I used to love disaster movies, the more disastrous the better.
But as I have developed a more brutal form of OCD, I dread watching one, because it might later become the trigger for a hideous OCD loop.
Reading is also not as pleasurable as it once was. Scenarios in novels have become looping nightmares; people fall from bridges and time and time again as I go to grab them, I miss. Frozen with fear, I am forced to watch as the character plummets to the ground. Cruelly, the manifestations do not end there, they can be repeated over and over again, day in and day out. In addition, in a macabre twist of fate, those who die are those that I love the most.
When I was 18, I witnessed a woman jump in front of a train at my local station; I was stood next to her on the platform.
As she approached me from the ticket office, I remember thinking that it was strange for her not to be wearing a coat or to be carrying a bag of any kind. After All, it was a chilly morning and I was snuggling inside my parka coat, wrapped up in a scarf that Tom Baker would have been proud of.
When she drew closer to me, I thought that she had recognised me, as she smiled, but there was no exchange of pleasantries and she proceeded to stand directly between me and the edge of the platform. I remember thinking that she was actually stood a little bit too close for comfort and I shifted uncomfortably behind her.
I could smell perfume on her cardigan, it had a musky aroma and was a little unpleasant, but not enough to make me step away from her in disgust.
Eventually, I fiddled with my Walkman and ignored her own fidgeting in front of me. The cardigan she wore was a pretty yellow colour and her dress was floral and attractive, far too bright for a crisp September morning. However, I was too interested in listening to my songs to notice when she edged towards the track, as the train rapidly approached.
When she jumped in front of the train, my involuntary reaction was to reach out to hold her cardigan. As I did the train dragged her away from my grasp and I think that someone might have held onto me to stop me falling under the train as well. However, it is a blur and I can’t really remember what happened.
All I do know is that suddenly there were screeches of brakes and screams from other passengers on the platform. Amidst the commotion, I got on the train and I sat there until the ambulance came, until the train was shunted back, until she was taken away; broken.
I did not cry. I did not speak and I went into college that morning acting as though nothing at all had happened. But it had and it informs my OCD loops today.
OCD is looping viciously in my head as I write this. I know that I will see my friend jumping time and time again as a result of stirring up this memory, but I have to try to write it out and to write it away, as nothing else seems to be shifting it from my mind.
I used to love disaster movies.
These days, in order to allay my fears, I play out these terrifying disasters in my head until I have found a way of rescuing everyone, often leading them to safety at the expense of my own life or sanity.
This is an OCD compulsion or ritual.
These are intrusive thoughts.