OCD Personal Stories Page 1.
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ALL ABOUT CONTROL.
Sarah made a suggestion that we tell you a short story about our personal OCD situation. For me, I believe it can be summed up in one word - CONTROL - self control. As my family grew older and I had to face many things out of my control (their illness, my illness, work inconsistencies, a gradual phobic continuum of the public place and people in groups), I tried to control those things that I really had no control of what so ever.
It has only been recently after retirement and 3 years of being housebound alone that I have figured out, these things are not going to change, I have no control over them and to try to control them is like butting your head against a brick wall. My symptomology has lessened greatly, I take my medication, and try to help daughters and grandchildren with what they need that I am capable of giving. I know there is not a magic pill that will make me feel great again, but I am able to live and enjoy most of what life has to offer.
I wish I could really be of help to all of you, especially those that are in great pain, but I don't really have any control over that, all I can do is let you know I care about you and know how it was with me and hope you can receive some feeling comfort knowing you are not alone in your pain.
I am a 35 year old female that found out I had OCD about 11 years ago. I haven't met many people that seem to have had an adult onset of this disorder. Most people seem to have had it since childhood. I have always had tendencies towards OCD, such as checking that my alarm clock was set about a million times, but nothing that interrupted or interfered with the day to day tasks of life.
It is funny when I think back to the things that were tendencies are not the things that I am obsessive about now, such as checking my alarm clock over and over. I am not what is considered to be a checker. I am what people call a washer. I wash so often that I could cry at times because my hands were cracked and bleeding. Now I not only wash my hands, but I wash to my elbows.
My tendencies seem to become this disorder when I was pregnant with my first child. I have been told that a stressful event probably was the initial trigger, meaning the pregnancy. I began to wash my hands after everything I did. My hands and wrists became very red and I went to the dermatologist thinking I must be having a reaction to something. Then it started becoming noticeable to me that something else must be wrong. I was becoming more and more consumed with the thoughts that would race through my head, that I MUST wash my hands because if I didn't it would be my fault if someone got sick. I also found myself taking 3 or 4 showers everyday and exhausting the hot water tank in the process. This began the "what if" thinking. The feeling was so overwhelming that I would often have panic attacks. I began to see a psychologist. I was prescribed Prozac. After little relief on the Prozac I started seeing another doctor at a large clinic about 3 hours from my home. They were more willing to experiment with different medications in larger does. I began taking 80 mg of prozac only to find it wasn't helping. I tried several other meds after that, (Buspar, Anafranil) then Zoloft which I continued on for a few years. None of these meds gave much relief, and for me the side effects were worse than just dealing with the OCD.
I started doing Behavioral Therapy, which consisted of me trying to force myself to face my fears. This only lasted a short time. I think mostly because I was just not ready and felt much anxiety. Although I feel this is truly the most helpful therapy in combating OCD. I have found the more you give in to your fears the more it reinforces the obsessions, and in turn, the compulsions.
Over the years the OCD has greatly influenced my life. I quit my job, mainly because of it. I have been divorced, greatly due to it. That seems very sad to say it has had that kind of impact. I think that one of the things that makes it so difficult when I look back is I KNOW what it feels like to be somewhat normal. Then whammo, here comes the OCD and turns my life upside down.
I have been to the point where I have been very resistant to the idea of leaving the safety of my home. That is a horrible trapped feeling. OCD can be an unforgiving thing to carry with you. I often have "something happen" that might upset me. This can ruin an entire day. I spend the rest of the time (no matter what I am doing) planning how I will handle the situation when I get home. What order I will do things in, so I can wash my hands the least amount of times. This becomes so time consuming. I have even left bags of groceries in the parking lot because I didn't like that the cashier had band-aids on his/her hands.
So that brings me to where I am now, eleven years with OCD. I am much better than I have ever been. I am completely off medications, for about 6 years now. I went off the meds to become pregnant with my second child and never went back on them. I am remarried to a wonderful man. I STILL have OCD that can be controlling at times. I find that my obsessions change from time to time, but they generally have to do with germs, and my compulsion continues to be washing my hands, and the urge to clean things that I feel have been contaminated.
What have I learned from my experiences? I have found that the stronger I can try to be (even thought at times it seems impossible), the more to my benefit it will be to have a happier life in the long run. I have found that the more positive support I get the stronger I get. It is better to accomplish things with baby-steps than it is with expecting to much. The tiniest accomplishment is a great feat. I try not to have people around me fall into my OCD trap.
By this I mean I try not to expect people close to me to follow my rituals because this just reinforces the OCD. Don't get me wrong I still have several things that I am not ready to do YET, but it is my hope that eventually
I will be able to fight these things. I think OCD will be a constant part of the rest of my life, unfortunately. I don't think there is a miracle cure other then lots of hard work. It helps a great deal to talk to others with OCD. I have found a huge amount of support on the internet. That may sound cheesy but it is very true. I hope some of my experiences may someday help someone, even if only to help them realize that they may indeed have OCD and find help. I know it has been up and down for me over the last 11 years, but I feel the best that I have felt since this all began. I know my limits and try to stay within them, all the while pushing myself
just enough to keep from sinking again.
I am one of the fortunate ones, I guess you would say, in that I have not lived with ocd my whole life, I was just diagnosed 3 1/2 yrs ago. I am a female, 38 years of age. I have always had obsessive tendencies, such as, going overboard on
anything that I was passionate about. I also dabbled in over exercising, obsessing over my weight and my body image, oh , and there was that thing with the laxatives.
Again, I was able to get a grip on all of these things before they got too out of hand.
When I had my son, I noticed that I started to worry about him constantly. The feeling of being responsible of this little person, his well being, his life... It was overwhelming! I had some struggles that went on like most people do, but when I lost my grandmother 5 yrs ago, I went into a depression, which pushed me over
that edge that we sometimes walk on.... And into ocd land I plummeted. I thought I was going crazy. If I told anyone what I was going through, they would take my child away from me and lock me away in a loony bin. I called my mom crying and told her that something was wrong with me. That I would get these awful thoughts in my head and even though I knew they weren't real or true, when I had them , it made me question myself. Like I couldn't trust myself. I would worry that something that I would do , directly or indirectly , could hurt my child and it would be my fault.
I had to be the perfect mother. Make no mistakes. If I watched certain shows or the news, I would worry that I could turn out like them. The horrible people on the TV. I started staying up at night, because I would be afraid that if I went to sleep, I would do something wrong in my sleep and not remember. I would check on my son all night long to make sure he was breathing. I was afraid to let him go anywhere because if he was out of my sight , I couldn't protect him. Anyway, the fears went on and on...
