Im typing this to share my OCD story with everyone and for anyone who has similar issues who would like to talk or need some support. To start I really didnt understand OCD much as a disorder until I really started researching it after I was diagnosed. I always knew there was something different about me growing up and honestly I cant even remember a time when I didnt have OCD symptoms. As far back as I can go I was a little boy and I had many compulsions that at the time I didnt really understand. All I knew was that if I didnt do them I would feel intense anxiety and felt like something (I didnt know specifically) bad would happen. Like the balance in the world would be thrown off somehow and it would all be my fault. Not every little crack but separations in concrete slabs, tiles, carpets, and other similar flooring I absolutely could not step on. I had to count my steps in intervals of seven and end on seven before a new section started even if I had to take smaller steps or larger ones then jump over the separation. I also cannot take or eat six of anything. I avoid the number six like a plague.I counted my chews, I hummed beats and random tunes in my head nonstop for long periods of time until it felt just right that I could stop. Also every time I walked around something I absolutely could not finish the circle and keep going. I had to go back around the same way before I could move on. I would eventually somehow stop these compulsions once I got around middle school age for fear of being weird and people starting to notice.
As I got older I was experiencing much more anxiety and I felt like I was a weirdo or abnormal and this made me very socially awkward which I still am to this day. Many people I get the feeling if they dont really know me either think I think Im better than everyone else or dont want to talk to anyone and thats hard for me to be more social unless I really get to know someone. Basically If I dont know you and you dont engage me in conversation first, Im probably not going to say anything to you. This is not because I am not friendly, because the truth is I want everyone to like me and think I am a good person.I will also avoid socializing in certain situations for fear people will get the wrong intentions or idea about it. My relationships with my friends have also been severely impacted I feel. When people want to hang out it would give me anxiety and I would feel like I couldnt do something sometimes because what if someone else wanted to hang out and I couldnt do both and someone would be upset so I wouldnt call people back or commit to anything and that would give me even more anxiety. The longer I go without talking to friends or family the harder it is for me to call them because I feel they are angry with me or that I dont care, or that I have some hidden motive to call them suddenly. This makes me sad because I really love all my friends and family and they mean a lot to me. It is a struggle to share my story with the people I know and love because I fear they will think I am incapable of being happy or living a good life. The truth is I am happy with my life, DEFINITELY do not like my OCD and the things it holds me back from, but I am happy and I can enjoy myself just like everyone else.
Apart from my social awkwardness it seems that as I got older and was exposed to different dangers or fears I would develop new thoughts and compulsions. These intrusive thoughts range from visions of my friends and family or spouse being violently killed or hurt. Bad disasters happening, paranoia of strangers around me, and feeling that if I didnt do something just right I would be responsible for something bad happening to someone. This leads to severe anxiety and checking and cleaning compulsions. For exampleI check the freezer door at work multiple times just in case by some freak unexplained reason I failed to realize someone was in there I couldnt see and I am afraid of accidentally locking someone in there and them freezing to death. I check my locks god only knows how many times before I leave the house, or go to sleep, to the point where my brain wont stop telling me I really didnt lock them or not good enough and sometimes Ill get stuck staring at the lock for awhile until I get so angry with myself I want to break something. I have contamination fears with meats at home and it takes me forever in the kitchen to make meals or follow recipes because everything must be EXACT or it wont be right and things must be cleaned ASAP or bacteria will spread and infest my house and get everyone sick. Living like this can be very exhausting.
The other big problem I struggle with is being just about anywhere unfamiliar. If I go out of state or someplace Ive never been I have to plan my routes exactly and follow them exactly and I fear turning where im not supposed to and being killed horribly somehow. This anxiety gives me panic attacks sometimes.
Even with all this I have managed to hide it from others very well and much of this may even be a big shock to everyone I know. There finally came a point where I couldnt live like this anymore and I had to get help. I have since been going to therapy every week and taking medication. The exposure response prevention therapy along with other cognative behavior exercises and meds have made a HUGE difference and I feel like a different person. I am getting the wheel spinning the other way my therapist likes to say and everyday have a little more control over my OCD. One thing I realize and have trouble with now is just how much people who dont have OCD struggle to understand the seriousness of it and understand it. It isnt something we can just "get over." After being diagnosed and researching more to understand my disorder I grow increasingly annoyed by people who make funny comments like "Im so OCD" and "O yeah I have OCD because I like having things a certain way." People dont understand the intense anxiety we feel. Our compulsions are uncontrollable and we dont do them because we want to. And just because you have to double check certain things or like things a certain way all the time does not mean you have OCD! lol Pretty much everyone on the planet has a couple compulsiveor obssessive traits.Its hard for people to take people with OCD seriously because of all these things.
To end Id like to say I am experiencing much relief and slowly controlling this beast little by litttle. There is hope and this disorder can be controlled. I am to the point right now where ifa thought comes I immediately recognize it as my OCD speaking to me and can ignore it much easier. I know this is very long but I wanted to get this off my chest and thank you to those who take the time to read it! Remember I am here to help support everyone else here struggling and I want you to know there is hope and OCD does not have to control your life. I hope everyone is well and have a wonderful day!