The uninvited guest

 The uninvited guest

You never see them enter; they slip in when least expected to an invitation only event. You're not aware at the time. They call it blissfully unaware. Too right.

I have added these quotes later, as I love to see the colourful quotes in amongst the words! I thought Roald Dahl summed up what I was saying very well! 

When I look back, I can pinpoint the very moment my anxiety turned itself into OCD. The very moment is etched on my brain forever. OCD could mean many things:

Oh, colourful day

One cute doggy

I have since seen this quote on pinterest, so obviously had to add it, even though I do not have any cats!

I do have these but I, along with thousands of other folk, have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I also have a very good imagination which actually does not help! I go from normal to catastrophiising in 0 to 60 seconds!

So, I know I had terrible anxiety before this day but it is only now, that I see this OCD was just a part of that. It was just another way of showing itself. Another way of me trying to fathom events in my life and to cope with the childhood of losing a parent at 15.

Hence, it was when I myself was a parent to be, that this OCD crept into my mind and into our lives and home. I look at it this way since watching two amazing Ted Talks, one by a professional and the other by a mum of a daughter who suffered with it. They both talked about the monster called OCD who lived with families and caused such distress. They also pointed out the difference between the need to have all your tins in a row and this crippling, fixation type of OCD.

Well, mine entered in the form of a 'poisoned leaf' from our front hedge. The bloke, unbeknown to him, caught the room carpet on the hedge and this little seed of a thought popped into my head. 

"What if....?"

And there you have it. Those two words, so powerful but so destructive too. They have such potential to ruin and destroy. So, in my mind now, these poisonous leaves were under the carpet. Because the what if quickly turns to a definite. I have recently tried to veer to the "what if not?" That is helping somewhat.

So, little did I know that this would escalate and snowball into having to wipe every toy before they were put back into the boxes. Every piece of role play. And there was a lot! It just grew from there. Took over, day by day, little by little. The initial feeling of comfort with these rituals soon became a demanding, You have to, or else!

I won't go into everything but as my rituals spread from my home into my workplace, I was growing more tired and mentally weary by the day. The main thing at work was when I was put next to the boiler room so it was a dusty room. I had to wipe my table before anything and the other teacher just came in and plonked her things on her table. I remember her telling some other staff, good naturedly, what I did every morning and that I must have OCD. I laughed then later, told her I had. This was such a relief as now I did not have to hide it. 

That was the most wearing. Hiding it. A few close friends knew at work, and my boss. In the end, I think it was pretty obvious when my hands were bleeding from over hand sanitizing. My best friend at school would look at my hands and from the state of them, know how I was getting on. 

This 'hiding it' doubles the stressful situation and I just made jobs twice as hard. We do hide it though. We do not want to look weak. When, actually, we are blooming strong, turning up to work and social occasions, even just going shopping, with this univited, taunting guest, constantly there. 

It is also the invisible guest. Anxiety is invisible, most of the time. Our thoughts are going ten to the dozen, yet we are there, smiling and laughing. Until we get panic attacks which are more visible. But mostly, it is all interior, eating away at you from the inside. That inner strength is not show, but it's there. 

I was speaking to a lovely colleague one day, in a busy Costa. I whispered to her the term OCD, a bit like when Miranda whispers 'sexual' to the camera. She was aghast. 

"Why are you whispering it? It is nothing to be ashamed of."

That was a defining moment. Another time, I saw a lady on a work initiative who asked me to think of another word for my OCD. We came up with my quirks and that lead me to write my blog, My quirky life.

The thing is, I would love to be OCD free, to be thinner, to not procrastinate as much, to find the other half of my MOJO that is still hiding away since I left teaching. It is not as easy as saying, 'I am going to lose three stone by my holiday'. And that's hard enough! Our brains are so powerful and out thoughts so overwhelming. 

I have made much progress though, in taming this univited guest. I had some CBT which helped but am waiting for a refresher course. During the first lockdown, I was recommended this lovely lady who does Hypnotherapy and it did wonders. I will tell you why I think it helped so much. It was based on the Science and it focused on happy thoughts. Everytime I did my age old, I will tell you all the things I am worrying about and what went wrong today, I was veered into celebrating what went right today. My happy brain was being used more and new pathways were being made. My primitive brain and my fight or flight mode were done in. I had overloaded them. I needed to heal my brain, not just my body. Heal my soul and spirit too. It is all encompassing. You have to have everything working together. 

This is why my blog writing has probably helped me so much, concentrating on the creative, intelligent, happy brain. It has helped me rebuild my confidence too.

