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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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OCD

OCD and Education

My personal opinion on the OCD treatment is find a therapist and if medication is suggested give it a go, you will save a lot of time and feel much better

Hello,

My name is George

This is another OCD story, I’ve been diagnosed and receiving cognitive and medical therapy for one year now. My ocd adventure is not a success story (apologies if I have disappointed you). I’ve been failing at everything my whole life and had the worst of luck, I didn’t developed any social skills due to my social phobia and the fact that from the excessive criticism I got from my friends, family, teachers, relatives etc. had caused me to be bothered with the life of others and often compare my-self to them as me the dysfunctional human specimen and them having the greatest physical features and achievements that I could never reach. My school grades were awful and yet for the very few A’s I got I again got criticism for not having many and only on easy subjects.

My first panic attack happened when I was 16 years old when I had my GCs and more specifically the day of the speaking exams, I was trembling from the time I woke up till a few hours after I left the examination room. It was the same time when my compulsions with door handles were manifested. I finished high-school with almost no recollection of good times and then I joined the army for 2 years a duty that was mandatory but also a period of my lifetime which damaged and scarred me for life due to the strict rules that we had to follow and on the first year intrusive thoughts were manifested. As soon as I got out of the army I went for auditions to an undergraduate music course where I failed and my parents forced me to take the exams for becoming a policeman and when I failed on purpose they forced me to join a university following a computer engineer course where I again failed from the 1st semester. On the following September I started a course on environmental sciences after having a test on professional orientation which pointed the type of careers that I could follow with my skills.

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Intrusive Thoughts, Sexual Orientation OCD

OCD: The Monster In My Mind

Of course, these are just a couple of minute benefits on a long list of disadvantages and difficulties, but to me, they matter.

Since early childhood, I have been living with a monster in my mind. To me, this is the most accurate way to describe OCD, as it, quite simply, feels like a separate and conflicting being that lives inside of me. When I was a kid, the monster had a face but never a name. A middle aged vampire. A young guy wearing a back to front baseball cap. Sometimes I could have sworn I’d see the vampires shadow on my bedroom wall, haunting me. But, in reality, it left no trace of its existence. It, and all of its weapons designed to hurt me, were simply a figurement of my imagination, I told myself. My brain being bad. It was only years later that I learnt there was a name for my suffering: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

My struggle started around the age of seven or eight. My struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder began when I was around seven or eight years old. Back then, it was more irritating than anything. I began to feel unignorable urges to touch and stare at things until they felt ‘right’ and, after a while these compulsions helped ease the anxiety I felt about childhood phobias. From this age, I was already beginning to feel different from the other kids. I felt stuck in my own little world most of the time, trapped in a battle with the urges. By the time I reached ten, the obsessional side of my OCD developed majorly, keeping me up all night and leading me to spend every night in the bathroom, carrying out compulsions. At this point, I remember two obsessions being present; the phobia of losing my hair due to the condition alopecia (which my mum’s cousin had suffered from) or by being diagnosed with cancer, and the fear that something bad would happen to my family if I didn’t carry out a series of ritualistic compulsions.  I remember feeling a crippling sense of anxiety in the middle of the night, when everyone else was asleep, convinced that my hair was going to fall out, and brushing it compulsively until I became sure that it wasn’t. I remember feeling ashamed and disgusted about the unusual and bizarre compulsions the monster told me to participate in, or else, my family would be in danger. It was a scary and confusing time of my life, but back then, it was bearable, and I was unaware that anything was really wrong.

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