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Anon

OCD

The illness that haunted my life

You can be whole again. You can live an amazing life. I promise.

My name is Lillie, and I, just like most who are likely reading this, am on my journey of recovery from OCD. And it’s been quite the journey, to say the least. OCD has been the fight for fucking my life, but I’ll get into that later. I realize that this illness has followed me and haunted me for my entire life, but it wasn’t until much later that I realized what it was.

When I was a young child, I had a loving family, all of my needs met, went to the best schools in my city, and my life was seemingly the “ideal childhood.” Except, I always had a nagging feeling like something was wrong with me. Even as young as 4 or 5 years old, and probably even before that. I felt like I was an outsider looking in with my peers. Things bothered me that didn’t bother anyone else. I just, for lack of a better term, didn’t feel right. I felt like I didn’t belong and despite being an outgoing and extroverted child, I couldn’t shake that something about me was different.  I worried more than the average child and was very meticulous…about everything. I was obsessive and impulsive (and compulsive, obviously). I was told that “I cared way too much” and “bothered by things that aren’t worth being bothered by” by teachers and peers. Kind, I know. Everything had to be “right” or else I would have a full blown meltdown. For example, I would arrange Barbie Dolls, Polly Pockets, and American Girl Dolls in a very particular way and my older brother would move them around just to be annoying and I would have a MELTDOWN. I mean, a screaming and crying meltdown. At my fourth birthday party, everyone was walking in and out of my room and touching my things. I was in full-blown panic, meltdown mode. I would write and rewrite things over and over and over and over again until they were “perfect.” I would count and recount things over and over until it was “right.” I never got a damn thing done in school. Ever. Homework was such a source of anxiety. In early high school, I sat in the lobby of the athletic building after school with a piece of my friend’s schoolwork who had beautiful handwriting, and wrote and rewrote words, until I had brand new handwriting because I thought mine wasn’t perfect enough. Test taking was just…hellish. I was, without fail, always the last person to finish a test, and not for lack of knowledge. “Am I doing this wrong?” “I need to have perfect handwriting.” “I have to erase all of this and rewrite it.” “I’m going to fail out of high school and end up on the street and just die.” “How do I get out of taking this test because I’m going to fail it.” And because of my OCD, my grades did suffer. They didn’t suffer drastically by any stretch of the imagination, and I would somehow make it onto my school’s Honor Roll each semester; but, since my grades were not all A+’s, I developed more anxiety around school. I was a serial procrastinator because I didn’t want to feel the anxiety of doing schoolwork, but had to get the work done eventually, so I also didn’t sleep. I was what some like to call, a vicious cycle. I’m not quite sure how I made it out of high school alive, and I’m not being dramatic.

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OCD

Summer 2015

I had relapses and I still do but the thoughts are so much weaker, they disappear over time faster.

My story could be a bit unique in it’s own way. I’m not a native speaker and I’m from Russia myself but I’ve been following the topic of OCD for year and a half to help myself. My sources for any kind of OCD knowledge had been purely in English because I find it has much a diverse information on Pure OCD and Russian sources happen to be quite limited on it. I’m 27 year old male, I’m a freelance worker and my story begins.

Growing up I did not really notice I might have a mental issue such as OCD, but looking back now, I could say it has been with me since I can remember myself. I had problems with high level of anxiety, but as I thought back then, it comes from the point of me being a very emotional person. But the Pure OCD revealed itself in its full power much later in my life, when I was the happiest I’d been.

It happened 2 years ago and to this day I still can’t believe I had to deal with it, even tho my Pure OCD did not go away fully (and never will), I learned how to manage it.

My story begins on summer 2015 when I met a woman that I fell in love with, as deeply as one can imagine and my strong feelings were mutual as she felt the same. But it’s not as easy as it sounds because we happened to live in different countries and we met online. She is from Germany and I am from Russia.

I don’t want you to think that I’m writing a love story here and not about OCD, but trust me, it’s more like an OCD story with love being a main part as an activating point of my Pure OCD that had been with me all my life but was not bothering me as much until I’ve got somebody I care about and not just myself.