I lost 20 lbs in 3 months, and people started to notice that I didn't look so good. I was a nervous wreck all the time. I went to see a regular physician, who by the grace of god, knew exactly what was wrong.
No, I was not crazy... What I had was called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and even though there is no cure, it can be managed with meds.
Well here it is almost 4 yrs later and I am almost ocd free. I rarely have intrusive thoughts, if ever. Usually if I do, I can dismiss them and get on with my day.
Thank God! I have my life back. I know that I am not crazy, nor will I ever do anything that could harm my son , or anyone that I love. I have an illness that actually alot of people walk on that thin line with. Everyone has goofy or upsetting thoughts. You know the ones...you shiver and shake your head and say stop thinking that, why would you think something like that? Everyone does that, everyone! The only difference is they can dismiss it from their mind and get on with their day. People with ocd can't, we get stuck, unfortunately.
But we can be helped. But only if we reach out and ask for help.
Anyway, that is my story, I sure hope someone reads it and identifies with it and knows that there is help, it can get better.
There is light at the end of the tunnel...
MY OCD ADVENTURE.
The first time I remember being obsessed, it wasn't in any way traumatic. It happened during 8th grade. The content of my obsession was the five outfits I would wear during the school week. The set of five had to be perfect, not in any particular way, just "perfect". This was my first taste of obsession-having thoughts in my mind that I didn't want there but couldn't get rid of. The only way I thought of to cope was telling myself (inside my mind) "I am completely filled with blueberry syrup". I would imagine my whole body filled with it, right up to the top of my head, so that none of the obsessive thoughts had any room in there. Believe it or not, it actually worked quite well. It allowed me to have my mind back.
If obsessive-compulsive symptoms come in degrees between the number one and ten, this first episode was about a one (the least significant degree possible). I don't remember it going on for more than one month, and the amount of each day that the obsessions took up was probably one or two hours. The rest of the time, I led a completely normal life. I was happy and life was good.
Towards the end of the ninth grade, my OCD reappeared subtly at first, and then came on with full force. For the last few months of my ninth grade year, I became very aware of all the judgements and attitudes I held about my classmates. What I mean by this is mostly that I questioned myself about whether I thought equally of everyone, or cared more about what the popular people thought of me. Each night I would journal about all the thoughts I had that day at school, to purge myself of them. I would confess any thoughts (to myself and God) of wanting to be like anyone else, worrying about what Jenny thought more than what Gabe thought, and on and on. I thought nothing of it at the time, but now I know this was also an OCD symptom, very similar to scrupulosity, a type of OCD with symptoms involving feelings of guilt and the need to tell or confess. This placed me in the perfect position to experience my next symptom.
[Side note: immediately before I had the Shari thought, I had an image. Inside my mind, I saw the word "POPULARITY", just floating in space. Within a few hours, the Shari thought showed up in its place.]
The thought was "I want to be like Shari." Out of the blue one day this thought came to mind, almost as if it had been put there by someone else. I was not thinking about anything related to this idea-it just popped into my head, and grabbed a hold of every inch of my consciousness.
The word obsession comes from a Latin word that means "besieged"-and people with OCD frequently find themselves besieged by a thought or idea that is contrary to their personality and values, and that they find abhorrent and repulsive. In psychiatry, this quality is termed "ego-dystonic," meaning it is a thought or idea that the person does not identify as being his or her own. Caring equally about all people was very much at the core of my value system. The idea of wanting to be someone else or putting someone else above everyone else I found repugnant and distasteful. Consequently, this became my OCD symptom. This thought took over my brain completely-ever second of everyday, not once did I lose consciousness of this one thought. And it was so very powerful that I thought it was true. It was so excruciatingly painful, because the most awful thing I could imagine to be true about myself I not only thought was true, but I could think of nothing else. NOTHING. For six months this thought and this abject self-hatred was all there was of Heidi. There was no happiness; there was no relief. NONE. It was a season in hell.
Each night I would journal my confession to God that I was sorry that I cared so much about this one person and didn't care about anything else. I tried talking about it with my close friends and one time with my dad. Nothing I said or they said helped. It had absolutely no effect on the obsession. It was just as bad as before. I even went to a counselor. She told me that I was too serious and that I should accept the part of me that wanted to be friends with Shari (she, like myself at the time, thought that I had a genuine interest in Shari).
She did give me the key, but that was not it. She finally said, "well why don't you just introduce yourself to her, or ask her if her life is perfect like you think it is." So I did. One day after lunch I followed her towards her class and introduced myself. I just said that I had seen her around school, and she looked like someone I would like to be friends with. She was very friendly and said that was nice. This was around December (this had all started in June). After that, the obsession lost all of its power. Normal thoughts were all I had about her from that point on. I had no particular interest in being her friend at all. She was just someone I knew.
But instead of being healthy now, I found other girls to obsess over. One by one, I became obsessed with each of the popular girls who were one year older than I was. The thoughts were "I want to be friends with _______" and "if I were friends with _______, my life would be perfect". I would have to walk by whomever it was during breaks and exchange a smile with her before I went back to being normal, only to have to do the same thing with some one else next break. After I became friends with each of them, the obsession stopped, and life went back to normal. It was like the part of me that was normal and not obsessed would take over if I did something to provoke it (like befriending these girls). In other words, I would be obsessed with being like whomever until I proved to myself that becoming friends with these girls wasn't what I wanted, which I found out by befriending them. When I had the real actual opportunity to actually be friends with them, I didn't want to. It's like I was doing behavior therapy on myself-the way to help myself not to be obsessed was to "tap in" to the normal part of my that had just normal feelings and thoughts.
This obsession with popularity and the popular girls didn't make sense. I knew that they weren't really the type of people I wanted to be friends with, and I didn't really care at all about them or what they thought of me. But an unhealthy mind is dysfunctional. It allows thoughts to go on that are not your normal thoughts.
The next 20 months were almost as if none of this had ever happened. Obsessive thoughts didn't even come to mind, let alone stay there for nine months. I was happy and healthy and life was back to normal. I still didn't have a clue about what had happened to me with the Shari thing, but it was over, so it didn't really matter. My eleventh grade year was great. Then in September I started my senior year as a student at a community college. Fall quarter was great, but then came Winter, when I got my first taste of social phobia.
It began in my Native American Anthropology class. I sat in about the middle row back from where the professor lectured. I felt very self-conscious, like everyone was staring at me and criticizing what I was wearing. This was especially hard to handle once I sat down. After the first two days I began sitting at the back of the classroom because for the entire class period I felt like everyone behind me was staring at me and evaluating my every move. The feeling was most acute in that class, but I felt self-conscious in my Anthropology 101 class too.
