Patricia, 25, Maryland, USA

It feels like a constant, silent battle against an evil presence lurking in my mind.

patricia-no-text

My symptoms of OCD began when I was 8 years old. Suddenly, seemingly from nowhere, I was overwhelmed by terrifying thoughts of harming my family. When I went to my parents, feeling the need to “confess” every single bizarre thought that entered my mind, they didn’t understand what was wrong either and naturally were deeply concerned. At the time, my mother slept in my room with me, and I still remember one night when she refused to do so because she was afraid of me acting on these thoughts. I tearfully tried to assure her I wouldn’t, but she felt she couldn’t trust me.

After a while, the thoughts weren’t as frequent, but I still would get them. I never brought them up to my parents again because I didn’t want to upset them even more, and over the years just forced myself to accept the thoughts as a part of me whether I liked it or not. Then one day I happened to be flipping through the pages of a copy of DSM-IV [the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders]. I had heard a lot about OCD in the media and just decided to look it up on a whim as it was the mental illness I was most familiar with – or at least I thought I was familiar with it by the way it’s shown in programs like Monk. I never dreamed I had OCD based on what I knew from popular culture. I was astounded when I read about intrusive thoughts and realized, to my great relief, that I didn’t have some sort of sick mind. These “bad thoughts” that plagued me for so many years were symptoms of a mental illness.

Having OCD is like a constant silent battle against an evil presence lurking in your mind. When you least expect it, it will emerge from the shadows and throw the worst possible scenarios and phrases before you, and always uses the people and things that are most important to you as fuel. Though I am on medication now and, for the most part, am thankfully able to function normally, at times I still struggle – my OCD tends to flare up again during the more stressful times of my life.

Categories: The Wall

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1 reply »

  1. Great description of how OCD can go ‘dormant’ for a while, when meds and therapy are helping, and then “emerge from the shadows” when you’re not expecting it. And it certainly is adept at using your priorities, self-image and strong beliefs against you. It hits me again too in stressful times, and I’ve talked to others who say the exact same thing. Keep up the fight! Glad you posted.

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