i think i have OCD

dear heather,
I think I have OCD. I thought all the stuff I’ve been thinking about was normal, like counting my steps and shutting off the lights in a certain order. I figured that everything I thought and felt was just a normal thing everyone does, but it seems like the more I learn about OCD, the more I believe I have it.But I’m afraid to share my concerns with my parents because they might not think my feelings are valid. What should I do? Am I just overreacting?

OCD or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety disorder in which people have obsessive, distressing and intrusive thoughts or images which they try to dispel by using compulsive tasks or rituals.It can sometimes be hard to distinguish between mild OCD and reactions to normal stress. It’s usually a matter of degree and how much the behaviors are interfering with the normal functioning of your life. But you seem to have done your research on the topic so you are aware of the symptoms of OCD, and you are still concerned, so it’s worth investigating.

You might want to ask yourself just how much this impacts your life. Do you have intrusive or disruptive thoughts or fears that precede your rituals? Are these thoughts or fears based in reality or are they overblown or unrealistic? One distinction between being stressed out and having OCD is that those who suffer from OCD know that the obsessive thoughts have little or nothing to do with reality. Are these behaviors or thoughts impacting your relationships, your ability to study or interfering with other important areas of your life?

If you have a school counselor, you might want to schedule an appointment just for a check-in. She or he should be able to talk to you about what is going on and to help you to find a mental health practitioner, if you determine that one is needed. OCD is usually treatable using behavioral therapy, cognitive therapy, medications or a multi-pronged approach.

In the end, however, this is something that is probably best shared with your parents, who can help you to access the appropriate care. What is the worst that could happen? They can, as you say, not think your concerns are valid. So, at worse you’ll only end up where you began. At best, they may actually listen. After all, if you’ve been exhibiting these compulsive behaviors, they have probably noticed them also.

take care,

Posted in: Being Different, Help Me Heather
  • Megan

    I have Ocd so don’t feel ashamed. your still normal believe me.

  • Gina

    I have a severse case of OCD and it's absolute HELL. Nearly every day my mind (or, well, my disorder) is causing me to think certain things–and I'm absolutely convinced that if I don't do these things, something bad will happen. Like Heather described, it's frightening and distressing. I have to do certian rituals to prevent stress from filling my life because it's the only escape from my thoughts!

    It's awful, and I don't know what to do. But just know you aren't alone.

  • Alex

    I don't do that exactly but I always have to carry my books to my next class in size order. In 5th grade I wasn't able to fit all of my textbooks in my desk so I had to stack them ontop of it. During class I would obsess over making sure they were in PERFECT size order and were PERFECTLY neat and straight in a stack. I would have to color code stuff all the time and make sure my writing was neat. If I feel that I wrote my name sloppy on paper I would keep erasing and rewriting until i was PERFECT. Thefunny thing is that I'm harly this obsessive when it comes to my room. I also have to have everything in even numbers. For example: When I was little me and my friends would think up imaginary pets. I would ALWAYS have to have and even number of the same pet. I once had ten dolphins as imaginary pets. 5 were boys and 5 were girls. The boys always had to be the playmate with a girl. I usedto do stuff in order like that to but I stopped so yeah.