In this class, I met a girl named Julia who I hit it off with right away. A couple times after class she walked me to my next class, or went to the cafeteria together to eat. One night, I invited her to have dinner with me and my family. She accepted and we had a good time at dinner. After dinner, Julia and I went up to my bedroom to talk. Pretty soon I began to feel uncomfortable and unsure of whether I really wanted to be her friend. This was not a result of something she did-it just hit me out of the blue. I thought it might have been because I was tired, so I didn't think much of it until the next morning when I woke up and still felt the same way. I felt like I didn't want to talk to her or hang out with her that day. Julia had left her wallet at my house, so she came into my first class to get it from me. When she did this, she casually asked what I was doing after class. I was going to the library, and I felt extremely pressured to invite her to come with me (again, not because of anything she had done), even though I really didn't want her to. So I invited her, but she said she couldn't, so I went by myself. While studying in the library, I ran into Julia. Again I invited her to study with me, she said yes, and we sat down to study. I felt very uncomfortable the whole time.
And this same scenario played itself out dozen of times more with different particulars, until I finally felt like I could not handle one more day of it. The only way I knew I wouldn't say no when I meant yes was to tell Julia that I could no longer be her friend. I knew that if I left any possibility open between us, I would continue to feel pressured and do things that I really didn't want to do. She (of course) was very hurt and upset. I felt badly, but I couldn't do anything else.
Between Winter and Spring quarters, my social phobia spread from my classes to all my interactions with people outside of my home. It wasn't as bad in my new classes, but I felt it everywhere else I went (the bank, the grocery store, restaurants, ect.). I felt extremely self-conscious and constantly felt I was being scrutinized by the people with whom I came into contact. But that's not all. In addition completely alone. Time spent by myself was spent obsessing about the way I had felt in the previous situation and the way I would feel in the next circumstance. But it was more than obsessing. It was almost as though I experienced the same intensity of anxiety remembering the situations as I did when they had happened. Every day was difficult, but there are a few that stick out in my mind.
Social phobia continued on into the spring, and was particularly bad when my family made a trip to visit my grandparents, mom's sister's family, and my great grandma for Easter. The worst thing that happened during the whole trip will seem like a non-event to you, but it makes the whole vacation one bad memory to me. I had gone into Kmart to look at stereos, and all the bright lights and highly stacked shelves and aisles were too much for my eyes. As I was heading out the electrical door, there was probably less than a split second where I had to wait for the door to know I was there so that it would open. During that moment, and all the time I dwelt on it for the rest of the trip, I had a horrible feeling that everyone had seen me and that I had looked so stupid standing there waiting for the door to open. I know that in my mind I had blown the whole thing majorly out of proportion (I seriously doubt a single person noticed the split second where I was waiting, and even if someone had, there wasn't anything unusual enough for anyone to notice-people pause every day for doors to open). But it was such an awful feeling and memory-later that night I had to leave the presence of my family to journal about it because the feeling it had given me was bothering me so much.
During the social phobia period, I also developed obsessions with the word and the concept of SOCIETY. I was so self-conscious all the time that I began obsessing the accusation "all you care about is society", which really bothered me. During the same Easter visit, I recall Easter afternoon after we got back from church, my cousin and I looked through lots of old photo albums of my mom's family when she was young. Looking at a picture of my grandma and my mom and aunt at the beach and doing various other things, I would think "you wouldn't have enjoyed that because all you care about is society". I thought that same thought over and over about everything I looked at, everything I thought of, everything I anticipated, everything I remembered-anything that came to mind at all. Watching movies I would think about how self-conscious I would be if what was happening in the movie was happening to me. Reading books, same thing. Watching TV, same thing.
My social phobia eventually complicated my plans to go away to college. My dad and I went to a learn-about-the-school weekend at the beginning of May at Western Washington University in Bellingham. This is the second-to-worst memory of my social phobia. While I went to different presentations and toured the school, I felt like I was being stared at everywhere I went, even when no one was around-constantly feeling like I was being watched, even though I knew very well that I wasn't. The first morning when my dad and I had breakfast in the cafeteria, there was only one other person there. She was sitting one table away from us. I felt very uncomfortable conversing with my father knowing that she could hear us. I was also very uncomfortable when I attended a presentation on Western's study abroad program. Sitting in my seat, I vicariously experienced all the anxiety I would have felt if I was the one giving the presentation.
I was staying with a friend in her room, which was one of four connected to a common bathroom. I knew I didn't want to live there because when I was using the bathroom and brushing my teeth and washing my face I felt like someone was watching me and listening to everything I did, even though the only other person there was in her room listening to music.
I went back to Spokane and thought about it further, and gradually I developed a really ominous feeling about "what it would be like if I wasn't living at home". Finally I just decided that I was not ready to make the transition. This was more fuel for my obsession that all I cared about was society-I would think that the only reason I loved my family was because they protected me from society, meaning that they were the only setting in which I felt comfortable.
By this point you have probably noticed the resemblance between the obsession that I wanted to be like Shari and the obsession that all I cared about was society. The theme seems to be that somehow people and status matter more to me than my true values, such as family, kindness, and compassion. I think these obsessions are a clue to what I find truly abhorrent. And being blessed with OCD, I am prone to dwell on the possibilities much more than I have ever wanted to.
The next event that stands out in my mind happened during the summer. We had a family reunion of my dad's family at our house, and we all went to our friend's lake cabin for the weekend. The whole time my relatives where there I continued to obsess about society. One morning it was really bad. I woke up before everyone and I felt very disturbed and agitated. I really don't know how to explain it, but I was very distressed and my distress was in some way linked to either the subject or the idea of "society". I tried to read but I couldn't, so I did what I frequently did when I needed to figure something out so that I would feel better-I took a walk. But the walk only made me feel worse. My thoughts were all consuming. It was me arguing with myself about what exactly was wrong. "OK, what's wrong? I don't know. Why is the concept of society in your head? Is that what is wrong? Does it have to do with society? No. What's wrong with SOCIETY?" It amounted to the fact that I knew something was really wrong, but I didn't know what it was or how to fix it. It subsided in the same way these obsessions always subsided-by changing ever so slightly until it was a different thought or a different obsession. A couple days later (looking back on it) I understood what the problem had been. One the one hand, when I asked myself if what was happening had to do with SOCIETY, and the answer was no. But looking back, I realized that the answer should have been yes. If I would have said to myself "something is wrong and it has to do with society-now, get rid of the idea of society and disconnect all the weird feelings from the concept of society", then I would have done so and felt much better. Crazy, I know, but that's me (a nut in a nutshell).
