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.
By Kiran Kaur
Struggling with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) has been an arduous journey. While I was officially diagnosed at the age of 24, I have struggled with OCD for most of my life. OCD can sometimes be treated as a joke. The phrase “I’m so OCD!” is often used. But in reality, OCD can be debilitating.
My passions are reading and writing. Whenever I feel helpless, these are the things I turn towards. However, OCD has threatened to take them away from me. I go through stages of either reading compulsively where I cannot stop because I fear something bad will happen, or I get stuck re-reading the same sentences to ensure I have read them correctly. In terms of writing the same problems arise: I can get stuck writing the same word and re-reading it back. I can also become obsessed with my words being misunderstood. Once I complete a draft, I check the text repeatedly to make sure that I have written what I intended to write.
As you can imagine, this problem has made studying and working difficult as reading and writing are such integral tasks at school and in the workplace. Being able to read an entire book is a huge achievement for me. I feel proud each time I finish a book. I can understand that this may seem silly to those who cannot understand such an experience. Writing a story such as this is difficult. However, I force myself to write. I love writing and will continue to write no matter how painful it is.
My OCD has been treated with cognitive behavior therapy, medication, and exposure therapy. The medications did not work for me and I experienced side effects. For me, exposure therapy has been the most effective. I do a lot of inner work trying to deal with the root causes of OCD, which has helped me a lot. In my experience, I have found that OCD is not well understood, even by some mental health professionals I have met. Because I have struggled to receive the help that I have needed over the years, I have tried my best to find alternative ways to heal. These alternatives include art, meditation, yoga, and holistic healing through crystals and journeying.
I wish to share my experiences so people can understand the complexities of OCD. No matter how hard it is, I will not give up. I will persevere until I regain some sort of control over this disorder.
Kiran Kaur is a make-up artist and yoga teacher. She also runs an independent crystal store where she offers crystal therapy.