting her at, ‘Great Ormond St’ once, when she throw up all over me, resulting in me needing to go home wearing an operating gown, (which clearly displayed my underwear at the back)! Lucky for me, we wasn’t using public transport, (as we usually would)! My uncle was with us, meaning we would be going home in the car.

Another strong memory I have is my sisters, “sudden” hair loss. I remember this baby with beautiful, thick, floppy, White blonde hair. What seemed like over night, it was all gone leaving her with nothing but a completely bald head.

Children at school would say the most nasty things, like, “Hows your little brother?” I would often fall for it, replying, “His fine, thank you” only to be laughed at and told, “Not that brother, your little bald one”

I look back now and see that, “yes, they were just silly little kids who didn’t understand, but at the time, I just wanted to hit out at each and everyone of them!”

I do remember one particular occassion, my sister was allowed home for a few days (very rare) I danced with her in my mothers rooms. She was dressed in nothing but a nappy. It was a very warm summers day and I could her the children playing outside. I had no desire to join them, I just wanted to be with my sister. As we danced I told her I loved her, in my head I was praying for her not to die! That’s one of my strongest childhood memories.

As if our family hadn’t had enough bad news, things were about to get worse. Not long after my sisters diagnosis, my first cousin on my fathers side of the family, was hit with the very same cancer! I can’t remember how old she was, older than Rachel, just a few years younger than myself I think! This means she was 7 or 8 years old at the time. Can you begin to imagine, both my father and his sister were parents of two very sick little girls, battling leukemia. I will never forget my mother shouting at my father, “But they told us it didn’t run in families!” You have to agree, this seems like more than a coincidence, it was almost as if God had it in for us.

Well, I’m pleased to report that both my sister and cousin are now healthy young women, both each with a beautiful daughter of their own. Both fought the scary C word we all fear, both came out the otherside.

By the age of 12 and fast approaching a, “Teen” things started to go a little bonkers for me. I started secondary school, took up smoking and was fast becoming a rebel. The nights remained as bad as ever, so during the day I just wanted to enjoy myself, have some fun. For the first time in my life I noticed makeup and boys. I watched when the, “popular girls” applied their makeup, tied their ties shorter, while rolling up their skirts. This was what I was becoming! The toilets become my regular hangout, where I would smoke my way through lessons.

It was during this time, that I started to pay attention to what I ate. So much talk amongst the girls involved the topic of, “Diets”

Looking back now, this scares the hell out of me. Yes, I don’t want my own daughter who is eight to worry about her weight at this crazy age. As 12 year olds, we were far to young to take on such issues! Yet here we are in a day and age where girls as young as 7 (maybe younger) have been known to have body hang ups. This is something that causes me great sadness!

Me, I was a stick, (so to speak). I was a healthy child, a girl who could eat what she wanted yet remained naturally silm. Some of the girls, who I wanted to mix with, the ones I were convinced were the, “In crowd” openly discussed how they made themsleves throw up after dinner, how it was a win, win situation, you could eat what you wanted and remain silm… For fuck sakes, we were just 12 years old! By the time I was almost 13 I was doing this regularly. This was despite the fact I knew I was thin, I didn’t even think I was fat! Yet, it was now more then a habbit, almost an addition. Worse, Bulimia now mixed in with the OCD resulted in an explosive combination. Combined, the OCD now controlled the Bulimia. Life was about to hit an all time low.

The last part of my story will follow soon. Just a little girl (part three) will be the final post which concludes my story. Please return to find out the ending.

Note the story has been written to raise awareness of some of these issues, why highlight why I have an understanding of some of Little mans difficulties. Although I don’t have Aspergers, I do relate to his OCD behaviours and is over anxiety.

Just a Little girl (part one)

4 Aug

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.  

All burnt-out!!

12 Jan

So with no school little mans sleep routine has gone bonkers. It’s gotton so bad that were lucky if he sleeps at all during the night… But here’s the problem… His sleeping throughout the day! I’ve tried my damn hardest to keep him awake during the day in-order for him to be tired by the time evening comes back a round. But it’s just not happening! If he is tired and wants to sleep in the day then trying to stop this is a risky operation Abuse and meltdowns are likely as a result. He will often sit swearing while crying (swearing normally directed at me) this means his getting zero work done, as trying to home school a child who’s been up the entire night Is a challenging job for any. But with the baby needing constant attention it’s even harder to conquer.

Well the good news is little man should be working with a tutor hopefully at the local libary ( I can’t see it working out at home, to many distractions) The tuition is for 5 hours a day 5 days a week. So that’s a total of 25 hours which Isn’t a full time education but it’s better then the nothing his receiving at present. I will at least be able to get things done that need doing without the constant worry of having to drag him from his Pitt encourage him to dress in-order to come with me when I need to put some food in the cupboards “Its not great making your ten year old aspie follow you round the supermarket when his howling abuse and throwing himself into the boxes of cocopops because he hasn’t slept the night before and anything and everything is a potential trigger” So for most of this week I’ve just left him to it, if his gonna sleep the day away so be it! He won’t have that choice for much longer! My god his going to be a zombie… I can just see it!

