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Jessica’s Story of Becoming Stronger Than Her OCD and Anxiety, Age: 17

What have you struggled with? When did it become too much?

I have struggled with anxiety mostly but at times OCD as well. I realized it was too much when it stopped me multiple times a day. I wouldn’t be able to go outside if there was a cloud in the sky, or be near a friend if they coughed. An instance that I knew it had gotten too far and I needed to do something about it was when my fear of flying took over. My family was going to California and I told my family leading up to it that I was nervous because I hadn’t been on an airplane before and I did not want to go there because there can be earthquakes. My family thought it was regular nerves and kept pushing it off saying that I would be fine. On the drive to the airport I said out loud “I hope we get into a car crash so we can miss our flight”. Once we got to the airport I continued to say that I was not coming with them. They didn’t understand what I meant by that but for me I would do anything, and I did. We got on the plane and I sat down. I started screaming and crying saying that I wasn’t coming. Eventually the flight attendant came over and said it wasn’t fair for the other passengers for me to scream the whole flight and I had to leave.. So my dad got off the plane with me and I thought I was safe. Until he told me that we were going to try again. A couple hours later we got on another plane while the rest of my family was already there and the screaming, crying, and kicking off happened all over again. For years I missed more family vacations and opportunities because of this fear.

What kind of support did you get at first? Did it work?

At first I would speak with my school counselor and I was signed up for therapy, Although this was better than no help, I wasn’t paired with the right therapist for me. I felt like I was treated like a baby and she didn’t understand.

Were there any turning points where things really started to change for the better?

A turning point for me was when I found my new therapist and got on the right medication. Although I still on a daily basis have to deal with my anxiety, I am now able to cope and manage it and it no longer stops me from doing things!

What’s your life like now? What have you been able to accomplish, and what are you working towards?

Since I had learned how to deal with my anxiety I have been able to accomplish so much! Although I still don’t love flying, I have been able to fly to 5 states, and 7 countries, no longer missing out on family vacations or opportunities. I am able to go outside when it is cloudy out and be with a friend after they cough. I have been on a ropes course and top of a building despite my anxiety towards high up things. I have been to a sleep away camp, a teen tour, and two month trip to a different country without my family. Although these adventures were still difficult for me, I was able to do it!!

What would you say to people who are having a tough time? What’s helped you that you wish you had known earlier

I would say to keep working on it. I know that it may not feel like you are making progress, but you are! Keep working because you are getting closer to a place that you want to be! I wish I had known that my friends would support me. I had been scared to share my story with them thinking that they wouldn’t understand and wouldn’t be supportive but I was surprised at how many understood and had even been going through things similar to me.

If you’d like to reply to Jessica’s Story, click here!

I have struggled with anxiety mostly but at times OCD as well. I realized it was too much when it stopped me multiple times a day.

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