The first experiences that I can remember about my OCD were when I was about 8 years old, having my older sister check over my homework multiple times to make sure it was perfect.

Missing recess almost every MAP test season because it took more hours for me to get through the test just to double check everything. I would double, triple, quadruple check that all of the doors were locked in the house.

Wash my hands constantly to the point my hands were cracked and bleeding from being so dry. Touching an item a certain amount of times before I could walk away from it.

It's like an itch you NEED to scratch.

Like fighting with your brain constantly and making yourself paranoid. Questioning your own memories and the facts that you already know.

And a lot of trying to rationalize why checking the door one more time won't hurt. How proofreading your homework one more time couldn't hurt.

It is hard for others to understand why I have to do it and honestly, I don't know why I have to either. Living with this is hard but it's not impossible. When things become more important in life, it alleviates the need to "scratch the itch." It makes it more bearable.

College and the stresses that come with it have only made it worse. In high school, I was a 4 sport athlete with not a lot of time on my hands so I guess I never had time to think about it. But now, I have more time. More time to think of all of the things and aspects of life that scare me.

And that's okay. My family and friends are very patient with me and the extra time it takes for me to get things done. It is great to have a good support system with the thing that I sometimes hate most about myself.

So it's okay that I have to check the door or straighten my napkin 4 times. And it's okay to need help or medication just to feel better.

My OCD doesn't define me. It makes me stronger with every day that I overcome.