My name is Josh Davis and I am 18 years old. I have suffered from extreme OCD for 9 years of my life now and have faced moments where I have just not wanted to continue or thought I can’t. I have experienced OCD for 9 years and only just recently reached out for help. Going through that process made me realise that I have certain aspects of dissociative identity disorder, although I have not been diagnosed with DID by a doctor.
I used to wake up, go out to school or to town and think I was doing amazing or terrible things or had to ritualise everything to ensure I was making everyone safe and happy. I used to sit in school and for all 6 hours I would ritualise breathing, hearing, smelling, blinking and talking - where I would repeat things a number of times.
My experience with OCD has been hard, to the extent that I sometimes couldn’t even open my eyes. However, there have also moments of amazement. I sometimes woke up and was saddened by the fact that I had to ritualise everything and knew I would have to do so throughout my day however, other days I would randomly feel over the moon and simply was able to ignore the ritualising. Some of my experiences with OCD were simple: opening and closing my pencil case a few times in year 7, for example. However, there were other times where I would feel as if I dissociated into another person or that god and Satan were affecting me in both positive and negative ways.
I sometimes used to not recognize those who I have known all my life and not even recognize I was myself as well as feel paranoid that others were judging me all the time so I literally kept my head down throughout the entirety of year 7 and 8 and hunched my back to avoid eye contact. In class I used to repeat words when speaking, which interrupted a lot; sometimes I felt compelled to delete all my work and re-write it. No teacher picked up on it – in fact, when I told one teacher I had anxiety when talking in front of others, she looked at me with disgust and made a very rude gesture. As a result of the negative judgements of others, I used to fake being ill to avoid walking to and experiencing school, and once faked being bullied in order to miss a week or two of school. Until this day I haven’t told anyone at school. Before I leave, I want to explain to them the reasons why I’ve behaved in ways that might seem strange. I hope they listen and respect that.
The support my family and friends gave me boosted my confidence to tell people about my suffering as I was scared that I would be called silly or stupid or weak but what I realised, and my girlfriend made me realise, is that I have been to the darkest place and managed to come back making me, and others who experience OCD, some of the strongest and most determined people in the world. I recently learned about a quote by Alan Turing stating: 'sometimes it’s the people you least expect anything of who do the most amazing things imaginable.' I think this is true of a lot of people who experience mental illness. But if you know someone who is going through a hard time, you can help them on this journey: sometimes all you need to do is remind them they are not alone and you are there to listen.