In retrospect, my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) was glaringly obvious. In grade 11, I remember sitting outside my bedroom at 2 am, wrapped in my blanket, trying desperately to stay awake so that I could keep an eye out for potential flames through the crack of my parents’ door. In grade 12, I walked home from school to make sure that the hair dryer was off; I hadn’t even used it that morning, but I had spent first period trying not to cry as I became convinced that my house would burn down.
The late slips piled up as the year wore on: I was spending more and more time frozen on my porch, checking the doorknob to make sure it was locked, before finally getting to my first class sweaty and nauseated. At night, I would stand statue-like in my kitchen, staring at the knobs on the stove, trying to convince myself that they were off. I’d stick my hand in the oven to make sure it didn’t feel hot, and I’d grow increasingly agitated as the anxiety bubbled up inside me, unable to complete my rituals as long as I was being distracted by images of my family dying.