No one Wants to Help

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Hi. I’m 15 and feel like I must have OCD. I have too many symptoms and I’m way too different than other teenagers. I have gone to websites and school counselors for help and they never get back to me. Its like they just don’t want to help me. My mom just thinks I’m a perfectionist. But she doesn’t understand the thoughts that go through my head. No one does.

These are the symptoms I have……. I have to be perfect, which means I will ask teachers a million questions to make sure I do it right. I have to do things the same exact way everytime, so I eat foods the same way every time, I use the same blanket arrangement every night, I use the same amount of toilet paper everytime, ect. Things like that. I’m terrified of being attacked. Everytime I enter and re enter a room I have to check closets and shower curtins for attackers. I get terrified outside in the dark. I cant handle being around a bunch of people at once. Its overwhelming. I feel like everything bad is my fault. I get paraniod that I did something that will cause my house to burn down or make everyone I love die. I picture family and friends dying because of me and I cant control those thoughts. They wont stop. Sometimes they feel so real i start to cry. Sometime I get up in the middle of the night afraid I didn’t lock the door or I left my dog outside when everthinf is fine and I’m making it up in my head.

Sometimes when something small happens that makes me upset or angry I start to think about everything I hate about myself and when I get to that point it makes me want to hurt myself. The worst ive ever done is only scratch myself or snap myself with a ponytail holder. Then after that I feel ashamed and guilty. Then I get back to loving my life. I’m a big stickler about rules and geting in trouble. I’m always thinking about possible consequences… that makes my friends angry at me sometimes.im always paraniod that my friends are going to not want to be my friends anymore.I am always checking myself for any type of deathly or fatal disease and freaking myself out. get paranoid and worried about everything and everyone. Im tired of living in stress and I want to be worry free once in a while. Please help me. I have now where else to go.

A: From what you wrote, it is indeed likely that you are suffering from OCD. The adults in your life may not understand how OCD works. It’s not a matter of just stopping yourself from doing the compulsions. You can’t. Doing them is what gives you relief from the thoughts. Those thoughts can be all-consuming.

School personnel sometimes don’t realize that the thoughts are so powerful they interfere with a student’s ability to concentrate and to do well. I imagine it’s hard to focus on a math lesson when all you can think about is whether you left the stove on at home, for example. Kids like you often start failing in school, not because they aren’t smart but because their thoughts are so dominated by their worries. Often they become isolated because their friends can’t understand what the big deal is.

Please take your letter and this response to your school counselor. Ask for help finding a therapist who is experienced with OCD. The good news is that it is treatable. There are medications that can bring the intensity of the thoughts down a few notches. There are things you can learn to do to manage the thoughts so they don’t interfere with your life so much. Many kids “outgrow” many elements of the OCD as their brain matures in their late teens and early 20s.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 25 Aug 2012

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2012). No one Wants to Help. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/08/25/no-one-wants-to-help/