Eric, 19, Toronto, Canada

There’s something important I’ve forgotten to do. There’s something more.

eric-no-textI’m Eric, and I only recently discovered I have OCD.

Last year, in 2015, I started at Queen’s University, and it was one of the worst times of my life. I was prepared for the loneliness and initial uncomforting feelings, but I was in no way prepared when my mind took up arms against me.

I couldn’t stop reciting this list of things I had to do, and I couldn’t accurately explain to anyone what was going on in my head – I didn’t even know myself. Even to this day, I struggle trying to relay that feeling – this insistent urge that will not stop until you satisfy it, sort of like a thirsty vampire. I was a repetition vampire, you could say. Instead of blood I needed repetition, and it took up almost all my time – I hated it. You would too.

Control is one of the few things that give us an actual chance in this strange world.

Anyway, I tried getting help at Queen’s, but the faculty and student body looked at me as a typical anxious student (and that was far from what was going on). But who could blame them, right? Only I knew what it felt like to be out of control. To be a disappointment and to be a failure are two things I could not help; how does one function when they lack control over themselves? My desolation was tragic, to say the least.

Needless to say, I dropped out and came home with the high hopes that the thoughts would alleviate naturally, but of course they didn’t. Suddenly, doing laundry, seeing a friend and getting a haircut were so stressful that they weren’t worth getting done. Avoidance was a big one, is a big one, for me. It’s when you avoid something because it makes you really anxious, but avoiding it just makes it that much worse in the end.

Sadly, there is no happy ending to my story (I hate clichés anyways). I still suffer daily, and am trying to find the medication that works best for me. Meds are an ongoing process – there is no such thing as a wonder pill, so I guess you could say my treatment is an experiment.

Fortunately, I’m so lucky. Lucky enough to have quality healthcare and the funds needed to purchase my overwhelming amount of medication. Not to mention the support system as wonderful and accepting as my immediate family, and the boyfriend, who at the time, would do anything to make me feel better or just try to understand. What I’m saying is I had people, good people, looking out for me; I was never really alone. It is because of them that I am able to shrug the shame away, embrace the day and have faith in the future. Not everyone has this, yet everyone deserves it.

This past year has completely changed my perspective on mental health. I now realize how crippling it truly is, more so than some physical ailments.

Categories: The Wall

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