Yesterday was the best day in my life for OVER EIGHT YEARS. Yesterday was the best day in my life since the OCD began to truly cripple every essence of my life. Yesterday was the best I have felt in years.
You want to know why?? It is because I well and truly stood up to my OCD. The debilitating OCD that has robbed me of the last EIGHT YEARS of my life. Lets be honest, I didn’t really had much of a life during this period. I woke up scared of contamination, I got through the day feeling scared of contamination and went to bed fearing contamination. It wasn’t really a life it was just an existence.
Yesterday I went to meet one of my best friends Ruth, for a day out, a person who I love like a little sister. I do love her deeply and she means the world to me. I cannot thank her enough for yesterday. She helped make yesterday be so special. We reconnected beautifully after all those years apart and in the process she was holding my metaphorical hand as I faced my OCD fears. I could not have asked for a better companion as I faced my contamination demons, I could not ask for a better friend!
Go back just before Christmas of last year and Ruth and I were chatting over on Facebook. We were wishing each other a happy time over the festive period when meeting up in 2018 came up. At first, it seemed like a wonderful but unrealistic dream at the time, or at least one that we wouldn’t be doing til very late on in the new year. Then I thought about it some more seeing that my OCD had been really improving over the last twelve months, before I knew it I had agreed to meet up with her on February 12th in Manchester. I was excited but scared, apprehensive but hopeful, petrified but so longed to see her once again.
I know I have to keep pushing forwards with my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder recovery bit-by-bit and so in order to help me with this, I need motivation. Motivation has always been the key thing with me when doing new exposures. Meeting up with Ruth would involve me having to sit down on a tram for the FIRST TIME IN OVER EIGHT YEARS. The day would also involve us going for a bite to eat somewhere, which would mean me sitting down on an unfamiliar chair at an unfamiliar table. There could be contamination triggers everywhere but I so desperately wanted to see Ruth again after all these years apart that she was my carrot so-to-speak. If the day went well then it would be MASSIVE in terms of my recovery.
Yesterday was the day to fight my OCD fears then as it was the day I met up with Ruth. Straight away upon waking up, the weather threw a spanner-in-the-works as Manchester was covered in snow. I feared my big day was going to have to be rearranged after all the big build up. I was deflated to be honest, I was waiting to hear from Ruth that she couldn’t make the trip over from Yorkshire because she was snowed in. That disappointing text never came though. In fact at 9.30am, I got that great text to say she was on her way.
Due to my contamination OCD I thus now have a fear of getting into taxis. The plan was to get the tram into Manchester to meet Ruth at the train station. What with me running late and the snow seemingly still everywhere, I was sought of boxed into a corner and reluctantly agreed that I would have to get a taxi into town. This was one hurdle I had not prepared for but maybe that was a blessing. Straight away I was thrown in at the deep end in terms of my OCD, but I was that mithered about not being late that I knew I had to face my taxi fear.
BOOM, I faced my taxi fear head-on and coped brilliantly. I just needed the rest of the day to go as swimmingly well as that had. Minutes later I met up with Ruth and the day could not have gone anymore perfectly than it did. It was sooooooooooo good to see her after TEN YEARS apart, ten years that I felt so guilty about. It just felt so natural being in Ruth’s presence, it was like we were back in Liverpool studying at Uni together once again.
I decided that central Manchester might be too much for me at this stage, so I thought we could have a trip out to Media City. By this I mean going to the Lowry Outlet for lunch, then going on to the art gallery in the afternoon. The sun was out, the place wasn’t too busy and the company was brilliant. We had to get a tram there and back, and so I’m overjoyed to say that for the FIRST TIME IN OVER EIGHT YEARS I forced myself to sit down on one. I was scared but I had Ruth besides me so I had to act like it was no big deal. I came, I conquered and I achieved!
The comedy of the day came when we kept getting mistaken for a Valentine’s Day couple. As soon as we got to the Lowry Outlet we were having our photo taken by some couple and being presented with heart shaped lollies. Ruth bless her was waving her wedding ring finger at them, only to realise she then had her gloves on ha ha, trust me it was funny. In her broad Yorkshire tones she later corrected our waiter that, ”nooooooooooo, we’re just good friends.” That leads me on to the daunting restaurant bit.
Straight after that nasty incident at my old doctors over eight years ago, I completely withdrew from life and refused to go to any bars or restaurants(due to fear of contamination). Therefore, having lunch with Ruth in a unfamiliar restaurant/cafe was going to be a real test for me. I was scared but at the same time I knew I had to face my MR IRRATIONAL side of me square on. I’m pleased to say that the meal was a big success. I think it helped that we had so much to talk about that I couldn’t just sit there examining the furniture for possible dodgy stains.
In the afternoon we went to the Lowry Centre(art gallery) and again I was scared of possible contamination BUT AGAIN I FOUGHT IT AND DIDN’T LET THE MR IRRATIONAL SIDE OF ME WIN. It was a really lovely way to spend the afternoon. Great company, a bit of culture, and me sticking two fingers up at the OCD all the time we were there.
On the way back to Piccadilly train station I SAT DOWN on the tram AGAIN. I got really emotional at one point because I had enjoyed myself so much. I wanted everyday to be like that, it was so lovely seeing a glimpse of the old Andy. It didn’t for one second feel awkward being with Ruth, after being apart for all those years. The lovely connection was still there between us and it just felt so right. She is one amazing human being and I feel lucky to know her(she doubtless feels the same way about me #modesty hahahaha).
I got home at around 5.30pm, and once I realised my clothes didn’t smell of anything nasty, I punched in air in jubilation. I had happy tears in my eyes as I told my mum what I had just achieved with regards to the OCD. I HAD F-ING, F-ING, F-ING DONE IT!
The day going without a hitch just gives me so confidence going forwards now. Ruth, if you read this blog, I’ll be eternally grateful for yesterday. It was fantastic seeing you and we will do it again very soon…… I PROMISE. Next on the hit list is maybe joining a gym. I am also thinking about doing some adult learning courses because I need to start building up my CV.
I just wanted to socially document my brilliant day yesterday by writing a blog about it. Yes, I was scared BUT I didn’t let my OCD demons win. YESTERDAY I HAD A MASSIVE OCD BREAKTHROUGH, THANK YOU RUTH!