Tuesday 23rd January
There’s a bat in the kitchen. I can hear the commotion. I can hear Puss meowing loudly. I’ve got to let it out. I think she brought it through the cat flap. I opened the kitchen door and it went, but Puss touched me. I didn’t mean her to. She brushed my leg with her fur as she followed the bat out of the kitchen, and I felt her saliva on my skin. I felt the disease waiting to be spread with every touch.
Thursday 25th January
I phoned the vet this morning, but the receptionist answered. I asked her about the rabies and she told me not to worry. Why didn’t she let me speak to the vet? I made an appointment to see the vet this afternoon, but I didn’t take Puss. I can’t touch Puss. I told her about the rabies and she told me not to worry. I touched her door. Others will touch the door. Others will die. It will be my fault.
Friday 26th January
I phoned the vet this morning, but the receptionist answered. I asked her about the rabies and she said that I really, really didn’t need to worry. I told her about the door. I told her to clean it. Mum is visiting today. I have to cancel. She’ll want to hug me and I will kill her with the rabies. I’ll tell her that I’m meeting friends.
Sunday 28th January
I phoned the vet this morning, but the receptionist answered. I asked her about the rabies but she didn’t tell me not to worry. I told her about the door, but she asked me not to call again and put the phone down on me. She’s too afraid to tell me the truth. She’s afraid of the rabies.
Sunday 4th February
I had to go shopping today. I had nothing left to eat, although I’ve hardly eaten lately. I picked up a lettuce. I think I touched another one. I saw a woman pick it up, but I couldn’t tell her. I feel so guilty about the rabies. I feel guilty about her family. I hope she hasn’t got young children.
Tuesday 6th February
I tried to wash the lettuce but it was too contaminated. I could see the contamination with my eyes. I washed the sink afterwards, but I couldn’t get it clean. I washed my hands, but I couldn’t touch the taps. I turned them on with my elbows. I threw the lettuce out of the window.
Monday 12th February
My hands are bleeding and sore, but they are still not clean. I scrubbed them with a scrubbing brush. I’ve thrown it in the bin, but what if the bin man picks it up. It will be my fault if he dies. I hate myself.
Monday 5th March
I managed to leave the house today, but I didn’t see the trap. I didn’t see it until it was too late. I walked too close to it. I think I felt the rat poison touch my leg. Mum said she’s coming round today and I don’t know what to do. I will kill her with the rat poison. If I scrub my body with scouring pads maybe it will go away. I will tell her that I’m not well. I will tell her not to come.
Monday 12th March
Mum came round today. She didn’t call first. She didn’t believe my lies. I pushed her away when she tried to touch me. She looked shocked. She asked me how much weight I’d lost, but I didn’t know I had. She took me to the doctor. She didn’t make an appointment. I told the doctor about the rabies and I told her about the rat poison. I told her about the people I have contaminated. I told her about the guilt. She told me that I hadn’t hurt anyone, but I didn’t believe her. She asked me if I’d heard of OCD and I said yes, but I don’t really know what it is.
Thursday 15th March
I’m in hospital. It’s a psychiatric hospital. Thank goodness for my medical insurance. I’m in a group with other people who have OCD, but their stories are bizarre! I can’t bring myself to touch any parts of my body now, and I can’t touch anyone else. I open doors with my elbows and if I touch something by mistake the anxiety wells up inside me and bursts out. I don’t want people to die because of me. I am in a living nightmare. I put my cutlery in my bag after dinner, but somebody saw me and took it away. I watched them touch it with their hands and fear overwhelmed me. I cannot isolate my germs. I don’t want to contaminate anyone else.
Sunday 18th March
Yesterday I was told to touch my leg – the one the cat brushed past – but I couldn’t and then finally I could. The group waited ten minutes. Ten excruciating minutes! The panic was too much to bear and I wanted my life to stop. I tried to leave, but they told me not to. Afterwards I washed my hands a thousand times and then a thousand more. I begged the therapist for reassurance about contamination, but I was told that abnormal reassurances would not be given. I know he’s right because every time I phoned the vet I felt worse. I think you have to get reassurance from within.
Saturday 24th March
My bathroom door has been locked all week. I have to ask if I want to go to the toilet. I’m not allowed to wash my hands after I’ve been or before I go to lunch. I ate my lunch today. I did it! I actually ate my lunch! The exposures are getting harder, or are they getting easier? I even touched my therapist’s face this morning when my hands were unclean. I felt the anxiety, but it fluttered this time. It doesn’t always flutter, sometimes it pounds, but now I do what I’m told as soon as I’m told and the group don’t have to wait. I’ve realised that the only way to conquer fear is to go through it. Some days are better than others, but every day is better than the first.
Saturday 7th April
Today I went round the group and shook hands with everyone! The first one was the hardest, but then it got easier. I asked if I could see my family, even though my fears of contaminating them haven’t completely gone. Mum looked happy. I haven’t seen her look happy for ages.
Monday 11th June
I left the hospital a month ago and I’m really starting to feel better. I’m still having cognitive behavioural therapy, and I’m on antidepressants as well. I didn’t want to take them, but now I’m glad I did. They are like a cushion, which helps support my mind. When I look back at my life I realise that I’ve always had obsessive tendencies. It’s part of my nature. It’s part of me, but I’m not going to let it define me any more. If I see a rat trap I move closer to it, and if Puss brings me a gift I make myself pick it up and take it outside. I do it however I’m feeling and although I wash my hands afterwards, I only do it once. None of my loved ones have rabies and the bin man is fine. He said ‘hello’ to me this morning.