03 February 2015

A brief history of OCD time

Since I was a wee lass, I've exhibited classic symptoms of OCD. I even washed my hands thousands of times per day, until my mom forcefully broke me of that habit. I still wash my hands more than a normal person, but at least my hands aren't cracked and bleeding anymore.

In school, I would rewrite my notes over and over again until they were perfect. In retrospect, it wasn't quite a waste of hours of my life since it helped me memorize, but still not exactly a good thing.

Physical books still cause me problems. You'll never catch me breaking a spine or dog-earring a page. In college, I tried highlighting important passages and writing notes in the margins, but let's just say that didn't end well.

Clearly there was something wrong with me, and I was sent to various therapists in middle and high school, but it wasn't until college that I was finally diagnosed with OCD.

The lovely doctors in training at Columbia's student psychological services department were nice enough, except they all wanted to put me on various medicines. I, on the other hand, was dead set against it. I just had to be the weird one who didn't want to experiment with mind altering drugs in college. So I stuck with just therapy for awhile. It didn't work.

By grad school my OCD was worse, forcing me to cave on my D.A.R.E. ways. OCD meds are basically just really high doses of SSRIs, which basically increase the amount of serotonin in the brain and are most commonly used for depression. I've tried pretty much all of them at one point or another. Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro, and all of their friends have had their chances.

Next up: when medicine goes wrong.

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