Author: Mark Armstrong

“Second Chance” 

During the summer of 1982, specific events in my life triggered the onset of obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms. Over the course of the next 4 years my ruminating thoughts increased, and surprisingly to me, manifested into new behavioral patterns in my life. Patterns such as, feeling as if I would be contaminated by others if they touched me or vice versa, to compulsive hand-washing to thoughts of people poisoning my food, which resulted in severe weight loss. Eventually, my symptoms, along with my physical condition, progressed to such a debilitating degree, that they consumed my life. I felt trapped and isolated. I could not understand nor explain what was causing this chaotic lifestyle. Everyday felt like I was a soldier in a foxhole, living in fear, wondering when I was to die. Subsequently I saw professional help.

After hearing the diagnosis from the doctor, I experienced a sense of relief. For the first time, I learned what was happening to me and I had the reassurance that I was not losing my mind. The difficult part to accept was that no cure was available. Only medication, which could control my symptoms.