Meet T

*Initials are used in the story to protect the individuals privacy. Story may contain triggers and sensitive topics*

Meet 'T'.

She is an artistic, smart mother, daughter, wife and working professional. She lives her daily life coping with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and General Anxiety Disorder (stress on health anxiety). For 'T'’s friends, family and acquaintances her struggles aren't something she makes known.

Her anxiety and panic attacks started when she was around 15. She first noticed her OCD when she moved in with her now husband. The idea of touching the trash bags in the community receptacle made her break into sobs. She spent a few years dealing with this on her own, forcing herself to “get over it”.

'T' received her official diagnosis by a psychotherapist and trauma therapist. She was pushed to take the steps towards receiving a diagnosis after she felt like she was going crazy, having more bad days than good. 'T' has remained medication free throughout her journey opting instead for find methods of treatment that are better for her.

She has been in counseling and though there is a small difference she acknowledged that if she could find a better routine to put what she's been taught into practice it would be more effective. She hasn't found anything that really helps but would like to find time for more self-care and more physical activity. 'T'’s anxiety prevents her from being able to start new activities.

A typical day for 'T' is what she describes as “indifferent”. Most days she feels ok but always has that lingering static in her head. She is so adept at hiding her OCD and anxiety she was able to hide it from her husband for eight years.

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On her worst days she will end up in the emergency room with a panic attack. This happens roughly two or three times a year. On the bad days she has trouble breaking the cycle of obsessing, and her mind races all day. She is thankful her husband helps her to stay centered and rationalize the thoughts that run through her mind.

Some of her anxiety surrounds her children. Fears that if she doesn't finish something, her kids will get hurt. Repeating instructions (take small bites, chew well, buckle up, sit back) to her kids is how she feels she has some control over their safety. If it's said out loud, everything will be OK. (This is where the OCD lies.) She’ll often do the same thing with her husband to ensure that things are cooked to the right temperature for the kids, and cut up small enough for them

‘T'’s worst anxiety surrounds her own health. Her childhood trauma has her fearing almost daily that something will happen to her and she will not be around to help protect her children and prevent them from experiencing the hardship she went through. She suffers from a fairly common heart issue (palpitations- or premature beats) and though she has had every possible test done, and has been reassured that she is very healthy, she panics at the thought that they are missing something. When she feels the palpitations occur they usually set her into a spiral of constant pulse checking, relaxation breathing and worrying that she is dying.

‘T’s advice to anyone else currently struggling is to remember that you are not crazy.

“You are not alone. You are not crazy. Know other people out there experience what [you] do.”

Erin BerryComment