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Fotini Charalabidou

OCD

OCD, trichotillomania and my success story

I am more than happy to announce that this is a success story I am writing, and that means the world to me.

Hello!

My name is FotinI Charalabidou, I am 23 years old and I live in Athens, Greece. I have been wanting to share my story with you for a while, but in this present period, actually for the very first time, I caught myself, being in a place where I feel a lot more comfortable to do so.

To start with, my OCD came up for the first time when I was 12 years old. It was the time when I was about to leave my school and attend a new one and I was quite stressed about all the unpredictable changes that were about to follow. I guess that made an ideal condition for my OCD to occur. As a result, first of all came a constant worry about my sleep. My sleep became more and more difficult and while facing that difficulty I started having many stressful thoughts rising in my mind, so I ended up being trapped in a vicious circle. At that time, I also became afraid of a certain kind of music and I constantly had these thoughts in my head telling me that I must always listen to it and that it would be unacceptable to think about or listen to anything else but this specific music. The thought was that if I did, that would automatically make me a completely “wrong” or “bad” as a person. And I recall desperately telling myself “These thoughts cannot be rational. I need to shed these thoughts of my mind. What is wrong with me? Why am I troubled once again about a thought that earlier I have decided not to take seriously again?”… But it seemed like no reasonable thinking could calm me down and I was deeply ashamed to talk about these thoughts to my parents, because I could not show how much I was troubled by this “nonsense”, so I needed to find on my own a way of fighting this unknown and huge problem.

When September came and I started on going to my new school, I gradually lost weight, I sometimes vomited and I even remember having fever every now and then, because of all this unbearable anxiety. Every day, from the moment I woke up until the time I went to sleep I was afraid that I might not have studied well enough before attending a class, which led me to spend an exhausting amount of hours each day on studying to be prepared well enough for school.

That was the main reason why I did not find enough time to relax a bit and, of course, at the end of the day, that proved to be a habit that worsened my anxiety and my OCD. So I would definitely say that such a condition dragged me down to another vicious circle. I reached a point, where I asked compulsively again and again the same questions in the classroom, which made many of my teachers complain and let the other students think and tell me that I was “stupid”. This whole situation was the reason why my trichotillomania symptoms appeared. Of course, at that period of time there were plenty of other devastating obsessions and compulsions during each day. For example, I used to tap things compulsively, in order to avoid something really terrible from happening and I excessively checked the windows, the doors and the oven before going to sleep. Honestly, I clearly remember not to be able to stop crying and I have also kept in my mind the image of my skin, that had gone bad in my hands, because of all this suffering from anxiety.

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