I would say my life was normal – whatever that is – before ‘it’ hit; happy and living life to the full for the majority of the time. ‘It’ being the OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I had always wanted to have a baby and was delighted when I became pregnant with my little baby, Lila. I had a loving husband, good job and supportive family but none of them could protect me from the torturer that was about to take residence in my brain. The pregnancy went without complication and Lila was born a healthy and beautiful baby girl. Then, one morning a couple of weeks after the birth I was changing Lila’s nappy when a terrifying, monstrous thought came into my mind ‘I could take a pillow and smother Lila.’ Where had this come from? Was I going mad? How could I have such an evil thought? – all these thoughts rushed through my mind, as my heart raced, and my stomach churned. I didn’t know what do to. I was like a zombie for rest of the day, struggling to come to terms with the thought and struggling to function. Not even my husband coming home from work provided any solace – how could I tell him about this abhorrent thought I had had!? I hoped with all my heart that after sleeping, the dawn of a new day would see the end this thought and it would disappear just as quickly as it had appeared, out of blue.
Sadly, this wasn’t the end of my torment. The main source of joy in my life, my baby girl, became associated with these horrific thoughts and ensuing mental torture. I tried to reassure myself “I would never hurt my own daughter!” yet all my interaction with Lila became bombarded with such thoughts and all I could do was doubt and question – ‘A normal, loving mother wouldn’t have thoughts or harming their baby?’
Looking back on Lila’s early years, I don’t really know how I got through it. I eventually “came out” about my intrusive thoughts. The support and understanding of my husband, wider family and the psychologist I saw all helped me survive. However, I feel sad I wasn’t able to fully enjoy such a special time in a mother’s life. My OCD has certainly waxed and waned over the years but the torturer in my brain rarely goes on holiday for long. Instead, it raises my hopes by abating for a brief time but then morphs, choosing a obsession to spike me with . . . harm coming to my loved ones, worries about germs and virus, fear that I’ve run over someone whilst driving . . . the torturer in my brain has many instruments!