Having OCD in high school

Juliana Conyer

More stories from Juliana Conyer

May 11, 2023

OCD definitely impacts me in high school, but it has taught me perseverance, courage, and resilience.

It is the night before my math test. I have done every single review question that my teacher has given me. I feel confident that I can do any problem that is thrown at me – yet I am still filled with overwhelming anxiety until the moment I turn in my test.

This is my standard test ritual that I have continued to perform my entire high school career. Most people have worries when it comes to school, but my anxiety is amplified by OCD, or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

OCD is a disorder that “features a pattern of unwanted thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead you to do repetitive behaviors (compulsions). These obsessions and compulsions interfere with daily activities and cause significant distress,” according to the Mayo Clinic.

I was diagnosed with OCD when I was in third grade. At that time, my disorder heavily impacted day-to-day life.

I constantly washed my hands until they were cracked and bleeding because I was afraid of germs. I had to pray once a day at the exact same time because I was convinced that if I didn’t something bad would happen to somebody I love. And whenever I was walking on a sidewalk, I looked at the ground to make sure I didn’t step on any cracks.

Once I was diagnosed and began behavior therapy, I was able to get my OCD under control. I still saw a therapist and had bad days, but most of the time I could forget about my disorder altogether.

But when I started high school, things began to change.

I had always cared about school, but in high school there has always been one focus — getting into college. Suddenly I went from caring about school and grades to being obsessed with them.

Every quiz and test, especially in math, brings terrible anxiety. This causes me to do something my therapist calls “ritualistic studying,” which means that I continue to study even after I know I am beyond prepared for my upcoming assessment.

Now OCD also affects me emotionally, socially and physically.

I struggle to live in the moment and be happy because I am always worrying about the next assignment that I have to turn in. I get burnt out very quickly because of the amount of excess work I cram into my day.

I have a wonderful friend group, but they sometimes can’t understand why I get so upset and anxious about school. When I have an OCD breakdown, they don’t always know how to handle it and can become annoyed with me.

OCD also puts my physical health in jeopardy. I get stomach aches and colds often because stress can destroy killer cells that fight illness, according to the American Psychological Association. Going through a day worrying so much also leaves me exhausted, and I find it hard to stay up later than nine most nights.

But there are ways that I can combat my OCD and live as normal of a life as possible.

Listening to music is extremely helpful when I feel my disorder taking over. Talking to family members and getting reassurance from them always eases my worries. And behavior therapy has taught me how to fight OCD.

My disorder definitely impacts me in high school, but it has taught me perseverance, courage, and resilience. If I can overcome this obstacle, I know that I can conquer any challenge life throws at me in the future.