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Waking up with Severe OCD and Schizophrenia.

by AilahEvelynMae

Waking up with severe OCD/ Schizophrenia

(I am a true sufferer of mental illness. Things described in this story are not false. They are an actual combination of some symptoms I experience. WARNING: triggers of death threats, poisons, toxins, burning, self mutilation, hallucinations, suicide, hospitals, rape)

7:24am-I wake up on the floor. Two blankets on the ground. Two is a safe number. One blanket and one pillow. One plus one is two. Four is safe. It’s not safe to sleep in the bed. Is my family dead? Is my family dead? “You will die today unless you listen to me, poison them.”

7:27am-Is it safe for me to breathe? The air is toxic. It has been poisoned. “It’s poisoned, you are disgusting. Breathing air will just cause you to infect others.”

7:30am-There is sun coming through the window. The glass will shatter any second. Make sure you don’t sleep too close to it. It has to stay open or else someone will hurt you. The sun will burn you. The light will melt you.

7:32am-Count your fingers. 1-2-3-4-5. 1-2-3-4-5. NO NO NO NO. Five is not a safe number. “CUT OFF YOUR THUMB OR I WILL KILL YOU”. He is there in the corner. Bang your head 32 times. Again. Again. MORE. “You are cursed. Anything you touch will be infected.”

7:34am-The germs. On my hands. My hands. So many. Wipe them off. Wipe them off. It needs to be equal. “MORE”. There is screaming. My skin is burning. My heart races and I begin to panic.

7:37am-They are coming for me. I need to hide. They are trying to take away my magic powers. They will use them for evil. I need to cut myself to taste my blood. If it is different that means I am infected. I can feel them watching me. They put a camera in my earlobe a few weeks ago, but I cut it off. Okay. Stand up. Stand up. Will the ground fall? Hit the ground ten times. Do it again. One more time. DID I DOUBLE LOCK THE DOOR LAST NIGHT? One more time. Four is safe.

7:40am-try to get out of be-“I AM GOING TO KILL YOU. Go get a knife right now and stab yourself. They are coming for you. They are going to rape you. You need to do something. He is not safe. You are going to be locked in a small room. A small dark room. You are too short to reach the lights.” Mommy, what did I do? Why won’t you hug me? Go. Go Go. Go to the kitchen. I go, but the kitchen is empty. Dad has already hidden all of the knives. I slit my wrists and tried to sew them back together. Seven. Seven. Seven. Seven. Days.

7:44- I cannot eat today. They are coming.

7:47-he is standing there. She is there too. All of them are there. I need to die die die die. They can’t take me back to the hospital again. Not another four months in the psych ward.

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15 Reviews

Points: 30
Reviews: 15

Sat Jul 24, 2021 11:38 pm
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eilisBK wrote a review...

OCD and Schizophrenia are not portrayed in the media very often, nor are they often portrayed accurately. So much is explained in your piece and so much happens in it that I felt quite overwhelmed reading it and knowing that all that took place in the span of about half an hour.

I applaud your vulnerability and courage to share something to personal with us. Not only did you write an engaging piece, but you also taught myself, and I'm sure others as well, about this illness and what it can be like to have it. Of course everyone experiences mental illness differently, but I personally feel like I've learned a lot about what having these mental illnesses is like.

I cannot offer much in the way of critique or feedback other than that this was a very good piece. So many evoked emotions, so much feeling from this piece. Well done.

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271 Reviews

Points: 414
Reviews: 271

Sat Jul 24, 2021 8:54 am
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Gravity wrote a review...

Thank you so much for your vulnerability. I struggle with mental illness, as well. I have several diagnoses and I understand how difficult it is to battle your mind on a daily basis.

I love how you structured this story by using time stamps. It really illustrates the "racing thoughts" that we mentally ill people struggle with. This format helps shed light onto how quickly the thoughts race through your mind. It sounds really chaotic and disorienting, and I'm sorry to hear you experience these thoughts.

My only other piece of feedback is that I think it would be helpful if you added a trigger warning at the top for rape/sexual assault as it is mentioned in the short. I really appreciated that you added the warnings that you did at the beginning!

Sending loving thoughts of healing and all the positive vibes your way. I wish there was something else I could say to help, but I hope it's at least comforting for you to have this space to share your thoughts.


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34 Reviews

Points: 234
Reviews: 34

Thu Jul 22, 2021 9:21 pm
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JohnKlue wrote a review...

Mental illness is not portrayed in the media too often.
You preface this story by informing people that you yourself suffer from OCD and Schizophrenia. It is good that you are willing to share this with people. Also it almost makes this matter more coming from you rather than if it was just assumptions or guesswork. Even if a writer dose extensive research on mental health there is still a sense of insincerity.

