As the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders(DSM-5) is released in May, Yahoo is featuring first-person stories from Americans who are diagnosed with some of the most common mental health disorders in the United Startes. Here are some of therir stories. In the caption, you can click to their full accounts to read more.

Yea, and were not made of radiation either.

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Anxiety Disorder Goes Beyond the Blues

Although I went through counseling in my younger years, mostly in college and law school, the first time I remember seeing the word “anxiety” associated with my medical condition was in June 1994. I was living back east then. My family physician had me hospitalized after I experienced unrelenting hallucinations over the course of several months. I was convinced I was demon-possessed and nobody could convince me otherwise. I was 27.

I relocated to Texas in 1995. Over the next couple of years, I was re-diagnosed and misdiagnosed until 1997 or 1998 when mental health professionals with a local universitys health system settled on a dual diagnosis: delusional disorder and anxiety disorder N.O.S. — or “not otherwise specified.”

I believe that psychiatric and psychological disorders still carry stigma. In the wake of mass shootings, it seems that many believe that people with mental illnesses are prone to violence. I’ve also heard a couple of well-known Christian ministers speak of mental illness as if it’s evidence of a lack of faith. Clinical depression goes beyond the blues. Anxiety disorder goes beyond butterflies in the stomach. There’s no wishing away any form of mental illness. Illness is illness whether it affects the heart, lungs, kidneys or brain.

There Is No Shame in a Life with PTSD

Anxiety disorder goes beyond the blues

By Michele Darien

Although I went through counseling in my younger years, mostly in college and law school, the first time I remember seeing the word “anxiety” associated with my medical condition was in June 1994. I was living back east then. My family physician had me hospitalized after I experienced unrelenting hallucinations over the course of several months. I was convinced I was demon-possessed and nobody could convince me otherwise. I was 27.

I relocated to Texas in 1995. Over the next couple of years, I was re-diagnosed and misdiagnosed until 1997 or 1998 when mental health professionals with a local universitys health system settled on a dual diagnosis: delusional disorder and anxiety disorder N.O.S. — or “not otherwise specified.”

I believe that psychiatric and psychological disorders still carry stigma. In the wake of mass shootings, it seems that many believe that people with mental illnesses are prone to violence. I’ve also heard a couple of well-known Christian ministers speak of mental illness as if it’s evidence of a lack of faith. Clinical depression goes beyond the blues. Anxiety disorder goes beyond butterflies in the stomach. There’s no wishing away any form of mental illness. Illness is illness whether it affects the heart, lungs, kidneys or brain.

There is no shame in a life with PTSD


By David Daly

In the summer of 2010, I found myself at a major turning point. I was leaving the Marine Corps for the second and final time. My career as a Marine officer spanned about 10 years. I served in numerous combat tours both in Iraq and Afghanistan. Before leaving, I couldn’t help but reflect on the darkness that consumed my thoughts and the cold numbness which halted my ability to feel emotions. In a rare moment of what I thought was “weakness,” I decided to visit the mental health clinic. It was then I was first diagnosed with a moderate to high level of PTSD.

The countless horrors of war never bothered me, or so I thought. After my diagnosis and re-entry into civilian life, I noticed this was not the case. I had a cold, dark, and sometimes cruel outlook on the world. I spent much of my free time hiding away in my condo. The walls were barren and unpainted. The blinds always closed. I wanted no connection with a world I felt disgusted to be a part of. I hardly slept, maybe three hours on a good night.

I am now 34 and living in Southern California. Each day I deal with PTSD. Some days I am all right. Others I am dark and jaded. I find it hard to control it sometimes. My loving wife and daughter see past it and deal with me when I am “Dark Dave,” as they call it. Were it not for them and the rest of my family, I think the PTSD would have consumed me long ago.

Anorexia: The Quest to Stay ThinAnxiety disorder goes beyond the blues

By Michele Darien

Although I went through counseling in my younger years, mostly in college and law school, the first time I remember seeing the word “anxiety” associated with my medical condition was in June 1994. I was living back east then. My family physician had me hospitalized after I experienced unrelenting hallucinations over the course of several months. I was convinced I was demon-possessed and nobody could convince me otherwise. I was 27.

I relocated to Texas in 1995. Over the next couple of years, I was re-diagnosed and misdiagnosed until 1997 or 1998 when mental health professionals with a local universitys health system settled on a dual diagnosis: delusional disorder and anxiety disorder N.O.S. — or “not otherwise specified.”

