With starting a new school year right now, I’m faced with potential challenges that really relate to another part of my English project. I was going to try to get accommodations at school for reading because I take a REALLY long time to read because of it, and although I *think* it’s getting better, I would want a backup. At a community event for people with OCD, I have heard that it is a great thing to have incase even if you don’t end up using it. Anyway, now that school has started again, I’m not sure how much better it’s gotten and my teacher today was telling us how much we’re going to read throughout the year and it’s A LOT and now I’m honestly scared. I ended up deciding against accommodations at first, but now I’m reconsidering. I didn’t want it to seem like I’m faking it or something because people usually can’t tell I’m doing these things from the outside (except people always joke around at how slow of a reader I am) and I may not even be able to get it because my grades aren’t low because of it. This is because I’m the type of person who will get it done no matter what. No sleep for multiple nights? If that’s what it takes. But I’m at a place now where I know that wasn’t good for my mental or physical health and I don’t want to be back at that place again when I was doing that.
Hopefully I won’t need accommodations, but I also have to accept that it’s okay to ask for help if I’m struggling. I talked about it and decided to give it a few weeks to see how I’m doing and then we can reevaluate. Until then, I’ll just keep challenging my thoughts and working towards getting faster at reading. I really don’t want this to affect my grade or the quality of my life this year, so I’m hoping that I can make the best choices for me. Anyway, here’s part 3 on the effects of OCD 🙂
OCD has its detrimental ways of affecting those who have it. For example, in school, having OCD has affected my school work as I have reading compulsions that make it harder for me to read, but it affects me the most when reading books. I have to read the sentences forwards and backwards in a certain way and find the middle of the words so I know how many letters are in each word. Although I am used to it because I have been doing this compulsion since middle school, it takes me much longer to read than everybody else. Sometimes if I do it too much, I don’t comprehend the book very well, so I have to go back and reread it. To make matters worse, I can’t just read it again, but I have to read it three or five times depending on if I mess up or if it doesn’t feel right. I used to read all the time for fun in middle school, but because of this compulsion and the long amount of time it takes me to read, I stopped. When having to read books for classes, I would always stay up late reading them and read every chance I got, still barely finishing before the deadline. Then I got to the point where I would dread reading them, so I would procrastinate until the last minute, resulting in those books never being read as I certainly can’t read a full book, and definitely not comprehend it, in a few days.
The reading compulsion, on top of having to spend long amounts of time doing rituals before bed, are probably the compulsions that have affected me the most. The problem was that as a kid, I had no idea what was wrong with me. I thought I was crazy, weird, or different in a bad way, so I always kept it all to myself. Nobody knew about the bedtime rituals, nobody knew about the light switches (although I recently found out that my parents did know a little about that one—I guess I wasn’t as great at hiding it as I thought I was, but they didn’t see me doing it enough that they would be concerned about it). Most of all, nobody knew about all of the different mental rituals that I was doing.
I heard of the disorder in middle school, but it wasn’t until 9th grade that I was sure that I had it. I remember the feeling of hearing about it, looking up the symptoms, and feeling relief that I wasn’t alone in this. That it was a real thing that other people were experiencing and that I wasn’t crazy like I thought I was for a long time. However, I still kept it to myself and didn’t get treatment for it until recently, a few months into 11th grade. My lack of knowledge when I was younger and the stigma around mental health caused me to believe I was crazy. This lead me to hide it my whole life and not get help until many years later. I had heard of the disorder before, but only used in a negative connotation or being thrown around as a joke, so once I knew what it was, that kept me from telling people because I thought that people would see me in that negative way. However, I’m trying to start being more open about it now and hopefully at some point, I can find a way to positively affect someone else who is struggling with a mental disorder.