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.
At emergency they did not know what was wrong with me, they thought I had something wrong with my stomach. They decided to put an IV on me. And prescribed me with stomach ulcer medicine. I was sent home. The next day I began to feel the same way I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I thought I was going crazy. The numbness in my body, the shaking, the confusion. I went to emergency again, all they gave me was ativan but never explained to me what was wrong with me. The doctor just said you will be ok. I went home and slept till the next morning. Where I woke up feeling the same.
I began to research and research online to see what was wrong with me, and came across heat stroke. I then made a regular appointment with my doctor and asked if that was my diagnosis. My doctor confirmed that by looking at my blood work and urine test taken in the ER that I was experiencing a heat stroke. I felt relieved that it was only heat stroke and nothing else. I went home feeling a little better, but soon after feeling a heat wave my body would react the same way. My body would get numb and shaky and I would begin to panic for no reason. I had no idea what was wrong with me. I chose to ignore the feelings and moved on with my day feeling terrible. I had to work and care for my kids! I don’t know how I did it. During those days I lost like 30 lbs. I soon discovered that I was suffering from an anxiety attack. So I was searching for natural remedies. I began to take natural pills, but nothing worked. I read it takes time for it to kick in so I tried to be as patient as possible waiting to feel better soon.
One day my husband took the girls to the park and I decided to tag along. While watching my girls ride their bike, I had a sudden memory. A year before a close friend of the family had hurt her child and then took her life. Months before she did that, her and I went to that same park. A sudden rush of panic went through my body and my breathing became tight. I then asked myself “omg and I going crazy, would I do the same to my girls!” My body soon started trembling and I immediately wanted to go home. My husband could not understand what was wrong with me and called the girls over so we could go home.
I was so scared, I ran to bed and covered myself under the sheets. Days passed and I could not understand why I had those thoughts. By that time I was not able to look at my daughters or get near them. I was afraid to be left alone with them. My daughters would try to hug me and they would feel my shivering body. They would ask what was wrong with me I would just say I’m cold. I was convinced that I was crazy and that I would maybe hurt my daughters. I started going to acupuncture, I read that it was good for anxiety, I went for a couple sessions and soon the therapist said “I’m sorry I can’t help you”. I explained my fears to her and thoughts, she told me ” scaring myself, You need to see a Therapist“.
I then researched how to get rid of scary thoughts, and then Hypnotherapy came up. I then began seeing a therapist and went through a couple sessions of hypnosis, but nothing helped. It actually helped for a couple hours after leaving the session, but soon it would come back. The therapist soon said that she could no longer help me and referred me to a psychologist.
Those days were terrible, I honestly don’t know how I made it out of bed. I was so down and loosing so much weight. I would cry and hug my daughters pictures, not understanding why I had such scary thoughts. I felt terrible, all my life I tried to be a perfect mom and these thoughts ruined it all.
I soon began to see the psychologist, he was very nice and caring. He began to ask me things about my past. I interrupted him and asked, “could I tell you why I am here first”, he said sure.. So I explained everything I went through and ended with I want to know if I am crazy. He smiled and said “you are not crazy, looks like you have really bad anxiety, you need medication”. I asked “do you think I will harm my daughters”, he said “no”. “Go home and hug them, walk through the fire”. He said “if you want to feel better you will need to face your fears”. He is not an OCD specialist, but was good enough to recognize anxiety.
That night I went home and hugged and kissed my daughters, with a shaky body and crazy thoughts. I still did it. I began to see this therapist twice a week, he was very helpful. He explained how anxiety works and how anxiety will 10 fold your thoughts. I began to feel some relief.
Weeks passed and the monster came back with a vengeance. I had a childhood memory of me playing house with some boys and touching their private parts. A rush of panic went through my body and it all started all over again. I called the therapist having a panic attack. I told him my thoughts and he suggested I go for a walk. I was so scared thinking that I was a pedophile. I then became afraid to be around my daughters one more time. This went on for months, I was molested as a child so I thought that I had become a molester myself. I then read somewhere on the internet that children that get molested tend to become molesters in adulthood. That sent me to an even worse place. I felt terrible.
When I talked to my therapist he confirmed that it was my anxiety talking, I even called an emergency mental health help line. They assured me the same, but I could not believe it.
I never knew I had OCD until I came across a book that explained everything I was experiencing. When I read that book my jaw dropped. I was so relieved that I was not alone. But the symptoms did not go away. I kept seeing the therapist, but I realized that all I was doing was getting reassurance from him. I would leave happy, but a couple days later it would come back. I remember bringing him an article and I told him “I have OCD”, he said “no that is for people who have physical compulsions”. He said “you have an anxiety disorder”. He had been a great help and did a great job explaining the anxiety part to me, I kept seeing him, but I also started to do my own research. I began reading book after book until I was fully educated about the whole disorder.
I cannot say I am recovered, but I hope to one day be. I keep reading books and I keep battling this monster every day. I have had setbacks and relapses. I am currently going through a relapse, I am so scared but know that I will make it out soon. I wanted to share my story of my continuous battle with OCD. I could say that I am doing normal things again, I gained the 30 lbs I lost and more than I wanted. I live my life loving my daughters and allowing scary thoughts to be there. I do have my times where I am so down I want to just stay away from everyone, but I will not let OCD take over my life again.