I believe that psychiatric and psychological disorders still carry stigma. In the wake of mass shootings, it seems that many believe that people with mental illnesses are prone to violence. I’ve also heard a couple of well-known Christian ministers speak of mental illness as if it’s evidence of a lack of faith. Clinical depression goes beyond the blues. Anxiety disorder goes beyond butterflies in the stomach. There’s no wishing away any form of mental illness. Illness is illness whether it affects the heart, lungs, kidneys or brain.

Read more of Darien’s story.less
There is no shame in a life with PTSD

By David Daly

In the summer of 2010, I found myself at a major turning point. I was leaving the Marine Corps for the second and final time. My career as a Marine officer spanned about 10 years. I served in numerous combat tours both in Iraq and Afghanistan. Before leaving, I couldn’t help but reflect on the darkness that consumed my thoughts and the cold numbness which halted my ability to feel emotions. In a rare moment of what I thought was “weakness,” I decided to visit the mental health clinic. It was then I was first diagnosed with a moderate to high level of PTSD.

The countless horrors of war never bothered me, or so I thought. After my diagnosis and re-entry into civilian life, I noticed this was not the case. I had a cold, dark, and sometimes cruel outlook on the world. I spent much of my free time hiding away in my condo. The walls were barren and unpainted. The blinds always closed. I wanted no connection with a world I felt disgusted to be a part of. I hardly slept, maybe three hours on a good night.

I am now 34 and living in Southern California. Each day I deal with PTSD. Some days I am all right. Others I am dark and jaded. I find it hard to control it sometimes. My loving wife and daughter see past it and deal with me when I am “Dark Dave,” as they call it. Were it not for them and the rest of my family, I think the PTSD would have consumed me long ago.

Read more of Daly’s story.less
When anorexic, it’s easy to see food as a bad thing

By Gabriel Brito

At 16, I was constantly told to “enjoy being thin while it lasted” and was encouraged to count calories. Both family and friends seemed to think I would suddenly gain 100 pounds overnight due to genetics, and while many comments were meant to be helpful, the constant reminder that “thin” was better than “fat” started to take its toll on me.

I quickly got sucked into the whole “thin = better” mindset and became frustrated when I wasn’t able to drop below 110 pounds. I started skipping meals and that quickly escalated to only eating once per day. I’d limit myself to only eating 300 calories, and then force myself to go for a run afterward. I honestly thought that if 110 pounds was good, 80 pounds must be even better. That’s how extreme my anorexia was. When I was 19, my BMI was 14.4.

I was anorexic for six years and honestly thought I’d die before I got better. It was only when my little sister, only 5 at the time, told me she was scared of getting fat that I knew I had to change. I didn’t want my baby sister going through the same struggles I did, so I decided to get help and learn how to be healthy again. It took two years and several relapses.

Autism Spectrum Disorder Is the Elephant in the Room

Anxiety disorder goes beyond the blues

By Michele Darien

Although I went through counseling in my younger years, mostly in college and law school, the first time I remember seeing the word “anxiety” associated with my medical condition was in June 1994. I was living back east then. My family physician had me hospitalized after I experienced unrelenting hallucinations over the course of several months. I was convinced I was demon-possessed and nobody could convince me otherwise. I was 27.

I relocated to Texas in 1995. Over the next couple of years, I was re-diagnosed and misdiagnosed until 1997 or 1998 when mental health professionals with a local universitys health system settled on a dual diagnosis: delusional disorder and anxiety disorder N.O.S. — or “not otherwise specified.”

I believe that psychiatric and psychological disorders still carry stigma. In the wake of mass shootings, it seems that many believe that people with mental illnesses are prone to violence. I’ve also heard a couple of well-known Christian ministers speak of mental illness as if it’s evidence of a lack of faith. Clinical depression goes beyond the blues. Anxiety disorder goes beyond butterflies in the stomach. There’s no wishing away any form of mental illness. Illness is illness whether it affects the heart, lungs, kidneys or brain.

Read more of Darien’s story.less
There is no shame in a life with PTSD

By David Daly

In the summer of 2010, I found myself at a major turning point. I was leaving the Marine Corps for the second and final time. My career as a Marine officer spanned about 10 years. I served in numerous combat tours both in Iraq and Afghanistan. Before leaving, I couldn’t help but reflect on the darkness that consumed my thoughts and the cold numbness which halted my ability to feel emotions. In a rare moment of what I thought was “weakness,” I decided to visit the mental health clinic. It was then I was first diagnosed with a moderate to high level of PTSD.