I still have OCD but my coping mechanisms are stronger and my negative reactions are weaker. It still affects me everyday. And my family. Every day. I often dream of a 'normal day'. The only time I don't have it is when I'm asleep. I have come such a way in dealing with it. Looking back now, I can say I am a hundred times better. One actual, physical evidence is in my washing habits. If any piece of clothing touched the floor, it was washed again. Even towels and sheets. I was overwhelmed by washing. It was ridiculous. Now? No way. This is just one of my successes of Hypnotherapy. 

The other main one is letting go of that false sense of control. Because, we can't sustain trying to control everything and everybody in the house. Plus, it is horrendous for those living with you. I have reigned in my, 

"Have you washed your hands?"

I have stopped texting hubby OCD rituals that he needed to do, that I knew he wouldn't do but just sending the text made me momentarily feel better. I have stopped being on guard, by the door, to check coats and shoes were taken off and things put on the table before they were put away. Instead, I am now reading, or upstairs, going about my business. I now resist the temptation of shouting orders to folk as they come in. I no longer stand at my door when I get in, for five minutes, working up my energy to do all my rituals.

There are many things that peeve me (best be polite!) about having OCD, mainly the effect it has on my family. Also, the fact, like an univited guest, it is there, getting in the way. But I am managing it better. I am a great believer in 'stopping and smelling the roses', something I have done since leaving teaching. And you know what? When you are sniffing those fabulous roses, you're not fixating on those 'What ifs?' You are enjoying the moment. 

OCD is a lot about future thoughts. Living in the moment let's you enjoy the now. I saw Ruby Wax talking about this and she was amazing. I need to read her book 'Frazzled' because, looking back, I was! 

Between my close family and friends, CBT, counselling, recovery college and hypnotherapy, I am much better. Oh, and me! We have all worked together to fight it. I was told by someone to not call your situation a battle. It is too negative. I think that word does show how you fight every day. I know other people with similar anxieties and it is a fight. 

We are all stronger than we think. It is nothing to he ashamed of. Most of us have had some kind of trauma in our lives and anxiety, however it shows, is us trying to cope with it and stop ourselves from further hurt. We don't see we are hurting ourselves in this Catch 22 situation. 

In CBT, I was made aware of my trying to take control of my life after what happened to me as a teen, my OCD was me trying to protect my loved ones. But I am only human. It is not possible to try to control everything. It is not sustainable. I am calmer now, helped by the meditation with Hypnotherapy. I am not as on alert. I still get triggers for my panics, but not as much. 

I am also reading this amazing self help book. It is called Coffee Self talk and I highly recommend it. It is helping my daily  perspective so much. We are so good at complimenting each other but need to big ourselves up more.

Anyone reading this, if it strikes a chord I hope I have helped in some way. I have not written half of what I, and those around me have been through but hope to have covered enough, without bogging the blog down! 

I now embrace my quirks; they are a part of me. They are a reminder of how strong I have been and how the people close to me have nurtured me through it. I no longer whisper the phrase or hide my rituals and my bloodied hands away. I sing, at the top of my voice, as in The Greatest Showman, 

"This is me!"

I am not quite at that point of inviting my univited guest to tea, pulling up a chair and offering it my favourite teacup, but I cower less at the thought of it living amongst us. I suppose you could look at it as 'The tiger who came to tea' instead of the monster! I can cope with that!

It has less power over me. If it is a battle, I am nearly winning. I am proud that I am coping. If you are coping too, be proud of yourself. If not, there is help. And it is ok, it is vital that we ask for it. When we start opening up to other people going through similar things, it does help. We think our problems are too big but, with the help of others, we can chip away at them into more manageable problems. 

Thankyou for reading this and sharing a little of my quirky life. Take care, dear reader. 


  1. Well Done!! Great blog. Sending love and understanding. Take care.

    1. Thankyou for your kind words and your support.

  2. I have loved reading this, I need help, I've been offered, but still so scared of what it will open up... I loved the Tiger who came to tea! My Uninvited Guest is my anxiety, an anxiety brought on with years of dealing with what a controlling ex did to me and my family....part of it is an OCD in thst I have to be the perfect mother I was made to feel a failure of a mither through lies and manipulation...I'm exhausted children are meseky grown up, still I can't be who I feel I need to be

    1. Thankyou for reading my blog and gor your honesty. It is hard opening up. We are here for you lovely lady. It is exhausting. Keep going. It is good to say, I need help. We cannot sustain the trying to keep strong everyday. Always here for you.

  3. Such an honest and heartfelt article by a wonderful lady who I have the pleasure to call a friend ❤️ You’re an inspiration to us all! Keep doing what you’re doing my lovely, because you will get there! ❤️❤️

    1. Aww thankyou. I am blessed to have you as a lovely friend. From one inspiring lady to another!


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