OCD after Trauma

This morning I cried because the glasses in the cupboard weren’t lined up in the right order. I  hide myself away and cry every time someone asks me what I’m doing to try and overcome how I feel about the kitchen cupboards or the pegs on my washing line or the way I tuck the duvet in when I make the bed or how my kids toys are tidied away and I want to scream at them that I don’t want to overcome anything I just want them to keep their hands and their opinions out of my cupboards.

I have trauma things happened to me that were depraved and inhumane and if I need things to be organised correctly to feel like I have some measure of control in my ever spiralling life just let me.

I have had my basic human rights violated over and over again for years on end I’ve been stripped of the right to make my own decisions or say what happens to my body and you might not ever lay a finger on me but your judgment feels just the same.

I don’t need to be your version of normal I need to be my version of surviving.

This space I’m in, It might not be forever I’m not buying it I’m renting but right now it’s the only thing I have that feels like home and I know when you try to dismantle it even with your good intentions it’s because in your mind you want me to be free but I don’t feel free I feel homeless. I don’t feel safe, I feel lost and cold and scared and alone, so the next time you meet someone like me please can you remember that you being uncomfortable with where they live doesn’t make it your job to move them.

If you take only one thing away from this post let it be the understanding that every time you judge someone you are pouring salt into the wound that already broke their heart, I know its frustrating especially to watch someone you love struggle but they will find their way so much quicker if you can be gentle and instead of telling them how, start asking them what they need to feel safe.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychiatric disorder in which a person has difficulty recovering after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event, like war or sexual assault. With this disorder comes the presence of recurring symptoms, such as intrusive memories, flashbacks, nightmares, negative changes in thoughts, and persistent avoidance of trauma-related cues. Obsessive-compulsive disorder, on the other hand, is an anxiety disorder that occurs when a person gets trapped in a cycle of obsessions and compulsions. This disorder is marked by recurrent, intrusive thoughts or images, and intense urges to perform mental or behavioral rituals. 

The overlap between these two disorders lies in the symptoms of unwanted, intrusive memories or thoughts, repetitive behaviors designed to reduce distress, and avoidance of triggers that may cause these intrusive thoughts or memories to occur. The difference is that while the repetitive behaviors of OCD are performed to prevent an imagined threat from occurring, the repetitive behaviors of PTSD are done to avoid reexperiencing traumatic memories.

(Maulik K. Trivedi, M.D.)

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