Since we met, we’ve been inseparable as much as distance allows. That summer was my happiest time of my life, and when Pure OCD hit me deep, it felt like for these unbelievably happy moments I had to pay by dealing with it. By going into details of meeting this woman, which I will refer in this story as J., I want define how I was getting into the worst state of OCD I had ever experienced in my entire life, which was not limited only to emotional distress, due to overdose of positive and happy feelings.

But let’s keep the story in order.
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OCD

Facing my fears with CBT

So for anyone out there, in darkness with no hope. There can be and is a small light at the end of the tunnel if you look hard enough.

Im 40 now and have had Emetophobia for as long as I can remember. Throughout my life the severity has fluctuated and other illnesses such as OCD have become entwined.
From as young as primary age I can recall being afraid of vomit. Looking back there were tell tale signs from a very early age. In primary I convinced myself I was ill when the assembly had to sing “The lords prayer”. I have no idea why that particular song, but every time without fail my grandmother (whom adopted me) would be called up and off home I went. I would get home and instantly feel fine.

Other times I would stay up all night pacing around as my grandmother slept upstairs, worrying I was about to vomit. I never ever told her, but I think she was aware that I just hated it.

By secondary school my main aim was to get through the day without vomiting. It was constantly on my mind and I was analysing every situation. This is where OCD struck and I would have a series of rituals I would need to complete in order to stop myself and family from being sick. My number at the time was 3 but with 1 for luck. So effectively 4. I became slightly religious in which I had to say the same prayer over and over to satisfaction 4×4×4 times and so on. If my grandmother dared call me or interrupt, I would despair as the whole thing needed to be done again. I was missing out on time with friends due to the amount of time it took me to complete my rituals.
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OCD

I’m standing. I’m living.

I write this to tell My story. To let others know they are not alone.

When I was young I’m not sure of the age but little. I used to kiss everyone of my beanie baby animals at night. It sounds sweet right? Well it wasn’t for me– I would kiss each one the get into bed. After I’d get into bed I would wonder did I really kiss each one? What if I didn’t- I would start to feel heavy in my chest and my body uneven. I would get up and kiss them all again (I had a lot), crawl back into bed. Sometimes I could be ok with just that but often times I would kiss them until my lips hurt and I was crying, or until someone in my family said to go to bed. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I would wake up thinking it all was silly until I would do it again the next night. I remember certain rituals. Feeling like one of my fingers was “bad” I would have to touch something with my other finger Two times for every one time I did with my bad finger. I would get stuck in one place for so long touching back and forth. I’m unsure anyone noticed. Maybe they did. Maybe they worried or joked about how I was just a weird kid, maybe OCD wasn’t a topic back then. But I remember feeling stuck in my head a lot.

I was fine a lot of the time, no one would of noticed, as I am now pretty functional outwardly. My teenage years were hard. College harder. I had an eating disorder in high school that I can see now was based entirely on OCD. I would pick out certain foods and amounts that were ok to eat. If I didn’t eat them at a certain time of day or I ate more than allowed I would get panicked. Would I get very fat? Would everything fall apart? Everything about being a teenage girl seemed to revolve around my OCD. Much like when I was little I had a ritual every night of doing sit-ups. 100. But if I miscounted I thought I would start over. I see so clearly the color of the carpet in my bedroom, feeling dizzy, upset- thinking if I could only get through this it would be ok, I would feel even. College is when I finally realized what was wrong with me. I started having weird thoughts. Worried I would stab someone I loved with a knife at night. I would get physically ill over it. I’d tell my then boyfriend at the time. He was a good guy, he would laugh it off say it’s ok. I would tell him so much it felt like sweet relief to say something until I thought it again. I looked up these thoughts online— intrusive thoughts. A glitch in the brain. It helped me to know it didn’t mean I wanted to hurt someone, in fact it meant quite the opposite I was so sickened by my thoughts I couldn’t let them go. I went on Zoloft. It failed, I felt sick and zombie and fat. I always said I could get through anything by walking. And honestly I think I did. When I met my husband he use to say I was in my “hole” when I got down. I couldn’t get out he would say unless I went outside or got out of the house. God he pulled me out of that hole so many times. The man is a saint really, he doesn’t hear it enough. And he prob didn’t know when he married me that he would deal with my mental illness so heavily.

