Laura, 32, Washington DC, USA

If I don’t check and recheck the stove top, the house will burn down

laura-no-textOMG, I’m *so* OCD.  People say this time and time again but do they truly know what it’s like to suffer from such a debilitating mental illness?  Only now, in my 30s, with a therapist and social support do I feel like I’m finally wading my way through OCD and developing coping tactics.  But I’ve dealt with obsessive thoughts, compulsions, and overall anxiety since I was a little girl.  Intrusive and bizarre sexual thoughts, mantras I repeat ad nauseam in my head, staring at locks / stove tops / ovens / faucets, even though I *know* I’ve locked doors or turned appliances off. It gets exhausting living in my head.  I have a short attention span (ADD), have panic attacks from time to time (thanks, Zoloft–you’re a lifesaver!), and am messy / borderline hoardy (the opposite of cleanliness, a stereotypical assumption of those with OCD).

I pick at scabs and ingrown hairs which then cause further scabs – rinse, repeat.  I know I shouldn’t for risk of infection, but there’s something eerily soothing about it that relieves me, until I feel the shame afterward.  My scars from picking are my tiny, visible battle wounds of living with OCD.

Life is getting better, but it’s definitely a day by day thing.  It’s totally OK to ask for help!

Note from the editor:

Laura talks openly on her website about how she battled with OCD growing up and says that when she got to college she wanted to shed her old identity and become a more “fun” version of herself, but that led to another battle. You can read more on her website The Sobriety Collective.  She is also a keen podcaster.


Categories: The Wall

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