It all boils down to this: something inside told me that something was wrong with society in my head, and something else inside told me that there wasn't. I had to come up with strategies to sort of "tap into" the part of me that was sane and didn't have this odd agitation and sensation that "something is wrong". The way to fix the way I felt was to realize that my agitation had absolutely nothing to do with actual society; in other words, nothing really was wrong with the normal idea I had of society (which I never lost entirely). I was disturbed because I thought something was wrong and it was connected to SOCIETY.
Fast-forward about a year and the same damned thing happened with my friend, Julia. I was driving out to visit her in the spring on Orcas Island. Thinking normally about various things, she came up in my thoughts, and I knew there was something wrong with my idea of her. When I thought of her in my mind, it wasn't normal, there was something wrong. When I'm alone, I usually talk to myself out loud to try to figure something out so I would feel better. So I said things to myself like "Julia is just like all your other friends; you picture them in your mind normally, just picture her the same way." When I arrived at the ferry terminal, I took a walk, but wasn't able to come up with anything, so I sat down in my car to write about it. All of a sudden I thought of the solution. It was similar to the SOCIETY solution. All I needed to do was take Julia's name off of everything in my head. All the anxiety was relieved as I imagined physically removing her name from all the anxiety in my head. I just imagined doing it over and over until I felt better. Once I thought of this solution, it was easy to go back to feeling normal.
I wouldn't call the things I did to normalize myself compulsions, because normally compulsions are overt acts that have to be performed exactly a certain way every time. But I did feel the need to think certain things in order to relieve my anxiety. In the OCD literature they call this a "mental compulsion", meaning something you feel compelled to do in your own mind. Some people feel the need to visualize the faces of loved ones before going to sleep at night, or the need to remember something. I would visualize moving words into the upper right-hand corner of my mind so they wouldn't bother me. I also used to have a mantra that I would repeat over and over in my head like a song ("give the nuttiness away now") while I visualized putting the weird worries into the same place in my mind as the words.
Now more about how it was that Julia re-entered my life. Winter quarter the next school year, we had a class in the same building, and towards the end of the quarter I again began to wish that her and I could be friends again. This was not a compulsion of any kind, but a genuine interest in her friendship. I thought maybe if I was really careful to take it slowly this time, I could avoid all the bad feelings I had the last time, so one day before class I asked her if she would like to hang out on the weekend. Naturally she was surprised, but her answer was yes. Between then and the weekend I had some anxiety about what it would be like, but that was to be expected. We went to see the Titanic, and both had a good time. It was about a week before things started to get weird again. I was really excited about the relationship and enjoying her company, and I had bought her a cd and wanted to give it to her before class, but I didn't run into her. While sitting alone in the library studying, all of a sudden I got a really dreadful feeling about seeing her again. I picked up my pen and started to journal "I am in the boiler again" and that's exactly what it felt like-like all of a sudden I had been dropped into really hot water. I felt very dreadful and fearful about having any contact with her anytime in the future. It was a very strong and overpowering dread, which followed me to work where it continued to bother me until I finally decided that I was not going to be able to be Julia's friend, because the weird stuff still dominated my interaction with her. I was sad about this loss, but somewhat relieved that I wouldn't have to deal with it all anymore. I stopped contacting her and moved on with my life.
This resolve lasted only until I discovered another option for dealing with the weirdness. I realized that in my mind, I could choose whether to "go with" the weird anxiety feelings, or to instead "go with" my normal feelings of having this new friend and coping with it just fine. Similar to "giving away" the words or the nuttiness, I found that I could just as well give away my anxiety. But this only worked for a while. This allowed me to enjoy another week (or two?) of friendship with Julia, during which I felt totally fine, right up until right before I left for a weekend out of town with my family for my brother's hockey tournament. Then it came back with a vengeance.
As I was packing to leave, Julia called to see if I could visit her again before I left. I felt very weird and didn't want to talk to her. I said I couldn't and that was that. But the weekend of weirdness had just begun. Things progressively got worse, as far as my thoughts about Julia. I had a sense that something was wrong with my idea of her, and I put off dealing with it for a day. Then I decided to face it and try to correct it. I summoned up the weird idea and tried to picture a normal idea instead by putting the weird idea into the upper right hand corner of my mind. This only made me feel worse, and pretty soon I was almost beside myself with fear and weird notions/feelings that I couldn't control. This is very hard to explain, without simply leaving it at "you don't ever want to feel this way".
But from here, the weekend only got worse. The next day when I lied down to take a nap, I couldn't sleep (I was obsessing about Julia), so I got up and journaled about the recent events. This didn't help, so I went for a walk. I started arguing in my head again about what exactly was troubling me. It was just like the walk at the lake. All I knew was that something was wrong and it had to do with Julia. I felt horrible-agitated, anxious, fearful, and I couldn't think straight about it. I felt this way for the rest of the weekend. During the trip home, I journaled some more, and consequently thought of another strategy-telling myself to react to what has really happened-I journaled about how it's like having a girl in my head that makes up her own problems, problems totally disconnected from any reality. When I thought about that, it made me feel normal, because I could picture normalness. That night when I arrived, I went over to Julia's house for a visit, and had a nice, normal time.
I know what it's like to be normal, and I also know what it's like to be crazy, and this was definitely one of my crazy times. And it doesn't matter if 250,000 million people tell me that what I'm feeling is normal, I will never again doubt that I may be wrong. All I can say when someone says that is "you simply do not understand", because if you really understood what it is like (and I know you never will), you would know it is crazy too!
As time progressed, my weird times got closer together and each "episode" lasted longer, and began to interfere more and more with our friendship. The content of the weird times also diversified. In addition to the times when I dreaded having contact with her and the times when I felt great anxiety about my idea of her, I was also thinking about all of these things even when they weren't happening. Actually, all day everyday I was bothered by some "Julia problem". At all times, it was some type of fear. There were a couple times when I was petrified; most of the time, I was very agitated and fearful, to the point where twice I had to leave class and once I had to leave school. Sometimes I would feel a very exaggerated disinterest in Julia, both in my thoughts when I was alone and also when we spent time together. A lot of the time, I was in a panic because my feelings about her would change very dramatically again and again all day long, and whatever feeling it was, I was obsessed with it. It's not something that I would think about for a while and then think about something else. I thought about it every single minute of the day, during all my classes, driving in my car, eating, walking somewhere, running an errand-nonstop. One minute I couldn't wait a second longer to see her and I would drop everything to make it happen immediately; the next minute I would feel like I would rather see anyone other than her. A lot of the time I just felt very fearful and anxious, and the only thing that helped (sometimes) was to talk to her about something normal. This helped invoke normal feelings to replace the odd ones.
