OCD & Relationships



The monster in my mind promised to be my best friend.

Sixteen years old, pals with inside jokes, secret handshakes and sleepovers. A sister who was irritating but loveable, skipped the rebellious phase and was the golden child of two parents, well-behaved and quiet, not too much trouble at all. Yet, he stole it all in a heartbeat. Inside jokes turned to triggers, don’t mention the night Evie vomited, it’s no longer funny. Secret handshakes traded for sanitiser and sleepovers filled with anxiety, phone calls home at 1am, begging to come home. Happiness, memories, ‘the best years of my life’ robbed. Gone.

He told me it was all for my own good. To keep me alive, he said. The germs, invisible parasites willing to take me as their next victim, only one tap, click, knock away from protection. Real friends keep each other safe.

Only, nobody else understood. Difficult, annoying, overdue misbehaviour. ‘Why are you doing that? Just come and sit down!’ I can’t. I can’t stop, I wish I could.

But my best friend said I had to do this. When he told me to wash my hands, I listened. When he told me to repeat, repeat, repeat words, I listened. When he told me to quarantine myself, I listened.

Obeying, I hid under the covers. My heart hammering like a drum, wouldn’t allow anybody in, even though they just wanted me to drink some water. He stayed with me, cocooned me in his blanket of security and told me this is just what best friends do. They keep each other safe.

So, when therapy started to work and with each exposure his screams got quieter, his throat tightening and his voice becoming raspy, he told me I was betraying him, a traitor, a liar, I was murdering him when all he had done was save me. Save me from the illnesses which threatened my life, avoided cracks in the pavement because they brought death and isolated myself from everyone because they were walking disease factories, hosting the vilest bacteria. I had turned on him, I was evil, cruel, wicked. Real friends didn’t destroy each other.

I think that was the first true thing he said.

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