I have always been someone who worries about things, letting them take over my mind, no matter how big or small the issue is. I remember at school things like public speaking and having to do presentations in front of a room full of classmates would send me into meltdown, causing me such worry and stress for weeks leading up to the event.
It started with feeling irritated over small issues. I didn't look forward to spending time with my baby. My in-laws would make me loose my nerve. For no reason at all, I was getting angry at home. Even in the office, I didn’t feel like working anymore. I was losing enthusiasm for life and struggling to enjoy the things that would usually make me happy.
After a few hard years of a large amount of family bereavement, there was a day at school where I fainted for the first time. I hoped this was a one-off, but the fainting grew more and more until it was twice a day and was seriously affecting my life. My behavior started to get worse and I found myself getting a lot angrier with teachers. I had various medical tests, saw many specialists and yet nobody had an explanation for what was going on.
At 16 years old I sat in my first therapy session and was told that I “had no real reason for having depression”. I was doing well in school, I had plenty of friends and there was no single particular traumatic event that had triggered the decline of my mental health. According to my therapist this made it impossible for me to feel anxious or depressed. After two more sessions I was totally convinced that I’d manifested these feelings myself and actually had perfect mental health, so I left.
OCD tends to be viewed as excessive handwashing and a fear of contamination. But for the first 6 years of having diagnosed OCD, I don’t think there was ever an instance of me considering germs any more than the average human.