Hello, my name is Elena, I am 23 years old and I suffer from anxiety OCD.
Since I was little, I have been quite anxious about life. My parents live in an old house, stone exterior and mostly wood interior. For my room it’s the same, the walls are paneled, the floor in floating parquet. My window has an inside sill that allows you to sit there when you are little. At the foot of the ledge comes my power strip. Finally, there are curtains on my window touching this power strip. The details are important although quite boring. Thus, when I was little (8 years old and even before), I got up regularly to check that the curtains did not touch the power strip, and if that was the case I moved it so that in the event of sparks, a fire spreads. I still do it when I’m in a place where an electric heater touches a curtain or when I go back to my parents and I’m in a stressful period (exams, a major change in my life, etc.) . OCDs (obsessive compulsive disorders) I had several like turning off and turning on the bedside lamp several times in a row to be sure that it was really off and not “in an intermediate position”. It doesn’t really make sense, but hey, it’s OCD.
Even though I was little, I knew that this behavior was “not normal”. As I grew up and especially when I arrived in higher education, my OCD got worse. “Did I turn off the electric hobs at home”, “did I lock my car correctly” “if or that”. In short, over time ideas were so obsessive that I couldn’t control them and sometimes I disturbed friends so that they would come by my house to see if the building was on fire, or if my door was apartment was locked or even to get my boyfriend up late at night to walk down the two floors in the cold to see if my car was locked. Always the same, these obsessions only trigger when there is stress in my life. Sometimes I could control them and sometimes not.
But everything changed at the end of 2018, beginning of 2019. My TOCs had totally changed, they were new and totally confusing. I thought I was going crazy. Instead of being “did I close the door properly” it had become “am I a pedophile? Could I harm someone or even kill an individual? “Was Nazism that bad, could I be a Nazi?” “. Suffice to say that I was very afraid of myself and my thoughts. These ideas were haunting, I couldn’t think of anything else. So to try to calm myself down I tried to rationalize “imagine yourself doing this or that and see what it feels like to you and you will have your answer”. But, once my mind was derailed, I no longer thought rationally. Between imagining an act and doing it there is a huge step, so it was impossible to calm down, it only terrified me even more because I felt nothing.
I really thought I was going crazy and being dangerous. I was so ashamed of my thoughts, I cried constantly. Taking my classes under these conditions was no longer possible. These troubles impacted my whole life. So I decided to go see my doctor to talk to him about it. I remember being in the waiting room, totally stressed and panicked, I wanted to leave and at the same time be locked up in psychiatry because I really thought I had gone mad.
I thought that I would never be able to work in what I wanted because I would never be able to assume the slightest responsibility.
My doctor received me, she was incredibly kind. She quickly reassured me and explained that I should consult a psychiatrist. Obviously for me and like many still today, consulting is taboo. It means being mad or mad, having real problems. Society leads us to believe that consultation should be avoided. But as my father-in-law says “when you have a heart problem you go to the cardiologist, when you have a health problem the doctor, so when you have a problem in your mind you go to the psychiatrist or the psychologist. There is no shame.”
Now, looking back, I think more people should consult. Maybe we should all go there at least once (admittedly it’s a bit extreme). But when we look at the society in which we live, the one that pushes us to always do more, always better and faster, that does not leave us time to take care of ourselves or even to think of others, it is normal that people go off the rails. In recent years, and in particular with the Covid-19 crisis, there have been more and more depressions, anxiety disorders or other disorders. Consultation helps to rationalize and to know that we are not alone. She helps us get better.
I have been consulting a psychiatrist for almost 3 years now, with whom the sessions are going very well and with whom I have complete confidence (I think it is very important). Since then I am on treatment, which is gradually decreasing. I no longer get up to see if my car is closed, I no longer have any dark thoughts. Finally yes, sometimes I have to redo what I call “a crisis”. Always the same, they are triggered by fatigue, a major change or stress. But now, I no longer cling to these thoughts and let them pass, my crises no longer settle in time. I can say that I am alive again. In fact, the weight on my conscience disappeared very quickly when my psychiatrist told me that no I was not crazy, and that no I did not want to hurt people. She explained to me that these were completely random thoughts. She even told me one day that I was fixated on it, but that if it had been a trash can it would have been the same. I laughed.
Well, I’m sick. I accept it and my entourage too. My friends are aware and nothing has changed with them. My studies are going very well, I have a master 1, I can do the job I want.
I am a victim of my thoughts. I have anxious OCD at 23.