Editor’s Note: For the last 14 years, ‘Joe’ has coped with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and felt it was time to speak up about such conditions. OCD is highly treatable and can be effectively managed through a combination of medication, psychotherapy, having good social support, and a change in lifestyle. Read on to understand what it’s like in her shoes and what aided in her recovery. Keep up the fight, Joe!
I am 23 years old and I am an OCD-Warrior. As far as I can remember, I’ve battled OCD since I was 9 years old.
It started out with me having to do things repeatedly in school. I felt I had to do things perfectly; but it was more than doing it perfectly, it was doing it perfectly over and over again. Initially I did not know what OCD was, and did not think much this behaviour. In fact, perhaps having this condition helped me in certain ways, as everything I did was perfect and organized.
However, it quickly started harming me negatively as I would do something simple like ticking off an item in my diary over and over again, so much so that my diary was filled with ticks and holes in the pages from me writing over each tick mark many times.
One of the most difficult encounters I remember was when I spent 5 hours checking items over and over again. Things had to be in a proper place, done in a proper order and proper way. And when a slight doubt appeared in my mind– no matter how irrational the thought was – the ritual begins again; anything to make me feel at ease. But of course, this ease was always temporary.
Sooner or later, something else would pop up and the vicious cycle would start anew.
For now, I can never say my OCD is gone. I’m constantly in a battle against it, hence the term ‘OCD-Warrior’, but am glad that I am starting to be able to talk about it now. I have neither received a proper diagnosis, nor taken any medication, nor gone through any therapy, but from my experience taking the first step and talking to someone else might reduce the anxieties and dampen the triggers. I constantly seek to develop a healthy relationship with OCD, setting realistic boundaries for myself. I also use creative methods and ways to help me deal with the rituals and cope with the compulsions.
What helped a lot personally was an OCD support group I joined when I was studying overseas. For the first time, I met others like myself and no longer felt alone.
Through sharing of our experiences, I’ve learnt more about this condition, different treatment methods and how to live with it.
I know that there are people out there that may not know what they are going through and are scared of facing it alone. Sharing my story is the first step to reaching out to other OCD-Warriors.
Joe is a 23-year-old who has battled Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) as far as she can remember. She still experiences OCD every day, but am working towards developing a healthy relationship with it.