Sometimes, unfortunately things have to get worse before they can get better.
It is currently late Saturday night, 10:45pm to be exact. I’m sitting at the desk in my dorm room, surrounded by posters and phrases encouraging me to “Take Courage!” and “Embrace Uncertainty!” I have been reading my medical entomology textbook for the past hour and a half, all the while with the weight of needing to write this essay pressing for my attention. So with my medical entomology reading now done, English reading done, dinner eaten, emails answered, and no longer a strong excuse of something else I could do first to continue avoiding, here I am at my computer at 10:49pm. I am now trying to force myself to finally start writing this essay I told myself I would absolutely write yesterday. This is after I had told myself I would absolutely write the essay a week ago. Oh to live life with OCD and anxiety.
I can remember having OCD my entire life, but I didn’t always know a name for it. I have one strong memory from Kindergarten of insisting that I needed to redo my painting because it wasn’t “perfect,” even when the other kids in the class moved on to a new activity. I remember in elementary school staying up later than an 8-year-old should having to “knock on wood” repetitively because I worried if I didn’t do this or did it the wrong number of times my family would die.
Though I have always had these symptoms of OCD, I quickly became a master at hiding my compulsions (of course I didn’t know yet they were called compulsions) and keeping my fears to myself. At this point in my life, the obsessions and compulsions were annoying but not debilitating to the level that I felt I needed to share them. So I didn’t. These first few years my OCD would focus on one theme at a time, and the theme would gradually change over the years. My obsessions changed from fearing causing my family member’s deaths to fearing causing fires to fearing suffocating. If a compulsion was particularly annoying I would just figure I could wait about a year and it would change into something else, hopefully something less annoying.