Checking – another OCD thing- another way of making sure everything and everyone is safe. Getting out of the house in the morning was a hellish thing- so much to check- plugs out, windows and back door locked, gas taps off – anything that could be considered dangerous has to be checked and then rechecked. An awful lot of staring at things to make sure they are really locked or switched off. As soon as you think they are ok the doubt creeps in and the urge to go back is overwhelming. Getting out of the house is a real triumph but at such a cost.
Same thing at night – in a way that is even more crucial as people are in the house. Being asleep was the only peaceful time I seemed to have and waking up was filled with the awful realisation that I had to get up, do all the washing rituals (showers took an age) and get myself out of the house. In all truthfulness,I longed just to go to sleep and never wake up it felt so bad.
I stayed at the Cassell Hospital for a year. I managed to avoid really challenging my behaviour as it was quite easy to slip through unnoticed -to wash and bathe as usual. By the end of the year I was given a leaving date and found myself back in the real world. I had pulled myself out of the very severe OCD and things were manageable and life carried on. In the next few years I found myself illustrating and working part-time as a bookseller in the newly built Waterstone’s in Richmond – this was a brilliant time in my life -new friends and a job which I really loved.