Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is more than someone who washes their hands 80 times a day. My life gives evidence that it has many faces. I knew from a very early age that I was different. As a young girl growing up in the 1960’s I was extremely shy. I was teased and picked on because I was thin and lighter than the other black girls. Plus I had really long hair. My hair was pulled and I was left out of a lot of games and ignored on the playground.
I did not eat very well and was afraid to eat in front of people because I did not want to hear how if I ate more I would not be so skinny. And the constant teasing brought out some unusual behaviors. I developed what I thought were nervous tics. I would blink my eyes over and over, 30 or 40 times in a row without stopping. I would make this sound with my throat which sounded like I was going “glub glub” and I could not stop. Everyone laughed at me. I began to whistle out loud at inappropriate times. And back then whistling in school got you in trouble. My grandmother beat my behind but the whistling continued for a while.
Junior and high school was pure hell. I was skinny and flat chested. And it was pointed out at every turn. I would become extremely stiff as I walked down the hall. In classes if there were other black girls I would freeze and could not talk to them. I began blinking my eyes or snapping my fingers. I could control it to where I forced myself not to if I were in front of certain people.
As an adult I have been diagnosed with anxiety panic attacks and clinical depression. And put on medication for all three. The doctor would not officially consider me OCD but the behaviors continue. When I lock the doors to the house I recheck them several times. I do the same thing with car doors. My family says when I talk I get loud and my voice is animated and I repeat myself over and over. I cut people off when they are talking. I seem to get on everyone’s nerves and I hate it. Sometimes when I say good morning to an individual, I will keep repeating it over and over but softly under my breath.
I find that when I get proper rest and sleep at night and I walk at least two miles early in the morning and listen to Christian worship music I am more centered. I run, jog, exercise and do light weight training. I do not want to be on more medication so I am trying to deal with this on my own. I am accepting that this situation makes me uniquely me. And I embrace who I am even as I eat more veggies, fruits and whole grains so that a poor diet does not make the symptoms worse. I drink lots of tea and take nutritional supplements. Right now I feel pretty good but I realize if I do not continue to keep to a routine I will be out of control.