My OCD story
Hello, my bucket list friends! In my last post, I talked about how I was going to be writing some more personal bog posts this month. The topic of mental health is something that I believe does not get the attention that it needs. I’ve wanted to share my personal story about my struggle with mental health for quite some time but I have been holding back but there is no day like today so here goes nothing.
When I look back on my childhood I can see that I have had OCD pretty much my whole life but I didn’t know it back then, nobody did. OCD was not something that was well known back when I was growing up in the 90’s and 00’s so unfortunately no one was able to diagnose me when I was a child. Even though I did not have a diagnosis there was no questioning that I had something going on with me. I struggled in school, I was held back in kindergarten, I did not want to stay in my seat during class I wanted to pace in the back of the classroom eventually I was told that I had ADHD. Throughout my childhood I was almost always in trouble for something and I had a hard time keeping friends. I was always saying or doing things that were mean or rude, things that I knew I shouldn’t have been doing.Everything from hiding other kids toys to pushing smaller kids when I got angry to saying things just to get others angry but I felt like I had to, that bad things would happen if I did not obey. I did not know at the time that I was having obsessive thoughts. My young mind did not know how to verbalize what was going on so I would say that I was hearing voices. As you can imagine this created a problem in itself. My parents took me to doctors and therapists but because I was not saying the right things no one was able to properly diagnose me with OCD. I went to a small private elementary school and it didn’t take long for me to get branded as a mean kid and a trouble maker. I remember when a child at school had a birthday party and the whole school got invited except for me and another student. I’m not saying that I didn’t deserve it because I did. The brand that was placed upon me was well earned. The truth was I was not the only victim of my OCD others around me suffered as well. The intrusive thoughts that I acted upon hurt others as well. My OCD hurt everyone from my classmates, my teachers, my family, and myself. After 4th grade my mom decide to homeschool me. Those were some good years! I was a member of two homeschool groups so I spent plenty of time with other kids, I went on lots of field trips and enjoyed other fun activities even though I still struggled with my OCD without knowing that I had it yet. One of the biggest struggles that I remember having was probably around my tween and early teen years. I was raised in a Christian home and I loved going to church and doing my best to live my life for God. I loved being a Christian but all of a sudden, I started having thoughts that God did not exist I was in a constant battle in these thoughts and they created havoc in my life. I little did I know I was experiencing what is known as scrupulosity which is a part of OCD. Overall, I was in a pretty good place during those years. I was put on medication somewhere in my tween or early teen years but it didn’t seem to help. When I reached the end of my middle school years it was decided that public school was the best place for me so I could get a public high school diploma and my mom would go back to work. After I took some tests it was determined that I qualified for special Ed services. I spent the last month of my 8th grade year going to public middle school for half days to get me used to the public-school environment. I wasn’t a fan of public school there were a lot of behavior problems in the special ED program and by this time in my life I had mellowed out a lot. I listened to teachers and for the most part I made following the rules a priority. The other kids offended me with their bad language and their disrespectful attitudes. I had done a complete 180 from my elementary school years. I went from being a trouble maker to being pretty much a model student. After I finished my one month of public school and I received my middle school diploma. Then it was just a few short months before the long haul of high school began.
When I started high school I pretty much didn’t have any friends the one friend that I had since I was four years old told me we were no longer friends and that was that. My sister was in 12th grade at the same school but we didn’t spend time together while we were at school. I was friendless and in for a huge culture shock. The safe and comfortable world of homeschool was no more for me ,now I was in the public high school world of sex, drugs and disobedience. I’m pretty sure it was the 2nd day of high school When a group adopted me, the day before I had been invited to eat lunch with nice group of girls and they were very welcoming but on the 2nd day during lunch I didn’t know what to do so I sat down by a tree and ate my lunch. There was a group right next to the tree and they invited me to sit with them and I did for all four years of high school I sat by that tree. Just like middle school, High school was no different it was a rough place. With my OCD still invisible and ridding on my back I did the best I could to survive high school. Even though I was living in an R rated movie every day in a place filled curse words being said every other word, drugs in plain sight and vodka in water bottles. By the time I reached 12th grade I was doing overall pretty good I still hated public school but I had some good friends by my side I was a member of the mock trial team and I enjoyed my photography and art classes but graduation day could not come fast enough for me . After a wonderful summer, I started community college with the goal of being a preschool teacher. It was during those years When I discovered that I did in fact have OCD. I knew I had something but I was not sure what. I was told by a doctor that I didn’t have OCD ,just OCD tendencies and I knew whatever it was that I had was not just ADHD. I sat down at the computer and looked at the Wikipedia pages for different conidiations. I first looked at the pages for Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia When I read those pages I saw that I had some of the same symptoms but for the most part I couldn’t really relate to what was being described. Then I read the page for OCD and it was as if my whole life was written on that page. Everything from my disturbing thoughts to my doubt to my behavior as a child now made sense. Not long after this I was able to get on medication that was right for me and also just being more aware of what was going on with me made a world of difference. There is no cure for OCD so I will always have to deal with it and I still have my struggles today. I will wright about that in another blog post but I’m very proud of myself for everything I have accomplished in life even with OCD and I can’t wait to see what things I will accomplish in the years to come.
Rock on – christina Epperly