‘Living with OCD’

PV student explains her experience with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder


Rachel Cohen

Senior Kayla Barry talks to someone with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. This individual shares her daily life dealing with OCD.

Editor’s Note: Kayla’s Korner will be a reoccurring column that deals with mental health and teenage issues. The student  wants to remain anonymous. The name, Mary Smith, will be a placeholder to this person’s actual name.

Mary Smith believes she has had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder her whole life, but she did not really realize the effects until high school.

“During the beginning of high school, my mom noticed some changes in my behaviors, so she decided that I should go to a therapist,” Smith said.  “Since it was during the beginning of high school, there was a lot of stressful times relating to that.”

The therapist asked some questions and then said that she thinks that Smith had OCD or OCPD.

Smith later showed that she had a combination of both of them.

About eight months ago, Smith started taking medicine for her OCD and OCPD. She says that her OCD is stress-based, so the medicine helps in lowering her stress, thus lowering her OCD tendencies.

“I can’t exactly report that the medicine has worked the best for me so far,” Smith said.

Smith sees her therapist to this day about once a week. Although, she sometimes sees her therapist every other week, depending on her schedule.

Smith talks to her therapist about her day and what made her stressed during the week and what OCD tendencies were caused by that stress.

She has a lot of OCD tendecies, but she does not notice them. People have just told her about them.

At one point, she took a shower four times a day. She chews 52 times per bite. She eats her food in certain ways, such as a waffle. She counts her steps and touches her fingers a certain amount of times. She also checks to make sure if there is anyone following her or stalking her. Smith often thinks that someone is.

“I also get concerned that the house is going to burn down,” Smith said. “When I was a kid, I used to sleep with all my favorite things in case the house burnt down.”

Although she has these tendencies, she would not even notice if anything was different.

But Smith realizes that she spends too much time doing everything. She washes her hands too often.

“If I was in school, I wash my hands in between each class period,” Smith said. “I pour water on my hands during the class period if they ever feel dry.”

With having OCD, she believes that people should not get so upset about things that poke fun of OCD. She gave an example of a t-shirt at Target that said Obsessive Christmas Disorder and how everyone flipped out.

She believes it is nothing to get upset over.

“Everyone has a little bit of OCD in their own way,” Smith said. “Everyone likes their things a particular way.”

She is looking forward to the future, but she is only nervous about having to live with a roommate in college. She’s scared that they won’t be as neat as she is.

Coming next: Kayla’s Korner will be continuing with weekly articles. Next week will discuss PV alumnus Sarah McCambridge’s mental health story.