My name is Shelly and I have OCD.
Most of my friends & family know I have OCD but not to the extent it actually is and how much it ran my life for years. I am not sure really when it started but I will never forget when it became uncontrollable and over took my life. I grew up in a large family where everyone had some type of "quirk" as my family like to call it. I did not think it was abnormal to see family members wash their hands until they were dry and cracked, not wear a certain color because something bad would happen or even repeat certain phrases because if they didn't something bad would happen. This was all normal in my family. It was not until I turned 25 that my life took a weird twist. It was almost as if I woke up a different person scared of the simplest things I had been doing everyday for years. The "What ifs" had control and my mind was not my own.
Simple tasks would cause a flood of what ifs to flow in:
What if I drop my daughter off at school and someone takes her after I pull off?
What if I ran someone over while driving and did not know it?
What if I came into contact with someone who had germs?
What if I left the stove on?
What if I left the doors unlocked?
What if I hurt my child?
I would drive in circles checking and re-checking the areas I had just came from causing my 45 minute drive home to turn into 1 1/2 hours. The what ifs were in control and I felt like an empty shell of a person walking around just trying to get through the day. My palms would sweat when the clock would hit five because I knew it would be time for me to get into traffic and start that trek home! Many of a night I would call my husband to calm me down and get me through the terror just so I could finish that trip. I even had a friend who would come and follow me home on the nights I became so frozen with fear I would just give up an pull over.
What was wrong with me? Was I going crazy? Nope it was the OCD. It is like a switch is turned on in your brain and does not go off until your brain shuts down with exhaustion...Which usually takes days. I am lucky though I have a great family who understand what I was going through, they might have not had the same quirks but, could identify with the fears. Without them I would still be stuck in the never ending "What if" cycle my life had become.
I still have days where they thoughts try to sneak back in but, I have learned to realize it is just the OCD and not reality.
I have OCD it does not have me!