OCD Is Not A Joke

So why are we so quick to trivialise it?

From https://www.apost.com/en/blog/how-sensitive-is-your-ocd-radar/2197/

I saw this on my news feed and it made me really angry.

Far too often, OCD is used as a term to apply to people who are perfectionists, or who like things done a certain way.

This does not mean that they have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

I saw another meme online a while ago, which stated “Just because I like things a certain way, doesn’t mean that I have OCD, it just means that I like shit done right”.

This is so true. People are always so quick to say that their “OCD” makes them do something as if it’s just some kind of random quirk.

Take it from someone who suffers on a daily basis (yes, SUFFERS)! This illness is not a quirk that I can pick up and put down.

Tell that to my aching muscles that are so tight from twitching already, but I can’t stop until it feels just right.

Tell that to my red and swollen hands that I’ve just had to scald with water.

Tell that to my chin, where I have picked and picked, just to get that single hair that has suddenly appeared from nowhere, that no one else but me can see.

How I wish that I could just pick these things up and put them down when I want to.

Imagine sitting on the floor, almost in tears because you haven’t managed to complete your routine ‘just right’ and now you have to start again.

Does that sound like a fun quirk to you?

Yes, being a perfectionist is part of it. We tend to see them: all of the small, insignificant things that no-one else notices, but what all of these memes and “How OCD are you?” quizzes miss out on are the crippling fear of these things not all being lined up in a neat little row.

Imagine seeing a pencil on a desk that’s not straight and worrying that if you don’t straighten it out, then your Mum will die.

Imagine straightening it up, and a moment of calm before the doubts that maybe it’s not straightened up enough come creeping in, and you’re left feeling like you have no choice but to keep straightening it over and over again until it feels ‘just right’.

Is it funny now?

From: https://me.me/i/people-who-always-feel-the-need-to-correct-other-peoples-20101873

I’m not saying that this research is untrue, but really, it just helps to further the misconception. I, too, correct grammar when I see a mistake. I do the same with spelling. This is not a part of my illness. I do it because I think grammar and spelling is important. There is a right, and a wrong way for it to be.

This is not the case with my other obsessive compulsive tendencies. A lot of the time, there is no right or wrong for these, only my perception of them.

Imagine if I were to say that my ‘diabetes’ was going into a hyper just by looking at that dessert on the menu… would that be amusing? I think, more likely, I would get some very strange looks, and some very judgemental ones, and yet, when people say that their ‘OCD’ is not happy, people just smile and laugh and nod.

In the UK alone, approximately 12 out of every 1000 people suffer with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

For them, this illness (because that is what it is) is a crippling, life consuming thing that they must try and live their life around.

It isn’t just a case of “Oh, that sign is slightly crooked, let me correct it because it offends my eyes”, it is more a case of “Oh my goodness! That sign. It’s not straight. I must straighten it. If I don’t, then my house will burn down, possibly with my family inside it”

It is a completely unrealistic, and irrational fear, and do you know the craziest thing?

More often than not we know it’s stupid and we spend hours telling ourselves this; telling ourselves off, but when it comes down to it, we still have to do it.

We still have to make that sign straight, and then check it, and check it again.

This is something I can’t even imagine choosing to label myself with. I would give anything to not have this label, but it’s one I am cursed with, and one that I have to live with.

So, to all of you out there, that choose to do these ‘OCD’ Tests, please, just think a little before you share them on social media.

I understand that to you, it is just a fun quiz, and a bit of a time killer, but if you really had OCD, you would be begging for that little bit of time back, because we sacrifice so much time to our illness on an daily basis, that we can sometimes lose hours at a time, just trying to get away from the most recent compulsion that threatens to completely overwhelm us.

This is my reality. This is my life. It is not a joke. It is not fun, and it is not something that should be ‘tested’ for and commented about in such a flippant manner. I wouldn’t dream of making a joke about asthma, or cancer, or pneumonia, so why is it ok for you to make a joke about an illness that makes me and thousands of other people worldwide’s lives miserable.

I would give anything not to have this condition.

It is the dark shadow always hanging over my shoulder, and the chain I must carry behind me.

Please don’t try to give yourself the same chain, and please don’t make light of mine.