The countless horrors of war never bothered me, or so I thought. After my diagnosis and re-entry into civilian life, I noticed this was not the case. I had a cold, dark, and sometimes cruel outlook on the world. I spent much of my free time hiding away in my condo. The walls were barren and unpainted. The blinds always closed. I wanted no connection with a world I felt disgusted to be a part of. I hardly slept, maybe three hours on a good night.

I am now 34 and living in Southern California. Each day I deal with PTSD. Some days I am all right. Others I am dark and jaded. I find it hard to control it sometimes. My loving wife and daughter see past it and deal with me when I am “Dark Dave,” as they call it. Were it not for them and the rest of my family, I think the PTSD would have consumed me long ago.

Read more of Daly’s story.less
When anorexic, it’s easy to see food as a bad thing

By Gabriel Brito

At 16, I was constantly told to “enjoy being thin while it lasted” and was encouraged to count calories. Both family and friends seemed to think I would suddenly gain 100 pounds overnight due to genetics, and while many comments were meant to be helpful, the constant reminder that “thin” was better than “fat” started to take its toll on me.

I quickly got sucked into the whole “thin = better” mindset and became frustrated when I wasn’t able to drop below 110 pounds. I started skipping meals and that quickly escalated to only eating once per day. I’d limit myself to only eating 300 calories, and then force myself to go for a run afterward. I honestly thought that if 110 pounds was good, 80 pounds must be even better. That’s how extreme my anorexia was. When I was 19, my BMI was 14.4.

I was anorexic for six years and honestly thought I’d die before I got better. It was only when my little sister, only 5 at the time, told me she was scared of getting fat that I knew I had to change. I didn’t want my baby sister going through the same struggles I did, so I decided to get help and learn how to be healthy again. It took two years and several relapses.

Read more of Brito’s story.less
Autism spectrum disorder is the elephant in the room

By Kris Gaston

We were at dinner with friends when my then-13-year-old son, Noah, blurted out a totally tasteless demoralizing joke about Mexicans. We were at a Mexican restaurant, and one of our friends was Mexican. Confused, Noah sees his younger sister looking at him like he has three heads, and I am mortified. Everybody else is dead silent, trying to pretend that elephant wasn’t in the room.

Noah does not categorize people into ethnic groups; they are all just people. His information is not derived from common knowledge; rather, he notices details, then puts them together to infer. He saw other kids laughing at this joke at school, hence it must be funny, and he likes to be funny.

I do applaud his effort. It is not easy for him to engage. If he’s going to end up with his foot in his mouth, it’s better with us than in the wild. We continue to learn from these things. He is intelligent and receptive, which means he is willing and able. With understanding and intervention, at 15, he is thriving with a bright future ahead of him.

Dysthymia Is a Hidden Depression

Dysthymia is a hidden depression

By Phebe Durand

I penned depressing, dark poems and suicidal short stories as a teenager. Living in a small town, I participated in drugs and alcohol. It could have been “typical” teenage behavior. I thought so, even though I’d dropped out of high school and continued the sex, drugs, and drinking.

At 17, I left home with a man 12 years older than myself, continuing the pattern; notebooks were filled with poems on loneliness, self-loathing, and abuse. I amped myself up on drugs for the energy to work. I cared about nothing but the constant irrational fears itching inside my head. Even the abuse that man I’d left home for was nothing but fodder for a pen and paper.

Within a year, I tried to kill myself. It was a simple thing; I wasn’t in a state of panic or heartbreak. I was terrified of death. But I’d decided I wouldn’t allow the abuse to kill me and give someone else the satisfaction of having done it.

Fifteen years later, I’ve dropped the stigmas and saw a psychiatrist. Dysthymia was the problem all along, a sneaky form of depression that is acute and chronic. I deal with its common co-disorder, anxiety, with therapy. And I find myself optimistic, wistful, wishing I’d had the chance to have a life before.

With Schziophrenia, You Can't Live in the Shadows

Anxiety disorder goes beyond the blues

By Michele Darien

Although I went through counseling in my younger years, mostly in college and law school, the first time I remember seeing the word “anxiety” associated with my medical condition was in June 1994. I was living back east then. My family physician had me hospitalized after I experienced unrelenting hallucinations over the course of several months. I was convinced I was demon-possessed and nobody could convince me otherwise. I was 27.

