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.