Read about my struggle with OCD!

Spiders and Earthquakes

It all started in fourth grade when I suddenly had a panic attack that either a spider was going to bite me or that there would be a horrific earthquake when I was at school. That set the ball in motion for my entire experience with OCD. These two attacks lasted for only a few months tops, but at the time, they were very scary and were hard to deal with. My mom suggested that I see a doctor, so I went to one on Stanford University's campus. I was prescribed some medicine but it wasn't very effective.


To this day lying or being honest has been something that I have tried hard to keep as one of my main personality traits. If I say something that might be the slightest bit untruthful, I will I get an unpleasant feeling in my stomach. There was a phase that almost everything I said (exaggeration...see?) would be followed by a "just kidding" to make sure everyone knew that I wasn't lying or saying something that might turn out to be untruthful. Annoying? Obviously, but it's one of the things I do to clarify that I wasn't lying as those weren't, in fact, his exact words. How about in the "Rituals" section? Can you spot the OCD?


For many people with OCD, ranging from mild to extreme, rituals are a huge nuisance. I've had my fair share of rituals as well. A few years ago, I had a ritual for brushing my teeth. I would brush each section of my teeth 15 times, counting each swipe. Then, I would brush my tongue and I insisted on almost choking myself with the tooth-brush every night to "ensure" that I had gotten my whole tongue. I also had a "leaving my room" ritual in which I would touch my light switch with my right, then left, then right hand again (I think). Then, I would do the same with my door. These crazy rituals are irksome and they take up time. Fortunately  I learned to beat these rituals. The most important thing is just to say to your OCD, "enough."


Another big battle and maybe one that still pops up is cheating, especially on tests and quizzes. I went through a stage where I was paranoid that I was going to cheat on tests. When I got a good grade on a test, there would be a pit in my stomach and I would think to myself that perhaps the reason why I got a good grade was because I cheated. Even today, if my friends are talking about a test they had taken and I hadn't yet, I'll cover my ears and walk out of the room.


I also went through a phase in which my reading was affected by OCD. When I was reading a book, I would always make sure that I read or looked every word over. In fact, it got so bad that I would have to read whole sentences over again to ensure that I understood its significance. This OCD phase effected my reading speed and I had to go to a reading class which really wasn't very engaging. So, as my main point of this "chapter," I would just like everyone to know that if you allow your OCD to take advantage of your reading proficiency, your mother will, inevitably, sign you up for a SUMMER reading class. :) 

The Mere Anticipation of an OCD Attack

Sometimes, just the thought of having an OCD attack has dictated what kinds of things I do. Even now, OCD scares me out of doing things like sleepovers just because I don't want to have an attack that night. In order to beat this, there is pretty much only one thing to do: stand up to OCD and go to the sleepover. Every time you allow your OCD to win one of its little "battles," it's a step backward for you.  

Universal Questions

One of my most powerful battles was with "universal questions." In my first year in Mountain View High, I got hit with a crippling attack of OCD. It started in Chemistry, most likely because that was the class in which we learned about matter and the composition of atoms and etc. I can't recall exactly what my first attack was specifically, but I'll describe the types of attacks I was dealing with. It had to do with things I couldn't prove about life. Does God exist? What happens after death? How can the universe be infinitly expanding? When I thought of these questions, my head would turn upside down for a second and I thought I would faint. What are the answers to these questions that I was struggling with? That was the whole problem. There are no answers and these questions made me timid and antisocial. I would often come home at lunch just to lie down in my family's office. How did I overcome this phase? I just had to stick with it and figuratively shove the thoughts from my mind. Every now and again these thoughts will creep up and scare me, but I have to stand up and fight because if you let OCD make you antisocial or timid, it has won the fight.

Smiley Face

I attempted to think of a name for this type of OCD so I just came up with "Smiley Face." Basically, this OCD made me feel bad or sorry for inanimate objects. For example, if there was a smiley face sticker lying in my closet, I might not throw it away because it made me feel bad that I was throwing away something that had a smiley face on it, something that was designed to bring happiness. It's hard to get rid of things designed to make you smile, but sometimes (a lot of times) it is necessary.


Recently, I have been struggling a lot with the passage of time and how I'm only days away from being 20 years old. Most adults reading this would likely scoff at the idea that someone who is 20 is worried about their age. But when they say "Relax! You're only 20!", I say "I'm already 20."