I have thought about all this a lot, and how to understand it all in the context of OCD. I think that thinking about any one person all day everyday causes the problem of thinking and feeling very odd things about that person. If you are thinking about her for all 19 of your waking hours, you are going to run out of normal things to think about. While this is a more general obsession than typical OCD symptoms, I think the two are related. One thing I have had the opportunity to discover while on medication is that my mind is simply less obsessive in general. The easiest way to describe the change is to liken it to the ability (or lack thereof) to "change channels" on the TV in one's mind. After being on the medication for about a month, I noticed that my thinking about Julia had changed. It was like my mind had about 10 TV stations, and thoughts about Julia were on one of them. My mind would flip from station to station, sometimes thinking of Julia, but lots of other times not, which was a very new and different experience.
Before the medication, my channel flipper was broken. I would get tuned in to the Julia station, and my mind would just stay there ALL DAY. Now I thought about Julia some of the time, but also experienced times when I would think about something totally different (and not even on purpose, just naturally). And let me tell you, you aren't able to appreciate this quality of your mind until you have gone five months without it. A healthy mind is, I think, the greatest of the gifts that most people fail to appreciate.
I think I was especially impulsive due to the obsessive quality that every thought possessed. Like I said, I didn't tune into and out of the Julia station-I was stuck there, so that whatever thought or feeling I happened to be having at the time had my full attention.
All these things I experienced regarding Julia, I also experienced with my friend Justin. All except the channel thing (I was able to tune into and out of the Justin channel mostly, except during the times when I couldn't picture him correctly or was extremely dreadful of seeing him again). I met him the spring quarter following the winter quarter during which I re-contacted Julia.
I remember one day in particular-after work, I wanted to go see a movie with Justin to divert my obsessive thoughts, however slightly. It's hard to describe what the problem was on that day and so many others. The best way I can describe it is that it was like everything I looked at had "Julia" written on it. After work and before the movie I went on a long drive on the freeway. I had to do something. I was very agitated. I began talking outbound-"IT ISN'T REAL; this problem doesn't really EXIST. IT ISN'T REAL. IT ISN'T REALLY THERE. Where is the name? It's there, there, there, (pointing at everything in sight)." It was everywhere in the worst sort of way. This didn't help.
The times when I sensed that something about my notion of either of them was askew were extremely terrifying. I was CERTAIN that something was wrong, and I couldn't do anything to correct it. Something in my picture of reality was drawn wrong and nothing could be done to put it back to normal. It's like looking into the eyes of a monster. (This is not something that anyone who hasn't experienced it can possibly imagine, so don't bother trying.) I mean, KNOWING that something in your understanding of reality is wrong-and knowing this just as certainly as the schizophrenic KNOWS he has heard a voice. It is the most terrifying thing I have ever experienced.
This happened several times, with both Julia and Justin. The absolute worst time lasted for about twenty minutes during my drive back from visiting Julia on Orcas Island. Like always, it seemed to fall down upon me suddenly. All of a sudden, something was very wrong. Something was wrong with my concept of Julia. When I thought of Julia inside of my mind, it's like it wasn't really Julia at all, but a terrifying stranger. And there was absolutely nothing I could do to get the right perception back. This was so frightening. I felt like pulling out all my hair and screaming at the top of my lungs. I later wrote this about the feeling-"so fucking scared-not the romantic fear of modern poetry, but a primal animal, puking, pants shitting, bed wetting terrified that you would give everything you have not to ever feel again, not even for one minute."
All this is what it's like to have a mind that lacks the health that some people do not even know exists. And to them, I quote Ani Difranco, "I envy you in your ignorance-I hear that it's bliss."
I am Marcy, 27 years old and married for four years. I assume I had experienced OCD symptoms when I was younger (I don't have a vivid memory of any of my past). I do know I used to have very chapped hands from washing them too much. I did not even know what OCD was or associate what I was feeling as a mental illness until several years ago. Actually, I think I finally realized I had a disorder when I saw the movie "As Good As It Gets".
Anyway, over the past few years my disorder and OCD symptoms were taking over my life. I was miserable and hateful. I could not sleep because i feared bugs and mice would attack me. I was constantly disinfecting things. I would only eat off of paper or plastic plates, silverwear and cups stored in the fridge. I could not drive anywhere without a panic attack. Worst of all, I was ruining my marriage. I would not want my husband to go anywhere without me...I feared something bad happening to him. I started isolating myself in my house and trying to isolate my husband as well. Strange thing is people automatically assume my house is spotless due to me having OCD. Quite the opposite sometimes...I would let things pile up because I did not want to touch them because they were dirty. I would just find ways to avoid that side of the house or not use the kitchen until my husband cleaned it. I was working at this time...working with developmentally disabled individuals.
Strange thing is, I did not know how miserable I actually was. My mind had ways of justifying everything I did. Then, one day, I was at work and my coworker was absent. I was working with her clients as well as mine. I was getting stressed, things were not going right for me and I just about lost it. I looked back at how miserable I was and decided to get help. I called into work the next day and called for a referral from my insurance company. Then, I looked up the OCD club at yahoo. People in the club provided me tons of support to make it to my first, second, third and so on appointments.
Don't get me wrong...getting help was more difficult at the time than living with OCD. I had panic attacks over and over again, even though I was on Prozac for it. But, I had a strong desire to beat this OCD and my husband was great support, he works in mental health. It has been a year now since that phone call that saved me. It has been the toughest year of my life. I have gone through many emotional rollercoaster rides to get where i am at now.
I left my highly stressful job and took a job in the mental health field...I do mainly data entry, but it is for a fairly laid back company that is understanding of my few quirks I have left. Many of my OCD symptoms have subsided. I still have some bad days, but they are never as bad as I used to have. I thank whoever that invented Prozac. It literally saved my life. My husband says he would have given me just a few more months before I would probably have been committed. I was gradually going insane.
Nowadays, I have my freedom back because I can drive again...and I have a lot of freedom from OCD. I actually get out and do things...I have joined a bowling league and a health club with my husband. I went to see my family for the first time in over four years. My husband has his life back too. He can now go out of town on business without worrying about me going into a panic attack. He can go out with friends without me giving him a guilt trip to stay home. Our marriage is as strong as ever.
I am not totally void of OCD...I still have many symptoms left. The worst being that OCD took away my memory. I have hardly any long term memory of things and I feel that is basically due to my only memories have been consumed by OCD. And, I want people to know suffering from OCD that it may take a year on the same medication to feel much better, it may even take longer and it is not easy. But, please don't give up...I believe there is some relief for everyone out there...it just may take awhile.
Thanks for listening,
MY PERSONAL STORY.
I am a 15 year old girl who was recently diagnosed with OCD among other things, but here is where it all started.
