I think one could say that I’ve had OCD my entire life. It just manifested itself when I was 15. It took me until I was 16 and a special on TV to get me to admit to myself that I even had it, along with a night of spending two hours trying to go to bed, which ended in tears. I suppose that’s when I was given help; I think the next morning I woke up to hear I had an appointment with a therapist.
Seeing a therapist for the first time is scary. Visions of a police-headquarters-like interrogation room with a single table and bare lightbulb (complete with that pull-chain I always want to, well, pull) hanging over it flashed in my head. I saw the female who was to analyze my brain thinking to herself, “I’ve never seen anything like this before.” Then she’d tell me that they had a nice facility for people like me. It’s not like I thought I’d never get out, just that I didn’t even want to go in temporarily.
The night before my visit I must’ve gotten like five hours of sleep, max. Probably not even that much. I spent most of the night scared and crying, but I got up and went the next day. Thank goodness I did.
I’d recently taken a photography class in high school, so I skimmed a photography magazine that was mostly ads, and when my dad figured out I was nervous, or I told him (I don’t remember), he said, “This is the easiest doctor’s appointment you’ve ever had. All you have to do is talk.” All I have to do is talk and get committed.
Maybe it’s because my therapist studied interior design and almost got a degree in it, but just the light in the room, a pleasant living-room yellow, calmed me down instantly. I sat on the couch (not leather), and I never lay down. I just sat there and talked, and cried some more, and basically got sent home with the knowledge that other people had this same thing, and that I was not insane.
I continued to see my therapist for a few years, the visits getting further apart each time, and now I am free to schedule my appointments whenever I want one.
The OCD is never going to be completely gone. It will always be in my memory, and probably somewhat active; things become force of habit after a while, so I have to break habits too. However, I’m completely confident that I will get this thing even further under control, so I can achieve my goal of being a writer. Until then, I will continue to work at it.
Coincidentally, 16 was one of my favorite ages so far.