I wrote this a year ago:

 

So let me start out by telling you a few of the things that scare me. There\\'s burning alive and drowning, which i share with many other people. These are normal and somewhat rational. I know that I often seem like a clean freak/anal but beneath the surface i am filled with more worry and obsessions than any of you could ever know. Most of you know that I am obsessive compulsive. Ever since I found out that I wasn\\'t crazy beck in sophmore tear I have enjoyed many a conversation about it. I was birn with OCD and cannot believe that I had never heard of it. This is why I enjoy talking about it and my habit so much: I like to teach people. So for those of you who either don\\'t know what OCD is or don\\'t understand it, I will explain it in two ways. \\"Normal people\\" (for lack of a better word) have a door in their mind. When they have a thought the door opens, the thought emerges, and then the door swings back closed again. With Obsessive Comulsive people the door opens, the thought emerges, and then the door tries to close again. However, the door is slightly off and cannot completely close. So unlike normal people, OC people will have the same thought or compulsion over and over again until they get it just right and the door finally manages to close. Here is another way to explain it. Have you ever seen a cartoon where they look inside someone\\'s head? You know- where they have the little people at the control boards and all the file cabinets of memories? I\\'m sure you all have. Well, that\\'s what it is like. It is like there is a little control panel inside your head and there are these little people at the controls. Instead of working for you, though, they\\'re own their own. They don\\'t care about you and do whatever they want. And every time one of them pulls a lever you have no choice but to follow the command. That\\'s the main thing that bothers me about OCD. I don\\'t mind counting- it makes me feel whole. I don\\'t mind cleaning- it means me feel good. I don\\'t mind having everything balanced or even- it makes me feel clean and calm/ I dont mind the anxiety because I\\'m used to it, and when I slve the problem I usually feel better than I did before it began. I\\'m organized and clean and everything I do is well thought out and planned. Doesn\\'t seem too bad, right? That\\'s what everyone says to me. But you don\\'t understand. It\\'s the choice that makes me hate it, resent it. Everyone else can be clean or sloppy or in between. Everyone else can plan out their day or week or leave it until the last second. I don\\'t have that luxury, I don\\'t have that choice. I\\'m just a slave to myself and the only way to free me scares me to death. This brings me back to what I mentioned in the beginning- my fears. Some people fear heights or they fear spiders- I fear odd numbers and cracks in the sidewalk. What kind of way is that to live?? I could deal with it before. I could deal with all my habits- live with all the sacrifices Ive had to make. I could deal with all the extra time it took me to complete my rituals. but it\\'s changed. I was always ocd. I was the only preschooler to have their closets color coded. When my parents started fighting when I was about 6 I started having anxiety attacks. When my parents got divorced when I was 9 my ocd multiplied ten fold. That\\'s when I really started to have rituals. Doctors say that you can develop OCD at any point in your life. Usually its caused by a lose of control over the events of you life. In an attempt to control something in your life- anything- you develop rituals. So they stayed the same for a while. I picked up a few new ones- most about supersititions, but it didn\\'t get too bad. When I was a sophmore I moved to my father\\'s house. My OCD multiplied a hundred times. Stress will do that to you. There was a point where I was picking up new habits every day. But this I could deal with. I never wanted help before. I owuld fight it. That seems strange to most people, but my rituals make me feel so good and calm and complete. But in the past month my ocd has changed in a way that I have never experienced before. I am steadily becoming a germiphobic. The things Ive been experiencing are the ones that cause 40 year olds to never leave their house….ever. And i will not be that person, I will not fear people or life. My rituals are not the problem. Ever the germ thing is overshadowed. lately i have been having severe anxiety. most oc people have it. i had it when i was in kindergarden (sad, i know). But when i was little it went along with my OCD- caused by my rituals. over the years, however, its come into its won. and recently- say the past six months- its evolved into panic disorder. For the past two weeks i have rarely found a moment- one moment- where I have not felt the constant pain of anxiety. This has never happened before. I\\'m a very anxious person but it always passed. and it has been two weeks and three days that i have not had any peace. Which brings me to my bbiggest fear: That I will lose everything that defines me. Two weeks from now I will make the journey into the unknown. The world of medication. Not only will I be on medication for my ocd but also anxiety medicine AND antidepressants. Will any of you recognize me? Will I? How will it all effect me? Would I be Carolanne without my worry and my control freaskishness and my quirks? Not the Carolanne anyong has ever seen. I\\'ve ALWAYS been the way I am- from the day I was born. People say that my true self will finally show itself once I take it all. But if I\\'ve been this way foreverm isn;t this my true self? Won\\'t the medicated me be the false Carolanne? I don\\'t want to lose the person I am and it all scares me more than anything has ever scared me before. I\\'m scared that I\\'ll lose myself and I like what I am. It\\'s like freedom. People die for it all the time, all across the world. I guess what it comes down to is this: Stay safe or face the change? The freedom of choice…. ….Is it worth it? T

