Boston, MA USA
"My story started when I was a young child. I remember having odd behaviors and no explanation as to why. I always counted numbers obsessively, and that led to memorizing and repeating license plates on cars. Everyone seemed to be amazed by me because I remembered the license plates and even phone numbers. To me, I found it to be annoying and upsetting because I just couldn’t stop. It made me feel better. And, if I didn’t do it, then I thought something bad would happen to my family and my parents.
Then, I started having a fear of germs. I covered toilet seats before I used them, washed my hands repeatedly, and always checked my temperature as I got older, obsessively. I had an irrational fear of glass ketchup bottles that I thought were going to attack me. Something didn’t seem quite right, but nobody thought anything of what I was doing and how I was acting. I had to do exposure therapy. I had to carry a glass ketchup bottle around with me and eat with it. I did it so much that now I don’t have a fear of them anymore.
My first hospitalization was in 2008- I tried to stop my thoughts by attempting suicide and it didn’t help; they were still there. From 2008 to 2014, everything went downhill. It took years to get a diagnosis.
I ended up being diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) in 2014. I was in-and-out of hospitals until 2017. With my OCD came intrusive thoughts, health anxiety, a body dysmorphic disorder, an eating disorder, severe depression, and borderline personality disorder. I was only able to work part-time for awhile.
I still go to therapy weekly, using dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as coping skills, along with expressive art therapy. I have come a long way with Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). I create art and write poetry, I have gained emotion regulation and distress tolerance skills. I take walks, kickbox, and keep up with my medication. I am now able to work full-time.
I still have extremely difficult moments and weeks at a time, but I am able to get by with the knowledge and coping tools I have learned, which is helping me to move forward in recovery. Sharing stories is important for both recovery and treatment, in order to move forward."