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.


The Thrill And Terror Of All Hallows And That Fateful Night

A snippet from the year that she stepped beyond her own limitations: a fictional tale



Photo by Chris Gallagher on Unsplash

I’ve never really liked Halloween. That’s not true, I didn’t mind it, but it was never a truly central holiday in my mind, not like my Birthday, or Christmas. It wasn’t until I was 15 that Halloween became a big thing for me.

It was on that night that he came for me.

The day started calm and fairly normal. I would be staying home, watching TV with my family, nothing unusual. It wasn’t even until bedtime that it happened.

Halloween was almost over, when I heard a knock at the door. My dad answered it, and called me down.

It was him.

I’d seen him around.

I always saw him around.

He acted like he didn’t really see me, but I knew he did. He made sure I knew it too.

That night, he looked at me differently. He talked normally, but as he did, his neck twisted, and before I could do anything, he grabbed me, and pulled me out into the night.

The door swung softly closed behind me, and I was left alone in the dark with him holding me tight. I couldn’t scream, it was as if I was paralysed, and my chest wouldn’t force out the sound.

He looked at me, and I could see the moon reflected in his eyes. “I knew I’d get you eventually” he whispered; hungry. I still couldn’t speak, my thoughts racing with what was going to happen next.

He pulled me out of the garden and down the road, and before I knew it, we were hidden behind the Chapel at the end of the street. The old lady who looked after the building had clearly gone to bed hours before, leaving us entirely on our own, with no-one to miss us.

I didn’t want to think about what he was planning to do to me. I certainly would never have predicted what had happened next.

“I’ve been watching you” he said quietly, “As soon as I saw you, I knew you were the one”

I looked at him. I still didn’t trust him. How could I even think of it? Somehow, I didn’t think I had a choice.

He let go of me, and I shrank back.

I couldn’t run, my legs seemed to have turned to jelly, and I fell to the floor.

Standing over me, he smiled, and said 
“After tonight, your life will never be the same again”. I felt fear creep all over me, as the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. 
“Wh… what do you mean?” I found my voice. He smiled again and bared his teeth.

At what I saw, I tried to scream, but it came out as more of a whimper. 
“Don’t be afraid. I’ve been watching you. I know it might seem hard, but this is your path” he said.

I felt numb.

All alone in the churchyard, I knew that I had no choice. He knelt down and leant over me, brushing the hair from my face and neck; caressing me gently.

I began to relax, before gasping, as pain shot through me, and tears began to fall, the night faded from my eyes, and I slipped into unconsciousness.

When I awoke, he was gone.

I didn’t see him again for a long time, but what happened that night was to change the course of my life for ever.

I’d never been anything special. I never thought I would amount to anything. Most people thought the same thing, but that night changed it all.

When I awoke, he was gone.

So was the night.

I was left lying in the damp dewy grass. It was foggy, and raining a damp, misty rain that soaked everything. Getting to my feet, I felt different. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I felt strong.

Powerful.

And I knew that nothing would ever be the same.


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.

Considering The Growing Use Of Current ‘Issues’ In Soap Operas

Thoughts about the way serial fiction draws upon real everyday life

Photo by Jens Kreuter on Unsplash

I am a self confessed soap addict. I watch four out of the six UK soap operas, and have done for a number of years. I love them. I love the continuity with the characters, and I love the storylines.

A lot of people choose not to watch the soaps. They tend to look down on them, and think that they’re ‘trash’ TV, believing that they aggrandise and profit from serious problems, creating sensationalised storylines.

There is something of a conception that only ‘chavs’ and common people watch them. They are considered a ‘guilty pleasure’, and a number of people look down on those who do watch them.

Personally, I believe that soaps get a bit of a hard rap.

The thing is that the soaps are accessible to a wide range of people, whether young, or old, or from different backgrounds and cultures. They appeal to such a broad range of people, and deal with hugely relevant topics.

There are times when the storylines in soaps are light, and that is nice to have. These times balance out those storylines which can become far, far darker.

I have heard varying opinions of this tendency of soaps to show ‘issue-led’ stories. Some people feel like they are taking advantage of other people’s misery, while others applaud their brave choices to not shy away from these subjects.

I look at when a soap decided to cover a very controversial and very real issue in this blog post:

The thing to remember is that in these soaps, there is not only a hugely talented cast and crew that work incredibly hard on most days of the year to bring these stories to life. There is also a group of amazing writers and researchers that work together and do their job extremely well to try and ensure accuracy in their portrayal of these issues.

