So with OCD do you believe there is such a thing as good and bad days. Whilst sometimes I may not think so, I know that today I would be lying. Today was a bad day. A really bad day. Today we took our son to the park, and from the second I tried to lock the house I knew it wouldn’t end well, but I was determined to go. All I could think about was how contaminated I felt. From the dustbins I passed on the roadside, to the rubbish overflowing at the park trailing on the floor, to every person that passed us. I felt dirty, I was contaminated and it would make me sick, not only me but I was putting my husband and son at risk. Leaving the house felt dangerous, reckless and even though I was wearing a mask, had disposable gloves with me and alcohol gel it didn’t help. Nobody I saw was wearing a mask, people weren’t 2 meters apart and to me it all felt incredibly overwhelming and getting sick is a massive fear of mine. Today it felt like I would get sick, not that I might get sick.
My panic attack started as soon as my husband locked the door, I physically couldn’t do it, but seeing him lock it is just as bad. What if he hasn’t locked it properly? What if something bad happens because he hasn’t checked it the right amount of times? Somebody could break in, there could be a fire. I know realistically that he checked the door, (once) and that I completed my checks of all the plugs, gas taps, back door, tv and other electrical appliances but it didn’t feel right. On our walk to the park, We have to walk past dustbins which I have a real problem with. To me they feel brimming with contaminated objects and just being near them sends me in a tizzy. So I walked as far away from them as the path would allow, turning my head. That increased my anxiety more. By the time we got to the field I was having a full panic attack. Heart racing furiously, sweating, breathing heavy into hyperventilation, tensing my eyes so much it gave me a headache, and bad thoughts racing a mile a minute. I struggled to control by breathing, feeling like I couldn’t breath and the longer it lasted the worse it got. With every family that passed us my fear increased. What if they have coronovirus there not wearing masks. What if the germs make me sick, make my family sick. it will be my fault. I had a medallion in my pocket from when we went to disney last year. I started twirling it in sequences of 5 and then squeezing it, hard hoping this would help get my breathing under control. It makes no sense I know but often OCD doesn’t. After 20 minutes I was in intense panic, I shouted to my husband “we need to go, I cant breath,”
On the way back there were even more people and my mask was soaking for breathing heavy for so long. When we made it home I ran inside and washed my hands in the usual sequence, 10 times with soap, it helped a little but not enough. I was still panicking. I didn’t know how to calm myself. I messaged my friend Sophie and she called me immediately. She knows how to help calm me down, she kept telling me to breathe as I really was still hyperventilating and just allowing me to tell her what happened and how I was feeling helped. We just chatted and she distracted me long enough to help me gain control, reminding me every so often to breathe when she could see I wasn’t. With shaking hands I drank my hot chocolate and once I got off the phone with Sophie I laid in bed listening to a playlist of calming music I have. My head was pounding and I felt exhausted, my muscle aching and sore. I felt like I had run a marathon. All in all my panic attack lasted about an hour and even now 4 hours later I feel tired and wrung out, stretched to far and feeling like I never want to leave the relative safety of my home again. Today was a bad day. I feel bad that I paid no attention to my son at the park, I watched him but felt detached, too panicked to get involved. I struggle with this often and I always feel guilty for not being there for my son when he wants me. The guilt haunts me. Had it been just me and my son we wouldn’t have gone out, it was only with my husband there that I felt able to try. Today I failed. Maybe another day I will feel more able but for the rest of today I will curl up on the sofa, watch a cheesy movie and try not to ruminate too much. Hopefully my anxiety will calm.