If I didn’t touch a random object a number of times my worst nightmare would come true (generally one of my loved ones would die). How could I risk that?”
In grade 5 mom got sick with pneumonia. She was sick for a long time and I was very scared of losing her. It was then when it started. The thought of her dying was coming back again and again and the only way to make it go away was to touch the edges of everything in my way a number of times. First it was 4 then it was 2×4 then 4X4. Then there were the times I had to read a sentence dozens of times to eliminate the possibility of another catastrophe happening. Then I had to write over each word over and over again. It took a lot of time out of the day and often I ended up crying because I couldn’t stop touching an object.
In grade 7 I was diagnosed with OCD. I have been on medication ever since. It helped but it never went away. It is still there, the silent reminder that I am human and I am vulnerable. But it doesn’t make me cry anymore. When I get stressed I sometimes find myself still worried that if I don’t touch something my mom will die (she is alive and healthy) or I won’t pass an exam or I won’t get a job interview. But there are more instances when I turn my back on the object and say “it won’t matter.”
More than the medication, I grew to understand OCD. I understand the triggers and I see them coming. I understand that OCD is part of who I am and it will never fully go away. But I am not my OCD. I don’t think I am sick. I don’t even feel I have a mental condition even though I take psychiatric medication. I am so used to it that I see it as part of my personality. A darker side, but which is part of the duality of the human condition. We all have our peculiarities and OCD flaring up once in a while is mine. I don’t even have to fight it anymore because I won a long time ago. I won when I acknowledged it’s existence. I won when I received help. I am winning every time I don’t need to touch something. And that’s 99 out of 100 situations. Why would I let that 1 out of 100 define me? “