Every since I was around 5 or so, I can remember I had very odd habits
or ways of doing certain things. I had to wash my hands all the time, or get dressed certain ways, or wear certain things on a certain day of the week.
I threw tantrums because no one would comply with what I wanted.
When I was around 7, I started doing odd things, I would count the steps I took, or breaths I took, or counted how long it took me to do certain things. I also started to be careful with the things I touched. Like if a battery was corroded, I wouldn't not touch it, and I would not touch what the battery was in. Even if a battery was ok, I still wouldn't touch it. I had trouble touching bleach bottles also.
For awhile the odd things that I did got better. I still counted things, well just about everything. But I could touch certain things with out me getting worried about what I was touching. The ways I dressed and such also got better.
For several years, the only thing that I really did was count, and do odd things like step with a certain foot, or avoid cracks, or check locks and doors, stuff like that.
This summer, I had a breakdown, I was depressed, counted things like crazy, had panic attacks, and compulsively washed things, my hands, and other things. After awhile, I couldn't take it anymore, I was afraid that I would hurt someone, or myself. So I went to my mother who got me help.
With the final diagnosis, they found I have OCD, Depression, Panic, and
Anxiety Disorder. All of this took place before my 15 birthday.
They have me on medication and I am doing pretty good, I still have bad days, but no one around here seems to understand that. They don't think I should have bad days. They really don't understand these disorders. But I have less and less bad days, but sometimes they just happen.
If everything continues to go good, I will be lowered, or off of Paxil completely. Since I'm only on 20mgs, getting off of it won't be that bad. I'm just worried that when I get off of Paxil, things will go back to what they used to be. I just hope it doesn't. Well thanks for reading my story.
ME vs. OCD.
My parents were separated when I was 9. I realize that in these times that's no big deal; and back then I didn't seem to care much either. At least the fighting would stop. My sister cried, but not me. That's when it started.
OCD began with that "germ" game in school. (You know the one. It's kind of like tag, only the kid all the others run from is treated like they have a horrible disease.) One day, when the kid with the germs touched me, I found that I couldn't get the imaginary infection off me by touching another kid. I had to go wash my hands.
Our family break down had now reached full momentum. At age 10, I was awakened from sleep by police sirens. A walk down the hall once the cops had left revealed my mother sobbing in the kitchen. She confessed to me that after seeing my father with another woman in his apartment she had smashed all the windows in his van. Dad didn't press charges. Mom was still holding the hammer and swung it while she spoke.
Over the next two years OCD became the ultimate control of my every action and thought. My father would call and speak to me about my mother. Quite regularly he would tell me she was mentally ill and I should come live with him. He would use names like "witch" and "old crow" when referring to her. He would say she was very sick, and I would end up that way too if I stayed there. I discussed all of this with my younger sister who was much more attached to our mom than our dad. She is a year younger than me. I had seen my father throw my sister against the wall once when she was 8. I don't remember him hurting her more, but I'm sure he did.
It was for these reasons I, in my 12 year old, OCD enveloped wisdom, came to the conclusion that my mother in fact was a witch, along with my sister. I wouldn't eat in the house. It was contaminated by the very fact my female family members inhabited it. My allowance went to food. I had to have a complete shower if either my mother or sister touched me. I slept with a bible under my pillow, and had to keep my fingers crossed whenever I was in my home. Apparently, that was the only protection I could develop against the evil I now believed was everywhere in my home.
I left my mother's house that year. I told my sister and mom that I hated them, and I never wanted to see them again as I ran out to my father's car. My sister ran after me and through big teary blue eyes said, "You're not really going to leave me here all alone are you?" I don't remember even answering her, but the guilt which haunts me now is almost unbearable. On that day, I hurt them both more than I could have ever imagined.
I moved in with my father and his common-law wife. For a time, the new house was free of contamination. Life was good. I didn't see my mother again until I was 15. It was a court order, and I still had to keep my fingers crossed while in her presence and have a shower once she had gone. By the time I was seeing her again, however, it was a good break from the new nightmare I was living.
My dad's girlfriend had OCD too. I didn't know she had the same thing I did, or even that it was called OCD, I just new she was weird. The most insignificant of her problems was when she left the house for a week because I vacuumed the living room in the wrong direction. It wasn't long before that developed into accusations that I was trying to seduce my father. YUCK!!!! You'll have to take my word on it that nothing could have been farther from the truth. I was a teenager, the less time I spent with either of my parents the better. She introduced me to cleaning obsessions. Once a week I was to vacuum (in the right direction) and clean the bathrooms. That's certainly not to much to ask of a teenager living in your home. It became wrong when she inspected my finished work. Just as an example, one day I came home from school and cleaned the bathroom. She got home from work a little later and proclaimed that I had, in fact, done nothing. My father sent me back to do it again. I re-washed the entire can. Another inspection revealed it was still not good enough. I was sent back to work. Two more cleanings and two more inspections later ended in me being grounded for a month for mocking my Dad's girlfriend. She was in tears when she went to bed at midnight saying that I was a hateful child for mocking her so. It had better be clean in the morning. I was on hands and knees in the tub, scrub brush in hand at 2 am when my Dad said I could go to bed. He was crying. I was too, "Where is the dirt Dad? If you tell me where it is I'll clean it." He hugged me and said he didn't know.
My sister moved in to my father's house when I was 16, she was 15. Mom had been diagnosed with multiple personality disorder. (That's what they termed it back then.) In the four years I had been gone Mom had attempted suicide three times, with only my younger sister to find her bloody body on the floor, or passed out from pills. As you can see, everyone in my family has their sad tale.... I'm trying to stick to mine.
My sister was bulimic when she came to live with us, and full blown anorexic by the time she was 17. At 18, I was kicked out of the house. My Dad was now married to his girlfriend, she moved out and started divorce proceedings on my birthday. If I left, she would come back. She said she couldn't handle my sexual advances against my father. Again I have to say YUCK!!!!
Anyway, I wasn't done high school yet, but I had a job and a car. The school let me park it every night in the lot outside and I finished my finals studying and sleeping out there.
The next few years were tough, my sister is 5'8" and was down to 80 pounds. They removed one and a half kidneys. She had two heart attacks.
I was in university when I attempted suicide for the first time. My OCD had developed so many rituals I could sometimes not even leave the house to attend class. The guilt of my sister's condition, and my mother's undoing laid heavily upon my shoulders. The hospital made me see a therapist who was intelligent enough to inform me I had OCD. The best news was that she could give me a drug called anafranil which would minimize my symptoms!! Yay!
