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Rachel’s Journey with OCD , Age: 18

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

I have struggled with pretty bad OCD. OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) is a disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeats over and over. Compulsion’s included counting, checking, ordering etc.… I started exhibiting symptoms of OCD when I was around 9. I’d spend my time checking/ordering my school bag, making sure everything I needed was in there preventing a future panic attack for when I realize I am missing something I need at school. Years ago, on my nightstand table, there was chap stick, glasses, water, and my earrings. I spent hours staring and counting each item on my night dresser until it finally ‘felt right’. I struggled maintaining friends because my OCD rituals would constantly interfere with what we were doing. I began to feel sad, as I was frustrated and confused. I didn’t understand what was happening to me. Once my OCD starting to truly interfere with my everyday life, my parents brought me to see a psychologist

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

The first support I got was from my parents. They listened to me through everything. They brought me to see several therapists to figure out what was wrong. Sooner or later I was diagnosed with OCD. Soon after, I went on medication and went to exposure therapy. Eventually, things got a lot better and I was able to continue on with my life.

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

I have seen so many therapists in my lifetime. It took months to find the right therapists for me. But once I found her, the search became worth it. This was a huge turning point, as I was finally able to confide in someone and learn techniques on how to subside the OCD.

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

Now I am mentally healthy. Although I am still on medication for my OCD, I am happy and haven’t experienced any OCD symptoms in a long time. I am now on the track to establish a career in psychology. I took AP Psychology as a senior and got an internship job for TurningPointCT to work with teens and adults with mental illnesses or substance abuse.

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

To the people who are having a tough time – reach out. Ask for help. There is nothing wrong with needing help. You are not alone.

The first support I got was from my parents. They listened to me through everything.

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