When I was in seventh grade, I couldn’t stop worrying that I was cheating on tests...even though I knew that I wasn’t. In the cafeteria, I’d buy my lunch and then, two seconds later, I’d doubt I had paid for it.
I thought my fashion choices sent a scary message, so I wore the same T-shirt and jeans every single day. Sometimes I took multiple showers in an attempt to “wash away” the bad thoughts that came into my head.
These are the kinds of things you do when you have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) like I do. I have a ton of anxiety—bothersome thoughts I feel like I have to correct in order to be safe.
While a lot of kids get worried or anxious, maybe like wearing a lucky necklace or sticking to a strict bedtime routine every night, people with OCD go to the extreme. We do irrational, repetitive things to control our anxiety and to avoid being overwhelmed by our worries. If we don’t, we might feel jittery, and have mood swings or even panic attacks.
I started to display signs of the disorder when I was 4 years old. I cried all the time but couldn’t explain what was upsetting me. (It was a while ago, but I think I heard a story about something bad happening to another kid and so I was endlessly worried.) Even my parents didn’t understand what was wrong.
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