I suffer from what can only be termed as highly traumatic ocd. I don't wish to belittle, or make light, of other peoples' ocd but my affliction can cost me my life. It all started when I was 16 years old. Opening a kitchen drawer I noticed those sardine tin openers that used to come attached to the tin themselves, many years ago. All of a sudden, for the first time in my life, I had a sudden unquenchable thirst to insert them into a powerpoint. I had, and still don't, no idea why this urge had overcome me and it terrified me.
Whist my parents were at work I would conduct these 'experiments' in order to fulfil my urge. I would insert a tin opener into the active port of a power point, whilst touching the mettalic opener and nothing happened. Removing the opener, I then inserted it into the neutral port and nothing happened. I then removed it and stuck it back into the active port and inserted a second opener into the neutral port. Touching them simultaneously and nothing happened. It was a huge relief. Never did I attempt to simultaneously insert openers into both the active and neutral ports, for I knew this would've meant electrocution and ensuing death. It didn't stop here. One time I removed a fuse, from those ancient fuse boxes, and completed the circuit with my fingers. I could feel the current slowly reverberating up my arm and I let go. Ritualistically. I had to do it again. I felt the current traverse further up my arm. I knew I had to let go prior to the voltage reaching my chest area. I felt it would've caused cardiac arrest. Needless to say I had a sore arm for weeks.
Many years later, whilst feeding my fish (in the fish tank) the sudden urge to dunk the fluorescent light, above the tank, and its electrical charge into the water overcame me. I did it and nothing happened!! The fish kept on swimming about unphased. Another three years passed until I opened up to a friend about my condition. Regrettably, he informed me that the current had nowhere to go, since it wasn't earthed. This sent my mind into overdrive. I've avoided the fish tank, for now.
But this 'earthing' concept got the better of me in the last few weeks. After that talk with my friend, and later that same night, I felt the urge to stick a pair of scissors into the active port of the power point in the laundry whilst touching the stainless steel sink. To my horror, I felt the current in the hand on the sink. In the days following all sorts of anxieties riddled my mind. What if I filled the sink with water? What if I were barefooted? What if I touched the copper (highly conductive) piping of my hot water system? Would the shock be of greater intensity? Would I die? This compulsion, I have now, been fighting for weeks.
My ocd has also infiltrated other aspects of my life, such as self-sabotaging of relationships. It's also entailed other forms of self-harm. When a teenager I attempted to gouge my eyes out, seeing how hard I can bang my head against the wall, trying to bite out chunks out of my lips, cheeks and tongue. There are too many aspects too numerous to mention.
The central themes underlying my condition is that (a) it's not, until as of late, 24/7; it comes and goes in waves (b) it can be triggered at any time (c) It fills me with angst and is all-thought consuming (d) there appears to be no relief until I give in to its urges. I can try to rationalise the predicament and some days are better than others but always feel, when in the grip of it, that it's always 'unfinished business'. I love life and have no urge to end it but , I'll admit, when in the strangelhold of this disease, the joy of living is greatly diminished.
Is there anyone out there who has experienced these symptoms or knows of anyone in the same plight?
I read your post with a heavy heart. I'm sorry that you feel you have to self-injure yourself in order to sate these urges.
The compulsion to self-injure oneself when they have OCD usually comes in the form of hair pulling or skin picking. So to be honest with you I'm not sure that your type of self-injury falls under the OCD category. I'm not a doctor but there are I think a number of disorders that this may fall under.
Having said that, I am very concerned for your safety. Your statement of "Regrettably, he informed me that the current had nowhere to go, since it wasn't earthed. This sent my mind into overdrive. I've avoided the fish tank, for now." is very worrisome. You have done things throughout the years that you know can end your life yet you continue to do them anyway.
The last part of your post "I love life and have no urge to end it but , I'll admit, when in the strangelhold of this disease, the joy of living is greatly diminished." says to me you are crying out for help.
So let me ask you, have you seen a psycologist or psychiatrist regarding your compulsions? Since you did not mention medication I am guessing that you have not. Please correct me if I am wrong.
So assuming that you have not spoken to a specialist about this, this is the first step in your recovery from these complsions. This is something you need to do ASAP. Every time you give in to this urge, you are taking a chance with your life. I am certain that you have a loving family that would greatly miss you if you were not here anymore. So for the time being, try very, very hard to just say STOP in your head when the urge comes on until you can see a specialist. You did not mention your age, but I assume you are an adult and do not need a parent's permission to see a specialist. If you do need your parent's permission, then please speak to them about getting you help.
Keep me posted with your progress. You can get better, you just need to be proactive and see somebody that has the knowledge and skills that can help you.
I used to have the exact same problem! It really really worried me. I hated every moment and always thought I was going crazy or whatever until I found out it was OCD and my fear of electrocution made me obsess over it. Over time I learnt by exposing myself (ie being near) the source of the problem but not acting on it (performing a ritual, like you with the tin opener, or checking anything) i built up a resistance to it. this was a few years ago and now I am completely fine. it was very distressing though and i spoke to my parents about it. talking to someone and then using every ounce of willpower will protect you. you dont need to live by rules or the "need to know" what will happen. your brain will literally tire itself out about worrying about electricity after 1/2 an hour - 1 hour and the problem will pass. do this enough times and you will feel better :)
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