In the past, soaps have dealt with issues such as abuse, domestic violence, cancer, knife crime, dementia, knife crime, epilepsy, postpartum psychosis, and PTSD, to name but a few.

Of course, there are parts of soaps that are overly dramatised (this is a TV show, after all), but watching in between the lines, it is clear that there is a slew of hugely important issues that are being addressed, and brought into the public sphere, and I feel that this, is really the most important thing of all.


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 Journal Project

A study of different journaling techniques

Photo by Plush Design Studio on Unsplash

If you’ve read some of my previous posts about journaling, then you’ll know that I have journaled all of my life, in one way or another.

I love it. It helps me to clear my mind, and to make sense of things. These can be thoughts, or things that happened in my day. They can be writing inspirations, poems.

The thing with a journal, is that you can make it whatever you want it to be. I have always had a very specific way in which I choose to use mine, but lately, I have been curious about whether there are any ways that I could expand my uses of a journal to include.

This is where The Journal Project idea was born. For the next year, I plan to take a different journaling method a month, and use it. They say that it takes around a month to build a habit, and so, I figure it’ll give me enough time to try out and evaluate the method, and enough time to decide if it’s something that I think is beneficial enough for me to stick to.

So, for this month, my chosen method is a doodle journal. I love art, and doodling, but I have a tendency to over think things, so I plan to practice letting my hand have free rein over the pages of my journal, in the hopes that I can release the perfectionist, and allow myself at least a few moments of reckless abandon.

I’ll post an update, and hopefully some photos, near the end of the month.


If you’d like to get updates and fun content from me once a week, you can click here… I’d love for you to join me 🙂


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.

Stages Of Grief

There can’t only be five, can there?


Photo by Ben White on Unsplash


It is now 22 months since my sister passed away suddenly. I just woke up one morning, and went to wake her, to find that she had passed in her sleep.

What happened afterwards was this crazy mess of things that I still haven’t been able to fully make sense of. It was like one of those kids cartoons, where the character starts to make a snowball, and rolls it down a hill, where it grows and grows, until it is huge, and unstoppable.

The thing is, that that snowball needs somewhere to crash, and in this case, that somewhere was me.

People always say that you get through grief, because you have to, and that time heals. This is true. It does.

The only problem with this conciliatory piece of information, is that they seem to infer that grief is a linear thing, sort of like walking down a path, whereby you will, invariably come to the end of said path, and move on to another one.

This, my dear reader, is not true. Grief is not linear. It is not a straight line from A to B. Instead, it is an incredibly convoluted and complex mass of emotions.

Basically, imagine the biggest, twistiest fastest rollercoaster, which also has parts where there is an excruciatingly long climb before it tips you over the edge.

That is what grief is like.

People try to pigeon hole grief, and have allotted five stages to it. These are:

1. Denial and Isolation

2. Anger

3. Bargaining

4. Depression

5. Acceptance

We apparently spend differing amounts of time going through each stage, and until recently, if has been thought that people go through the stages in the order shown above.

I can tell you from personal experience, that this is not true. I have been through some of these. I haven’t experienced all of them yet. Sometimes I wonder if I ever will.

The truth is that these stages can be experienced out of order, in order, or simply not at all.

Sometimes, things are so difficult that these stages are blocked, and cannot be experienced, and this is completely normal, and quite common, too.

In tomorrow’s post I will look at each of these five stages of grief, and what they mean in real life terms.


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.



Three Years

A Personal Piece

Today, I can officially say that I have not cut myself for three years. Three years! I’m actually really proud of myself.

There have been times in the last three years, which have been the most difficult I’ve ever faced, but instead of my usual go to, when I would reach for the blade, I have messaged a friend, or journaled, or tried to focus on some other, less damaging way of dealing with things.

I won’t lie, and say that there have never been times when I’ve felt like giving up; when my resolve has been weakened, but I’ve stayed strong, and now, I can sit here, typing this post.

I have to say, I’m pretty terrified about posting this piece, but I am fed up of hiding. This is a part of my past, and this blog post is about me looking towards the future. I’m not saying that I intend to shout it from the roof top, but I don’t want to make up excuses any more.

The fact is, that there are times when life becomes hard; overwhelming, even, and in these moments, I used to turn to something self destructive, but now, I am choosing to look for other ways to cope. Sometimes, that takes the form of medication, and sometimes it means simpler things.

The fact is, that I am not ashamed of my scars any more. They are a part of me, and they show the battles that I have gone through; and the battles that I have won. They show both my failures, and my successes.