If you can joke about it, then you clearly have no idea what it’s actually like to live with it.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.


On The Torments Of Living With OCD In Your Life For The Last Nineteen Years

Thoughts Upon Entering The Darkness Within The Disordered Mind And The Beliefs That Control It



Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

People think they know what it means to be depressed. What it means to have OCD…

They have no clue.

OCD isn’t about odd obsessions. Or only liking even numbers.

OCD is hell.

It’s being stuck in a neverending loop, where if you don’t do something, you have to live with a constant niggling, crippling doubt, and the only way to get rid of it is to do that thing over and over and over again, until it feels ‘just right’.

You hate yourself so much, and the more you have to do it, the more you hate yourself, the more you beat yourself up.

It’s a sickening, vicious circle that you have no chance of breaking.

Is that how people feel when they joke about OCD?? Is it?

They think it’s all just fun and games; that being a ‘little bit ocd’ is joke.

It’s not!
It never has been!

It never will be.

They don’t have a clue what it’s like for me. How long it takes me to do things… To get ready in the morning. To make food. To even leave the house.

If they knew. If only they knew, maybe they’d be a little less quick to joke!

It takes me over an hour to get to bed each night, because of my routines. I have to go to the bathroom over twenty times, just to make sure.

I twitch.

I have to perform rituals, and if I do them wrong, I have to start all over again.

I have to wash my hands over and over again; scrubbing them, and scalding them with boiling hot water, just to make sure that they’re clean.

I try to fight it, but then I worry. What if? It’s THE OCD question. What if I don’t do this? What if [insert terrible thing here] happens because I haven’t done this? What if? What if? What if?

Every time I do anything I have to think of the consequences. The results. Everything. EVERYTHING has to be pre organised and planned.

I can’t be spontaneous, because, what if something goes wrong. What if I do something unexpected and something terrible happens. What would I do then?

No one understands. People laugh at my little oddities, but they don’t get it. They don’t really see how important it is, and they never will, because they don’t live within my disordered brain.

I am not ‘a little bit OCD’. I have fully blown OCD, and it’s HELL! It is not a quirk. It is a living nightmare that I never wake up from.

It is not a joke, so please, don’t treat it like one…


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.


“Girl, Put A Smile On Your Face, Replace Those Negative Habits And Just Keep On Running To Find Your Best Tomorrow, Today”

On Discovering The Benefits Of Exercising Every Day For Personal Mental And Physical Health



Photo by Andrew Tanglao on Unsplash

We’ve all heard those words, or something of the same ilk, so many times. It sounds like one of the worst types of cliché, but is there actually some truth in it?

I was never any good at any kind of PE. I was overweight, and not in the least bit physically fit. In fact, I spent most of the night before a school PE lesson, trying to come up with ideas to get me out of doing it. And I spent most of the actual lessons, warming the bench.

The thing is that at my school, the PE teachers were the type that had favourites; those kids that were good at it all. They were always picked first for every team. This left very little time for those of us who weren’t quite as gifted.

I remember one particularly humiliating gymnastics class where the boys and girls were put together due to bad weather. I was trying to do what the teacher wanted, but I didn’t do it to his standard, so he thought it would be a good idea to criticise me, imitate me, and draw attention to my varied failings. Everyone laughed at me.

That was the last time that I ever did PE at school.

The thing is that school PE often sets kids up to fail. It seems to be all about being active for that hour and a half, rather that teaching them how to build a habit. There is no actual training.

Since school, I have had a love — hate relationship with exercise.

Recently, I started a ‘Couch To 5K’ program after being told that I should increase my cardio fitness to help with my high blood pressure.

This is where the epiphany hit.

The gradual progression and building up of fitness in this program is a far cry from the way things were done in school, where we were expected to do a 10K after running 800m, once!

I have also begun practicing yoga. This was partly for emotional reasons, and also to help my flexibility and to help me to ease any physical pains that I have.

On the days when I don’t run, I am doing weight training, to try and build up my upper body muscles. This is the one that I’m finding difficult, if I’m honest, but I am determined to stick at it.

The thing is that exercise has many benefits. They increase strength and fitness. They help to keep weight down. They help with general, overall health. Exercise also releases endorphins — the feel good chemical in our brain. We look better, and feel better.

