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The Truth About Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder That the Media Doesn't Show

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Editor's Note

This story has been published with permission from the author’s family.

If you struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. To find help, visit the International OCD Foundation’s website.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is always portrayed in the media in such a romanticized manner — “neat-freaks” and “germaphobes” in their well-groomed professional attire. However, my experience with it has been quite different. A messy man who obsessed over locking doors, turning lights on, washing his hands until they bled and most notably: seeing everything as a potential world-ender.

This is the OCD that the media does not portray — the paranoid, terrified people who fight their anxiety through compulsive behavior.

Growing up with a father with obsessive-compulsive-disorder, turning on the television at dinner time was a scary time. Any news was breaking news. If someone was just diagnosed with Ebola, there was going to be an Ebola outbreak. And, when the UK found Russian spies guilty of attempted murder, WWIII was growing to break out.

OCD is a real, terrifying, debilitating mental disorder. It is not treated seriously, which breaks my heart. When my little sister told her friends she had OCD — it runs in the family — they laughed at her. They thought it was funny. They didn’t know the terrors she faced every day or the anxiety she lived with.

I remember when she was young, she would come into my room at some ungodly hour and tell me something awful was about to happen. I remember looking into her terrified eyes as her tiny hands tugged at me, begging me to get out of bed. She was genuinely certain that, if I didn’t get out of my room, I was going to die.

OCD takes advantage of the kindest hearts and turns their greatest fears into realities. This is what the media doesn’t show. This is the “ugly” and terrifying side of OCD that no “OCD” character in the media experiences.

If you experience paranoia, know your pain is real and it is valid. Know that, in the midst of anxiety, you are strong and capable of beating your mental disorder. Keep fighting.

Photo by Aaron Thomas on Unsplash

Originally published: April 22, 2019
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