On the 27th of March 2021 I will turn 18 years old – officially an adult and I have very mixed feelings about it. On one hand I’m excited to get birthday presents and cake. On the other, I feel a deep sadness.
The sadness doesn’t stem from the fact that this is my second birthday in lockdown and I can’t go out to celebrate-although that doesn’t help. My sadness is to do with the fact that I grieve the childhood I could have had, had I not had OCD.
I grieve every time I held my breath as a primary school student as I entered my bedroom due to the fear that I’d “contaminate” the room with my breath. I regret never using my iPod as a little girl because I was scared that I’d “ruin” it. I regret not playing with my toys because I thought that I was “contaminated” and would “destroy” my favourite thing. And I regret spending countless childhood birthdays crying, refusing to touch my presents and not enjoying being a kid.
A normal childhood would’ve been so easy for me if I didn’t have OCD; if a few neurological connections between synapses and nerves were different, I could’ve had a normal, happy childhood.
Whether you had mental health problems, family problems, suffered a trauma, were bullied or anything else that stopped you from enjoying your birthdays and your childhood; it can be hard to accept that you’re growing up.
I wanted to be “uncontaminated” and the way I thought other girls were like. I wanted to be able to touch my toys without showering and holding my breath before hand. And now I have managed to deal with my OCD enough to be able to touch my belongings but it was too late.
I’m nearly 18 and I no longer receive toys for birthdays and Christmas’s. I’m nearly 18 and whilst I lack the motivation to play with action figures or dolls – I grieve not being happy when I could have been and when I wanted to be.