Looking back I can tell that I have had OCD most of my life. From not being able to breath while passing an over weight or bald person out of fear of becoming either to having to constantly follow the power lines with my eyes while in the passenger seat as a young child, I now know these were my early symptoms of having OCD. It wasn't until I was 14 that it began to consume my life and leave me feeling an empty shell of a young man that I realized how severe things for me could/would go.
During my teen years I was very devoted to my faith which became a gateway for my obsessions to really become more than just simple quirks I felt I had. Something inside my mind made me convinced I had sinned so bad that I was unforgivable. The thought of this pained me so bad I would cry myself to sleep, daydream of becoming a preacher who warned others to stay away from my unforgivable path, dream of standing in line to the pits of Hell, and when I finally felt mentally exhausted enough, just accept it as fact. To this day I still have lingering thoughts about this which I try my best to simply ignore.
After the intensity of that battle began to slightly subside, another fearful thought came to mind. It was the fear of eating unclean foods and doubting what I was eating was clean which was a sin in it's self. This led to bulimia because I would eat food, panic about either or not I BELIEVED it was "clean" and then regurgitate it all up as good as I could and pray to God to please forgive me. This eventually led to me not eating at all and left me (a 6'4 male) a whopping 134lbs (if I remember correctly.)
As I began to slowly fixate on other thoughts, the stress about eating eased and I began to eat again. In turn, I was hospitalized because I had become very weak. During all this time I had lied, denied, and tried to hide all the signs that there was something wrong with me. I was afraid if I admitted there was a problem that I would be put in a mental institute. I was in denial that all my weird behaviors were VERY apparent and drove my mom nuts along with other loved ones.
Life was very hard for me back then. Simple tasks were very strenuous. I was constantly running behind and would often times miss the bus. I was obsessed with counting EVERYTHING a certain amount of times until it felt right to move on. Turn the water on: 1, 2, 3, 4. 1, 2, 3, 4, … etc. take a step: "1, 2, Oh, that wasn't right… re-do." step back "1, 2" forward, "1,2, 3," etc.
I finally began to admit to my family and a psychiatrist that I really did have an issue. It was amazing how just admitting it to someone felt so good and seemed to lessen my anxiety about my condition. I've During my latter teens, my outward expressions of my obsessions lessened. I began to disbelieve in most of the random thoughts presented to me. For me, this was a bitter sweet victory. The outward expression had gone away, but greater feelings of anxiety dominated me. I'm turning 29 in about a month and I can still say I continue to have my battles with OCD.
In total, it has left me feeling like the empty shell of the person I use to be. It wrecked my teen years, my internal perceptions of myself and how others see me, I have felt less than equal… very below others, I constantly second guess my thoughts (something I became use to post-outward expression OCD, I struggle with anxiety at work, how others think of me, if my co-workers think I do the right thing on the job. The line of work I'm in requires a lot out of me internally and it tests these weaknesses in me a lot. I can't say I always on the winning side of the battle.
I say ALL of this just because I felt like I needed to get it out and tell someone how I am feeling and explain my journey from then to now…
How am I feeling? Today, I am stressed. I feel like I'm walking on egg shells. Are they egg shells I have created or are they real? I'm uncertain. I laid down to get to bed early tonight but couldn't sleep due to my high anxiety. Its now 30 min past midnight. I'm frustrated with my thinking, the seeming inability to clear my thoughts, the situations I feel like I'm facing, and just need to obtain get some strength for another good day because in reality I have many more good days anymore than bad days. I remind myself its nothing like it use to be. I am overcoming.