I have found that, even on my worst of days, as long as I can make myself get started with my exercise, I always feel better afterwards.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

The Truth About Anxiety

And why it is NOT the new buzz word.


Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash


I was diagnosed with anxiety over ten years ago. This diagnosis is one that I have mostly tried to keep hidden. It has been a source of shame and disgust to me. I saw it as a sign of my own weakness and ineptitude.

My anxiety takes the form of panic attacks, an inability to breathe in certain situations. I twitch, even though I try as hard as I possibly can not to. I shake, often violently. Again, I try so hard not to, but it isn’t something that I can control.

There are other things. Things that are less obvious. These include me often not being able to enter into new situations. I also find that familiar situations are overwhelming when my anxiety is particularly bad.

I tend to avoid these situations if I possibly can. I generally think of it as my being socially inept. I don’t cope well in large (or even, medium) sized groups. There are times when I can do it, but there are also times when it feels like a task that is simply too much.

It doesn’t stop there. When I am able to enter into these situations, I always come away from them feeling completely exhausted and wiped out.

I think this is partly down to the fact that I am an introvert, but it is also more than that. The constant worry and nervousness caused by anxiety makes it practically impossible for me to maintain any kind of ‘normal’ social life.

I have a small group of close friends, who understand; who get me, and who are happy to spend time with me, but who are also able to accept when I simply cannot be social. Sometimes, they even just let me sit in a corner and read or knit.

The thing is that I think, lately, anxiety has become a bit of a buzz word. More and more often, I see posts on social media with people talking about ‘my anxiety’.

Now, I am not, in any way, trying to dismiss these people, if they have true anxiety, but at the same time, I feel that I must draw attention to the difference between nerves, and being nervous, versus true, clinically diagnosed anxiety.

It is all on a spectrum, I know, but the difference between the two things is vast. In fact, it is as vast as the difference between a turned ankle, and a broken leg.

All too often, I have had people telling me that I should just get over it, or that I’m simply not praying hard enough, but it isn’t as simple as that.

When it comes down to it, the difference is that with nerves, they are usually surrounding a singular event, whereas anxiety spans multiple events, numerous times.

Nerves are something that can be overcome with relatively little difficulty, whereas, anxiety is crippling.

It can lead a person to live a half life; a life of fear, and panic and terror.

Of course, anxiety can be treated, and can be managed, but, again, this is a long, painful, and difficult road, which I would not wish anyone to have to walk.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.



Chronic Illness

And Why Flares Are A Pain In The A**

Photo by Mitchell Hollander on Unsplash

Anyone with a chronic illness will say that they live with a certain level of that illness every single day. They could live with pain, overwhelming exhaustion, brain fog, migraines, and any number of other things.

The thing is that there are times when these illnesses flare up, and these are the times when the symptoms of these illnesses seem to double, both in intensity and in frequency.

As I have said before, I suffer with TMJD (Temporo Mandibular Joint Dysfunction). Lately, I have been going through a flare. For me, this looks like:

· Extremely limited opening

· Cracking jaw

· Severe pain

· Mouth ulcers

· Migraines

· Neck Ache

· Tooth Ache

· Ear Ache

· Dizziness

· Disturbed sleep

The thing is that a lot of these symptoms sound fairly minor, and if it were one thing on its own, then it would be manageable, but when all of these things happen at the same time, it makes life pretty much unbearable.

Most of these symptoms are not necessarily visible, which can make it even more difficult, as people may tend to think that I’m overreacting, or being a drama queen, but I challenge them to live a day in my life when I’m going through a flare.

So, what is a flare?

Basically, a flare is a time when all of these symptoms are further intensified, and often occur simultaneously. This, coupled with the pressure that I often put on myself to try and push through, can leave me feeling despair. A flair means that doing ordinary activities, and basically living my life can become an almost impossible task. To put it bluntly, a flare is a big pain. We don’t want to be dealing with this, but the fact is that we are, and we have very little choice in the matter.

I know many people with other chronic conditions, for whom this is also true.

The thing is that when going through a flare, the best thing we can do for ourselves, is to try and practice self care. We need to listen to our bodies, regardless of others’ opinions that we might be ‘malingering’, ‘a drama queen’, or ‘lazy’.

