Amanda s Story
“My name is Amanda and I’m from Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. I am a junior studying Psychology. I suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder coupled with anxiety disorder.
I realized that I had OCD and anxiety when I was 10 years old because every night I would have to tell my mom my entire list of things I had to get done before I went to bed. Once I accomplished one thing on the list, I would have to tell her the entire list again, minus the one thing I already did. This drove her absolutely insane, so I finally started writing it down.
I struggle daily with my obsessive compulsions especially when it comes to plans and/or repetitive thoughts. It has gotten better since I started medication in 10th grade, but it used to be unbearable.
The same thought kept going around and around inside my head until I told someone, or wrote it down so I didn’t forget. And to this day, I make lists of everything I have to do every day, as detailed as when I need to shower.
Once I accomplish something on my list, I erase it. I read through my list multiple times a day to make sure I don’t forget anything because that is my biggest fear. If I forget something that I am thinking about and stressing over, I feel overwhelming anxiety until I remember what it is.
The repetitive thoughts are worsened in times of heightened anxiety and stress, which make me more anxious than before. The amount of notes in my phone, agenda, and notebook is honestly embarrassing, but I write every list and note down so I don’t forget it.
At times, the uncontrollable repetitive thoughts don’t stop no matter how hard I try to block them, and that’s when it leads to major anxiety or depressive episodes in my life. The depression is caused by my mind not being able to stop thinking about something that is upsetting, or gives me anxiety, and once I’m in that funk, it’s hard to come out…
I was officially diagnosed in 8th grade and I felt relieved. Finally there was an answer as to why these repetitive thoughts and behaviors were happening. My dad definitely shows similar signs of OCD and anxiety that I do, but he has not been diagnosed, so I can’t tell for sure if it is genetic.
In high school I saw a therapist every week, but in college I wanted to try going without one. My freshman year I went without, but sophomore year I felt that I was drowning, so I started seeing one again.
I of course think there is a stigma surrounding mental illnesses. A lot of people do not want to admit they are suffering from one, and many people may make fun of, or look down on people who suffer from them.
For example, I have spoken out about my mental illness before on social media, and my grandmother was horrified that I would ever admit that I had a mental illness. My dad absolutely hates the fact that I am on medication because he thinks that my mental illness is not ‘real.’
The older generation definitely stigmatizes mental illness more so, but the younger population does as well. It is something that has not been accepted in society yet. Don’t think that you’re alone because you aren’t. There are many people in this world going through the same suffering as you, and feeling this way is normal.”