Living with OCD

The subject pictured washes their hands. Repetitive hand washing is a common symptom of OCD, as the person with the disorder believes that their hands may be contaminated even if they aren’t. Feeling contaminated is one of the symptoms I experience with my OCD. Photo Fair Use Google Images.

By AYLA DARTEZ – Staff Writer

Freshman staff writer Ayla Dartez describes the struggles of having diagnosed obsessive-compulsive disorder and how she’s lived with the consequences.

My fingers move across my iPhone screen in the same movement as always. I delete my texts, delete my emails, clear my notifications and search history. I can’t focus on anything if all the badges on apps aren’t cleared. My fingers instinctively swipe up on all the apps that are still open and I suddenly feel relieved.

For some people, small habits like this keep them organized. For me, they’re uncontrollable compulsions.

I was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) at the age of nine and have been struggling with it ever since. My mind is constantly obsessing over every little thing, and the only way to get rid of the thought is by completing a repetitive task.

I can’t go to sleep unless everything is clean. I can’t eat raspberries until I brush my teeth and take a shower. If I’m wearing a certain outfit that I don’t like, I will not be able to do my schoolwork and will want to go home.

My hand runs through my hair for the third time in one day to signify me “restarting” my life because I made a typo in my text earlier.

“Perfect. Everything needs to be perfect now,” I tell myself. If even the slightest mistake happens, I have to restart. After that, everything needs to be perfect again and I forget about before. It’s exhausting to know that in ten minutes, I’ll be doing the same thing over again.

OCD is such a misunderstood condition, and many people brush it off as a cute quirk. Oftentimes, it’s confused with simply being a neat person in general, but just because someone is organized doesn’t mean they have the disorder. It usually doesn’t interfere with their everyday life in a negative way.

Though I’ve learned how to deal with my disorder well and it’s possible for me to live a normal life, it’s still hard to explain to teachers why I don’t have the email they sent me anymore because I deleted it or to tell my friends why I threw away my notes because I messed up on my handwriting.

It’s hard, but I know I can deal with it. I’ve been doing it all my life.

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