When Jessica asked me to contribute a story about Mental Health issues, I almost lied and said I had nothing to offer on the topic. However, I realized that if she has the balls to share her story publicly, I could grow a pair and at least be honest about my own. When I was 15, I was diagnosed with OCD and anxiety. It started with cracks in the pavement. I wouldn’t allow myself to step on them, and I feared that something really terrible would happen if I did. I became obsessed with making sure everything was in order. The obsession developed into a constant fear of all kinds of contamination. I wouldn't touch anything in public spaces. I didn’t want to use public restrooms. I didn’t want to eat out.
“Her own past struggles made her empathetic to mine. I think love can heal everything, and I haven’t had many OCD tendencies since.”
I retreated from my friends, and I was able to hide my disorders until I was about 20. At that point, I started receiving treatment through CBT. The treatment did help reduce and manage my anxiety, but I still struggled on and off for about 8 years. I learned to live with the disorder quietly without allowing it to affect my social life or work too much. In fact, I think the obsessions have made my work better in several ways, but I could write a whole article about that another time. The disorder and obsessive thinking did impact my relationships, however; I was always questioning things, and any relationship I had crumbled quickly. This was true until about three years ago, when I met my wife. She is patient and kind, and her own past struggles made her empathetic to mine. Love can heal everything, and I haven’t had many OCD tendencies since. We’re having a baby boy next year.