Melatonin is something I’m fast giving up on. It is having little if not any effect on him whatsoever.
Maybe another visit to the doctors is in order! Though I hate the thought of strong meds, I just don’t think we can do this anymore!!

When little man was four years old I once woke to find him cooking some bacon at 4am. “Remember that this is a four year old boy I’m referring to” I swear it was the smell that rose me from my bed. I half sleepingly staggered down the stairs thinking it must be his father who was over for the weekend. I walked into the kicthen… “Bacon Mum?”
The sight that greeted me took me from a half dazed and confused woman to a fully wide awake screaming mother!! He looked at me as to say “what’s the big deal here, it’s just a bit of bacon”

You see I grew up as a child suffering from bad OCD. I concealed it for so long it finally drove me insane and age 12 I ended up in hospital.
I had a loving family and great homelife… But deep in the background, buried in my head was the horrid monster that was OCD. I dealt with it alone for five long years without ever telling a soul and as a child this was a lot to contend with. The OCD first reared it’s ugly head when I was just 7 and it all stemmed from anxiety brought on by the fear I had developed of fire. It was the wake up get a smoke alarm ad on the tellvision that kicked it all off. The advertisment showed a lit cigarette fall from the ashtry onto a brown leather Chesterfield sofa that happen to be the exact model we currently had in our home. I checked my mother’s ashtrays filling them with water to ensure nothing was alight. I counted plug sockets to ensure they were switched off. I couldn’t reason with my own mind… It was ludicrous I know! But your powerless to control the urge. I would end up rechecking 8 times plus a night… So to see my little 4 year old grilling a bit of bacon and the prospect of what could have happened shook me to the core. For a whole year after that episode I found myself counting and checking once more… Like so many times before!

Being a parent naturally means you worry more about the things that could put your children in the danger zone, however I constantly worried to the point I was driving myself la-la!!!

My point is little mans fearlessness became my fear! Inevitable Little mans sleeping problems became my sleeping problems too. He never slept because he didn’t have the natural ability to shut himself off from the world, from his thoughts and interest… I didn’t sleep because I needed to watch my child and ensure his safety along side everyone elses. This had became the norm and continues to be for the forseeable further.

In late 2008 little man started on melatonin, at first it seemed to be working. Ok he still may not sleep till 1-2 am but when your child is able to stay wide eyed for a whole 24 to 48hrs hours at a time you appreciate this huge improvement. I’ve always said 4-5 hours sleep a night is a hell of a lot for my little man. Problem was I had become so used to having to be a night owl that I now had trouble adjusting to this new routine, I would often become overfatigue which isn’t a great place to be! You see once I finally manage to revolve my sleep routine around that off little mans it suddenly changes again and were back to square one.

As a parent of a child with extremely bad sleeping habits there are times I fall to pieces. However I consider myself to be some what a pro by now… Though It’s not easy holding yourself together, trying to stop yourself crying for the most silliest of reasons… There are days I’m a walking emotional wreck and other days a ticking time bomb. I’ve fallen asleep standing up and I swear I once fell asleep walking! I remember when I had my youngest child in December 2009… I would only have to yawn and the stranger next to me would say, “aww is the little darling keeping you up all night” as they glance over into the babys pram. Sometimes I smiled and nodded, other times I’d reply, “No his fine, it’s my 10 year old that keeps me up through out the night!”
The look of pure horror slapped across their faces. Many would preachify & instantly assume it was down to disobedience! I would be offered the ignorant suggestions as if they somehow knew my child,”Take the TV/Games console out off his room” Or even,”Shut his bedroom door and refuse to let him out” Some would refer to him as some kind of rebel out to make his mothers life hell!
If having a child with Aspergers has taught me one thing… It’s not to generalise… As we are all guilty of having done so at some point of our lives!!

My child is a child who walks around beeping and repeating bus destinations… He don’t care if I take his TV away or romove the xbox from his room. I can’t take away his thoughts… I can’t shut those out. If I could remove his thoughts just for the duration of night in order for my little man to catch some zzzz I would! But sadly that isn’t an option.

Some people will never really understand what it’s like to have a child that suffers with insomnia… the way it impacts on the parents and the child… on ones ability to function throughout the day… Those of us that do it everyday learn to adapt and somehow survive and go on having had such little sleep, if anything we get good at it. I’m told some people are designed to need less sleep then others… I suppose that’s the way my little man is designed to be… And though I wasn’t born to be this way, I learnt to be, because I had too!

I’m not under any illusions that there is a magic potion… But I hope that god is on our side and one day this issue will at least ease!

But the one thing I wish for more… is better understanding… When your child is late for school there is no eyebrows raised when You state your child has been awake thoughout the night. That everyone involved in your childs life understands or at least trys to understand the seriousness and significant impact the issue has on the whole family… To speculate and blame is never going to help… No parent needs criticism but understanding

Well… I write this with half open eyes but given it’s not even 9 pm the night is still exceedingly young for me! So for now I wish you all good night and hope that you all get some beautiful shut eye 🙂
Below is an example of my mood as a result of a sleepless night.

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