It’s been a long time since I’ve looked at my blog. I was amazed at the number of people that have come here looking for answers and I hope I have helped. Your response humbles me. Thank you so much.
I don’t think I’ve addressed what’s happened to me as an adult as a result of the abuse. So, I’ll start out. My taking of drugs to bury the pain began in my teens and went into my early twenties. As I left college and started working, I no longer took drugs. I threw myself into my job and just pushed my feelings down inside myself. I buried them again
It worked pretty well until I was in my mid 30’s when I began to experience OCD, Obsessive Compulsive disorder. It took over my life for 10 years. For those of you who haven’t experienced it, it is an awful way to live. My first symptoms were an extreme need to wash my hands to avoid contamination. I felt as if I would get a disease whenever I handled something that might have germs on it. Which is just about everything! It manifested itself when I had to open a door knob, so I used my clothes to open it for me. If I saw something red in color I imagined it to be blood and it scared me to death. Whenever the soap dropped in the shower I had to wash it off obsessively until I felt at ease that it was clean again. The private parts of my body had to be cleaned many times.I dreaded showers because they took so much time away from my life..
There were so many things I had to deal with as a result of OCD. Before I left home I had to triple check that the stove was off and that I hadn’t left the iron on. I had to lock and unlock the door three times before I was sure it was indeed locked. I was still afraid that my house was in danger so I had to circle the block three times and look at my house to make sure it was okay. Three was my number. Everyone who has OCD has a certain number of times they have to do something before their mind would be convinced that it was done. The hand washing hadn’t gone away. I washed my hands every day until they were red and raw. All the time I’m trying to hide all of these behaviors from everyone, including my husband. I thought I was going crazy and had no idea anyone else was going through these problems. I was still in the deep need to save all animals and insects, so I walked around ants and took any insect outside my house and back outdoors. When it rained and the worms came out of the ground I had to pick every one of them up I saw and put it in the grass so no one would step on it. I sometimes I saw people watching me doing this, even my school principal, and I felt humiliated. But that didn’t stop me, my compulsions were stronger than what people might think of me. I was living in a rural area where a lot of bird hunting took place. So many of the country people had packs of dogs they hunted with and some of them would get killed in the road. Every time I saw one, I had to stop and look at it to see if it was still alive. This was on my way in to teach school and I had to allow extra time for my trips.It was the same for any animal I saw on the side of the road I had to stop and see if I could save it.
I was in a constant state of anxiety. There are more behaviors I demonstrated, but I can’t remember them right now. Everyone who has OCD as different triggers for their behaviors. They may be different or the same as mine.
Finally, in 1990, I was watching television and saw a special on something called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It was like watching myself and I knew for the first time that this behavior had a name and other people were going through it too. I felt better, but it didn’t tell me how to stop the symptoms except to go to a doctor. Now you may think I would run to a doctor right away, but there were two problems. One was my overwhelming shame and the other is that I was seriously considering becoming a missionary and I knew OCD would prevent me from doing that. I suffered with it for five more years until I realized it had taken over my life for so long I had so choice, but to do something.
The doctor was very understanding. He was familiar with the condition and gave me medication to help.
I can’t begin to describe the next year. Little by little I saw all my OCD behaviors going away. It was like peeling an onion and the layers coming off. By the end of the year I was completely free of OCD and was free to live a normal life again.