B's Story

old typing machine

My OCD did not begin to manifest itself until I was 30, which is not typical. I couldn't pinpoint what exactly the problem was at the time, just when I went to do certain things, sometimes it just didn't 'feel right' and I would have to do things over and over until it did feel right. I was at my doctor's for an annual checkup, when I tried to describe how I felt to her. I was dismissed, and told that everyone goes through moments like that and it was nothing. The following year, things hadn't changed and I tried to speak to her again. Same response. The third year, again, and when she tried to dismiss me, I broke down crying and begged for her help. She finally referred me to a psychiatrist and I was diagnosed with OCD. I figured out that I check things; my doors to see if they are locked, my taps that they are not dripping, and light switches to see that they are off. If things aren't right, my mind tells me something bad will happen.

Oh, and by the way, I dispense medication for a living, so I check to see if what I am giving is correct over and over, or else I have a fear that I could seriously hurt someone. How perfect is that? Over the years, it has also switched. I used to have a really hard time at work and did very little checking at home. Now work is not so much of a problem but the compulsions I do at home have evolved, and not in a good way. And if I am interrupted when doing any of my compulsions, my anxiety increases and I can become very irritated and angry, especially at those who have interrupted me. So, I started seeing a psychiatrist, and even though I now had a couple of answers, this did not amount to a lot of help either. I would go to my appointments where he proceeded to tell me to 'stop' my compulsions. I would have loved too, but when you are going through the doubts and anxiety, you will do anything to make it stop, including hours of compulsions. With all his education and degrees on the wall, he didn't understand at all. Only those of us with OCD can relate to this pain. And it is painful. And nothing makes it worse than people's misunderstanding of it. Popular culture does not help. The representations of it in movies and TV, etc. (As Good As It Gets, Grey's Anatomy, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics) minimize the disease and portray it as quirky and easily solved. People joke about how there need to have things neat is 'their OCD'. Things like this infuriate me. Fortunately, I have the type of personality where I will refuse to let OCD completely take over my life, or avoid living all together. I continued to work and go out, partially because I had no choice, no significant other to take care of me, and older parents who also needed my help, but mostly because I love life especially traveling. I have suffered many painful days and nights.

I considered suicide three times. There was a period of time when I was at work, I would be looking at the shelves of drugs, contemplating if any of them would do the job fast and easy, with as little as pain as possible because I had been through enough. But every now and again, when I would be outside and it would be a beautiful day, I would get a renewed sense of hope that I could beat this. With this, I went to search out for help from others who had OCD, hoping they had some answers on how to relieve the pain and maybe not feel so alone. I found Rick's group and decided to go. I was so nervous the first time, but after 5 minutes, I felt at home and by the end I was relieved, grateful and strengthened. I am able to push through my compulsions with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). I am not cured, but at the end of each meeting, I have the power to decrease or stop a compulsion altogether. Even though we may not all have the same obsessions, we can all relate to the pain each one of us is experiencing. The group is my second family. I love them all.