It Does Get Better Over Time - My Story Of OcdWhen I was 13 I showed the first signs of OCD. I was in a restaurant eating a three course meal. I was getting full after my main meal but I decided to get a pudding because my eyes were bigger than my belly (typical 13 year old). Anyway, half way through my cake I felt too full to carry on. However, something 'told' me that I needed to finish it or my Auntie would die. So I finished the cake. As the last spoonfull went in, I ran to the bathroom where I was sick. I told my mum and nothing more was said about it for a few weeks. She just assumed I was being daft.
Throughout the next few months, I began to notice small things about the world around me that I had to do. Straighten door handles, walk the same way around lamposts as the people I was with, straighten tins in supermarkets that weren't straight, organise socks and lining them up in colour, hold my breath for certain amounts of time (usually 10 seconds), rinse cutlery and plates before I used them, brush my teeth 10 times a day, obsess about germs, check myself for illnesses constantly (breast cancer lumps etc). The list is endless. I also began to carry out certain patterns of behaviour in the morning and at night. I won't type it all out because theres too much to write down about them.
My biggest fear was the number '4', which actually took me a few seconds to type then, the fear of the number is still there somewhere, although nowhere even close to how bad it was. I couldn't have that amount of anything near me at any time. My mum used have to cut my food into five pieces etc. If anything was in that number, I was sure that something bad would happen. The bad things that I mean ranged from someone would hurt someone I loved, a serious
illness, a death in the family (basically anything that would cause upset and pain the people I loved. I never once challenged one of these fears by not doing what I should have done.
At the age of 14, I was diagonsed with OCD, and I can't even describe the relief to know that other people out there were like me. It is, however, difficult to stop doing what you 'need' to do. I remember the first psychologist I saw asked me "did I really feel that powerful to be able to control what happens to people?" I felt so stupid and I did feel as though the things I did were ridiculous, but I couldn't stop doing them. Nowadays I realise that he was harsh to say what he did. It's not about feeling powerful like he said, it was about carrying out actions to ensure my family weren't hurt and nothing bad happened to them. It wasn't worth the risk in my eyes.
I am now 20 years old and have seen three psychologists over the years: one of them who I mentioned above was no help whatsoever, but the other two of them really helped me come out of the other side. I feel happy with my progress. I have to say, in my experience, once you have had OCD, you never entirely get rid of it, but you learn to control it. I now feel I have control over my OCD. My friends joke how I like to have everything perfect. Even this month, my friend at work said "I'll leave you to put up the decorations on the tree, because I know you'll end up moving them all". She even leaves all the boards for me to put up so I can do them in my way. If she does them, I feel the need to sort them out. I think every person shows a characteristic from OCD anyway, and the things I do nowadays don't make me feel wierd anymore. I am just a perfectionist, which isn't anything out of the norm for some people.
Don't give up hope. OCD controlled every aspect of my life and daily routine. With help and time, things can change. OCD will always be a part of my life, but it no longer controls me in the way it did.