The therapist, (her name was Bee) was not the nicest lady, however. I soon found that the anafranil gave me convulsions. I was working as a waitress and found that I would drop food or drinks without warning. I could do nothing to thwart the spasms. When I informed Bee of my predicament she told me she didn't believe me. She asked me to show her the shakes. I couldn't, I just wasn't shaking at the time. Bee said she saw no need to change my medication. I never saw her again. I stopped taking the anafranil.
My second suicide attempt was at age 25. I was having up to 11 showers a day. I had to drop out of university because I couldn't attend regular classes. I convinced the hospital I was fine, and they let me go. I was still traumatized by the memory of Bee and her horrible anafranil.
Eventually I met my current boyfriend. We fell quickly and madly in love. I finally made up my mind to find out all I could about OCD. I now want a normal life. I now have a terrific shrink, and I'm back in university. My doctor has me on luvox. I recommend it highly over that garbage anafranil anyday. I can control my symptoms for the most part, and I can function well in society. We're always running out of soap and my hands are always dry, but I'll be finishing my undergrad degree this year.
I'm 29 now. What you've just read is the condensed version of my story. If anyone gets anything from what I've written I hope it is this:
YES- OCD if left unbridled can ruin your life - but you don't have to allow that!
YES - OCD effects everyone around the person who is afflicted - But people can help each other heal!
People with OCD are generally very intelligent and capable of doing great things with their lives. Don't let it beat you!
It sure as hell won't beat me!
Best Wishes Fellow Warriors!,
Well, my diagnosis is OCD and cyclothymic bi-polar disorder. My ocd problems are mainly in checking, symmetry, not exactly perfectionism but I like to keeps things tidy. I can literally become "stuck" with anything that involves opening and closing, or on and off. Faucets are one of my biggest problem areas. I will continually check them to make sure they are really off, often placing my hand underneath the spout and counting for drops, usually up to 10 or 12. If a drop falls in this time period I feel alot of anxiety and usually have to start all over again. With behavior therapy this is becoming somewhat better. Other things i can get stuck on are again, literally anything that falls into opening/closing, on/off, but i have problems with ovenknobs, the coffee pot as far as making sure it is really on the burner, checking the door when I leave, and bizarre as it sounds making sure the lights are off at night when I try to go to bed. I can honestly stand in "pitch black" feeling unsure! I also repeatedly check the clocks to make sure they are set right, and when it comes to setting the alarm that causes alot of anxiety for me as far as re-checking, etc. I force myself to do things though, even though I know I'll have problems. If I want a drink of Hawaiian Punch I'll make myself go get it even though I know I'll probably get stuck putting the cap back on the bottle, and get stuck making sure the refrigerator is really closed. In the past I used to get blisters on my hands from the lids on such bottles.
I also have the racing mind problems, etc. The worry. I have a really hard time trying to live in the present, I'm always thinking about the next day or even the day following that. I obsess about literally anything that is some kind of an appointment. I guess there's some fear there that I may miss something which is normal once in awhile. I hardly ever miss anything though! I guess I could say I'm punctual, but I think alot of the reason I don't miss is simply because I obsess so much. I have a really difficult time sleeping. I obsess about my doctors appointments, my classes, the support group, literally anything that's an "appointment".
My issues started surfacing when i was around 14 years old. I'm now 30. Over the course of time they progressively got worse and worse until I hit "rock bottom". There were 3 suicide attempts (hospitalizations), one of which I am lucky to be alive from, the last one. The other 2 were bad enough, but more of a cry for help. During those years though I was able to work full-time and still go to school too with difficulty. Then, just with the course of time, it got to be too much to bear and i had to stop and get on disability. This ultimately led to my divorce as well. In some ways I can understand, in some I don't.
Now I'm on disability and working with college again. My plan will be to slowly increase my class load and see how i do, from there if i'm doing alright i'll eventually add volunteer work into the picture, and then if that goes well i'll switch to part-time regular work, and then full-time work again! I think it's a good plan. That's what we have to do is move in small, baby steps. For now school's a good start again. I've come too far not to finish.
For many years I took meds for all of this, and I do think the meds for OCD helped some, but I think they did all they could. In the recent past I got off meds altogether and discovered the hard way that I did need the Lorazepam for the anxiety, and I did need to get back on the Lithium for the bi-polar. So, I'm now back on those two and I'll stay on them. I shouldn't have gotten off of them before, I was just sick of meds at the time. I won't get back on an SSRI for the ocd though, simply because i honestly gave them a fair try and I don't think there's anything more they can do for me. This isn't true for everyone of course. As you know, everyone responds differently to medications as everyone has their own unique body chemistry. With me, they did help, I just think they did what they could is all. And my doctor agrees as well. Medication wise, the Lorazepam and the Lithium can help, for the ocd and the rest, that lies with the behavior therapy I'm doing, and I'm coming along slowly. I also strongly believe in self-help work such as reading and groups.
My last exercise with behavior therapy was to go through at least 1 entire day with using faucets "normally" with no back-checking and no avoiding them either. I was able to get through the first day though it was extreme hell! But I did it! And then I actually did a whole second day as well! Still hell, but again I did it! Leaning on my true loved ones and opening up to God for support is what helped give me the strength to do it, honestly! It was damn hard though. After that second day I started having problems again. But I can honestly say, even now, that though the problems have come back some, they are not nearly as bad as they were before the exercise! So, that's good! It has been cut down considerably because of the exercise. Next week my therapist and I are talking about doing another whole day with the faucets again! Kinda nervous, but looking forward to it in a bizarre way as well! Hee hee!
With the bi-polar, that is more stable of course because of the Lithium. Before, my moods were just unpredictable and I would get really depressed, especially late at night when I couldn't sleep. Sleep is still a problem, and we might need to tackle that some more. But the bi-polar isn't as bad now simply because I'm stabilized. The main things are the annoying rituals that we need to work on, and it's getting somewhat better with the therapy. This faucet thing is a good exercise for now. The next one I would like to try to deal with better is the obsessive thinking, and that's a toughy for us all!
You take care and God Bless!
I was 16 years old, a sophomore in high school, when it started to trigger on me little by little. Not only I became an obsessive studier(was a 4.0+ student that year. First time I got blazing grades since elementary school), but that was when I started pulling my hair out. Even my classmates were concerned about not only that, but why I was "all work and no play". But, especially b/c it was in the late 80's, even they had no clue what OCD was. They just thought that I was just "overly perfect".
