That's not an exaggeration. Lots of folks with OCD wash their hands or use hand sanitizer way more than necessary. I do both of those things too, but the moment I finally told myself I needed to do something was when I was washing my hair after literally anything I did. Woke up. Washed my hair. Brushed my teeth. Washed my hair. Ate breakfast. Washed my hair. I could fill this entire post recounting how often I wash my hair, but I don't even think my therapist would read that.
Self-deprecating jokes are kind of my thing, by the way.
That's when I decided to get help. And by "I decided to get help" I really mean I had a mental breakdown and was lucky enough to have such a supportive family take me to the hospital. The stigma around mental illness, at least for me, truly made it difficult to ever actually do something about my OCD. If you read the About section of this blog (and you totally should; there are some cool memes there) you already know that I've been dealing with OCD since 3rd grade. At least, it was 3rd grade when I noticed I was different than most kids. All the signs were there: excessive hand washing, counting basically everything, constantly being frustrated when things didn't seem "right". But as a kid, I had no idea that OCD was a real thing, and as I got older, I convinced myself that I was just overreacting. After all, how many times have you said or heard someone say they have OCD? I convinced myself that I had quirks, just like everyone else.
But obviously checking to make sure your front door is locked 100's of times before finally leaving isn't just a quirk.
So in March 2018 I met with a psychiatrist and psychologist and was officially diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Honestly, this was probably the easiest diagnosis the doctor has ever made. As obvious as this diagnosis was, it felt necessary to hear it from a doctor and see it in writing. I felt like my experience was being validated. I really wanted to shake my psychiatrist's hand after the appointment, but you know, OCD and everything.
I'm now on medication and regularly seeing a therapist. That's a tough sentence to write down, but I hope it goes over better here than it did on my numerous online dating profiles. Turns out neurotic guys with OCD are not what women want. Live and learn.
So far, I feel much better. I still perform ritualistic behaviors, but not as many. I'm also just in a better mood. Not every day is great; I still struggle more than I'd like to admit, but I know I've made progress. I even adopted two cats, which is a big deal because when you have OCD you find relief in having control, and there's only so much control you can have over a cat.
For the record, I know being a single guy who lives alone with two cats gives me a head start on being an old crazy cat person, but I promise I'm not crazy. My therapist just suggested I get a pet, that's all.
As I enter 2019, I look forward to how much more I'll progress. 2018 did not end on a positive note for me, but I'm now more determined than ever to kick OCD's ass. And then promptly NOT wash my hair right after.
Hello! My name's Kyle. I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I hate it, but managing it has produced stories that I feel are worth sharing. Hopefully this platform can provide those struggling with mental health disorders an outlet for comfort, support, and even some humor. Not everything I post will be amazing, but I promise I will have checked every last detail, no matter how insignificant, way more times than necessary before posting.