I relocated to Texas in 1995. Over the next couple of years, I was re-diagnosed and misdiagnosed until 1997 or 1998 when mental health professionals with a local universitys health system settled on a dual diagnosis: delusional disorder and anxiety disorder N.O.S. — or “not otherwise specified.”

I believe that psychiatric and psychological disorders still carry stigma. In the wake of mass shootings, it seems that many believe that people with mental illnesses are prone to violence. I’ve also heard a couple of well-known Christian ministers speak of mental illness as if it’s evidence of a lack of faith. Clinical depression goes beyond the blues. Anxiety disorder goes beyond butterflies in the stomach. There’s no wishing away any form of mental illness. Illness is illness whether it affects the heart, lungs, kidneys or brain.

Read more of Darien’s story.less
There is no shame in a life with PTSD

By David Daly

In the summer of 2010, I found myself at a major turning point. I was leaving the Marine Corps for the second and final time. My career as a Marine officer spanned about 10 years. I served in numerous combat tours both in Iraq and Afghanistan. Before leaving, I couldn’t help but reflect on the darkness that consumed my thoughts and the cold numbness which halted my ability to feel emotions. In a rare moment of what I thought was “weakness,” I decided to visit the mental health clinic. It was then I was first diagnosed with a moderate to high level of PTSD.

The countless horrors of war never bothered me, or so I thought. After my diagnosis and re-entry into civilian life, I noticed this was not the case. I had a cold, dark, and sometimes cruel outlook on the world. I spent much of my free time hiding away in my condo. The walls were barren and unpainted. The blinds always closed. I wanted no connection with a world I felt disgusted to be a part of. I hardly slept, maybe three hours on a good night.

I am now 34 and living in Southern California. Each day I deal with PTSD. Some days I am all right. Others I am dark and jaded. I find it hard to control it sometimes. My loving wife and daughter see past it and deal with me when I am “Dark Dave,” as they call it. Were it not for them and the rest of my family, I think the PTSD would have consumed me long ago.

Read more of Daly’s story.less
When anorexic, it’s easy to see food as a bad thing

By Gabriel Brito

At 16, I was constantly told to “enjoy being thin while it lasted” and was encouraged to count calories. Both family and friends seemed to think I would suddenly gain 100 pounds overnight due to genetics, and while many comments were meant to be helpful, the constant reminder that “thin” was better than “fat” started to take its toll on me.

I quickly got sucked into the whole “thin = better” mindset and became frustrated when I wasn’t able to drop below 110 pounds. I started skipping meals and that quickly escalated to only eating once per day. I’d limit myself to only eating 300 calories, and then force myself to go for a run afterward. I honestly thought that if 110 pounds was good, 80 pounds must be even better. That’s how extreme my anorexia was. When I was 19, my BMI was 14.4.

I was anorexic for six years and honestly thought I’d die before I got better. It was only when my little sister, only 5 at the time, told me she was scared of getting fat that I knew I had to change. I didn’t want my baby sister going through the same struggles I did, so I decided to get help and learn how to be healthy again. It took two years and several relapses.

Read more of Brito’s story.less
Autism spectrum disorder is the elephant in the room

By Kris Gaston

We were at dinner with friends when my then-13-year-old son, Noah, blurted out a totally tasteless demoralizing joke about Mexicans. We were at a Mexican restaurant, and one of our friends was Mexican. Confused, Noah sees his younger sister looking at him like he has three heads, and I am mortified. Everybody else is dead silent, trying to pretend that elephant wasn’t in the room.

Noah does not categorize people into ethnic groups; they are all just people. His information is not derived from common knowledge; rather, he notices details, then puts them together to infer. He saw other kids laughing at this joke at school, hence it must be funny, and he likes to be funny.

I do applaud his effort. It is not easy for him to engage. If he’s going to end up with his foot in his mouth, it’s better with us than in the wild. We continue to learn from these things. He is intelligent and receptive, which means he is willing and able. With understanding and intervention, at 15, he is thriving with a bright future ahead of him.

Read more of Gaston’s story.less
Dysthymia is a hidden depression

By Phebe Durand

I penned depressing, dark poems and suicidal short stories as a teenager. Living in a small town, I participated in drugs and alcohol. It could have been “typical” teenage behavior. I thought so, even though I’d dropped out of high school and continued the sex, drugs, and drinking.