They are a part of my journey, but I won’t let them define me any more.

Last year, I got a tattoo, decorating some of my scars. Last Autumn was the first time in over ten years, that I have worn a short sleeved shirt, without any kind of arm covering.

Today, I added to that tattoo. It isn’t finished yet, but it will be soon.

I am not trying to glorify self harm in any way, and if you are considering, or actively self harming, then I beg you to talk to someone, and to get some support.

The thing is, I don’t see beauty in my scars. They are a visual reminder of my destructive impulses, but the fact is that they are there, and I wanted, not to cover them, but to create something beautiful out of something so negative.

I just want to say, to anyone reading this, who might be going through some tough times. It isn’t easy, and if anyone tells you otherwise, then they are lying, but you are strong, you are beautiful, and you can get through this.

And things will get better…


If you want weekly updates from me, please 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.

Ohio & My Best Friend

A Personal Post

I’ve been struggling to work out what to write on here all day. We all hear about mass shootings on the news, and while we can sympathise, we can never truly understand the impact of it.

This morning, I came to understand that situation, and the fear, perfectly. I woke up, and checked my phone as usual, to find a message from my bestie, Danielle.

I could tell from her voice, that there was something badly wrong. As I listened, she told me that there had been another mass shooting, this time, in the Oregon district of Dayton, OH.

Her husband, who is a cop, is, thankfully okay. As is she, but it really hit home for me more than ever, how fragile life is, and how a single moment can change everything.

Today has been a rather solemn and introspective one for me. The shooting happened just 15miles away from her. That’s less distance than it is for me to go from home to Carmarthen.

Just hearing the terror in her voice, and the audible shock… I can’t really explain that feeling. I wanted to go to her, and hug her, and comfort and protect her.

The thing is that people will think of the victims, and their families, as they rightly should, but we must also remember the responders, and their families, who will spend hours at a time, worrying about them.

This shooting is a terrible, senseless tragedy, and one that, like all shootings, has a far further reach than anyone could realise.

Today, I stand with the people of Ohio. You have been through so much this year, and I know that you are strong.

To my beautiful, brave, best friend, who I know has had an extremely sleepless night, know that I love you, and that I stand with you. #ohiostrong #lovenothate


If you want weekly updates from me, please 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 Bachelors

by Muriel Spark

A Review

One of the books that I have read since joining the book club is this one. The Bachelors by Muriel Spark. I have been meaning to write this review for a while, but I was trying to give myself a little distance so that I could give a fair review.

However, I think, at this point, the only fair thing is to give people prior warning about how bad this book is. I mean, I have tried and tried to come up with something anything good to say about it, but when it comes down to it, I just can’t.

I actually read the book in two days. Two. Torturous. Days. I just knew, once I started it, that I wouldn’t pick it back up, if I did put it down.

There are so many things that I could say about this book, and none of them are good. I think the closest I could get to a positive comment, is to say that it most definitely provokes discussion and debate.

This book falls under the banner of ‘literary fiction’. Now, I know I may be alone in this, but from the ‘literary fiction’ that I have read, I would consider it to have at the very least, an element of pretentiousness.

The Bachelors scrapes the very bottom of the literary fiction barrel, in my opinion.

The definition of literary fiction is that it is a story, which is character based, and character led, as opposed to genre fiction, which is largely plot based.

The issue with this, regards The Bachelors, is that there are no characters; not one, in the entire novel, which is redeemable. There was not one that I felt that I could get behind, or root for.

The writing was not just poor, but quite frankly, dreadful. The author kept changing point of view character, without any kind of notification to the reader. Continuity was a problem, as were the accuracy of the court scenes in particular.

The storyline was not only far fetched, but at parts, simply, ludicrous. The idea of the ‘bad guy’, who spent the entire novel plotting the death of his pregnant girlfriend, suddenly being found guilty of the crime of fraud, and being imprisoned, leaving said girlfriend, miraculously saved, was ridiculous; a completely unsatisfying ending, which left me, as a reader, thinking “What? Is this it?!”

I know that there has been a lot of critical acclaim for this book, but I really fail to see how this is possible. The book was simply put, dreadful. I consider the two days spent reading it, as two days that I can never get back, and the only thing I can take from it, is that at least I know to never read anything by Muriel Spark again. Ever.

If you do decide that you want to try it for yourself (though I really urge you not to), you can purchase the kindle edition here.


I’ll update you when I get into the month a bit further.


If you want weekly updates from me, please click here 🙂


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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.