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OCD

90% better from OCD

Now, I consider myself 90 percent better from OCD.

I am 38 years old and have been suffering with OCD for the past 17 years. When I look back in retrospect on my teenage years, I now realize I had small signs of OCD back then. I remember that I was very obsessed with making my homework perfect and doing a whole math project in pencil and then instead of erasing a mistake I would redo the whole assignment. I remember having the fear that I wasn’t perfect and what people would think of me if I made a mistake. Fast forward to 17 years ago because that’s where my OCD really started to get extreme. The event that triggered my OCD was when my father had his heart attack and almost didn’t survive. I was 21 back then. I then began to get the intrusive thoughts that if I didn’t do something my father would die. For example, if I didn’t put the turning signal in when I made a turn I thought something bad would happen to him. If I put the radio on a bad number (which I have issues with numbers) I would think my father would be injured or fall ill. My whole daily life became surrounded by numerous obsessions and compulsions about my father being ok and focusing and doing everything “right” to keep him alive and safe. This went on for 15 years. I would text him repeatedly throughout the day to see if he was ok. I then, for a period of about a year, went to therapy. I was embarrassed to tell anyone that I was seeing a therapist due to my fear of that negative stigma that I’m so called crazy.

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OCD

My OCD Struggle

I think the biggest piece of advice I have received over and over again by my therapist is that to beat the doubt disease you have to trust and have faith.

Hi everybody,

First I would just like to say thank you to Stuart and The OCD Stories website/podcast for helping me feel less alone during some very hard times. I have had OCD my whole life but it wasn’t until this past year that it has really incapacitated me. My earliest memories of OCD are from my​ childhood where I can remember feeling extremely guilty for small things that most other little kids probably wouldn’t even think of. I would have some thought like “maybe I love my mom more than my dad” for example and then I would spend hours dwelling on it and crying and confessing to my parents and begging them to forgive me. Another example is that sometimes when I was walking through the grocery store with my family I would see the cover of a swimsuit magazine or a pretty girl and I would feel interested in it (which is obviously very normal for a kid who is curious about the opposite sex) but that simple feeling of being interested in pretty girls would produce so much guilt and disgust inside of me that I would spend days on end thinking about what a terrible person I was and how I was going to go to hell. I come from a big Irish-Italian family so we went to Catholic church a lot when I was a kid and it was something that was important to my family so I bought into the whole idea of guilt whole-heartedly and it caused me a lot of anguish even though the things I was guilty and ashamed of were very normal. But I had no idea. I simply thought I was evil and that I had to go to confession every time I did something I considered bad. Despite these early feelings of extreme guilt and shame, I was still a pretty happy kid and it didn’t keep me from becoming a popular kid who was a very good athlete.

As I went on to become a varsity captain in baseball and basketball in high school it seemed like those early feelings of guilt and shame about weird, small things subsided a bit but what I didn’t realize was that my OCD had just transferred to a different theme. I got a girlfriend my Sophomore year in high school and we stayed together for three years. While there were good times with her, I was in pain for a lot of the relationship and often for very small reasons. I would see her talk to one of my friends and then get a thought like “what if she likes my friend” or “is she cheating on me” or “we’re not right for each other” and I would dwell on these thoughts for days and we would fight all of the time because of my doubtful thoughts. The relationship caused me so much pain because for some reason I could never trust her because of my thoughts and it looked like I was just an insecure guy but what nobody (including me) realized was that I was suffering from OCD.

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OCD

Free at last

This is what specifically worked for me and still does to this day (it’s been like 10 years!)

Okay relax dude, you’re not gay, trust me. This is just a hurdle you’re going to conquer. I did it and you definitely can too.

So I had this HOCD for like, I don’t know, 5–10 years!!!…It was horrid!..I even went to a ‘coming out’ group but was asking ‘how do I really know if I’m really gay?…This one gay guy was like if you look at another man’s ass and are like yeah…check that out.. But I was like, well that doesn’t do it for me but I’m still stressing out. I even made myself look at gay porn but still was not with it. I was seeing dicks everywhere at times, I was like Jonah Hill in the movie Superbad, it was not fun at all. Kind of funny now though.