At 17, I left home with a man 12 years older than myself, continuing the pattern; notebooks were filled with poems on loneliness, self-loathing, and abuse. I amped myself up on drugs for the energy to work. I cared about nothing but the constant irrational fears itching inside my head. Even the abuse that man I’d left home for was nothing but fodder for a pen and paper.

Within a year, I tried to kill myself. It was a simple thing; I wasn’t in a state of panic or heartbreak. I was terrified of death. But I’d decided I wouldn’t allow the abuse to kill me and give someone else the satisfaction of having done it.

Fifteen years later, I’ve dropped the stigmas and saw a psychiatrist. Dysthymia was the problem all along, a sneaky form of depression that is acute and chronic. I deal with its common co-disorder, anxiety, with therapy. And I find myself optimistic, wistful, wishing I’d had the chance to have a life before.

Read more of Durand’s story.less
With schizophrenia, you can’t live in the shadows

By Jason Jepson

My first stay in a mental hospital was during my time in the Army. It was voluntary. I was a diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2004 while I was stationed at Fort Irwin, Calif., in the Mojave Desert. I was hearing voices in my head, and I thought I had special powers that allowed me to use my telepathy to talk back. Looking back, my illness really broke out after I experience hazing. I was duct-taped. Sometimes people didn’t believe that I experience hazing, because I have schizophrenia, but I assure you I did. I was 23 years old, and I was later honorably discharged.

When I was home, I didn’t take my medication, and my life was spiraling out of control. Without risperidone, I would probably be homeless or in jail. Now I get injections of my medication, and I take a pill every day.

Everyone has issues. Schizophrenia, however, is a full-time job and a marriage at the same time. It dominates your time and can be very stressful. And dealing with this stigma is hard. I have to really know someone before I tell someone I have schizophrenia. I wait until we are good friends and perhaps have already shared other secrets. I think most people see those living with schizophrenia as dangerous (like, for instance, a serial killer) or deranged.

Avoidant Personality Disorder Often Means Hiding from the World

Avoidant personality disorder often means hiding from the world

By Deb Cooper

My name is Deb, and I have moderate to severe avoidant personality disorder.

Even though I have been in counseling for 33 years, it was the last three years that proved to be most effective. Still, each morning is a struggle. I wake up debating if I need to go to the store, and I usually put the trip off if I can. The fear of being disliked or unwanted is so overwhelming that I’d rather be alone. My daily life involves watching TV or being on the internet. Neither of them involves personal interaction.

If I have to go somewhere, I cope by “masking”—a term I’ve given to putting on a smile and doing what I have to so I can get through a situation. It’s a “poker face,” of sorts. I have become so good at it that masking is what hampered being diagnosed earlier in life.

Agoraphobics See the World Through a Window

Agoraphobics see the world through a window

By Nancy Hernandez

In 2009, my doctor diagnosed me with panic disorder with agoraphobia. I’m 33, and I live bottled up in my home.

It first manifests itself with hives that cover my entire body, followed by shortness of breath, and finally, vertigo. I can barely leave my house. There are times, too, when I cannot leave my bedroom, except to take the five steps down my hall to the bathroom. I live 90 percent of my life sitting on my bed, curtains open wide, staring out the window, and wishing that I were brave enough to go outside.

My doctor put me on medication, which I took regularly, until I lost my job. Now, without insurance, I cannot see the doctor to get my medications. I’ve been without them for over a year, and as a result, I am missing much of my children’s lives. They are growing up and stepping out into the world, while I am growing more and more introverted. Nearly all of my contact with the outside world takes place via the internet and telephone. I would give anything to be able to step out into the sunshine, and breathe in the sweet smells surrounding me.

ADHD Diagnosis Ends Years of Addiction

ADHD diagnosis ends years of addiction

By Christopher F. Hyer

When I was 16, smoking pot and drinking cases of beer were my medication for ADHD — although I didn’t know that’s what I had at the time. From what I could tell, ADHD diagnostics didn’t commonly exist when I was in high school.

All my friends drank beer and smoked pot. Here in the desert of Midland, Texas, there’s practically nothing to do but drink and hit house parties. In school, I could not sit in class and could not understand my assignments, and when there was too much distraction, my mind floated away. I was a straight-A student until I started missing class, and I had high anxiety after that. Throughout my early 20s and 30s, this chaos impacted my work, friends and relationships.

