Chapter 3: Doom and Gloom – Part 2

Why did I break down?

Having been in the toilet for 25 minutes to just urinate, having washed my hands far too many times was not the biggest of issues that I was facing. What I was facing was being in a room that I felt unsafe in, that I couldn’t get out of without some serious concentration. Concentration that was lacking, because my mind was full of crazy, obsessive and intrusive thoughts. Thoughts that were overpowering my mind so much that the only thing I could do was cry.

To be completely honest, it’s not nice for me to admit that I broke down crying. I was (at the time) a 24 year old man with a professional job, a house and a good (ish) life. In fact, to many that’s shameful. Hell, go ahead, call me a pussy if you can’t comprehend or understand what I was going through, but take your worst fears, amplify them by emotions and anxiety and you’ll be half way to feeling how I was then, and also many of those that suffer with OCD too. It’s not nice, it really isn’t.

You see, every bit of success I had in getting out of the toilet was crushed like fruit. I couldn’t get out, something was always getting in my way and worst of all, I needed to get out for my own sanity.

What is that “something” that was getting in my way? You guessed it, it was me, it was my thought process, the beast that is inside of me.

Talking about sanity, I generally felt like I was going insane. I’m not stupid, I know this happens every day, everywhere in the world, no-one has died from it (that I know of), why am I going through this? How can I control the one thing that I need to obtain control, my mind?

Some of the things that went through my mind include, but are not limited to: will I always be like this? Can I continue living like this? Who can help me with this? I’ve seen people before, it hasn’t helped me. What will people think of me? I’m in a professional workplace, being paid a pretty large hourly contract rate and I’m wasting the person that hired me’s time and money. I’m costing them, I’m costing myself because I can’t accept money for this wasted time. How am I going to continue work after this ordeal? Am I going to continue wasting the money of my employer?

As it turns out, I didn’t charge my client for that afternoon as the guilt I would have experienced and in turn obsessed over would have been too much, so much so that I would rather have made a loss in earnings. Not to mention it was the right thing to do.

OK, so what did I do to get out of this mess?

After another 15 minutes of pulling myself together, which totalled 40 minutes in the toilet, I decided I really needed to concentrate on escaping an awful situation that I put myself through.

Having calmed myself down a little, I started singing a song in my head. Specifically, “Tears Don’t Fall” by Bullet for my Valentine. For me, the anger in this song allowed me to concentrate, especially being that the song outlays the fact that tears don’t fall, they crash around me.

I started the tap and washed my hands, including the tap of course. I ditched three paper towels and washed my hands again. Grabbing another paper towel and lathering it up with soap, I cleaned the entire door as quickly as I could. All the noises outside kept coming into my mind, but I kept singing the song in my head and blocked them out as much as possible.

After washing my hands for the second to last time, I grabbed a paper towel, dried the door handle, ditched it, washed the tap and my hands for the final time, dried my hands, headed to the door and walked into freedom. I was free.

I didn’t go back to the office right away though as I wasn’t exactly in the right frame of mind, so I headed straight outside and called my father. With my old man picking up the phone, I broke down again and explained everything to him. For my father, this was confusing and shocking for him to hear. Thank fully, of recent, he has been coming to terms with my OCD himself, and is starting to understand the ordeal that I often go through.

My father calmed me down a great deal and I managed to return to the office with the same song going over and over in my mind. The problem is, while I managed to go back into the office far calmer than I was, I actually left my dignity back in the toilet.


I went through hell because of my own mind. I generally felt like I was going mad. I’m sure many others have felt and will feel this way too but I realised something very, very important that day. I cannot and I will not allow myself to get like that again. I can cope with such a situation and it has made me stronger, but it’s not something I would wish upon anyone, or myself, ever.

Something I didn’t think about when going through all that I did, and up until recently when I happened to be telling my partner about my writings is that I could have got out the door quite easily. She told me quite plainly that I could have just used one of the clean paper towels to open the door and get out, preventing the breakdown, preventing one of the worse situations I have ever been in. I wouldn’t have had to go through 90% of the stress, anxiety and emotional crap that I put myself through.

What a … but that’s OCD for you. It’s the illogical thought process, you become one track minded and it’s really not easy to escape it. However, as I have learnt over the past year, you can manage it, and it does get much, much easier.

It’s important to keep calm and try to really think about the situation you’re in. Do not rush yourself as you’ll be prone to mistakes which will only result in further stress and anxiety, and we know what these two things drive, don’t we?

You will have noticed the keywords I pointed out in “It’s time to break it, break it down”. These words, maybe and possibly perfectly outline the fact that what could happen was only a possibility. Much like walking across an empty road and being hit by a garbage truck.

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  1. karen ross November 11, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    My 16 year old son has ocd. His is mostly to do with having to wash everything over and over before he uses them. Like plates. Bowls. Cups. Cutlery etc. He has anxiety and gets upset all the time. He saids they are dirty. When there not. And will wash them over and over before using them. He refuses to go for help because he believes they are dirty and everyone else is blind for not seeing it. It must be so hard to live likr that.

    • Steve Clarke November 11, 2013 at 8:48 pm

      Hi Karen,

      It’s definitely not easy living with OCD, that’s for sure. If there’s something I know a lot about it’s contamination OCD, following that, it’s being able to manage OCD. If you have absolutely any question, please do ask me and I’ll do my best to help you help your son.

      For now though, I strongly recommend that you read the following. Any questions you have can be asked at the bottom of the posts. If you have a question that hasn’t been covered in a post, feel free to ask in the forum.

  2. Terri Long November 12, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    I can totally understand the situation and thought processes going through your head. I suffer from PTSD, it’s a new diagnosis for me and I didn’t realize my symptoms I just kept questioning why I was the way I am. I journal when something like this happens to me and then go over it later and try to break things down. I also carry a stress relief kit with things that keep me focused on the moment rubber bands, squishy balls etc. They are tools for us that are a necessity. Thanks for sharing so other people know we aren’t the only ones.

    • Steve Clarke November 12, 2013 at 8:48 pm

      Hi Terri,

      I hadn’t thought about taking a “stress kit” around with me, that’s a fantastic idea so I shall look into it.

      Thanks for such a great comment!

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