Then the following summer, I got painful, intrusive blasphemous thoughts that b/c in the 1st quarter(went by 4 8 week quarters), I ended up cheating on a 1 question quiz in my World History class when I panicked and didn't know it at the last minute, and then realized if I hadn't cheated on it I would have gotten a high C in the class instead of a B(got 3 A's and 3 B's that quarter). And there was another instance in the 4th quarter of my Algebra II class where when I went up to the teacher to ask a test question, I accidentally had a +/- instead of a +/- on a problem, and then when I ended up seeing it on another student's paper, I realized it and changed it. Same thing happened on a quiz in the 1st quarter. So that summer, I got these thoughts that I would be punished by God for cheating, which supposedly bumbed up my grades. So I just kept calculating if I had NOT realized those points, TAKING those points to KEEP RE AVERAGING my grades for those quarters.
And while they STILL came up to A's, I just kept going back doing them again, again, and again. B/c this thought came up to me saying, "What if I didn't get off to those blazing starts? Would I have lost my confidence instead?". I mean I just kept reassuring, asking God for forgiveness, etc. over and over and over again. And I kept thinking that God would give me a punishment by making me have a very, very, very hard time when I read anything.
That's when I started having ALOT of tics, which the went on for years afterwards. But then while I got off to a blazing start for the first semester in my junior year, I started degenerating little by little.
Basically, for all my accomplishments I achieved in my sophomore year, I was essentially beating myself up for them, and then setting much higher, tortorous, unrealistic goals for myself so I could really "prove" myself. Hey, I watch alot of sports too, and you know how the announcers talk about what builds/destroys confidences of players/teams non constantly, which really fueled the fire on my OCD even more.
While I didn't exactly work on my OCD then, I was able to get off to a blazing start in college b/c my parents had me to take just the minimum(just 2 classes that I really liked), and it became beneficial to me. It was really a great first year. Then the second half of the second year of college, the wheels started coming off again.
I won't get into the details, but's really been an up/downhill struggle for years since it really triggered off many years ago. Despite getting a college degree, I only lasted 3 months b/f getting fired by a job that was a very big golden opportunity to get. And the reasons they listed, well...I acted them out b/c of my OCD(no excuses intended!). But recently, I've really been working and studying about OCD, which has really helped me to cope w/ myself. I don't know if I will ever be obsession free, but being 95% compulsive free and knowing that I DO
have a chronic illness is ALOT MORE THEN I CAN ASK FOR(!). And I'm able to tackle the stressful situations (resulting from my OCD) b/c of these reasons. And this is largely thanks to not only the 5-HTP that my mom researched, but also various OCD books I've read, including the best one out there--"Brain Lock" by Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz.
He devised a 4 step method everytime an OCD attack occurs--
1.)Relabel(Label these unwanted and intrusive thoughts for what they are--obsessions, and that you have a compulsive urge to act out on them.
2.)Reattribute(Say to yourself that your OCD is a result of a biological chemical brain disorder).
3.)Refocus(The MOST important step, b/c your intrusive thoughts just won't go away after the first 2 steps. Focus on another constructive activity for at least 15 minutes.).
4.)Revalue(Accept that this is a treatable biological chemical brain disorder and anticipate this happening many more times in the future).
Yes, while your symptoms will go down, I wouldn't go as far as saying that they will just dissapear. But instead of FEARING that something bad(OCD) is going to occur in the future, I'm coming to a point where I'm ANTICIPATING it will happen b/c I'm ACCEPTING that I have a biological chemical brain disorder in my brain(IOW, I AM READY for WAR against OCD!).
And I really give my parents alot of credit through most of the years b/f the engine just exploded in my head. They had me play musical instruments(the cello, violin, and piano), and I was on the cross country/track team in junior high. IOW, I was able to stay physical fit and use my right arm alot for a number of years, which is said to help the right part of the brain(which the typical OCD person is said to lack on that side). But in my latter high school years, I pretty much quit them, and just hibernated myself to achieving 100's on every test.
And on top of that, it was my mom who read and studied about 5-HTP, which has been VERY beneficial. Yes, we fought alot for many years, to the point of these fights being physical, but she has really helped me alot throughout the tormenting years.But yes, it was as if for many years, if I wasn't perfect, I just ended up throwing the towel on it(like I did to a Physics class in high school b/c it was very challenging). And probably the reason too about the blasphemous thoughts.
I DO have a LONG way to go(believe me, I still have ALOT of DIFICIENCES. For example, I'm back in school now, and as much as I remind myself NOT to be TOO perfect while studying my school work, believe me, it STILL oozes out, and then perfectionism, blashemous intrusive thoughts bite at me in full force along w/ it).
But the bottom line is HOW you DEAL with your illness, NOT that you want to try to wish for them to just "go away". B/c, after all OCDers ARE chronic(just like Parkinson's disease people).
COPING WITH AND RECOVERING FROM OCD.
I'm just adding my story because I believe I have had OCD all my life.... I can remember as a kid, my mom would often scold me for doing my 'habits'. This, however, wasn't as bad an idea as one might think.... I came to believe that doing my 'habits' (flicking lightswitches on and off a specific number of times before leaving it on or off, obsessions with numbers [they had to be even or they were 'good' if they ended in 2 or 4], saying repetitions of words relating to things I pass in the car every day, many more things like that.....) was a bad thing, and needed to be corrected because it would make me seem strange to people who didn't know me. So for years I kept this problem as secret as possible, until it just got worse and worse, at least in my mind. No one else saw me flicking the switches 8 times, then 8 more times because I did the last one the wrong way, or repeating in whispers the same things several times over before I went to sleep. I would get so frustrated I'd strain my body to complete the repetitive tasks, and I'd start to cry to myself because I was sure everyone didn't suffer the brain strain that I did. So I resolved to try to act as normal as possible.... to give up the ridiculous 'habits' cold turkey, and if I really had to, only do the ones no one would notice.
That's where I'm at now. I still do stupid habits (I can call them stupid because that's how I see them still), but if needed, I can control them.....and that's what eases my mind. I mean, hey, if acting out a habit of this sort will relieve your tensions and ease your mind, and it doesn't hurt anyone (including yourself), I say go ahead and do it. Just as long as you can control what you're doing (and it IS controllable, you just have to WANT to control it), it will keep your mind focussed and attentive to details, not to mention constantly working.....which is a good thing, right?? I mean, I'm still embarrassed sometimes if someone catches me acting out a 'habit', but they're just desires to make things 'feel right'.....which everyone can relate to.....
Oh, and I'd just like to add, I did this completely BY MYSELF. So, in fact, NO medication is NECESSARY..... just determination to gain self-control.....something I think most OCD patients lack...... want to change, and you will change. believe it.
Oh, and I'd just like to add, I did this completely BY MYSELF.
So, in fact, NO medication is NECESSARY..... just determination to gain
self-control.....something I think most OCD patients lack......
want to change, and you will change. believe it.