I attended treatment facilities and psychiatric hospitals. Each would make a fresh diagnosis: alcoholism, substance abuse, schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder. I was baffled as to my condition and in turmoil over what would be diagnosed next. When I was 35, after three stints in mental institutions and four in drug rehabilitation centers, I was diagnosed as an adult with ADHD.

Anxiety disorder goes beyond the blues

By Michele Darien

Although I went through counseling in my younger years, mostly in college and law school, the first time I remember seeing the word “anxiety” associated with my medical condition was in June 1994. I was living back east then. My family physician had me hospitalized after I experienced unrelenting hallucinations over the course of several months. I was convinced I was demon-possessed and nobody could convince me otherwise. I was 27.

I relocated to Texas in 1995. Over the next couple of years, I was re-diagnosed and misdiagnosed until 1997 or 1998 when mental health professionals with a local universitys health system settled on a dual diagnosis: delusional disorder and anxiety disorder N.O.S. — or “not otherwise specified.”

I believe that psychiatric and psychological disorders still carry stigma. In the wake of mass shootings, it seems that many believe that people with mental illnesses are prone to violence. I’ve also heard a couple of well-known Christian ministers speak of mental illness as if it’s evidence of a lack of faith. Clinical depression goes beyond the blues. Anxiety disorder goes beyond butterflies in the stomach. There’s no wishing away any form of mental illness. Illness is illness whether it affects the heart, lungs, kidneys or brain.

Read more of Darien’s story.less
Agoraphobics see the world through a window

By Nancy Hernandez

In 2009, my doctor diagnosed me with panic disorder with agoraphobia. I’m 33, and I live bottled up in my home.

It first manifests itself with hives that cover my entire body, followed by shortness of breath, and finally, vertigo. I can barely leave my house. There are times, too, when I cannot leave my bedroom, except to take the five steps down my hall to the bathroom. I live 90 percent of my life sitting on my bed, curtains open wide, staring out the window, and wishing that I were brave enough to go outside.

My doctor put me on medication, which I took regularly, until I lost my job. Now, without insurance, I cannot see the doctor to get my medications. I’ve been without them for over a year, and as a result, I am missing much of my children’s lives. They are growing up and stepping out into the world, while I am growing more and more introverted. Nearly all of my contact with the outside world takes place via the internet and telephone. I would give anything to be able to step out into the sunshine, and breathe in the sweet smells surrounding me.

Read more of Hernandez’s story.less
ADHD diagnosis ends years of addiction

By Christopher F. Hyer

When I was 16, smoking pot and drinking cases of beer were my medication for ADHD — although I didn’t know that’s what I had at the time. From what I could tell, ADHD diagnostics didn’t commonly exist when I was in high school.

All my friends drank beer and smoked pot. Here in the desert of Midland, Texas, there’s practically nothing to do but drink and hit house parties. In school, I could not sit in class and could not understand my assignments, and when there was too much distraction, my mind floated away. I was a straight-A student until I started missing class, and I had high anxiety after that. Throughout my early 20s and 30s, this chaos impacted my work, friends and relationships.

I attended treatment facilities and psychiatric hospitals. Each would make a fresh diagnosis: alcoholism, substance abuse, schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder. I was baffled as to my condition and in turmoil over what would be diagnosed next. When I was 35, after three stints in mental institutions and four in drug rehabilitation centers, I was diagnosed as an adult with ADHD.

Read more of Hyer’s story.less
Living with OCD: We are unique, not abnormal

By Cindy Leisure

Imagine walking into someone’s office and seeing pamphlets or business cards lying around and pictures on the wall. Sounds normal, right? Now imagine that those cards, pamphlets or pictures are slightly crooked, and that’s the only thing that you can focus on in that room. You don’t hear what people are saying to you; all you can hear is your own mind telling you to straighten things up, make them even. You try to look at the person speaking to you, but your eyes keep wandering back to these crooked items. You finally walk over to straighten them out just so that you can focus on the person rather than driving yourself crazy thinking about how uneven things are. You turn around to see them staring at you in confusion.

I’m 31, and I’ve been living like this for years. I was diagnosed about three years ago with obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and general anxiety disorder.

I tried medications to alleviate the problem; however, it just created more problems. I became so lethargic that I just didn’t care to make things even when I could just leave the room and go take a nap. That was no way to live for me. I would rather go about my life making things even and constantly cleaning than to feel useless. I do, however, go to therapy to deal with all of my issues, and I recommend that to anyone.

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