OCD: The Thing That Wouldn’t Leave

What finally motivated me to find help and confront my fears.

Escrito por V J Lacca

OCD: The Thing That Wouldn’t Leave

01 VJ showed signs of OCD throughout his childhood, but his obsessive thoughts took a turn after his mom spent some time in the hospital.

02 From that point, he struggled on and off, unaware of his condition. Until he found a book that explained OCD.

03 While he finally had answers, it was a family event that ultimately gave him the motivation to start therapy.

How do you do it? How do you explain to someone — someone lucky enough to only worry about everyday life — the confusion, anxiety, and borderline terror of OCD

You know the thoughts don’t make sense, but they’re still there. It’s like being pulled into a different reality. The intrusive images or impulses, the initial shock, the scouring of your mind for reassurance, and hopefully with it, a calm. Looking for that final certainty that would put it all to bed and give you a everybody’s-fine-in-the-end finale. But it never materializes.

OCD3: Dr. Phillipson Talks Science, Symptoms & Treatment of OCD

It’s no surprise that I co-exist with this. As a child, I frequently lined up all my soldiers, tanks and equipment on my shelves, all neat in a row but rarely seeing any action. The first time I showed a more obsessive personality, complaining of some minor pain in my chest, I centered on this until a trip to the pediatrician was the assurance I needed to feel better. 

Until I saw a stamp on my file that the doctor left on the exam table. “Adopted,” it read. 

How convenient — another thing to worry endlessly about. It took some convincing from my mom to trust otherwise. “I was there! I had you!” she said in an exasperated tone. Turns out it was a re-used file turned inside out. 

The fear was overwhelming, and it wouldn’t stop.

My obsessive personality took a darker turn soon thereafter. When my mom spent some time in the hospital after an unfortunate, late term miscarriage, her time away made me concerned about her absence. “What if she got really sick? What if she left forever?” I thought. This was pretty horrible anxiety to have as a child. 

Sometime after she arrived home, “IT” popped into my head. “What if I were the one that caused her to be hurt? Or worse?” The fear was overwhelming, and it wouldn’t stop. If only I could tell mom so she could make things better. But I couldn’t. She’d be crushed, and maybe afraid of her own son. So, I kept my secret. 

Through research, I now know that my OCD latched onto the most important thing in my life: my mom. After that initial intrusive thought, I tried to suppress my thoughts and avoid anything that might harm her, or bring those thoughts back. The worry, confusion, and sadness I felt over the next few months were suffocating at first, but as time went by, it slowly crept into the background. Not understanding, I tried to just forget about it. 

Although I had large stretches of time where I wasn’t debilitated by OCD, it has never fully gone away. This ebb and flow sometimes gave me the false impression of normalcy, but other times, I’d be sent into a full on panic. Episodes seemed catch-as-catch-can, coming on during stressful times, or sometimes from the slightest trigger. 

One stressful period included building my first home. I always worried about veering off the road and colliding with a person or vehicle whenever I drove to and from the new house. And when I was surrounded by construction tools, my intrusive thoughts focused on all the ways I could cause harm with them. To this day, a simple pointed trowel can be triggering. 

Around the year 2000, I came across a book in the self-help section: “Tormenting Thoughts and Secret Rituals.” Reading through parts of this gave me incredible relief. These thoughts and self assurances in my head had a name! One of the example patients they used was almost exactly “me.” However, this relief was only temporary, because while I had finally gained knowledge about my condition, it didn’t actually cure anything. 

Fast forward to 2022. A new year. A new time to start over. A new gem to care about: our grandchildren. But also, the perfect time for OCD to strike. Like the default setting of an idle mind. Cruel and crushing.

The momentous event happened at my son’s house — what finally made me seek therapy. A day that should have been uplifting and fun was ruined by a feeling of foreboding. While I didn’t really experience any intrusive thoughts, I was still moderately anxious throughout the day and trying to avoid any triggers. When it was finally time to leave, I was relieved. But then my granddaughter asked to come home with us.

A day that should have been uplifting and fun was ruined by a feeling of foreboding.

A new wave of dread flooded over. If she did come over, would I have to worry about my thoughts? Now I was worrying about worrying. Obsessing about obsessing. I could have broken down and cried right there. 

This was the reason I finally got help. I didn’t want OCD to take another minute or second of my life. I’m exhausted thinking about all the time this condition has taken up what was meant to be a happy or memorable event. Instead, I spent it living and worrying in my own head. Enough.  

So here we are. Starting therapy and medication, and making a plan. If you are reading this and riding the storm like I am, don’t just think about doing something, make the move. Take action. I’m only now starting therapy, so I’m only one step ahead of you. I’m not sure how my therapist and I will go about things, and I don’t know how long it will take, but I’m hopeful. And maybe, with some work, I can take another step. And then another. 



Hi. I’m a 63 year old that finally decided to get professional help for my diagnosed OCD. I’ve suffered through bouts of this condition, on and off for years. After starting therapy and finding Made of Millions, I thought I’d write this piece to help someone who is hesitant to ask for help. I’m a self employed contractor in the Detroit area. I have a wonderful wife, two children, a daughter-in-law, and now, two grandchildren. I’d like to be able to spend the rest of my time on this planet, enjoying their company without OCD.

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