All in the Mind- A series on the journey of a Teenager with OCD
Updated: Jan 30
Ep. 1: Is it really OCD?
(This series has been written by one of our blogging interns who wishes to remain anonymous)
It was a normal day. A normal sunrise. The same annoying ring of the alarm clock. Reluctantly, I woke up and brushed my teeth. I had my morning bath and like always, the water was cold. I came out of the bathroom and locked the door. Sat down. Stood up. Opened the door, checked the windows and closed the door. Sat down. And again stood up. Opened the door, checked the windows and closed the door. Sat down. Stared at the ceiling with closed eyes which were moistening. Again stood up. The only time this loop stopped was when I heard my mother shouting from outside, reminding me that I was late for school. Guess what, this was also normal. It happened yesterday, it would happen tomorrow, I was sure. However, it wasn’t as foolish and mindless as you’d think it was. The urge to repeatedly check the door and the window was fuelled by a particularly intrusive, uninvited and obsessive thought. The same obsessive thought reappeared everyday in slightly varying forms, but the premise was largely the same: someone would enter our house through the window in the bathroom and rob us at gunpoint, perhaps even murder us. To prevent this from happening, the only logical solution I had was to repeatedly open and close the door and check the window. It always had to be an even number of repetitions and the larger the number the better. That’s pretty logical, right? No? Guess what, I know that it doesn’t make any sense. I knew it even while performing the repeated checks. I knew that, once I had locked the door, it would not open on it’s own. That is what made it worse. The burden of this imaginary responsibility I gave myself was so blindening and consuming that it did not leave any room for rational thought. I felt that something was wrong, but I attributed it to my stupidity and foolishness. I never thought that it was OCD, because to me back then, OCD involved obsessive hand-washing and I barely wash my hands before meals. To me, it really stood for ‘Only Cleaning Disorder’ rather than an ‘Obsessive and Compulsive’ one. To add to that, I come from a family and society who outrightly stigmatise mental illness. To them, you can either be absolutely mentally healthy, or a ‘mad’ person. There were no shades of grey. I was lucky enough to have a neighbour who was studying to become a mental health professional. She was the first person to diagnose me with what she calls ‘mild’ OCD.