This post was written by one of Neolth's Student Mental Health Ambassadors, sharing their personal experience with mental health. They've chosen to remain anonymous.
“You’re just superstitious”.
No. I’m not superstitious. I’m just… controlled. Controlled by my thoughts, my stress, and my fears. I’m scared that I will make a mistake, that I won’t do it correctly, and that people won’t like me. I’m scared that not doing it correctly will negatively affect my life. OCD controls my life.
I want to be like other people, always doing everything worry-free, enjoying their lives, and not overthinking every little action. Sadly, my OCD doesn’t allow me to do that. “Do your routine every day. Do it correctly. Do it perfectly. Or else…” My brain keeps giving me those thoughts every day, and I can’t disobey. What will happen if I don’t?
I continue to do the same rituals every single day. I can’t be happy without doing them. They control my life. My obsessions define my life; My compulsions live my life. I am scared that doing the wrong compulsion will negatively affect me. What happens if I don’t do it correctly? Bad grades? No friends? No opportunity?
I continue to question what will happen each time I don’t do a compulsion. When I tell others, they label me as a “perfectionist” and say, “It’s just in your brain”. My brain is becoming my reality. My obsessions also control my brain. I want to surrender, but I carry out my compulsions every day.
Every time I receive bad news, I question my compulsion performance. “Was it done correctly?”, I question myself consistently. I don’t want to make a mistake. I don’t want to cause harm. I must listen to my compulsions, and carry them out correctly. In the end, my compulsions navigate my life.
I don’t want to harm others. I want my compulsions to listen to me. I don’t want to get out of bed a certain way, watch my hands a certain way, and walk in a certain order. My obsessions continue to increase, resulting in more control of my life. I want to scream, yell, cry, and shout at my obsessions. Sadly, my obsessions are only in my head.
I fight for myself every day against my brain. I am not my obsessions; I do not live by my compulsions. Sometimes, I triumph. I win against my obsessions and compulsions, resulting in times of no anxiety. Other times, I lose. My OCD controls me. I am compelled to listen, resulting in my “perfectionist” routine. I want to be like others, but my OCD prevents me.
OCD controls my life. But one day, I will defeat my OCD. I will prosper one day, and my obsessions will fade away. Until then, OCD has me.
At Neolth, we’re on a mission to help students stress less, build resilience and become part of our compassionate community. Our app helps students when they're feeling overwhelmed with self-guided content, including breathing exercises like the one mentioned in this article, personalized for their mental health journey. Neolth has a growing community of Student Ambassadors from 170 schools and works with schools to improve access to mental health support for their students. You can learn more atneolth.com