Living Life Through the Lens of OCD


Ashley Schmidt, Staff Reporter

Having Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is nowhere near as fun as it’s made out to be in movies. Sadly, it’s not just liking things organized or enjoying cleaning. OCD is absolutely terrifying and warps my perception of the world around me, labeling ordinary things and events as dangerous. While it may appear amusing on the outside that I’m freaking out over something as simple as a light being turned off (I wish I was kidding), to me the danger feels very real.

Take, for instance, a simple homework assignment. To most people it will take 15 minutes, half an hour at most. My OCD considers a simple homework assignment a life or death scenario. One missed point and my brain is convinced that I am going to fail out of high school and end up homeless on the streets. While I logically understand that one point isn’t going to cause me to fail a class, my panic response is a little faulty and my brain goes right to the worse-case scenario without even considering that life might possibly go on and the world won’t end.

To further highlight how extremely ridiculous OCD can get, my issues with mouth germs comes into play. At the worst, I would brush my teeth for 20 minutes until my gums would bleed, holding back tears because my teeth still didn’t feel clean. If I couldn’t brush my teeth after eating, I had to have a gum or a mint after eating, otherwise I would refuse to eat. Even with a mint, I was still scared. I would spend most of the time in my class after lunch absolutely terrified that my teeth were rotting and falling out. In the moment, it felt like my teeth were actually rotting, and that if I opened my mouth they would all just fall out.

Now that I have done exposures and am no longer completely controlled by this aspect of my OCD, I can see how ridiculous it is. I have no clue how my brain manages to convince me that something so unlikely will happen. The irrationality of it is what makes OCD a mental illness; there are some clear issues with the panic trigger.

I am not sharing my inner OCD thoughts to get pity. I have accepted that I have OCD and I am working on fighting it to take back control over my life. My reason for sharing is to provide insight into the mind of someone with OCD, to show you how it’s possible to be so controlled by irrational fears.

I sincerely hope that none of you have the “joy” of having OCD, or any mental illness. If you do or know someone who does, you are not alone. My battle with OCD gives me a unique perspective of the world, one where I seem to have wisdom beyond my years. I empathize with others, and always want to help other people succeed. While having OCD is a huge inconvenience, I have it to thank for my comprehension of human behavior.