I was alone with my OCD for many years, never talking about it with anyone since early elementary school until 9th grade when one of my teachers had a feeling I had it and had me meet with another student she knew had gotten help for it. Talking to her had me realize that what I’d been going through for years actually had a name to it. I wasn’t weird or crazy and most importantly, I wasn’t the only one going through these things. I started getting help for it in 11th grade, but it wasn’t until a week or two ago (summer before 12th grade) that I met someone else with OCD, but we didn’t really talk about that part as much. I obviously hate that these people have to go through these things, but it’s nice knowing that I’m not alone.
Anyway, a few days ago, my parents and I decided to go to a local OCD walk and I was really curious of what it was going to be like, but also really anxious. There wasn’t much information on the internet about it and I usually want to know every and all details about everything I’m going to do, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way. Anyway, we got there and realized that there were going to be less than 20 people walking and probably less than 30 people including volunteers… We almost turned back because I was hoping I could just blend into the crowd and not have to be noticed, but with that little people, that would be impossible. Turns out, it was the first year doing it where I live, so they were trying it out with a small group at first and even though I started out extremely anxious, it actually was a great opportunity.
Everyone there either had OCD, knew someone or was related to someone who did, or was a therapist. Everyone understood and there was little to no stigma there. We openly discussed our medications, compulsions, and just things about therapy and it wasn’t weird at all. Like in “real life,” there’s just too much stigma to openly talk about it. The best thing though was that everyone got each other and was helping each other out. Especially since there weren’t too many kids and I just started getting help for my OCD this year, a lot of the adults were willing to give me advice from their experiences or even from their own kid’s. And honestly, usually it drives me crazy when people make OCD jokes by using the disorder in the wrong context, but people would make those jokes there and it was genuinely funny. Why? Call me crazy, but it was just the irony of it all—a person with OCD saying it to a whole group of people with OCD…
Anyway, even though I was unsure of it at first, I liked that the group was relatively small. That allowed us to meet other people and relate to them on another level. For once, I felt like I was truly not alone. I think it really helped my parents not feel alone as well because they were able to talk to other parents of kids with OCD and probably got a better understanding of the disorder. Then, after the experience, I posted on my Instagram story, hoping to raise awareness and to let other people who may have it know they’re not alone. And guess what? A few people messaged me about it… I’m so glad I was able to help those few people know they’re not alone—and hopefully more who didn’t contact me. I’ve done talks about it at school as well and I’m just really hoping to help people not wait to get help and to also know that they aren’t alone. Also, if mental health could be talked about as casually as it was at that walk anytime, then that would be beyond amazing.
So yeah, if you are struggling with any type of mental disorder, you are most definitely not alone! Even people you see everyday may be struggling with something similar and you’d never notice. Also, there may be events or support groups in your area that might be good to look into because it really is nice being in a community of people who get you. Apparently they have support groups near me and a lot of the people at the walk go, so I just may do that. Stay strong and just always—ALWAYS—remember that you’re not alone and that are many people who care to talk to you and help you ❤