I am not a trained professional in Psychology or Mental health. My intention to share my story is merely to raise awareness among people and the stigma attached to it. Please consult a professional if you go through depression, anxiety, or any mental illness.
As a child during vacations, we often used to play hide & seek running through the train like the passage in my grandmother’s home finding a perfect place to hide. In between we were also used to see our grandma standing constantly in front of the washbasin, blocking our way through & murmuring something irritated by often washing hands or maybe because of we coming her way, to an extent that the water tank would almost get empty oftentimes for others to use throughout the day.
Back then we overlooked her weirdly funny & irrational habit , thinking it as a result of some strange old age obsession over water or something like that.
Coming to our growing teens I used to see my sister storing utensils separately in a cupboard so that others won’t use it or touch it. Sharing the same room & cupboard was quite obvious that we frequently use to fight against her irritating bothersome habits which were so illogical & futile to others’ eyes.
Apart from storing utensils she also used to open & close the door with her elbow. All these over hygienic habits again, we blamed it on her individual personal preferences which everyone has in their own lives for some or the other things
At that time I never had any of these symptoms or patterns. One that I remember was whenever I use to pray or sit to worship God on any religious occasion, I had some strangely dirty thoughts the minute I use to sit for prayers. It used to upset me to hell, thinking that God will punish me for thinking such absurd thoughts out of nowhere. They made me feel sick, guilty & unworthy of being a pure devotee.
This kept happening regularly and I was never able to come to a conclusion or understanding why it happened only to me, wondering if it must be happening with many others too, but they never bothered sharing it to others may be. It din’t make any sense. And of course, I was overly embarrassed to even share this thought with anyone. They would think I am insane, I thought.
During our cousin get togethers while cracking interesting conversations we stumbled upon these weird similarities & rituals we all shared commonly. We would laugh our lungs out, at the kind of candidly humorous scenarios these rituals created calling ourselves that whimsical genetic breed with whacky code languages with useless rituals, wonderstruck if anyone in the outside world would be like us.
At times humorously these memories bonded us so well. At times, we never understood if we should laugh, feel sorry for ourselves for being weirdly abnormal with differently wired genes.
As much as it bonded us through unlimited funny conversations, it later also shown it’s aggravated version when we had our shares of stress & adversity. As it comes rolling back in monstrous proportion, in our vulnerable phases of life, like a fuel in the fire, disabling us to the level of just a piece of flesh, trapped in some useless cycle of madness.
Only to come to the late realization later in my life when badly hit by depression & intrusive thoughts with compulsive behaviors & consulting the doctor who gave it a name as ‘ OCD’ & depression, those flashbacks of all unusual behaviors & rituals started reappearing in my head.
It was indeed a shocking discovery to digest initially all those memories of laughing over funny habits we shared suddenly frozen in the silence of seriousness.
Funnily enough, I now was assured that it came under a mental disorder with different genetic patterns spiking at different levels in life.
That time onwards, whenever I go through compulsions of washing hands again & again, reconnecting the flashback memories, I deeply empathize with my grandmother, what she must have been through when we were busy cracking jokes over her obsession. I felt saddened & embarrassed for all that she must have gone through those days when no one even knew what was a mental illness was all about.
Keeping this in mind I wanted to dig deeper into the root cause of my granny’s undetected illness. When I asked my mother about granny’s symptoms & patterns from what she recollects, it was not genetic in her back then.
It had triggered because of some mental trauma my granny was going through because of her tormenting mother-in-law or maybe any other traumatizing past. And thereafter it could have passed genetically among her children.
After connecting all these dots, I was finally able to relate to all those irrational behaviors & rituals we exercised as a precaution against our OCD attack. Now finally it all started making sense, that how unknowingly this mental disorder, gets carried away through generations, with different patterns & trigger times. I finally got some clarity & confidence to deal with it mindfully & effectively without being ashamed of what this illness was trying to make out of me.
So this was the story of this hidden psychological predator who kept changing its intensity, for us to hardly take it seriously as some abnormal mental disorder& then smartly attacking us in our vulnerable phases living us shattered & useless to the core.
Its personality resembles so much to this color-changing chameleon which operates on its own will in our heads driving us crazy with these random patterns ,habits & rituals that we would never come to realize what this confusing shit is all about. A frustrating add on to this already bemused fast-paced life that we live in.