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By Bobbie Saunders

OCD is unpredictable.  It will change, evolve, sometimes become more complex.  Something from thirty-five years ago can resurface.  For example, fear of broken glass, not just pieces of glass but minuscule particles that can't be seen.

My OCD began at age thirteen after reading a particular sentence in a book.  Something about it bothered me, and I began to obsess.  About this time, my mother and I went with our neighbor to a nursing home to visit her elderly mother.  Shortly after this the lady died.  I remembered that I had filled a glass of water for her.  My mind decided this action could be the cause of death.  OCD thinking, no logic!

My mother was a nurse but didn't understand my symptoms or my father's.  I was able to talk to my father as he had OCD (Runs in the family.)

His was checking the house at least once before church, making sure everything was turned off.  Don't know what else was involved other than my father was a perfectionist.  To this day my relatives do not want to talk about OCD and anxiety.  My mother did try to learn about OCD after my father died.

At the beginning of my freshman year in an out-of-state college my OCD flared up.  I was honest with my professors about my struggle, and they were supportive. I had a not so nice roommate who dropped out of school.  Before doing so she observed some of my OCD behavior and reported this.  I had anxiety about touching the faucet handles of the sink in our room so used paper towels instead.  I ended up in the Dean's office and still remember this woman's coldness towards me.  At this time I landed briefly in the infirmary with ulcerative colitis.

After college and a few temporary jobs, I began working for the government.  I liked the structure of the Army, having  jobs in counseling and housing management.  My best job was in accounting (Department of Defense).  My love of numbers paid off.

Back in the day, anxiety was not discussed.  Doctors didn't even have a name for OCD.  I was about forty years old before I talked to anyone with OCD other than my own father.  And this was on the phone.

Then along came OCD Conference!  A treasure trove of knowledge, awareness, empathy, friendship, and hope.


  • David Townsend

    Thank you for shari5.

  • Anjel G

    Thank you for sharing. My adult child has OCD. I am a clinical researcher, and I don’t really understand, much like your mother. My child is struggling and I don’t know how to help them. I am trying, but i often fail and they spiral. I pray that your mom learned so that she could help you. I have failed time and time again, but I am going yo keep trying.

    So glad that you are doing so well. I know that it’s a journey.

    • Jennifer

      Thank you for your story. I have experienced coldness and judgment from people, too. I’ve dealt with ocd since age 10. I just turned 56. I’m in a bad situation and no one understands. I have no family or friends. People can be really cruel.

      • Bobbie Saunders

        Thank you for your reply! It means a lot to me. Please know you are not alone. I am very selective of who I talk to about my OCD and anxiety. I am a poet and do a lot of reading poetry. There is an article upcoming in THE SUN by Cynthia Marie Hoffman called “The Beast in Your Head”. She has OCD. It was published mid-February and think it will be in another issue. I read this on a Saturday
        afternoon and felt less alone. I have found the only people that really understand are those that have it. Hope you will consider going to the annual OCD conference in July. It will be in Orlando. Also if iocdf.org could help you find a support group in your area. I am lucky to have a couple of people here that are understanding. Jeff Bell and Shannon Shy who were speakers at conference
        have written good books. Hope I spelled Shannon’s last name correctly!

    • Bobbie Saunders

      Thank you for your reply.! Maybe iocdf.org could help you find a support group in your area for your child. The best thing is to plan to go to the annual OCD conference. It is a wonderful experience.

  • Valerie Diltz

    My son is 30years old. Struggles with ocd anxiety. I need help finding g him a good therapist. He is out on l&I now can’t leave the house.
    Please help us as we are at a loss

    • Bobbie Saunders

      Thank you for your reply! Hopefully the OCD foundation could help you with a therapist. iocdf.org. Sometimes your general Practitioner would have some ideas. It would be great if you could make it to the annual OCD Conference in July. Lots of support!


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