Beyond Anxious

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Dear Dr. Darcy:

I'm 19 and have suffered from OCD since my mid-teens and it has been gradually getting worse. I thought I [could] cope at first and told myself that it wasn't impacting my life negatively but I've failed exams, alienated friends and continuously drive my immediate family crazy as a result of my behaviors. I'm at college at the moment and terrified that in the near future I will have a full-time job and won't be able to cope with the demands of that. Basic everyday activities like showering, washing my hair and cleaning take up so much of my time and I'm scared that it will continue to get worse. I'm not housebound obviously but I only meet the minimum requirements of "having a life", I go to college, to the supermarket and if I'm feeling super adventurous, maybe something social. I have social anxiety as well as OCD which results in me spending most of my time alone at home to avoid stressful situations which ironically only makes me more stressed as it worsens my OCD.

I know you will tell me I need therapy and I probably do but I just can't imagine it helping, even though my OCD is time-consuming and lowering my quality of life I can't imagine doing things differently as I believe my way of doing things is the right way. I also don't want to ruin my chances of getting a good job as I'm sure health records for treatment of OCD would discourage many employers due to the stigma attached to it.

ANSWER

“Even though my OCD is time-consuming and lowering my quality of life I can't imagine doing things differently as I believe my way of doing things is the right way.” I want you to sit with this thought for a moment and breathe as you’re contemplating it.  Something that is lowering your quality of life cannot be right. Ever.  It’s illogical, and you know it is.

With that said, and I’ve said this countless times at AskDrDarcy.com, the vast majority of human beings would rather be right than be happy.  I hope you find some humor in the irony that you’re more normal than you might have thought.

So the question is this, really:  Do you want to value being right over being happy?  Because I can send you to the most skilled therapist in the world and if you’re committed to being right, that therapist won’t help you change.

Yes, you need therapy, as you know.  Moreover, you deserve therapy.  You deserve to thrive.  You are missing out on some of the best years of your life.  You should be hooking up with girls in college and enjoying the bubble and insulation that college provides LGBT youth with, but instead you’re counting how many times you shampoo your hair and shave your legs.  And by the time you clean up after your shower you barely make it to class on time, if at all.  So the thought of going through all of that just to socialize is too big of a hurdle for you ~ it’s exhausting, so you simply don’t.

Your health records, for the record, are 100% confidential and employers are not able to review them before hiring an employee.  That's another story you tell yourself to keep yourself stuck.

You want change but you don’t want to change anything.  I’ll leave you with one final question:  Is what you’re doing working for you?  If it isn’t, maybe it’s time to try something new.

Writer’s Stats: Female, Lesbian.