Home intrusion is a very common worry. OCD can take that worry to the next level, resulting in many horrible intrusive thoughts and compulsions.
This account describes how such a fear can take control, and affect sleep.
Although I have never suffered a break-in, my house was regularly attacked when I was young. I was bullied as a kid and teenagers would often bang on our doors and windows.
It was an awful experience. My hometown was pretty rough and home-intrusions were definitely a thing. There were two murders here when I was at school, one involved a break in. This probably had an impact on my anxiety and OCD.
During the day, this isn’t so bad.
I don’t feel as alone and vulnerable, even if I am in the house alone. It is when I go to bed, I have these horrible thoughts about someone attacking me in my sleep. Graphic ones.
I put some step ladders in front of the door. I keep the living room light on. I shut the blinds and constantly go back to check if I have locked everything.
I then check under my bed, in my cupboards, in the attic… just to make sure someone isn’t hiding there.
Sometimes I wake up with anxiety, and constantly mistake noises and shadows for intruders.
It feels like my brain is constantly on high alert and I can only really rest if I have friends or family in the house with me.
My anxiety always shoots up after switching the lights off at night. This makes sleeping very hard.
Fears of an intruder can cause excessive checking, spurred on by intrusive thoughts.
It can lead to rituals and compulsions that seem unrelated to the threat, but used to end or ‘reverse’ the thoughts.
Often, professional help is needed to understand and improve quality of life, as OCD can worsen over time.
Thoughts of harm and catastrophe have always plagued my mind. I remember one intrusive thought as a child that stuck with me.