THIS IS REAL. This is honest. This is how you see the world.

I like how every thought is preceded by the time it happens. It is such a contradiction. It feels like someone is trying to organize the contents of their mind but well.
Also the 4 is a safe number. I do not know the origin of that but I understand it.
I am really just taken aback by this because Wow.

My only nitpick is I feel it leaves off on a slightly to hopeless note.
Granted when struggling with these thing people can feel that way. You may feel that way. But I feel that hopelessness is too common in the narrative of Mental Health.

But really just 10 out of 10.
This is amazing.

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5 Reviews

Points: 75
Reviews: 5

Thu Jul 22, 2021 1:35 pm
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PaigeFantasy says...

hi, i hope you are ok, because i can’t imagine what you are dealing with, because i don’t have it myself.
you wrote this beautifully, even while it being rather…dark.
please don’t cut yourself, or harm yourself in any way. i don’t know you, but still…
stay safe.

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40 Reviews

Points: 1063
Reviews: 40

Tue Jul 20, 2021 6:36 pm
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LizzyTyler wrote a review...

Good morning, evening, afternoon, night, or whichever applies to you in your respective time zone at the moment.

Hey! First things first, I really hope you’re alright. I don’t have Schizophrenia, nor do I have OCD, but I still wish to express my sadness, and my respect, in not just having the strength to express yourself, but being able to do it in such an impactful way. I do hope that if you’re struggling, you have someone to reach out to.

With that being said, I would also like to say that that was an amazing short story. I’ve never seen anything with this style of writing. It’s really unique!

This review turned out shorter than I thought it would be, but have a great rest of your day!


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184 Reviews

Points: 9200
Reviews: 184

Tue Jul 20, 2021 3:27 pm
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chikara wrote a review...

Ah mental health. My favourite topic.

Now let's get one thing straight; this is most likely not schizophrenia. I am diagnosed with a schizo- disorder, so I believe I'm qualified to think that way. In most cases, schizophrenia starts easing its way into your life at a young age. My friend who committed suicide because of it always said the first sign came when he was a toddler, because his mother watched him wake up at odd hours of the night and scream for no reason at nothing.

It's not voices telling you to hurt yourself. That's one of the stereotypes given by the media who try to demonize anyone with mental health issues. Yes, there are voices, but what about the decline in caring about your surroundings, the disorganized speech and thoughts, and even the general worry about waking up and staying alive? There's more to mental health than what's seen on the surface through incorrect portrayals.

Now, listen, I'm not doubting your experience, but there are so many wrong facts getting thrown around in the mental health community. If people start seeing symptoms in themselves and start diagnosing themselves with it, they are risking that their actions can hurt people who have that thing and do not experience it. So many folks are getting called fake because they do not follow the "norm" for their disorder, and that sucks because they do not get the help they need, and possibly end up in bad situations.

For what happened? Good question. I'm not a professional at this, so I'd rather not talk about things and have them be wrong for the same reasons mentioned above. Now, I do believe this is really serious though, so I'd suggest talking to someone about this if you know the right people and have the right resources to do so. Getting help saved my life, and I've seen what happens to people who didn't get it in time.

This isn't a great review, but I hope some things got across.

WrenZorya says...

Just because you were diagnosed with a disorder, that doesn't give you automatic rights to "call out" people who you think aren't suffering from the same thing. Mental illness is a spectrum, everyone experiences it differently. I think you're trying to help but in the process, you're invalidating the experiences and feelings that this writer has had and was brave enough to share. I do see where you're coming from but telling this writer that they do not have schizophrenia is probably not the best approach.

chikara says...

True true, good argument.

Just because you were diagnosed with a disorder, that doesn't give you automatic rights to "call out" people who you think aren't suffering from the same thing.

It's not a call out. It's a general statement that using schizophrenia probably isn't the best. It's more on-tune with psychosis or something with a higher disconnect from reality than anything else to be honest.

The wording was pretty sour now that I look back, but I stand behind what I said. A diagnosis does not mean anything, but it gives me another perspective I can use because I have seen what happens from a first person view.

Mental illness is a spectrum, everyone experiences it differently.

You're right, but you're also wrong. What's described here is not schizophrenia and I will say that. It's way too extreme to just have popped out of nowhere one day without any signs or any doctors worrying, and I will say the same for the severe OCD aspect.

It just does not make sense that there is nothing beforehand; no head injury, no childhood warning signs, no other experiences with mental health this severely in general.

I think you're trying to help but in the process, you're invalidating the experiences and feelings that this writer has had and was brave enough to share.

I'm not invalidating their experiences. I am just pointing out something that does not make sense and is not accurate. They're brave, but whether they are brave or not does not matter because they have put something onto the internet and now are subject to criticism.

