Current Age: 24
I was diagnosed with OCD about a year ago. It came as a relief to me in many ways as I never really understood what I was dealing with before I sought help. My symptoms were not what many people think about when they picture someone with OCD, and looking back at the way I was exposed to and understood the mental condition growing up I am not surprised.
Ever since I was a child I would become fixated on times of the day. I would have to wake up at the exact same minute every day, otherwise I would feel stressed and like something was not right. I would go and fetch lunch at the same time, spend the exact same time eating it, and later in the day go for exactly a 20-minute run. Dinner would be at the same time, and if I did go out with my friends I would have to leave at the top of the hour, not one minute before or after. I would be in bed and turn the lights off at exactly 11:30PM. If I was early, I would stay up reading until that time. I always felt anxious when I could not control my schedule or time. It became worse in college when I did not have the same control. My boyfriend was very supportive, but his way of trying to help only made things worse (not letting me check the time, coaxing me to stay up with him, etc.)
After our relationship ended I was talking with a good friend one day. She suggested I go in and speak with a therapist she had seen before. I felt I had nothing to lose at the time. What transpired after our conversation has really been life-changing. Through therapy sessions and the help of medication (no longer taking but very helpful) I’ve been able to work through my condition. Mainly it has been a huge relief for me knowing this is actually something that is treatable.
Yes, OCD can involve repetitive behaviours like organising your belongings or constantly washing your hands. This is what I assumed it was, which is why I never even believed I could seek help for what I was dealing with.
I have kept my struggles with OCD to myself or close people in my life. Thank you for letting me share this story. I know I am not alone with this, and the more awareness we raise the more people we can help!