A while ago I asked my friend S to write a blog for me about what a pain it is to have a friend with OCD (the hours wshe has spent on the other end of the phone whilst I moaned and fretted mean that she definitely deserves a medal). Anyway, I had completely forgotten about it until she emailed me this yesterday. So here it is – unedited and in all its glory. I think you’ll agree how massively lucky I am to have a friend like S – without her support over the years I would have been lost. Aside from immediate family, nobody has offered so much help and love – congratulations and encouragement at my best times and endless patience and love during the bad times. Thank you S.
My Funny Friend – Bellsie Boo otherwise known as “Big Loon”
Bellsie asked me (quite a long time ago now) if I would write something for her blog from the point of view of a friend. So as it is OCD awareness week I thought it was about time I did it!
I’m no where near as good a writer as Bellsie, so bear with me……………
I first met Bellsie when we went on a family holiday to France. If my memory serves me correctly she was only 16 at the time. She didn’t really speak to us and kept herself to herself but my 2 boys (1 and 4 at the time) fell in love with her and her sister. We have gone back to France every year since then and we love the family very much, in fact I would go as far to say they are family. I’ve often said that Bellsie is the little sister I never had.
Over the subsequent years we got to know Bellsie, I had noticed her little “quirks”, things like cracking fingers, the way she ate etc. but thought no more of it. One year whilst on holiday Bellsie’s mum told me that she was coming home from uni and having a year at home. She explained about OCD and how it had taken over Bellsie’s life, how she couldn’t get out of the door to lectures because of it etc. My husband wasn’t in on the conversation and I can’t remember how it came about, but he made a joke with Bellsie about OCD, and in a roundabout way she explained that was her. From that moment on Bellsie has been far more open with me/us and OCD and how it affects her every day life.
So here is my take on it all.
There has been many a time when I would laugh and joke with my friends and husband about “being OCD” or “that’s a bit OCD” just because I may have turned all the cups round the same way in the cupboard, or written hundreds of lists, or sorted cd’s into alphabetical order. Through spending time with Bellsie and listening to what she has dealt with on a daily basis I now know you cant be “a bit OCD”!!
I understand OCD to be very debilitating. It can take over your life and stop you doing the things you really want to. It is NOT a joke or about lining up the cups in the cupboard. I have spent lots of time on the end of i-message “talking” and “listening” to Bellsie and the difficulties she was having that day.
One particular incident I remember is when she needed to delete some photos off her ipod because her memory was full. It took her hours to summon up the courage to delete any photos, you see Bellsie thought that if she deleted your picture she would “delete” you as a person. We talked and talked about it and eventually she deleted the photos. However the next day she thought she was updating her ipod when in fact she had restored it, so all of those photos she had managed to delete were back again!! This resulted in me getting a phone call from Bellsie where we talked through deleting them again. She made me stay on the phone whilst she deleted my picture so she knew I was ok.
She also told me that when she had come to stay at ours before camp she was struggling with the OCD and at that time she couldn’t look at the photos of my boys on the wall, because if she did, something would happen to them.
She has told me about the times when she felt that if she held a sharp knife in the kitchen she may stab someone with it. It was a huge moment when Bellsie was given a kitchen knife for Christmas one year to go back to university with.
She has talked about having to walk past a shop in Munich that sold pipes/bongs etc. and how she thought if she walked past that shop she would be “contaminated”.
These are just a couple of examples. I have learnt an awful lot about OCD through Bellsie. She has talked about people she has met on conference or heard about and how OCD affects their lives too. I’m still learning! I don’t always use the correct terminology – but Bellsie soon puts that right ;-)
There are times when Bellsie is having a “bad day” and messages me. Sometimes I find it difficult to give her an answer and reassure her other than to let her know I’m here for her. If that doesn’t work I just say “get a grip you big loon” which usually makes her laugh…….well it’s worked up to now!
We all tease her endlessly, telling her “it’s good for her” I know her brothers move things round to wind her up and when I went to see her in Munich for a weekend I jumbled all her shoes up and nail varnishes – telling her it was “good for her”! However, that came back to bite me when Bellsie sent me a picture of a huge spider as therapy, as it was, and I quote, “good for me”. J
My sons are now 14 and 11. William, (aka mini fish) the 11 year old, adores Bellsie, and the feeling is mutual. Bellsie can just be herself with him, they are silly together and scientific and mad all at the same time. In fact both of my boys adore her, they accept her for who she is and I’m hoping they will have good understanding of OCD as they grow and get older.
I now find myself correcting my friends when they talk about OCD, and how they think they are a “bit” OCD. I find myself challenging them by saying “does your “OCD” stop you going out the door to work? “ “if you pick up a sharp knife do you have the urge to stab someone?” “Do you think something will happen to your friends or family if you don’t follow your routine”……. No?? They soon realise!
Bellsie is a very, very intelligent, eloquent, kind, caring, brave lady and whatever she decides to do with her life I know she will be successful. She argues that she is none of those things, but we all know she is and I am immensely proud of her and what she has achieved these last few years. I know I couldn’t have done it.
We have laughed many times that one day she will be a famous doctor of some sorts and be writing leading journals. And then in the same conversation we can be talking about when she gets married to my son she wants a dress covered in fish and I have to be a mermaid! That or constant requests for brain cupcakes – yes, BRAIN cupcakes!!!
So if any of you reading this are going to the conference in Nottingham you will hear Bellsie speak. Give my Big Loony friend a hug and tell her to “get a grip” and that I love her very much.
Xxxx (4, I remembered Bellsie!)