A member tells her story of her unusual route to a new diagnosis...
The cinnamon roll in particular wasn’t even that good. It was from Aldi. Pack of two. Of which I ate both. I ate them reluctantly, a few days after purchasing them because I’d never really wanted to buy them in the first place. I had to buy them. Because I have OCD.
I am 33 years old and until recently, I’d not realised I have OCD. Saying it like that always makes me feel weird. Like it’s a freckle I’d never noticed, and someone pointed out. The reality is I knew something was wrong. I just thought it was me.
OCD actually runs in my family, and some of those people display it in a way that seems more ‘obvious’. More like what I’ve seen portrayed on television. I’d never considered it for me because I don’t behave the same way. So when I was diagnosed it was important for me to understand that I’d had preconceived ideas about OCD. Another reminder of how powerful the media can be. You think you know something and actually you have absolutely no idea.
As someone who was already disabled pre cinnamon roll, it was particularly interesting for me to notice how people reacted to me telling them about my diagnosis. The responses ranged from ‘that doesn’t surprise me at all’ to ‘that really surprises me’. What I thought most interesting however, was the questions. ‘So what do you obsess over?’, ‘what’s your thing then?’ and people who were tentatively trying to insinuate I might be wrong, whilst looking around my less than spic and span house…
When I tell people I have MS – I’m often met with ‘how does that affect you?’. Not for OCD. People assume they know what OCD is and so often will tell you they’re a bit OCD too.
I knew this could happen, I’ve seen it happen to other people in my line of work. I TEACH about this happening in my line of work. But when it happens to you, it is somehow still surprising. I think one of the reasons it’s so surprising is because I assumed I’d know how to challenge it. But, not having much OCD knowledge myself, I had to admit these are all questions that I’d had too.
You’ve been a very patient reader so far and are probably wondering when I’m going to tell you about the cinnamon roll. The truth is, I don’t know how. I wish I could tell you. I’ve tried, occasionally, to explain the cinnamon roll incident to people. It never comes out quite right.
It’s not a standalone incident. The cinnamon roll incident has happened before. With cotton wool balls, microwave lasagne, tuc sandwiches, even hair dye, bed sheets and people.
Once the cinnamon roll seed has been planted, there is virtually nothing that can come between me and the cinnamon roll. Even at the cost of my purse, mental health and waistline.
It’s not about the cinnamon roll at all.
If there is one take away though, it is this. I told my therapist about the cinnamon roll.
I told someone for the first time ever. That conversation led us to start looking at my compulsions. The times where I’m doing something even though I don’t necessarily want to, because I HAVE to. The times where despite all reason and logic, I just have to tick this thing off the list so I can relax. I’ve driven hundreds of miles to tick things off lists. The relaxation never comes. There is no gratification. No reward. Just a new cinnamon roll to chase.
Post cinnamon roll me does feel different. Even though I still have a lot to learn about OCD, having some knowledge of obsessive-compulsive behaviours has already helped me to manage this disorder more effectively. I already feel more in control. My compulsions have reduced.
I’m still finding my way with the language. Still getting to grips with it. And maybe as I do, I’ll come back here to tell you more about how it’s going.
Until then, eat the cinnamon roll. It might just change your life.