Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • I’m one of the lucky ones.
    That’s not something you hear people who have OCD say very often. It’s not exactly the American Dream, there’s no famous line, “Give me Liberty or better yet, give me OCD.” There are no pride parades—can you imagine how that would go? You try getting a ton of people who are professional worriers who—and I promise you—can obsess about something unwillingly for years of their lives, going so far as to sever the family ties and break the moral code to relieve the anxiety. Also, whenever you get a big group of people together, people do shit other people don’t like. But when you get a big group of people who have a chronic anxiety disorder…well, when people do shit other people don’t like, it likely ends up triggering, and soon you find you have hundreds of people compulsing and obsessing and having panic attacks, each wrapped up in their own internal struggle that everyone around them is facing. There are no big barbeques on one day of the year where we, as Americans, celebrate the hell-on-earth that is OCD. It’s something that’s largely misunderstood, and in a culture where mental illness is shamed, people who do have OCD are put into the metaphorical very clean closet. And lock the door two times.
    But it’s true, you know. I am one of the lucky ones. I was diagnosed within a year of having symptoms, a rarity in the OCD community as some people go their whole lives without knowing what was controlling them to do certain things, convinced they were crazy. On a side note, can you imagine OCD in the Salem Witch Trial days? Sheesh. But back to my point. I am one of the lucky ones. I was put on medication that worked to relieve some of the symptoms immediately, and placed in therapy. I got proper treatment as soon as I was diagnosed, and was fortunate enough to have had several excellent therapists who pushed me out of my comfort zone and into talking about the “Worry Bug”, having me draw pictures depicting what the Worry Bug looked like and explaining very simple science on how it worked in my brain. Plus, one of them had a bowl of suckers on your way out, and you got to take one. I would wait the entire session for one of those, and they made going so much more bearable. When you’re seven, getting a free sucker is a big deal, and a big bargaining chip.
    Even with proper treatment, my symptoms still pop up in my daily life. They popped up when the summer before high school I had an obsession with scrupulosity, they popped up that same summer and continued well into my freshman year where I was obsessed that I would somehow, when I was feeding my fish, would take a fish out and put it into the fish food can, leaving it to die. They popped up when I was constantly in a rush to school because I would repeatedly check the garage door, and popped up when little second grade me would have panic attacks because I was terrified of walking on the third floor hallway of my school. And they pop up now! They’ll pop up in the future, and every day will be a fierce battle between me and my OCD. So that’s encouraging, right? I’ve survived eight or so years with it, now for the rest of my life!
    I’m one of the lucky ones.
    That’s not something you hear people who have OCD say very often. It’s not exactly the American Dream, there’s no famous line, “Give me Liberty or better yet, give me OCD.” There are no pride parades—can you imagine how that would go? You try getting a ton of people who are professional worriers who—and I promise you—can obsess about something unwillingly for years of their lives, going so far as to sever the family ties and break the moral code to relieve the anxiety. Also, whenever you get a big group of people together, people do shit other people don’t like. But when you get a big group of people who have a chronic anxiety disorder…well, when people do shit other people don’t like, it likely ends up triggering, and soon you find you have hundreds of people compulsing and obsessing and having panic attacks, each wrapped up in their own internal struggle that everyone around them is facing. There are no big barbeques on one day of the year where we, as Americans, celebrate the hell-on-earth that is OCD. It’s something that’s largely misunderstood, and in a culture where mental illness is shamed, people who do have OCD are put into the metaphorical very clean closet. And lock the door two times.
    But it’s true, you know. I am one of the lucky ones. I was diagnosed within a year of having symptoms, a rarity in the OCD community as some people go their whole lives without knowing what was controlling them to do certain things, convinced they were crazy. On a side note, can you imagine OCD in the Salem Witch Trial days? Sheesh. But back to my point. I am one of the lucky ones. I was put on medication that worked to relieve some of the symptoms immediately, and placed in therapy. I got proper treatment as soon as I was diagnosed, and was fortunate enough to have had several excellent therapists who pushed me out of my comfort zone and into talking about the “Worry Bug”, having me draw pictures depicting what the Worry Bug looked like and explaining very simple science on how it worked in my brain. Plus, one of them had a bowl of suckers on your way out, and you got to take one. I would wait the entire session for one of those, and they made going so much more bearable. When you’re seven, getting a free sucker is a big deal, and a big bargaining chip.
    Even with proper treatment, my symptoms still pop up in my daily life. They popped up when the summer before high school I had an obsession with scrupulosity, they popped up that same summer and continued well into my freshman year where I was obsessed that I would somehow, when I was feeding my fish, would take a fish out and put it into the fish food can, leaving it to die. They popped up when I was constantly in a rush to school because I would repeatedly check the garage door, and popped up when little second grade me would have panic attacks because I was terrified of walking on the third floor hallway of my school. And they pop up now! They’ll pop up in the future, and every day will be a fierce battle between me and my OCD. So that’s encouraging, right? I’ve survived eight or so years with it, now for the rest of my life!
    • Share

    Connected stories:

About

Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.