If you are going through a flare, remember to try and be kind to yourself. If you need to take a duvet day, then it’s okay to do just that. If you need to just be by yourself, and sleep all day, then that’s okay too. Basically, the best thing that you can do if you’re having a flare is to listen to your body and give it what it needs.

So, be kind to yourself. Listen to your body, and give it what it needs, because, remember, no one else can do it for you and it is okay to give yourself permission to practice self care, even though the flare you’re going through might feel like a big pain in the a**!


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Chronic Illness

Chronic Illness

And What It’s Like Living With It

Photo by Raphaela Vergud on Unsplash

There is so much talk about chronic illness nowadays, and everyone seems to think that they know exactly what it means to live with one.

Often, it seems like it almost has become a one size fits all. There are buzz words, like ‘Spoonies’, and don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking this, but there’s a lot more to chronic illness than these words.

There are so many people suffering with all manner of chronic illnesses, every day, and the symptoms of those illnesses all take different forms.

I have Facial Arthromyalgia, caused by Temporo Mandibular Joint Dysfunction. Basically, I clench my teeth so much, and so hard, (thanks anxiety), that I have screwed up my jaw, and more often than not, my face feels like I’ve been through a mega intense work out at the gym, except that the associated pain doesn’t ease.

Imagine walking around with your whole head and neck feeling like your legs would after an hour long run.

My TMJD means that I have regular (often daily) headaches, which usually shift to migraines. My neck aches continually, and most of the time, it hurts to eat.

Simple things like yawning, terrify me, because they mean that I will need to open my mouth wide, and when I do this, my jaw cracks, when the cartilage moves out of its proper place.

When my jaw is particularly bad, I have to cut up my food into tiny pieces, or just opt for soft foods. It’s at these times when things like porridge and jelly (jello) are my best friends.

Another nasty side effect is that I find it difficult to sleep. This isn’t because of actual pain at the time, but because I know that when I do sleep, I will begin clenching, and that will make my jaw even worse. I can always tell when I’ve had a bad night, because I always wake up with a migraine.

The thing is, I’ve learned to live with it, and I know when I can push myself, and when I have to just give in, but there are only so many times that you can tell someone that you have a headache, before they begin to think you’re just making excuses.

I guess, the point I’m trying to make is that it doesn’t matter how many buzz words they come up with, or how many times it is explained, we (those living with these illnesses) are really the only ones who know what it is like.

For those of you reading this, who are fellow sufferers, I want to tell you to listen to your body. You know better than anyone else, how much you can handle, and don’t you dare let anyone push you past what you are able to do.

I am standing beside you. I know your suffering, and I know what it is like to fight a battle that no one else sees. You are not alone.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Tiredness and chronic illness

Tiredness and chronic illness

When late nights make waking up a chore

by Vladislav Muslakov on Unsplash

Over the last week, I seem to have been crazy busy with appointments, and other plans. This always happens towards Christmas, when there is shopping to be done, or parties to be attended, and catch ups with various people you’ve not seen for ages.

The thing is, all this is well and good, and I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy it, because I do, but it means that certain things have to be sacrificed, and this weekend, I definitely paid the price for these sacrifices.

As an introvert, while I like spending time with people, it is also mandatory that I have some alone time, where I can just be me, and I don’t have to talk or keep up conversation with people. This time, gives me the opportunity to recharge, and prevents me from getting, what I call “peopled out.”

I have also found myself going to bed later than normal, and being unable to wind down, which means that I’ve not been getting to sleep before 1.30am, which is not good for me. It’s not that I need to go to bed at 10pm, or anything, but I’m not the kind of person who can lay in after a late night. A lie in for me, is generally 8.00am.

This week, I have also been battling a particularly bad flare up of my TMJD, and a severe dip in mood, not helped by the fact that when I do fall asleep, it is into a sleep plagued with nightmares.

This is the thing with chronic illness… it seems that the minute one thing flares up, the rest all follow, like they’re throwing their own little party, except that the venue is my body and the resulting mess is left for me to manage. This is not fun!

I’m feeling a tiny bit better today, and I’m hoping that it will continue to improve, but for now, it’s going to be earlier nights, and lots of self-care, because that’s all I can really do.


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.