I mean we can condition ourselves to like fucking anything really if we wanted to right? I’ve slept with many women since an early age so if anything I was like I could be possibly bi but it just didn’t seem genuine. I’m kind of an artist and my dad wasn’t around so much when I was younger so the mind tends to look for reasons and connections to tie into especially about everything you’re scared of. I went to multiple therapists, took self-improvement seminars…I wanted to be done with it!! Until I finally came to something that worked!! Here it is my lucky friends. Hope this frees you!!!! FREE AT LAST, FREE AT LAST…Try this shit out and welcome aboard of leaving that nonsense behind you…

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OCD

Embracing Uncertainty in OCD Recovery

A person’s recovery from OCD requires them to let go of the concept of certainty and embrace uncertainty.

My OCD story. I’ve made this post visible to those I feel know me or won’t judge me. I hope my story will educate those who don’t truly understand OCD.

For as long as I can remember I’ve always been a hypersensitive, worrisome and impressionistic person. I experienced my first OCD symptoms at the age of six. I have memories of myself lying in bed with my eyes closed, having unwanted and intrusive thoughts repeat in my mind. Most of these thoughts involved close family members, who I’d visualise as being harmed and tortured. This made me feel extremely upset, frightened, guilty and helpless.

At the age of ten I began engaging in a bizarre compulsion, one which had me spitting saliva everywhere I’d go. I’d spit mostly on my clothes and the floor, and this would be accompanied at times with a strange swallowing compulsion which I still carry to this day. A lot of my thoughts were still centred on harm and a feeling of entrapment, both of which made me believe I was evil and deserving of some sort of punishment. I felt that If I was to swallow my saliva something bad would happen to me or my family so I tried my hardest not to do this.

I had also become fixated on the number ‘four’. Everything I did was in fours and even to this day I still engage in this ‘four’ compulsion, although I try really hard not to. Some nights I would be doing actions such as turning off the light switch four times, over and over again until I felt I had got it right. It wasn’t a matter of just making sure I had done it four times, I also had to place my hand on the switch in a correct manner, with four fingers on the panel, upright and not downright. Even if I had made the slightest mistake in my hand placements I’d have to start over. This would last at least thirty minutes on average before I felt comfortable enough to move onto another action that requires the same ‘four’ compulsion to get me through my day.

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OCD

Help, hope and healing

So from my own experience I can confidently say that there is freedom from the mental prison that OCD can lock you in

It all started on the last day of 4th grade when a classmate accidentally sprayed 409 cleaning solution in my mouth. Or at least I imagined it was sprayed in my mouth. Either way, it was the starting point of my lifelong journey with OCD. That afternoon I was terrified that I would get sick, and thus began my obsessive fear of getting sick which would shape the following years of my life in extreme ways.

Soon I started obsessing over anything that could potentially make me sick. In 6th grade, I really hit my low point. My obsessive fear began to literally control my life. I had such high anxiety about getting sick that I would give in to compulsions that would temporarily relieve my worries. I felt compelled check and re-re-re-re-check things, to count to a certain (and ever increasing) number, to repeat words and phrases, to touch certain things- the light switch, the couch, the desk, the door knob, the table, the list goes on. But not only did I have to touch them, I had to in a certain order and a certain number of times, and the worst part was if I messed up, I had to start all over until everything was done “just right”. Everything was a struggle because I had developed such an intensive routine that I dreaded even having to begin my endless rituals. Eventually, things were so bad that I was pulled from school. My days were a blur, stuck in the prison of my own mind. At one point, I even said that I wanted to die.

My turning point came in the midst of this storm when my Mom found a pamphlet about OCD at our church and told my mom, “This is her.” I thank God that she picked up that pamphlet because it was the first step on a long and very difficult battle of overcoming OCD. Thankfully, this awareness led me to become connected with a great counselor who helped me to step-by-step stop giving in to my obsessive fears.

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OCD

Present Moment – A poem

I wish I could stress
A little bit less
I can be a mess

I love to have fun
Just ask anyone
I’m queen of the pun

But pain in my chest
Breathe, I do my best
Body put to the test

Bad thoughts in my head
Sometimes I am led
Believed what they said

I know they’re untrue
Thoughts can’t make me do
Intrusive, not you

So, fight compulsion
Though feel revulsion
Hold back impulsion

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