Tim's Story

Hi, my name is Tim.

I have obsessive compulsive disorder which is a type of anxiety disorder.

I am 43 years old and was brought up on a sheep and cattle farm in Victoria.

My earliest recollection of there being something wrong in my mind was when I had disturbing thoughts many times over and over  of picking up a leggo block, putting it in my mouth and swallowing it, thus choking myself. I always remember experiencing fear surrounding the cupboard where the leggo blocks were kept. I had no idea as a 10 year old as to where these horrible and tormenting thoughts came from. I did not know there was a name for this disturbing and repetitive thought process. I was to learn much later in life that it was part of an illness called OCD, due to factors beyond my control. What a relief it was to know that it simply wasn’t my fault or anyone’s fault for that matter.

During my teenage years I had another issue to deal with that subsequently fed into my obsessive thought processes. During my primary school years I was to come to realise that I was attracted physically to males and not to females. I believed that for being gay I would go to hell and my mind obsessed over these thoughts for many years. I felt that I wanted to commit suicide for being gay, but if I did then I believed hell was waiting for me. So fortunately I didn’t and I am able to be here to share my story with you. Fortunately my parents were supportive and I saw a psychiatrist in my late adolescence who helped me gradually accept who I was.

From late adolescence onwards my OCD has kept me living in a state of anxiety surrounding various activities that most others would take for granted and not think or worry about. It may be helpful to describe some of these as you may identify with one or more of them.

I check that taps are switched off by placing my hand underneath the faucet to check if there is any water coming out even though I rationally can see and know that I turned the tap off after I used it. I fear that if I leave my flat without checking then this may cause a flood and I will ultimately be responsible.

I check the iron is unplugged several times before leaving the flat especially if I had just used it to iron a shirt. I think that if I don’t it could cause a fire and maybe burn other people in the process.

I have this feeling that my fly is down on my trousers when in public and feel compelled to check and re-check that it is up.

When driving in my car I have unwanted thoughts that I may have run over a pedestrian thus injuring or killing someone and I have actually driven back many times to check that I didn’t.

Sometimes I have had violent unwanted thoughts of stabbing one of my parents whilst washing knives and other dishes at their house. I feel fearful that I will do it.

Once when staying in a high rise hotel in Surfer’s Paradise I changed to a lower floor because I had an obsessive thought to jump from the balcony.

A word of encouragement to you is that absolutely none of these fears have become reality. I have never hit a pedestrian, taps are always switched off, my flat never burned down and everyone is safe, including me. They are all just thoughts and I must keep reminding myself it’s not me it’s my OCD. Just disordered thinking or thought processes and there are treatments and hope available.

This website is a stepping stone along the road of understanding and learning about the disorder. If OCD is subsequently diagnosed, this can be a place to start learning about treatment options and where to access people to talk to.