While taking a break from the therapist search, my OCD and anxiety festered. My perfectionism was at an all time high. It was evident in my schoolwork, extracurricular activities, employment and environment. I would do ANYTHING to appease EVERYONE around me. My parents, friends, coworkers, and professors, all at the expense of my sanity.

I was obsessively checking and re-checking spelling, grammar and answers on school assignments (I display similar behaviors writing this blog). This process was extremely time consuming, so I began to avoid it all together. Procrastination became my “friend”, bringing on late night cram sessions riddled with anxiety and tears.

I was hyper focused on organization. EVERYTHING had a place. If it was moved, even slightly, anxiety and panic would ensue. My OCD convinced me that if something was out of place, I would receive a phone call of a loved one’s passing. I remember my friends moving my things to get a rise out of me. If only they understood what was happening.

Fall 2006 quickly approached and I began my third year of college. In November, I received a phone call… the one I feared. My boyfriend, now husband, called to inform me that my Dad had been in a landscaping accident. He was at the local Emergency Room, being prepped for surgery. Had I laid my toothbrush down with the head facing left? Had I placed my remote controls in their proper order? Yes! How could this be happening? I grabbed my bag, excused myself from class, jumped in my car and headed straight for the hospital.

On the way, I called my Mom and asked if Dad was ok. She said “yes” and handed the phone to him. He proceeded to say, “I just want you to know how proud of you I am” and “I love you”. I was convinced these were his final words and his death was imminent. Hindsight, the pain medications had clearly kicked in. I continued to seek reassurance from my Mom, again and again and again, asking if he was going to be ok. She, unknowingly, reassured me multiple times following with “Drive Safe. See you soon.”. I arrived at the hospital, ran into the ER and found my Dad… ALIVE! Phew! That was a close one!

My organization compulsions intensified. A few days later, I was in class and noticed that my phone kept flashing “Mom Cell”, “Mom Cell”, “Mom Cell”. I stepped into the hallway and took the call. My Mom expressed that my Grandfather’s cancer had taken a turn for the worse and he was not expected to make it through the night. As she held the phone to his ear, I told him about my day, asked him about his and ended the call with “Love you, Grandpa”.

Nooo… another new fear. Following these events, I struggled to answer the phone. I would frequently push calls to voicemail. Ring…Ring…Ring… “Oh no! Who died?”. Chest tightening, rapid breathing… pure terror. The intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviors began to significantly impede my quality of life. It was time. I needed someone to help me… again.


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