“Ever since I was 9-years-old, I have had OCD. I was not diagnosed at that young age but, eventually years after doing my own research and learning about mental health conditions, I knew my little checks and rituals were signs and symptoms of OCD.
I remember back all those years ago to the first intrusive thought- if I don't hit the light switch, check the door or stove, a family member would die.
The rituals, at one point, were pretty lengthy, but as I got older the compulsion part of the OCD lessened and did not interfere with my life. I thought I knew everything about OCD without having the official diagnosis and never seeing a doctor about it.
I remember the day at 22-years-old when I had self-harm and suicidal intrusive thoughts, or obsessions. The 'what if I did that? What if I brought harm upon myself?'
The thoughts were non-stop. I would shake. I would sweat. I started to lose my appetite. I lost weight and lost focus. And then, I could not sleep.
My loved ones started to notice a change in me. I knew I had to seek professional help. I reached out to a loved one, went to a therapist, and went to a psychiatrist. At first, I was put on a medication that was not the right one for me, which made my symptoms more severe. But, a year ago, I was hospitalized, found the right medication, and attended an outpatient treatment program.
At the time, it was scary and I felt embarrassed, but now I see it as one of the best things to happen to me. I am more educated about OCD, anxiety, depression and all things mental health. I have become a more humble and empathetic person. Going through that made me more grateful. And, I realize now that I am myself more than ever."