May 24th 2012. A date that I will never forget. It was a day that not only myself but my entire family had undergone a sudden and unpredictable change in our lifestyle. It was on May 24th, 2012 that I was hit in the back of the head with a cafeteria chair while playing a game with my high school drama club. We were dressing up as someone famous and I chose to dress up as Miley Cyrus. So, there I was hit in the back of head with a cafeteria chair as the person had slipped in the mud while holding the chair when, in that moment, nothing would be the same. I remember trying to laugh it off at first because I was confused as to what had actually happened when I was getting all of the "are you okay?!" questions thrown at me, until I realized I started to cry really hard. I felt like a cartoon character and knew something was wrong. Some of the drama club members helped me over to a quiet area to calm me down and get in contact with my mom. She had come down to pick me up and take me to the hospital (in my fishnets, shorts, and tank top... (don't ask why I chose that outfit)).
Fast forward to the aftermath of the incident. Everything felt weird. I had been going to a clinic specifically for the concussion to make sure that I was making progress with getting the symptoms and pain under control.
I remember later on talking to one of my closest friends as well as my boyfriend at the time, who I wish I could thank every day for all of his support through that specific time, that I felt as though something in my brain was off. We were texting each other and I told him that something wasn't right with my brain. That for some reason now, whenever I thought of something bad or "a bad thought" while I was doing something, something as simple as putting my hair straightener away, I had to redo or repeat the action while forcing a positive, or trying to force that negative thought from popping into my head while I was doing that action. Every action I made I had to control my thoughts, and if I thought of something bad, I had to repeat the action. It could take me up to like 20 minutes to put my hair straightener back in my drawer because I was trying to force thoughts from occurring (it's very difficult to at least TRY to do that. I do not recommend trying to CONTROL what THOUGHTS come into your mind. It's not very fun). And I would get frustrated because this was consuming me alive.
I told my parents. We went to see someone and I was told it was OCD. I had thought OCD was mostly germs and wanting to wash your hands all the time, but little did I know, OCD came in various forms. It started to control me. Showers could take me close to an hour, walking through doorways had never been so difficult, writing and rewriting my homework was exhausting. I stopped enjoying almost everything. It even got to the point where I had started to let it impact my passion. Theatre. I couldn't deal with it anymore. I was angry. Angry at myself, angry at my brain, and at most, angry at this monster that had taken control. I wanted help. I wanted to get rid of this pest. It was destroying me. But at times I was just too tired to keep fighting. I lost interest in almost everything. Never theatre though. I wouldn't let it. However, it did impact it, but I never ever let it take over. Theatre was my escape. There was no way that this OCD thing would get in my way. However, it continuously grew worse and I continuously grew tired. But I kept my fight. I constantly fought my brain every day. OCD wasn't going to win. I wouldn't let it. However, it did impact my relationships with friends, and family. Words cannot describe how blessed I am to have the people who had stuck by my side through it all to help me defeat this demon. My family, mostly, words cannot begin to describe how blessed and grateful I am for all of you. Thank you for helping me and supporting me through it all. I later found out about needing spine surgery. My family and I prepared for what needed to come and we overcame that obstacle. It was difficult as a lot of friendships were put to the test, but my family never left my side. And I couldn't be more thankful. Unfortunately, though, that didn't stop the OCD from its game. As I started to gain back my strength and awareness after the surgery, the OCD did as well. There was more suffering for all of us. There were heartbreaks, especially because of the end of a loving relationship with the boy that I held so near and dear to my heart, tears, and strength. That summer, it came to the difficult decision that I would pack my bags and fly off to Wisconsin, where there was a program that specialized in OCD for kids around my age. I went and it was a life changer. I am so grateful for everyone and all of the help that I received from Rogers Memorial Hospital as it challenged and kept me motivated that I could defeat the demon and live the life I wanted to live. The life that changed since that day. May 24th. Since then, my family and I moved from our home to where we are now. I switched schools and it was a fresh new start. I did, however, know I needed that extra help with the OCD since Rogers, as I started to have a small relapse in my progress with OCD. I decided to get the help through a day program at McLean Hospital, which was closer to home, as I knew that what I needed to work on was more geared toward home.
Today, I am more than happy to be able to say that I have taken back my control over this demon and it's always going to be a fight, but I know who's boss and I enjoy being able to enjoy life too much to be able to let myself go back to that dark place. So, even though this accident that took place a few years ago was a nightmare for both my family and I, I am so grateful for all that I have learned about life, relationships, love, friendships, hardships, and mental illness that have all impacted me and have helped me develop into the person that I am today. Much love to my family for all that you do for me. I love you guys so much and I'm so blessed to have you as my family.