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This story is part of our blog series called “Stories from the OCD Community.”  Stories from the community are submitted and edited by Toni Palombi. If you are interested in sharing your story you can view submission details at www.iocdf.org/ocd-stories.

My story begins in the late summer of 2014, when I was 17 years old. I was about to begin my final year of high school. I was excited, as I hated school and could not wait until it was over. A week before school began, my mind was tormented with strange thoughts: images of me sleepwalking and killing my parents. I was frightened.

I used Google to research my symptoms. The following terms kept popping up everywhere: obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and ego-dystonic thoughts. I learned that the latter meant thoughts that are inconsistent with one’s beliefs, values, and sense of self.

Why was I having these thoughts? I did not want to hurt anybody, let alone my parents. I could not imagine ever hurting anyone. Feeling confused, scared, and utterly alone, I began to withdraw into depression. As the school year began, I was so depressed and tormented by my thoughts that I stayed at home for about a week.

When I returned to school, I noticed other frightening thoughts appeared, but none bothered me more than the thoughts about harming my parents. I spoke to my doctor about the thoughts that I was having and he diagnosed me with OCD.

A year later, after I obtained my driver’s license, more problems began to occur. One night, a friend and I drove to the beach. On the way home, I began to think that I had hit someone. My friend tried to convince me that I had not hit anyone, but I could not be convinced.

In 2015, I began college. For the first three months, everything went very well. However, in the fall, new thoughts began to appear in my mind. I would constantly wonder: Did I say something insulting or inappropriate to someone? Or worse, did I harm someone? The thoughts were incessant; I could no longer concentrate on my schoolwork. I stopped attending classes. I stayed in my room, not eating or drinking. Alone, I slept and cried, wondering when this nightmare would come to an end. Eventually, I dropped out of college and returned home.

Back at home, everything became worse. The thoughts intensified each day. I slept in my mom’s bedroom as I could not bear the thought of being alone. I was terrified that if I were left alone, I would hurt someone. I could not do anything without my mom. It was nothing short of a disaster.

I became so depressed that I stopped taking care of myself. I just didn’t care anymore. My hair became so badly matted that I had to cut most if it; it was either that or shave my head.

Months later, in 2016, my father took me to Rogers Memorial Hospital, where I underwent treatment for approximately two months.  By the time I returned home, I felt much better. However, after 6 months, I felt worse than ever. I had stopped taking my medication and re-established a relationship that was unhealthy. A year after my first hospitalization, I returned to Rogers Memorial Hospital for a second time and stayed for two and a half months. It was my saving grace. This time, I was committed to taking my medication, engaging in therapy, and focusing on healing myself instead of directing my attention elsewhere. I did everything that I was supposed to do, and I got better.

When I was very sick, it was impossible to imagine that I would ever feel healthy again. However, I am now at a place in my life where I feel happy and healthy.

Samantha N. Maksimow is 20 years old and lives in Oceanport, New Jersey, U.S.A.



  • Kathy Voorhees

    My name is Kathy, I am a nurse that also drives for uber. I had the pleasure of meeting Samantha on one of my Uber runs. She immediately struck me as a kind and outgoing young woman. She shared some of her story with me and referred me to this website. I hope that her beautifully written story will be an inspiration to others. Such a brave young lady.

    • Samantha N. Maksimow

      Thank you so very, very much Kathy. I am so very, very glad that you actually came onto this website and were kind enough to read my story and submit a comment on it. That makes me really, really happy. And for your sweet comments. I happened to notice that you are a super, super sweet woman and I am pleased to have a lady such as yourself as my neighbor.

  • Tresse

    My daughter also suffers from OCD and torment in intrusive thoughts. She too attended Rogers twice, first when she was only 13 and then a year later for another 4 months. She too had to drop out of college and is now living here in Atlantic Highlands. It might help you both to talk to each other. I wish you strength and peace and am happy you have found health and happiness.

    • Samantha N. Maksimow

      Thank you for your kind comment. I would love to converse with your daughter, and help her in any way that I can. That’s what I’m here for. I truly believe it to be my life’s work. And we can even maybe get together sometime, since we live in the same area, strangely enough. Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I hope that it inspired you, for your daughter.
      -Samantha, The Author

  • Jeff

    Thanks for your article. I too had thoughts of killing people. They would just pop up about my wife or my pastor. It really scared me and it is difficult to share. I’ve since seen a doctor and got medication. Brain Lock is also a great book to read and I’ve started yoga that has helped. Keep up the good work and know others out there are with you!

    • Samantha N. Maksimow

      Many thanks for taking the time to read my article/story/blog post. I am glad that it inspired you if it did, that makes me more than happy to hear that. I’m so pleased to hear, that you are recovering well, and utilizing those therapeutic techniques that you have mentioned. You are brave for sharing your struggle, I agree with you, that it is scary, but it is conquerable.
      ~Samantha, The Author

  • Brigit Rotondi

    Thank you Samantha for sharing with us. I am glad you are better. It takes work. I believe we can get better.


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