Just want to tell my story.
I’m 25 and I’ve had OCD my whole life.
First of let me start by saying I have never been treated for OCD. All the progress I have made has come from me making myself stop doing the things I was doing. I still suffer from OCD but not nearly as much as I use to. I have pretty much had OCD for as long as I can remember.
It started when for some reason I thought there was some evil or wrong with my brother so every time he touched me I would wipe where he touched me with my hand and then I tried to blow the “bad” off my fingers. Eventually it developed into other stuff. When I said my prayers at night I had to say it perfectly or I would have to start over until I did it perfectly, and that included looking at the religious picture in my room “perfectly”. I thought if I didn’t God would punish me, that was the only reasoning I had. That usually took up a good hour. Then I had to take 4 steps into my bed with both feet and I had to step on the ground evenly, or basically so it felt the same with both feet when I touched. I was obsessed with doing things in 4’s or multiples of 4. I had to check the back of my headboard to make sure there were no spiders or monsters behind my bed and when I did, if I touched it, I would have to touch it perfectly with the other hand. I was usually up for hours doing this rituals, and if I didn’t do them I would be scared to go to bed.
All the time I knew what I was doing was irrational but I didn’t feel right if I didn’t do them. It’s like you think your crazy but then you think how can I be crazy if I am aware I’m crazy??? For a little kid this was emotional hell. My family never knew about all this, I kept it secret because I was embarrassed. Needless to say I didn’t get much sleep back then. These rituals would go on for years, like touching the light switch perfectly with both hands, fixing pictures or crosses so they are perfectly aligned, checking to make sure my door is locked multiple times.
I never really had a cleanliness issue, like washing my hands all the time, but as I got older I find myself to be a pretty anal about having a clean apartment. But that doesn’t take up much time and I don’t obsess about it that much. Basically my reasoning for most of this other than the religious thing was that I was just scared and I would grow out of it when I got older. So when I got older I pretty much forced myself to stop doing those things. It was very gradual and very hard but I succeeded. I still suffer from mild OCD and I’m sure I could use some help but in general it doesn’t affect my life nearly as much as it use to. Basically as long as it doesn’t keep my up at night I’m ok.
Going to college and having a roommate definitely helped me out cause I would never show my OCD in front of other people so all my rituals pretty much stopped then. I catch myself sometimes but then I make myself not finish the process like if I’m about to step evenly with both feet I make myself stop no matter how much I want to finish. It’s hard but you need to have will power and just say to yourself that is OK and nothing bad will happen, its all in your mind. I’d say the hardest part about OCD is that you suffer alone. It really screws up your self esteem. I really wish I knew what OCD was early in life so I didn’t think I was crazy…one of my friends told me I had OCD in college when in a conversation I let some things out. After that it has been a matter of breaking the habits