Linsey, 20, Pennsylvania, USA

I often worry that I’ll end up like Ted Bundy, or that I’ll suddenly lose control and stab my loved ones.

linsey-no-textPeople look at me and they see a nice, normal girl, but they have no idea about the horrors that occur inside my head. I’m sure Stephen King would love to pick my brain, and you could definitely make a horror movie centered around my thoughts. Think of the most disgusting and disturbing thoughts you’ve ever had, multiply them by 100 and put them on repeat, and then you’ll know what I deal with.

Around once a week, sometimes twice out of the month, I feel a heavy darkness wash over me as an OCD episode starts to set in. Most of the time an episode will start when I’m triggered, such as when I am holding a knife, babysitting, driving my car near a pedestrian, or if I have just watched an odd movie or show.

I have obsessed over about 15 different things in the past year, including worrying that I was a pedophile, that I was a serial killer in the making, that I could become possessed, that my sexuality had suddenly changed, that I was developing schizophrenia, and that I would become sexually attracted to things that are considered morally wrong. (Incest, bestiality, BDSM.) As soon as I get a hold of one obsession, the theme will switch to something more terrifying or just as upsetting.

One night as I was driving home from work, I felt my car go over a large bump in the road, and the intrusive thoughts started suddenly. “You ran over a person.” “That person is dead now, and you are responsible.” “Go back and check to make sure that you didn’t run over someone.” And as anyone could have guessed, I drove around town for fifteen minutes, making sure that I didn’t run over anyone or that I hadn’t caused harm to anyone.

Sometimes when I wake up in the morning, the thoughts will immediately present themselves: “Go buy a gun and go on a murderous rampage.” “Who are you going to violently kill today?” “You need to go kill someone right now.” To which I will often say, “No I don’t, I’m a good person, this isn’t me.” Usually I’ll end up in an obsessive loop, telling myself that I’m a good person, incapable of murder, and that I couldn’t do such a thing. When I see anything about prisons, my mind will tell me, “that’s your future.” I’ll spend hours every day researching OCD vs. sociopathic or murderous tendencies, and I’ll spend weeks in a vicious cycle of doubt, fear, and reassurance seeking.

I was diagnosed with OCD shortly after my 19th birthday (just a little over a year ago), and was fortunate enough to receive the correct diagnosis so quickly because my father also suffered from the illness. I have a little known form of OCD called “Pure-O”, which stands for purely or primarily obsessional OCD.

This subtype of OCD is unlike many other types often seen in the illness, and centers itself around frightening intrusive thoughts and unwanted urges. With Pure-O, sufferers rarely have outward compulsions, and instead perform mental compulsions or reassurance seeking behaviors.

Some days are better than others for me, and sometimes I’ll even go weeks or months without an episode. But OCD is something that is with you for life, and most of the time I’m simply too exhausted to fight it.

OCD is like a horrible parasitic monster that latches onto your worst nightmare, then replays it over and over again in your mind until you begin to doubt yourself and the very essence of identity. It causes your sense of self to break down, and it makes it hard for you to decipher the line between what is really you, and what is really the illness. It literally feels like something evil is controlling your brain, something that is completely opposite of everything you believe in morally.

OCD is not about being tidy or organized. That is something that I cannot stress enough. Seeing those BuzzFeed articles with the title “12 things that will drive your OCD crazy!” or seeing Khloe Kardashian name her new videos about organization “KHLO-C-D” is not only annoying, but it is insulting to anyone who is suffering with the illness. Plus it further stigmatizes the disorder in an already judgmental society.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a terrifying mental illness that millions of people suffer with every day. It is completely stigmatized by much of today’s society, so much so that even professionals give people with OCD the wrong diagnosis or put them on anti-psychotics. It took some friends of mine over 15 years until they were actually diagnosed correctly – something that is completely appalling to me.

Most days I can’t trust my own brain, and I fear that I’ll ultimately go crazy or that my worst fears will inevitably come true. The truth is that I am terrified of uncertainty, which is the driving force of the illness. No one can predict the future or guarantee anything with certainty – something that people like me have a difficult time accepting.

I often worry that I’ll never be able to live a happy life because of this, or that no one could ever love someone with a brain like mine. I know that I’ve only suffered from the disorder for a little over a year, but I have made large strides since the days where I was unable to move from my bed, paralyzed by fear and spending over 12 hours a day sleeping.

This post is harsh and uncensored, but it’s what I live with on a daily basis, and what I will continue to deal with for the rest of my life. I hope in the future to continue to help others with this disorder, and to raise awareness of OCD and other mental illnesses. If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading and please share this eye-opening project on social media. Continue to educate your friends, your family, and yourself!

2 replies »

  1. Linsey, You are a very strong person to write your story down. You are my story exactly except that I am much older than you. I think you realize it but the OCD thoughts you are having are NOT you! Stay strong!


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