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“What if there is a tumour growing in my brain?”
“What if someone comes into my house and murders my family?”
“Do my friends genuinely care about me or are they conspiring against me?”

These are just a few of the obsessive thoughts that OCD floods your mind with. They are irrational. They are bizarre. But they are so convincing — capable of deceiving even the most intelligent mind. And before you know it, you find yourself stuck carrying out compulsions such as counting, checking and reassurance seeking, to name a few.

I never really know how to fully describe OCD to someone who has never experienced it. To put it simply, it feels like you are a slave to a monster living in your head. You are made to do whatever the monster demands of you. Don’t even think about rationalising or negotiating with it, you’ll only end up doubting yourself further. There is always a lingering “what if”. There is never a moment of peace in your head, and you are often physically exhausted as well.

OCD is cruel. It affects the way you function daily. It goes against your values. It steals what is most precious to you — time with your family and friends, things that you used to enjoy. On bad days, I would wake up to panic attacks and obsessional fears of stepping out of my house and being near others. Time which could have been spent productively is wasted on meaningless compulsions. What used to be my hobbies, my favourite subject in school and favourite Youtube videos are now potential triggers of my OCD.

I am currently seeking professional help for my OCD and anxiety and on the road to recovery. My parents, friends and teachers have played a crucial role in my mental health journey as well — by checking on me, encouraging me and simply letting me know that they’re there for me. I am slowly learning how to manage my condition. Compared to a month ago, it is now less debilitating as I am able to better identify my obsessive thoughts and resist the urge to carry out my compulsions. I am beginning to understand this monster and gain a sense of control over myself. Although recovery is not a linear process and I still have my bad days, I will continue celebrating every small victory along the way and focusing on my progress.

Having OCD, or any other mental health condition, can be frightening and isolating. An important thing I have learned is that although nobody will ever truly understand what you’re going through, you should not let that stop you from opening up to others. You may not always find open-minded, non-judgemental people who are able to empathise with you, but never lose hope and keep reaching out. There will always be someone who is willing to offer you support. Even if they may not know how to help you, a listening ear or nice conversations during tough times can make a difference. And while you build up a support system, It is also important that you build yourself up, as ultimately, you have to fight your own battles.

To all those out there who are struggling, the valley may seem dark now, but there is always a little voice in you that tells you that you can get through this, and you’ve got to nurture that little voice. Keep fighting. I believe in you.

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