Hi my name is Steve and I am 24 years old, and believe that I have OCD, although I was never formally diagnosed. I have lived with this for as long as I can remember and although I haven't been diagnosed officially I have read up on the subject and all signs point to OCD. Here is my story:
Ever since I was a child, I have been a very anxious person. I had many fears and phobias. I was afraid of alarms of any kind, especially smoke alarms, and those air raid sirens of Cold War days. Whenever I saw one of those, I was filled with fear. Whenever I heard one ring, I was terrified. I also was very afraid of poisons. I wouldn't even touch a poison bottle for fear of being harmed. Thirdly, I was a VERY picky eater. There were only 2 or 3 foods that I would ever eat at a given time. I wouldn't even touch anything else. Luckily I outgrew the food part.
Unfortunately, I did not outgrow the rest. Today I am bothered by many obsessive thoughts, and to a much smaller degree, compulsions. My main obsession lately has been AIDS. I am constantly afraid of picking up the HIV virus. This obsession tends to come and go, but generally has been a part of my life since my childhood. The first episode occurred when I was around 7 or 8 years old. I suppose this was when a lot less was known about the virus and there were many reports on the news. Perhaps I observed these reports and it entered my supconscious. I was afraid of picking up AIDS at this time from the door handles in malls. For a while I would avoid touching them at all.
More recently, the newest episode started when I was at a public beach with my family. I stubbed my toe on a stick, which caused my toe to bleed. After this happened, my mind began to race: “what if I stepped on a needle?”. For days, this troubling thought went through my head. One thought would lead to another and then the question would be: “What if I got HIV and gave it to my wife who in turn would give it to my son through her breastmilk?
This recent episode spawned many more since then. Most recently, I went to a party with a friend and got intoxicated. The next day, I suddenly became preoccupied with the fear that on my way home, I may have been accosted by a prostitute. Even though all the evidence pointed to the contrary, such as having no money at the time, having no time or place to do anything like that or even the desire (people who appear likely to have HIV I find anxiety inducing, such as street people, prostitutes etc. and as a result I tend to avoid them at all costs). Plus I am deeply in love with my wife and would never jeopardize our marriage. Again this fear revolves around getting infected and then passing it on to my family.
I have had moderate success with the help of medicine (Celexa, which works for my depression and seems to have an effect on OCD symptoms as well), as well as through cognitive therapy exercises I do with myself. While these do help deal with episodes when they happen, they never seem to prevent them from happening in the first place. I have come to accept that this is going to be a part of my life for as long as I live, but I would love to know if there are any groups that meet to share their OCD experiences on a regular basis in the Ottawa area, as I know this would be beneficial in my life. If any of you know of such a group, please let me know. In the mean time, I look forward to sharing experiences on this forum.