 

ODAY: I never went on medication. I worked so hard, and for so long to get my rituals under control. I meditated, and slowly came to terms with the fact that nobody will be hurt if I don\\'t check the lock on the door just one more time. I was so worried that people would think i was crazy, people can be so cruel and so stupid- that I did it all myself. I didn\\'t get help, and it was hard, but I did it. When I leave the apartment to go to my classes, I can\\'t help but think that maybe I missed something, I did something wrong, but right now in my life- I can choose NOT to check it again. the things that I do now- the counting, the thoughts, the even steps, the organization- I LIKE to do it, but I don\\'t HAVE to do it. This year in college I even have a roomate, and although the apartment is always clean, we get along perfectly well. I was so scared that I would not be able to leave my house, that the things that I feared would drive me crazy- but I am finally at peace. When I get stressed, when I get anxious, it starts to come back to me, but I know that I\\'m stronger than that…and I always will be.

2 Comments
  1. rq5738 13 years ago

    Congratulations!! I am very happy for you as it is obvious that you have been through a great deal and more than a 20 year old should have to have endured. Couldn\\\\\\\’t childhood and adolescence just be a time of happiness and growth, sprinkled with challenges? But some times we get FLOODED. I wish everyone here with OCD to have your success!  I happen to be one of those 40 year old germaphobics… and yes, for a while- I didn\\\\\\\’t leave my house. This followed the birth of my third child and the hormonal upheaval that you experience adds a whole other level to OCD.  I can do it now, but it is difficult.  I DO take medication and I don\\\\\\\’t regret it.  I got to a point where I HAD to.  Maybe that makes you a stronger person- but I do not think that medication brings forth someone who isn\\\\\\\’t \\\\\\\”true\\\\\\\” to themselves… it allows us to function in the way that we want to when our brain is telling us otherwise.  I hope that some day I, too, can function without the medication as I really do not like taking it.  However, for now- for me and my family- the medication is a life-saver.  Maybe literally.  I hope that those who read your story do not doubt their choice of taking and continuing to take their medication if it works for them.  People suffer too long and too hard with this disorder and life it too short to spend suffering and second-guessing one\\\\\\\’s self because they feel incompetent or crazy b/c they have to take a medication for a mental illness. I am personally sick of sleeping with my door \\\\\\\”propped open!\\\\\\\” –or NOT sleeping because of it! I have not been able so far to push the door shut– it\\\’s too heavy. But, if the medication \\\”spring-loads\\\” my door–then HOORAY!  Let it slam!!!:smile:

     

    ~RQ 

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  2. billdoor79 13 years ago

    hey, that's really great to hear, well done to you:-) i know you've addressed the meds thing already and that's good, going without meds is excellent and i'm glad that you're aware that if you do ever really, really need them, they're an option. but again, good going fighting this!

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