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* I just wanted to pop a little disclaimer before you start to have a lil read that I am going to be mentioning a lot of my OCD triggers, I know that in the past, I have found it difficult to read what others go through as it would sometimes mirror onto myself, so i just wanted to let you know to forewarn you just incase x *

**If you would prefer to watch a video version of this post with more in depth about my OCD journey, I have a whole playlist uploaded on my youtube of previous OCD videos I have filmed, this is the link... https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLQ8jW5x-QISE-nO2YXSW5sWg5X_I8FOli**

Chapter 5

 About the third session in, after hearing my life story and the triggers i go through, she drew a pyramid and drew it into 4 sections i believe.
From the bottom we placed my triggers that aren't too bad, ones that didn't cause me too much discomfort, things like making sure the taps were off for example.

The next layer were ones that were a bit more challenging such as checking the plug sockets as well as checking the aerosols.

Next, i had checking the windows. I was so concerned that if i left a window open too wide, my little cat would jump out. Or making sure they were locked so no-one could break in. This was a big thing for me, I would go around the flat over and over again, checking they were locked or closed that little bit more.

The top layer was the most challenging, this was where i placed leaving my cat's fur somewhere. Or leaving something from where i am happy such as home, in a place i wasn't so happy, i.e on a bus.
I also had very intrusive thoughts when i looked at certain people. I don't judge people, it's not in my nature whatsoever to discriminate a person especially because of how they look. But my intrusive thoughts triggered me to believe that for example, a homeless person or someone who looked messy in appearance with poor hygiene... my brain went into auto and remembered programmes and films that I've watched where children, adults were kidnapped, murdered, assaulted and more often that not those criminals looked a little like these people i would pass on a street.

So when i looked at these ones, i would instantly have the most soul destroying thoughts that something bad would happen. That someone i love would be murdered, kidnapped, raped, mugged, attacked and so on. I have a big imagination by nature and this added with OCD just made everything so realistic in my mind.
So, to combat this, like when i was at school, i would look at this person again and delete the thought i just had. Literally repeat the word delete in my head so that thought wouldn't really happen. I would usually also delete these thoughts by imagining I was kidnapped, raped etc. I would rather the thought of it happening to me rather than someone i love. It was just horrific to conjure up in my mind.

So because of this, whenever i went outside, when constantly seeing people around me, equalled constantly thinking these disgusting thoughts. That's why i was so put off from leaving the flat.

So with this pyramid. Jennifer suggested we start off with little tests. Starting from the mildest and working our way towards the more challenging.

This worked incredibly well.
I started to concentrate when i checked the taps. Instead of ''checking'' them whilst thinking about my next thing to check. I made sure to really focus on them being off. This helped so much.

Next level up, plugs and aerosols. Liked i mentioned earlier, learning more info about these things worked wonders. As well as making sure i concentrate on them whilst checking them once worked out well also.

Checking the windows. This took a little longer but each and every time it got easier and easier. My brother in law told me a fantastic 'hack'. Film yourself checking them. This is so helpful to begin with until you can start getting better and you find your OCD easing. If you doubt yourself throughout the day, if you've locked the windows, just look back to the video on your phone.
I did this as well as again, concentrating when i checked the windows, taking my time to realise that they were locked and gradually i kept getting better. Now i check them once and that's it.

The biggy.
My biggest fears becoming a test.

At this point after discussing with Jennifer about connections with my triggers and my cats fur for example, we tried over the weeks little tests to build me up to leaving the chunk of fur in the bag. When i was outside, i would just naturally pick fluff off my clothes (from my cat sitting on them lol) and just let it go in the air, at first, i found it tricky but each and every time gave me encouragement to do it again.
This led me to leaving the chunk of fur in the bag, leaving a jacket in the gym locker over night with fur all on it and collected it the next day. I even took a jacket full of fur into my old workplace and left it there with them over night. They were so supportive as they know all about my OCD. They helped me out with my problems whilst working there and really catered my work around my OCD for me. I never hung my coat up at work there, always folded it into my bag so no fur what fall off into the staff room, i always took my apron home so if any fur went onto it, i wouldn't be leaving fur there. So the fact I ACTUALLY LEFT MY JACKET FULL OF FUR there OVERNIGHT was just an incredible feeling.

As regards to looking at people. When me and Jennifer discussed this, Jennifer helped me remember when i felt terrible about these thoughts, that it's not me. It's not in my personality to think like this about these people. It's just the intrusive thoughts. We also discussed about connections and responsibility. Just because i thought these things, wouldn't bring them to fruition. It wouldn't make them happen. For something so so terrible to happen, a person would have to plan the attack, have a reason etc and just by me looking at them isn't going to cause that. I also came to the realisation that a rapist, a kidnapper, a thief doesn't always look like these people the tv has made me to believe. It could be a woman, a child, a teenager, a man dressed smartly in a suit. Once i realised this, my whole view point changed. I was then able to focus on what my personality actually feels when i see these people. A homeless person for example, i'm able to look at them with compassion, take them a drink and some biscuits.

I would have popped it all in one post but it was sooooooo word heavy & I thought uploading a chapter daily might be easier to read & digest. So I've added all chapters to my dropdown menu under lifestyle, where you can find all chapters inside <3 

Thank you so so much taking the time out of your day to read my post.

I have been wanting to write a post about my OCD for a very long time but if you know anything at all about OCD, you will know how much information you can hold. It's so tricky to put it all into words sometimes and me being me, i do love to jabber sometimes haha!

Thank you so much again for reading and i do hope that this somewhat helped you or someone who you know. Even if it just gives you a little bit of hope that there could be a nugget of a cure out there for you to help you get through your journey. 

Lots of love,

Emilie x

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