I still remember the ant traps. When I was little, probably before I had even started school, they were these little white plastic things that mom placed strategically around the house one summer. Then she gave my sister and I one simple rule: “Don’t touch the ant traps. They’re poison.”
The ant traps turned into the scariest thing in the house. Every time I went near one, my mind would race…
Did I just touch the ant trap?
No… I wasn’t even close enough…
But what if I was?
I wasn’t supposed to go near them!
How close was I really?
Why can’t I remember?
I didn’t know it at the time, but those ant traps were one of my first obsessions.
I’ve had OCD as long as I can remember. I was officially diagnosed in the sixth grade, but instances like the ant traps remain seared in my memory. The topics of my intrusive thoughts have changed and evolved, from fears of a number of things including germs, bulimia, suicide, stealing, and other darker topics. Self-doubt and self-loathing have followed me. The main issue remains generally same: What if I’m not doing what’s right? What if I’m not inherently a good person?
Since my diagnosis in the sixth grade I’ve been very lucky. It’s true that I’ve seen extreme lows but I’ve also seen extreme highs. I’ve been through a number of psychiatrists, medications, and therapists, but I ultimately found something that works pretty well for me. I’m fully functional now, with friends, a graduate degree, a wonderful dog, two jobs, and a handsome boyfriend.
The main key that has brought me here? I always had the support and understanding of those closest to me. I had family members who “got it.” We always knew it was OCD and we were always able to attack it for what it was.
That is why I started blogging and writing. Not everyone is as lucky as I am. There are a lot of misconceptions about OCD out there. People see anal or avoidance behavior and they don’t understand the fear and anxiety behind it. People think that OCD is only a fear of germs or mess and disorder, and they don’t see that sometimes it’s intrusive thoughts that are darker and more insidious. I guarantee that a high number of OCD people are out there without any idea that what they have is OCD… they only find a mind that feels out of their control and frightening.
By blogging I hope to reach out to people with OCD and show them that they are far from alone. I hope to share information, entertain, and show people suffering that they can live a happy fulfilling life. I hope to teach supporters of family and friends with OCD that while OCD behavior can sometimes be confusing, the fears that accompany it are very human.
As more of us come forward and share our stories, the stigma associated with mental illness will continue to fade and die down. Those of us who feel empowered can help empower others. Let’s keep up the fight.
*Sponsored by nOCD – an OCD treatment app that helps OCD patients get treatment when they need it most in a clinically effective way (https://e2pt.app.link/treatmyocd-blog)!
Learn more about nOCD and our mission to revolutionize OCD treatment at Treatmyocd.com