Tuesday 23rd January
Happy 13th birthday to me! Happy? If only! It’s a school day and I’ll probably get told off again. In fact I know I will, birthday or not. I can guarantee hearing one of the following.
“Jodie, will you hurry up and go outside!”
“Jodie, this is the last time I’m going to ask you!”
“Jodie, outside now!”
They don’t realise how hard I’m working! They don’t realise how many things I have to do every time I leave the classroom, so my mum and my dad and my baby brother will be safe.
Thursday 25th January
Let me tell you about numbers!
Four is a good number. I like the number four, but I HATE the number three because it means one of my family is missing. Two is ok because I can double it to make four, and five is one extra so that’s alright, although I prefer even numbers because they’re safer. If I see a car registration plate with the number three in it and no number four, I make the shape of a four in the air with the index finger of my right hand. That’s the fourth one. If I don’t do it one of my family will die, and if I miss three out they will all die. I don’t have to do it when I’m in the car, but I do when I’m walking on the pavement or waiting for the bus to school. It doesn’t stop when I get to school, but I’ll tell you about that another day as I’m tired.
Friday 26th January
I got detention again! It’s taking longer to do ‘it’ every day. It was ok when I just had to touch the underneath of my desk four times before leaving, but now I have to do it 16 times because each group of four represents a member of my family. I have to count most of them out loud, although I mumble in case anyone hears me, but when I get to any numbers that are divisible by three I mustn’t say them (even in my head). I then have to do the same to the light switch before I can go. Today the teacher stopped me at the light switch and I’d only reached twenty seven.
I told her that I felt ill, and I did feel very sick, but she didn’t take any notice and called my mum and told her that I was being disobedient. I asked her if my mum was ok and she said yes, so I asked her about my dad and my baby brother, and she said she didn’t know. I thought I was going to pass out in detention. I couldn’t stop panicking and the teacher told me to stop fidgeting three times. I did it again, so she would tell me a fourth. I ran all the way home. I was very scared, but they were ok. I’m going to have to work harder.
Sunday 28th January
It’s different at weekends. Everything happens in the bathroom, and nobody has noticed, unless you count the “hurry up Jodie!” that echoes round the house every Saturday and Sunday morning. and during the school holidays. To begin with it would take me four minutes exactly to complete everything (one second for every touch), but today I realised that I needed to do more to keep my family from being harmed. Everything would have to be done twice. That’s eight minutes exactly, beginning with the tile count and ending at the mirror. If the timings are out I have to start again.. I used to go to a swimming club on Saturdays, but I’ve stopped that now. I don’t feel safe there now.
Sunday 4th February
I needed to spend forty minutes in the bathroom this morning. Things have changed and I have to do it all ten times now or something very bad will happen to them and it will be my fault. Mum got very cross and unlocked the door with a five pence coin when I wouldn’t come out. I still had twelve minutes left to go. I wanted to tell her, but I know what will happen to her if I do and I mustn’t. I have to protect her. She’s gone shopping with dad and baby George, and has told me to stay at home. I need to go back to the bathroom. I’m waiting to be told that they’re dead.
Tuesday 6th February
Mum and dad have been called into school. I know I’m going to get told off. What if I get called out of the lesson when they arrive and I don’t have enough time for everything I need to do? I feel very, very frightened. Frightened doesn’t seem like a big enough word.
Monday 12th February
A psychologist came into school and asked me about numbers. She said that one of the teachers had seen me by the light switch. I said I didn’t know what she meant, but eventually I told her that I was keeping my family safe. She asked me what would happen if I didn’t carry out what she called rituals and I burst into tears.
Monday 5th March
I saw a very nice lady today. She told me that I am ill and that I need to take some tablets. She said that sometimes people’s brains can be unwell too. She told me that I cannot cause any harm to my family if I stop the rituals and gave me a booklet to read called Adolescents with OCD. I read the booklet and it sort of made sense, but it doesn’t refer to me.
Monday 12th March
I saw a therapist today. He told me that he’s worked with a lot of people my age. He’s going to help me stop the counting, but then bad things will happen. I then went to the doctor’s and she gave me some tablets. I didn’t want to take them but she told me they were safe and that they would help me get better.
Thursday 15th March
The therapist came to my house today and made me stop at three. Number three and three seconds. I did what he said because I was too scared not to, but then I screamed and cried. When I felt a bit calmer we sat and talked and he asked me how I felt. I felt terrified. Afterwards I went out with mum and dad and baby George. It was scary, but I felt better because I was with them and I could keep an eye on them. When we got home I wanted to go back to the bathroom on my own, but mum came with me, and she slept at the bottom of the bed. I thought they would all die in the night but they didn’t. I’m always surprised whe n they don’t.
Sunday 18th March
I went back to school yesterday, but I’m not allowed to be on my own except in the toilet, and even then I can only stay there for a short while. I think about my family a lot and I’m still worried that something will happen to them because I’m slowly stopping, but every time I see them I feel a little bit better.
Saturday 24th March
The therapist has told me that I should start swimming club again, so I’m going back today. I’m feeling very anxious and I want to do my rituals.
Saturday 31st March
I enjoyed my swimming last week and I’m going back today. I’m even going out for a pizza with my friends afterwards! Mum said she would sit at the next table, which is very embarrassing.
Monday 23rd April
My dad flew to Munich this morning for work. I lay on the floor and held his leg. I begged him not to go. I screamed out loud. My mum phoned the therapist because she was so worried, but he said that my dad must go. I can’t sleep. I want to keep him safe.
Friday 27th April
I didn’t carry any rituals this week and my dad still came home! He came back yesterday and brought me a teddy bear. I told him that I was too old for teddy bears, but I cuddled it all night!
Monday 11th June
I’m sorry I haven’t written to you lately, but I’ve been too busy and I’m looking forward to the summer holidays. My OCD is getting better all the time. I’m still taking the tablets and I still see my therapist every two weeks. Sometimes I still want to count and I think I’ll always hate the number three, but I’ve concluded that OCD is a very silly illness!