My best friend Julie was just diagnosed with OCD.
It’s not the kind of OCD that you normally hear about. She’s definitely not obsessed with cleaning and she doesn’t spend her day counting how many times she turns the lights on and off, but she still has OCD. Julie’s revolves around school. She is obsessed with school and her grades so her compulsion is to study all the time.
OCD is considered severe if more than one hour a day is spent on compulsive behaviors, and Julie’s is incredibly severe because she spends at least 15 hours a day studying.
The only reason her OCD has gone undiagnosed for so long is because it’s presenting itself through her school work. It is considered normal for a pre-med student to spend obscene amounts of time on her studies. If Julie was spending 15 hours a day bleaching the bathroom, we would’ve realized she had a problem a long time ago.
She says it hurts when she isn’t studying. Even when she’s driving to school or eating she is thinking about school and how much she needs to study to make up for the time she is away. When there is a threat to her studying time, like a friend really needing her advice (me) or a mandatory sorority event, she gets so anxious about missing studying time that she gets nauseous and can’t eat. Her body is literally killing itself over school. She is 5’8 and weighs 97 pounds.
She’s been going to therapy for since the beginning of summer when her grandmother died and they just told her about her diagnosis. She is weighed before every appointment. They told her if she didn’t make some serious changes in her schedule that they would put her on medication. Surprise, she hasn’t been able to magically fix years of school related OCD in a week.
But she says she won’t go on medication. She says she doesn’t want to, but I’m not sure she realizes how severe her OCD actually is. I’ve been doing some googling and I know that they don’t prescribe OCD meds to everyone with OCD. It takes a certain degree of severity to make her psychiatrist consider putting her on medicine, especially before even trying cognitive behavioral therapy.
When Julie told me she had OCD, I had one of those moments where everything just snaps into place. She made so much more sense to me. There’s finally a reason for all of her weird behaviors. I feel a little guilty, like I should’ve known something was really wrong. I knew she wasn’t healthy and contacted her parents about her weight loss, but I still feel like a failure for not realizing she had a much bigger problem than food.
Sometimes Erika says that she thinks she attracts people with mental illnesses. Now I know what she feels like. Why can’t my friends just be fucking normal? But I also spend almost as much time studying as a person with OCD so that’s pretty ridiculous.
I’m feeling so many things about Julie’s diagnosis and it’s not even me with the problem. I feel guilty that I didn’t notice it sooner. I feel hurt in my heart that she has to go through this. I feel insane worry about her health, both physical and mental. It feels ironic that one of my friends has yet another type of problem with the chemistry in their brain. I feel mad that Julie refuses to take medication.
Actually, I’m pissed about that. How can she not want to at least try it out and see if it improves her anxiety and her weight? She is literally wasting away in front of me and she doesn’t want to do anything about it. She doesn’t want to talk about anything but her OCD and she never wants to hangout. I feel like I’m losing her.
I know I can’t possible grasp what she is going through. I’m trying to be here for her and support her. I want to be a safe place and someone she can tell the hard shit to. She is at least open and real with me. She still tells me I’m her best friend. I just don’t feel like I am. I don’t know what to do.
If I wasn’t already in therapy this would’ve been enough for me to seek help.