My struggle with OCD

First of all, hello! I'm new here and am so glad to have found somewhere to share my story.

I first noticed the symptoms of OCD when I was 14. My earliest memory was arranging all of my bits and bobs on my bedside table one night in a straight order and making sure that nothing was or could be out of place. This carried on night after night and I couldn't find a way to stop it.

The next symptom was constantly checking things over and over again and counting to a specific number in my head whilst doing so (it either had to be a '2' or a '4', it couldn't be an odd number). I then found myself checking switches in my bedroom, making sure that they were off. It didn't feel right though, as in I felt like I hadn't checked them enough times and so I found myself going back and forth to my room to make sure that they were actually off.

I had this fear that if I didn't carry out these compulsions properly or at all, then a loved one of mine would come in to some sort of harm, ultimately resulting in death. This plagued me every day and no matter how many times I tried to be strong and fight the urge of the compulsions, I eventually gave in just to take the crippling anxiety away temporarily.

It wasn't until late last year, at the age of 25, that I finally opened up to my parents and my boyfriend about how I was feeling and what I thought I might be going through. They were fully supportive and encouraged me to speak to my GP, which I did and this was when I was diagnosed. I was then referred to a psychologist and I attended the sessions early this year, going every week and then every 2 weeks. I felt as though a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders, what I bottled up for years had been finally released.

I couldn't thank the psychologist enough for her help, I just wish I had done it sooner. After a few months of attending, she asked me if I felt I was ready to be discharged. Truthfully? I actually did. I wanted to grab the OCD by the balls and tell it that it won't affect me anymore.

So far so good, I am symptom free. But I'll be honest, the urge to carry out a compulsion has been niggling away at me recently and I've tried my very best to fight it off (I still haven't given in!).

I encourage anyone who might be going through this, or know someone who is, to talk to someone about it. Opening up and admitting it is the first step towards what could be a different life.