It’s a regular Tuesday evening when I realize my Talkspace therapist, who consistently answers twice a day, didn’t respond a second time that night. A fleeting thought darts through my head: “What if she died?” With my life-long history of obsessive-compulsive disorder, I am no stranger to such macabre thoughts, so I dismiss it. It’s just a thought without evidence.
Soon the thought pops back into my mind. I open the Talkspace app on my phone. No message, but it’s probably nothing. I answered her too late in the day, she’s busy, she’s taking a well-deserved night off, her app isn’t working…All reasonable explanations.
Not two seconds later, the thought’s back, and even with all my years of therapy and an arsenal of coping skills for moments just like this, that thought grabs me hook, line, and sinker. I launch into a full-blown panic, which eventually proves to be unfounded when my therapist messages me as usual the next morning.
Does this anecdote sound familiar? It’s just one example of obsessive thinking, and I’m confident we’ve all had a version of this experience at some point. These types of thoughts are unhelpful at best, and debilitating at worst.
Continue reading How to Stop Obsessive Thinking
I’ll never forget how my life with OCD began.
I’m lying on the bottom bunk of the bed my grandfather made, surrounded by stuffed animals and my well-loved blue blanket. I close my eyes in the dark room and carefully fold my hands together, placing them above my head. I begin my nightly ritual.
Continue reading Is it OCD? OCD Versus Everyday Worries
I see that stage of my life as dark pages to be flipped quickly. I still consider it the toughest struggle I’ve ever been through and hope my challenges don’t get harder than being a young patient dealing with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder [OCD].
The symptoms first showed up during 10th grade. I had unusual thoughts instructing me to undertake certain actions. They were actually more like commands.
It seemed normal in the beginning, but these thoughts gradually increased. They became intense and repetitive, so repetitive it was distracting. I felt I had to obey the thoughts to stop them from recurring. As I yielded to a thought, obeying its command, it did shut up for a while, but only until another new one showed up in the same compulsive way. The thoughts followed one another in an endless loop. I couldn’t escape no matter how hard I tried.
The disorder got so severe that I sometimes wished for death, believing it was the only way to end the battle taking place in my mind. I lived in a state of perpetual mental exhaustion. Continue reading My Struggle With OCD: Quieting the Mind’s Commands