I do see where you're coming from but telling this writer that they do not have schizophrenia is probably not the best approach.

Not the best approach, but it works.

WrenZorya says...

I think you misunderstood the story. They're not saying they just woke up with schizophrenia one day, they are illustrating their daily life living with the illness.

chikara says...

Ah. That makes a lot more sense. My bad.

Thank you very much for everything you said :) I completely understand where you are coming from. And I%u2019m super sorry for the misunderstanding! This story was a combination of experiences I have when I wake up, which have been going on for many years. It was not meant to mean they all happened in one day. I am not diagnosing myself either. I%u2019ve spent a lot of time in hospitals. This year I was there for four months. And I%u2019m super sorry, because I don%u2019t mean this in a mean way at all and I really appreciate your review and the time you took to write it. I completely agree, there is a lot of false info being thrown around.

Thank you :)

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302 Reviews

Points: 16236
Reviews: 302

Tue Jul 20, 2021 9:37 am
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Cressida wrote a review...

Hi Ailah.

First of all, I want to express my most sincere sympathies. I don’t have schizophrenia, but I do suffer from pretty serious OCD, so I can understand parts of what you describe here. I know firsthand just how debilitating obsessive-compulsive disorder can be, but to suffer from other mental health issues as well—issues which exacerbate the OCD—sounds unimaginably difficult.

I think the keyword there is “unimaginably.” To many people, what you experience is so far outside their own everyday life that it’s unthinkable, and therefore something they might struggle to understand and feel compassion for. That’s what’s so great about you writing this piece: it allows people to inhabit the mind of someone struggling with severe mental health issues, and hopefully, readers will come away with a better idea of how it feels and why it’s so important to support those who are afflicted. And I do believe you succeeded in crafting a story that thrusts the reader into that position and forces them to reckon with just how brutal these disorders are.

This was a powerful, impactful piece. You illustrated all the symptoms very well. Speaking from my personal experience as an OCD sufferer, I saw a lot of my own issues reflected in this story—specifically with the numbers (four is safe for me, too) and with the germ/contamination fears. I don’t read many stories that deal with my particular symptoms, and it was, at times, almost painful to see them spelled out so unambiguously and accurately—but it was good, too. Cathartic. It made me feel seen.

Obviously I can’t speak to the schizophrenia, or the unique ways in which OCD and schizophrenia interact with and worsen each other, but that was one of the things that made this piece so viscerally compelling to me: getting to step into the shoes of someone who suffers from something I don’t. And I did come away feeling like I gained insight into a very foreign experience. I did feel, while I was reading this, like I was in someone else’s head, seeing through their eyes, dealing with their disorders.

I really liked the use of timestamps. They serve multiple functions: for one, they make the story feel grounded and real, happening right now, at a specific and clearly-stated moment in time. They allow the reader to easily track the progression, to feel under pressure—watching the time slip by, yet being unable to do anything. But they also show just how difficult it is to get up in the morning when dealing with these issues, and they show how much sufferers endure in a short span of time. It’s shocking that all of these awful, intrusive thoughts and hallucinations occur within twenty minutes—and the first twenty minutes of the morning, immediately after waking up. That’s a great way to hammer home the severity and intensity of these disorders, and to what extent they can impair everyday life and a person’s ability to function.

You utilized repetition very well. From the repeated numbers, to hearing the same words/sentences echoing so many times, to listening to the same disturbing thoughts (or some variation on the same thought) over and over… you captured all of that, and made it work as a stylistic decision too—which is to say, you reflected a very real part of these disorders while also using the repetition to underline and emphasize certain symptoms for the reader’s benefit. To that end, the way this is written—with short, choppy, matter-of-fact sentences—is perfect.

Of course it was a heartbreaking piece, especially the parts involving self-harm, or when the narrator addresses their mother, or that very ominous ending that references the psychiatric ward. Not to mention the Sisyphean struggle just to get out of bed, the threats—all of it was difficult to read, but that was the point. What makes it challenging is what makes it good. You managed to effectively communicate how oppressive (and inescapable) these rituals, voices, thoughts and hallucinations really are. And I love that you focused on the span of twenty minutes. I love that this is only about waking up in the morning—something that every person does each day, and that most of us take for granted. This wasn’t about a momentous occasion, it was just a moment in the narrator’s life—but it was momentous, because when you suffer from these disorders, everything matters. Everything is difficult. The things that come easy to other people, like getting out of bed or spending the first twenty minutes of the day, can be awful and dangerous—an insurmountable obstacle all their own. This piece got to the heart of that. Thank you for writing it and thank you for sharing it.

Good work. Keep writing and keep fighting. I’m rooting for you.

I love how we all band together to break things...
— Kelpies