The Real Face of OCD—The Personal Side

I met Angie 7 years ago. We are close friends and she told me I can share her story with you as she wants to help as many people as possible. Angie is gifted in intelligence, funny, honest, extremely artistic—she went to college on a full ride for her artistic ability—and has one of the kindest, most genuine personalities of any one I know. She is the kind of person you could call from 200 miles away in the middle of the night if your car broke down on the side of the road and she would not only cheerily come and get you, but stop and buy you breakfast on the drive back.

Angie has 2 different learning disorders, but she has told me the OCD is what “causes her the most trouble” in life. When I first met Angie, I noticed she sometimes seemed overly anxious. She later told me she did in fact struggle with feelings of anxiety. She also seemed a little over the top about germs, but she readily told me she had “always been a germophobe” so I dismissed my initial ideas as me being “too much of a therapist.”

Fast forward to a year or so into our relationship when I learned the root cause of Angie’s anxiety and fear of germs. One night, while hanging out, she disclosed to me that she had OCD. She told me she has intrusive and disturbing thoughts about germs and sickness involving not only herself but her family members. She shared she worries that she or her children will become ill. She also said that sometimes these thoughts drive her to perform certain behaviors—like sanitize her hands dozens of times or say prayers of healing multiple times. I had noticed that she kept huge bottles of sanitizer in every room of her house. And I had also always thought it extreme that she wouldn’t let her kids go to the child watch at the gym because it was too germy. But, after talking to her that night, it all made sense. At the end of that conversation, she told me most days she is able to manage her OCD, but that sometimes the thoughts become overwhelming.

What I learned that night from Angie is that OCD can look very different depending on the person. I also learned how challenging it was for her to live her life “normally” while trying to manage her obsessions and compulsions. If you feel you are struggling with this disorder, or any other mental health disorder, you don’t have to go it alone. A mental health therapist can provide the warmth, empathy and expertise you need to start on your path to healing. You can learn and implement strategies to promote peace and health in your life. Please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services in Orlando today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment.


Yolanda Brailey