The Mayo Clinic defines OCD as "excessive thoughts(obsessions) that lead to repetitive behavior(compulsions)." This debilitating, anxiety-producing, mind-boggling disorder is so much more than annoying thoughts and behaviors that are repeated over and over. Many people think of OCD as the disorder where people are afraid of germs or they are obsessed with cleaning. While contamination and perfectionism can be huge parts of some people's OCD, there is still so much more to it.
I remember being five years old and being so worried about keeping my room clean. If anyone came into my room and moved anything, I would absolutely panic. The crying, the worrying, the constantly moving things back to their "perfect place." Then about a year later came the contamination obsessions. Every time someone around me would sneeze or cough, I would wash my hands because I was so worried about the idea of getting sick or feeling "contaminated." When second grade rolled around, I began getting homework on the weekends. The idea of having something on my mental to-do list was too much to bare. I would cry and cry and cry when I sat down on Sunday night to do homework. Over the next several years, I developed the compulsion of having to do my homework, chores, and tasks the second they were assigned. I would stay late at class to finish an assignment because my brain wouldn't rest until it was done. If my mom asked me to clean the glass table or do the dishwasher, then I stopped whatever I was doing to do that chore that second. I would get so stressed out that I would cry when doing a task and even hit myself when I would get frustrated. The teenage years came around and I noticed how everyone was so obsessed with how they looked. This is when the body image issues came around. I would look straight in the mirror and say "I'm fat and worthless. I don't deserve anything." I would cry, hit myself, and lay on the floor because I felt as though I had no purpose in life. In my sophomore year of high school, I decided that I would run cross country because I needed a gym credit and I wanted to lose weight even though I didn't truly need to. I began feeling so inferior to others when I ran that I would cry and have panic attacks after meets. My mind told me I wasn't good enough and that I needed to go run the next day to get better. I did this every single day after that. My second season of cross country I was obsessed. If I missed a day of running, then I cried and told myself that I was fat and worthless. Then came the obsessive and unhealthy dieting. I told myself that I would never be happy unless I lost at least 15-20 pounds. I limited my calories to 1,200 a day. I ended up losing 15 pounds in six weeks. This may sound like a good thing to a lot of people, but when you are perfectly healthy to begin with, then you shouldn't lose this much weight. I would punish myself each time I didn't follow my diet plan. I would seek reassurance from people on how I looked every single day. My mom worried that I was taking it too far. I was. After the dieting, I developed horrible stomach aches almost everyday. I went to the ER three times and each time they said it was nothing bad. It turns out that my anxiety was so bad that it was sending me to the hospital every few weeks. I began my Junior year and nothing went right. I couldn't take homework home or else I panicked the rest of the night. I did everything I could in order to not take any work home with me. Then came Christmas break and I couldn't go back to school. I told myself I would not go back to the hell hole that brought me so much pain. I went back that new year, but not by choice. I spent the next few weeks in the office crying every single day because the idea of being at school was too much to handle. I was excused from several assignments because I couldn't do them. That was when I knew I needed help. I knew I would end up dead if I didn't get help soon. My life wasn't in my control anymore. I felt hopeless and I never felt so low. That's when my mom searched "mental hospitals that treat OCD" online. That's when my life began to change.