I know things will only get better, even though right now as I’m typing these words in my computer my brain is telling me, “are you sure about that?”
I consider my childhood a very happy one, always smiling, happy to have a family that was very stable. I always admired my parent’s relationship growing up, and would pray that one-day I’ll marry someone like my dad and have a happy life. When I turned 13 I started liking boys my age, there were many guys who were impossible to get and I would pray (no joking when I said praying) every night so they can notice me, but the minute they would start showing interest in me I would immediately feel not attracted to them. My mind would immediately start thinking, “his nose is big, his head is big, and his shoes are old and things like that. I never saw this as an issue, I just thought I was being an adolescent and being immature was part of it. I began dating this guy who was a really good guy, but I always felt like I was never “in love” with him, because I didn’t feel those butterflies and things I used to feel with the guys that were not interested in me, we became really good friends and I decided to give him a chance. We were young and I knew I was leaving the country in a couple years, so anxiety and obsessional thinking was never an issue because I had an “exit door”. We dated for 3 years and to be completely honest it has been the best relationship I have ever had. We eventually broke up because I moved to the U.S.
After I moved to the U.S I was single for a long period of time but I started to realize more and more that I was following a pattern. The pattern would consist of basically if the guy did not sound that interested in me, than I would spend hours analyzing everything they said, from text to phone calls to give me a hint whether they really liked me or not, but if I would find someone who was a good person, would check on me daily and was not playing games I would start seeing the bad things about them physically or my mind will constantly obsess of how much I really like them to stay with him. Either way I was still consumed by these thoughts and was never able to enjoy any relationship I was in. At the age of 24 I started dating someone seriously, everything was very interesting at the beginning, but at some point my obsessions started again. I would spend every single day checking his text messages twice to analyze if they feel like he was still into me, when I was with him I would analyze every move, if he didn’t hold my hand it meant he doesn’t love me, if he posted on Facebook before texting me, I felt like he was about to break up with me. One day I went on his Facebook feed to read every single feed. I wanted to find a post he has given his ex girlfriend to see if he would express the same love for me. One day I found one post from two years before where he said I love you to her and from them I became obsess with the fact that he hadn’t said I love you to me. I was not a teenager anymore but I still did not see it as anything serious, I thought any girl would do that. I would cry feeling so anxious thinking about why he didn’t say “good night baby” or “sweet dreams”; he is definitely breaking up with me tomorrow. He eventually broke up with me. I felt sad but relieved after we broke up. Three months later I met this wonderful guy and that is when the real “undiagnosed ocd” started. Our relationship was very fair, I got along with everyone in his family, we would have a great time together and I felt love for him. He was wonderful and respectful and I was a great girlfriend too. The first time I had those thoughts was maybe about a week prior to the break up, He had bought tickets to a show I have been dying to see for a long time and out of the blue these thoughts popped in my head “look how nice he is, imagine you stop loving him” that caused me anxiety but then the thought went away. The day after he texted me I love you and I saw the messages and another thought popped in my head “ you didn’t get excited to see he loves you, you must not be in love anymore” a week later, we were driving in his car talking about how exciting we were to be together for one year, he dropped me off home and the minute I got out of the car I started having this not “right” feelings, I went home and try to sleep but the thoughts kept telling me “You don’t love him, you’re not in love with him, you’re going to run away if he proposes to you” “ You are not attractive to him anymore” “if you marry him you are going to get bored and you’ll end up in a loveless marriage” Those thoughts felt so real that I could almost see and feel it as if it was happening in real life. I can see him getting on one knew and me running away, feeling guilt and shame, it was the worst feeling. I got up and I was shaking, I immediately went to the living room and my mom noticed that I wasn’t feeling ok; she kept on asking me what happened? You look pale and you’re shaking what happened?… and the was the first time I experienced a panic attack and anxiety at its full capacity. I was not able to sleep that night and the next morning when I thought I was going to feel better, I felt worse, these thoughts kept popping in my head, I had to ask for a leave of absence from work and stay home for three weeks because the anxiety was unbearable. I broke up with my then boyfriend a week after, after all if I was feeling extreme anxious and my thoughts were suggesting I didn’t love him or that I wasn’t in love with him that could only meant that I should break up with him right?? So I did. My then boyfriend was shocked, I did not have any answers to why I did that, he was not abusive, he was not a cheater, he was a good guy not perfect but a good guy who two days before I was completely happy with. The more frustrating thing for me was not to have answers for him or even for myself! At one point I remember telling my mom that this was literally like a nightmare coming true. I thought the break up would make things so much easier after all that’s what I needed to do, but let me tell you, things just got worse… I went into a deep depression and these thoughts did not stop, I felt like I miss him and then immediately would feel the opposite. I was in that deep black hole for 9 months. At this point the only answer we had from doctors was generalized anxiety or that I just suffer from depression and that’s what has caused me to feel like that. They felt like the worst days of my life. Day after day, loosing sleep, I couldn’t understand why if I had loved him so much I stopped loving him the next day and the worst of all why if I had already broke up with him I was still feeling miserable and guilty and still with no answers why? I felt like my mind was a labyrinth with no exit doors and just loops that would go around and around and would take you to the same place. I figured anyone feels guilty when they have to end a relationship with someone who is a good person, but I did not feel like that, I felt stuck even though I had already made a decision to break up with him.
Time went on and he moved on, got a girlfriend and got married, and yes! I cried the day he got married….I remember thinking that could’ve had been me, but even right then I did still now have answers for him.
