I see a story about cancer on TV: maybe it’s a message I have cancer. I need to check repetitively for lumps.
I have had OCD since childhood. I started with motor tics (head, shoulder and arm), which morphed into rituals in first grade (frequently using eraser, issues with certain numbers, having to have things feel right). I was diagnosed at Boston’s Children’s Hospital and put on clomipramine and Xanax in early adolescence. Due to side effects, med compliance was poor.
My OCD has been more manageable at some points in my life, but never resolved. For example, I wasted about 10 years of my life fearing that I had contracted AIDS. I never know what my next OCD obsession will be. Generally, my fears are health-related, worrying about my children’s safety, or thinking I ‘have power’ to cause bad things. My rituals are magical thinking in nature – I recite the names of the Presidents over and over until it feels right, and I recite the Gettysburg Address repetitively (quietly in my head) in order to ‘protect’ a bad thing from happening to me or my family.
I also avoid certain colors, i.e. red = blood = disease. I have a hard time writing certain numbers, i.e. if I make a ‘8’, and the circles don’t look right to me, I think they look like tumors, and I have to re-write things until they feel safe.
To say I have wasted so much time on OCD is an understatement! Even when I am functioning, I work full-time, and I always have another track running in my head with rituals. It’s exhausting!
Categories: The Wall