"I was diagnosed with OCD when I was 13. It was after many years of struggling when my parents and I finally agreed I needed to get help for it. My mom suffers from it as well, so it wasn't a major surprise. "My obsessions often centered around counting and touching things routinely because I believed that if I didn't, something bad would happen to me or my family. I would often touch my door in one specific spot as I left my room every morning. On several occasions I would forget to do it, and the entire day would be ruined. I also would frequently over-wash my hands. I was a germaphobe and would need to wash my hands 30-40 times a day. Additionally, counting was a big one for me. I had to count steps. If I messed up, I would have to do it again or else I couldn't move on. I had to count the stairs or else my mom and dad may die, or I had to set my alarm over and over again or I won't wake up in the morning.
"These were completely overwhelming and took up so much of my time. Especially for a young kid who doesn't know how to manage them, the stress and anxiety were severe. I spent most of my days in elementary school anxious, and I didn't know why. I just thought I was weird and different and stupid. That made me emotionally fragile.
"When I was sitting in class, I would often think about other things, and I wouldn't focus as well. However, I was a good student, and very meticulous, which I think was prompted by my OCD and need for 'perfection' even though, now, I know that striving for perfection is a lost cause and is impossible. "I had great friends growing up that were kind, empathetic, and willing to take me as I was in the moment. There were times I wanted to retreat into my shell and be on my own, but they really got me outside and taught me that having OCD wasn't something that was in my control and that they were OK with me being unique."
OCD is a chronic disease that needs to be talked more about, and understood by peers. Communities must support each other and make sure everyone is in a safe, caring environment. In order to do so we must educate ourselves and those around us so we can understand the people around us, whether about OCD, or any other disease or problem.