Diagnosis: CDO

Lucy Mangan, writing for Stylist, describes the origin of her obsessive-compulsive disorder:

My OCD came on when I was six and accidentally drank some weedkiller. My mother rushed me to the sink and my dad made me swallow salt water so that I was sick. It was dramatic and frightening but better, of course, than dying. From then on, I became obsessed with germs. Germs that wanted to do me a deep, personal and quite possibly fatal wrong. They were everywhere, but especially in crowds, on things in shops and on carpets. I refused to go barefoot anywhere, even at home. I edged round shops with my arms pressed fiercely against my sides, like a miniature hyperventilating guardsman. Any strange speck or mark in or on anything — especially food — could be toxic and was spurned by my ever-alert infant self.

Soon I began something which I now know is common in OCD sufferers, “catastrophising” — that is, instantly envisaging the worst possible outcome to any given situation, no matter how innocuous.

I do that latter myself. Rather a lot of it, in fact. I couldn’t tell you how it started, though.

A commenter under the name “Carbon” says “Good story,” then adds: “But it would be better if the first letter of each paragraph were in alphabetical order.” Yes indeedy.

1 comment

  1. fillyjonk »

    6 July 2012 · 7:52 am

    I don’t have OCD (or at least have never had symptoms debilitating enough to make me seek a doctor) but I can “catastophize” like whoah. (I always managed to justify it as, “If I plan for the worst possible outcome, then I’ll be pleasantly surprised when it doesn’t happen.” Or “At least I’ll know what to do when it comes.”)

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