..I’ll seize the opportunity to say a bit about what it’s like to be in the grip of severe OCD.
I believe it to be a mixture of nurture and nature – my lovely GP in Brentford and I used to muse about this. I suggested there might be some religious imput somewhere (blaming my Catholic upbringing and the mixture of guilt and ritual involved). At it’s very worst my life was dominated by the fear of harming other people or by allowing them to be harmed because I wasn’t vigilent enough. What if burglars got into the house,or the house burned down because I hadn’t been careful and checked the gas taps, electric plugs or door locks ? And even if I did that, how could I be sure that they really were off,out and locked ? Staring really hard at a gas tap and getting stuck there,being unable to move because it doesn’t feel right and even imagining that the gas can be turned on by some unwanted malignant force of my mind is a horrible thing.
Hand washing repeatedly until it feels ‘right’ is a similar nightmare. There is a tiny feeling of relief,always swiftly followed by a huge cloud of self doubt and the whole task has to be repeated. The really awful thing is that the rational part of your brain tells you that it’s is ridiculous – I think this awareness makes it even harder – the sheer waste of time and energy spent trying to complete tasks that most people barely think twice about.