I began seeing someone after 1 year of the break up and these thoughts started attacking me again, do you really like him? Do you really want to be with him? Things didn’t work out with him and little by little I started feeling better and better. 2 years later I started doing online dating, I met this guy that literally made me feel like I was on cloud 9 every time. He was very interesting and he was a doctor… at the beginning everything was fine because we were just going with the flow but then I started noticing he was interested in me, he started cooking for me and yes those crazy thoughts began again. Do you really like him? Do you think he’s the one? Are you really attractive to him? Maybe you don’t like his head or forehead and the list went on Same thoughts as my previous break up, he then changed and became more distant and claimed being busy due to his job and then my obsessions turned into does he really like me? How many times a day does he text me? Does he call me cute names? Does he hold my hand to prove he likes me? I started reading and reading his last text to see if I had said anything out place or he had said anything that would let me know that he didn’t like me anymore. We stopped seeing each other and then I was single for a long time… yes … again… It had never occurred to me that people with OCD would have obsessions over other things like relationships; I always thought OCD was only physical compulsions and that’s it, it never crossed my mind. I knew there was something wrong with my thinking and anxiety but never thought it could be OCD. I started seeing a CBT therapist, He was great to help me see things in a different perspective, it would only last me a few days and then I would go back to thinking the worst situation possible, I only mention I have always issues with relationship but I never told him how obsessive they could become because I was ashamed to admit it, eventually I felt like it wasn’t going anywhere and stopped going. That same year I began a new job teaching preschool, which was something I had always wanted to do. The first two weeks of the job I began feeling anxious, because I had to change diapers 4 times a day and the thought of touching them the wrong way and touching their private part consumed me with anxiety. I would ask my co-worker to do the diapers and I would do something else, never told her why so she thought I was just being lazy. That lasted for about two weeks until I didn’t have any other choice but to keep changing the diapers myself and I even though the thoughts were still there I would try to close my eyes or avoid looking at their private part while changing them. Another obsession I had was that sometimes my dad would ask me to help him with something and those thoughts that I may have sex with my dad would freak me out!!! They wouldn’t stick for too long but they were disturbing
During the time of that very bad break up six years ago, I developed this obsessions about knives, I tried to avoid knives for almost a month thinking that if I would grab one I would kill myself or kill my mom or anybody. Sometimes I would see my mom cooking in the kitchen and this thought of me stabbing my mom would disturbed me and would opt to walk away from the kitchen to avoid these thoughts that would leave with panic attacks. None of these obsessions has lasted so much, as my obsessions about relationships.
I met my current boyfriend through my sister in law. We went on a blind date and I had previously seen pictures of him. I did not think he was my type but I still gave him a chance, when I saw him in person I thought to my self.. wow he is actually cute in person and very smart!. We hit it off right away. The following week we went on another date and since that moment, I knew this was a guy I wanted to keep by my side. We became official two months later and everything was fine, I even thought to myself “finally I broke the spell of those thoughts every time I am in a relationship” I believed maybe I just learned from all my past experiences and that is why I don’t have those thoughts anymore, but 4 months later, I went home after spending a good weekend with him and these thoughts began to attacked me again. “You are not in love, you don’t like him, is he really the one? “ are you doing this so you wont be single for the rest of your life? Are you leading him on? If you stay with him you will be stuck in a loveless marriage” I panicked once again and was not able to sleep for the following 2 months, obsession, after obsession would torment me during the day and night. That is when I realized that this had to be anything else other than just GAD as diagnosed before and I needed to find out what it was. I started googling everywhere until I finally bumped into a course about “relationship anxiety” I am not going to lie, it helped to get a better insight of what love is and not what I thought it was supposed to be, but eventually I started to feel like it was not enough, she talks about intrusive thoughts, and reassurance and stuff but does not provide the real treatment for people with obsessions like that. I started to feel like I needed something more than that, and kept looking for more answers and eventually I came across with “The OCD Stories” on YouTube, that day I felt relieved to know that many people were going through the same things and that there was actually ways to recover and live a normal life. I started listening to the podcast, and follow some advises given there. I bought some of the books mentioned in the podcast as well. I finally made a decision to look for help and get on medication if necessary. I am currently on medication. This is the first time ever, taking medication. I have always been opposed to any kinds of drugs, you hear so many things about drugs and how you can become addictive but now I know its not the same for everyone. I began looking for therapist also but the minute I said I might have OCD I would always find myself with therapist that would tell me “OCD is anxiety disorder, so it doesn’t matter who you go to”. I am currently looking for an expert in OCD. Thankfully I found Dr. Phillipson in New York (also thanks to the pod cast) and they put me in the waiting list of 6 months. I still do not know if what I have is OCD, I have not been officially diagnosed, there are days where I just feel like its not OCD and I am just forcing myself to be with someone who I am not supposed to be. And there are days where I can see clearly how much obsess about my current relationship and say of course it is OCD. Just like everyone some days are better than others but not quite there yet. I bought the mindfulness for OCD book and it helped me gain more insight about ERP. I made a promise to write about my story once I was “recovered” but then I said why wait? Many people forget to share and help other once they felt good or “recovered” so I did not want to be one of theme So here I am…. I have been more committed to my meditation practice, which has helped a little; I have seen improvement with medication but not to the extent where I feel my self 100% yet. I am trying to educate my self more about this condition while I wait to see Dr. Phillipson, I honestly don’t know how I am going to pay for those very expensive sessions but right now my priority in my mental health. I have read all of his articles and they have been of so much help so far, especially the one about “choice”.
I know things will only get better, even though right now as I’m typing these words in my computer my brain is telling me, “are you sure about that?” I try to remember what was said in a book I read “trust the process, because that is where the opportunity to learn and get better is” I know many of us want to wake up one day and feel like it was all a bad dream and be better, but it is actually in the process that you learn things that will get you to where you want to be. I am considering writing a book that can help other or inspire others to look for help.