If you want to feel better you will need to face your fears
Hello I am 37 years old and have been struggling with OCD since 2012.
I have always been a worrier. Before I knew I had OCD, I would worry about almost everything. I remember trying to call my mother and she would not answer. In my mind I would think that something bad must have happened to her. Maybe my step dad must have murdered her. I would keep calling and calling almost every 10 minutes until she answered. I never knew I had OCD. To me it was just normal worrying. I would drop off my daughters (5 and 6) at school through the drive through drop off and I would drive around school to make sure they made it in. If for some reason I would not see one of my daughters in school after dropping them off, I would worry and feel as if I would faint. I would then call school to make sure that my daughter was in class.
One day in summer I was overwhelmed and really stressed. I had taken a vacation to spend time with my daughters and booked the whole week with activities for us to do. One day we were scheduled to go to the pool. The heat was terrible. I didn’t drink much water that day. That day I started feeling sick, my body was weak, but I still kept going. I remember the sweat running down my back. Later that afternoon I decided to go to the gym, I took my dauthers with me and left them at the kiddy day care. One of my daughters was thirsty so I gave her my water bottle. After the gym we went back home and it was time to cook dinner. The AC in my apartment was not working, my apartment was like 90 degrees. I still decided to cook. While I was cooking I began to feel the sweat drop down my back. I soon started to feel dizzy and confused. I told my husband that I was not feeling well and he told me to take a nap. I laid down in bed and felt my heart palpitating really fast. I didn’t know what was happening. I began to get scared. I put my girls to bed and drove myself to emergency.
In episode 10 of The OCD Stories podcast I interviewed Kelly Anderson and Chris Baier. Chris and Kelly are creating the documentary called OCD & Me: The story of kids who fight back. A documentary featuring entirely a cast of children, showing the wisdom and bravely that youth brings.
When I first saw the trailer to the documentary I knew they were on to something special. Having OCD as a kid is confusing, scary and lonely. I unfortunately experienced it firsthand. I believe this documentary will help those kids who are scared of being “insane” and it will help the parents understand and support their children more effectively. Chris and Kelly were a pleasure to talk to. We discussed the documentary, their hopes for it, advice for kids with OCD and advice for the parents of children with OCD. Enjoy!!!
I always knew I was different. I was a sensitive child. Some of my first memories consist of coming home from school and thinking about my day and all of the things I had done badly, incorrectly, or the ways in which I had failed to be the daughter my parents would love. As a result, every day without fail I would get a huge knot in my stomach that wouldn’t go away. The only way I figured out to make it stop was to accost my father as he came in the door from work and to blurt out to him all the things I had done during the day that were wrong, and then to ask for his forgiveness. I was 5. The pattern lasted for years.
I remember being a pre-teen. My mind was full of thoughts, most of which I was sure would damn me to hell. I prayed. I repeated my prayer each night, in the same order, the same number of times. My prayer saved me. My prayer protected my family from imminent harm.
My mother got sick. She went to the hospital and I was a mess. All I could think of was to write down all the things that happened each day and to recite them back to my mother when I was allowed to talk to her in the evenings. I remember with clarity writing “my brother threw a dirty sock at me.” I knew my lists were trivial and that my mother didn’t know what to do with my confessions but the pattern continued.
I didn’t like my parents. My father was a strict disciplinarian. Each second of my life was controlled. I was a puppet in my parent’s puppet show. I longed for control and eventually found it by cutting. By my teen years the battle in my head was raging on. I could not voice the things in my head for fear of rejection or condemnation, so to make my mental pain subside I would find razor blades or anything sharp and would cut to make the pain physical. Physical pain was much more feasible to me.
Don’t worry about being different or what people think. Embrace it and you will find you have more good days than bad.
I’m Steph, 27. I never really knew or understood OCD. I admit I was ignorant like many others to it, and saw it only for people needing to order things and be tidy. This however is NOT the case.
I have never officially been diagnosed with OCD although a therapist I was referred to for anxiety issues told me it “sure does sound like it”.
My OCD symptoms?… well they vary really. From needing to check at least 3 times that I have locked windows, doors or my car. I even get a family member or friend to check also ( this is good for when I later start worrying about it again). I wouldn’t say I’m massively hyped on cleaning but I do need to keep my hands clean and again wash them at least 3 times every time. A newer addition to me is when I get nervous or anxious I use a finger to write on my thumb the letters of the alphabet. Always in capitals I might add. If for some reason I forget where I am up to or don’t like the way the letter came out (you can’t see what I write,my finger contains no ink) I rub it clean and start again and I cannot carry on until I get to ‘Z’. I love having things is order too I cannot lie. DVDs, CDs, books have to be alphabetical order. I work in a pre school and this is particularly challenging.