I’m not sure exactly when the thoughts began, but when they did; they came fast. I would get a thought in my head about something and it was nearly impossible to extradite it. I remember when there was a “lice” scare in grade school. We stood in line as the school nurse systematically checked everyone’s head for the tiny creatures. While I never actually had lice; in my mind I was sure that I did! I thought on it so often that my mind created the sensations of the little rascals crawling throughout my hair. I knew I was doomed! As I grew up, I continued–from time to time–to worry that I was infected with lice. I remember going to the drug store and buying lice shampoo. I would wash my hair in it to satisfy my doubts for awhile.
Another obsession of mine in my grade school years was my heart. At a young age I was diagnosed with a minor heart problem. There would be times when my heart would get into a bad rhythm and nothing I did could bring it out. It would be beating over 200 times per minute!!! I don’t know about you, but that scared me horribly!!!! I was sure that I would have a heart attack and die. I stopped eating greasy foods, eggs, and anything else that could hurt my heart. A part of me, I think, had to know that my thoughts were obsessive; but the obsessive part of me couldn’t come to grips with that yet.
It was during these years that I began to struggle with anxiety issues. I would feel closed off from everyone else because I knew they didn’t think like me. (At least I thought they didn’t!) I have three sisters and none of them had these kinds of issues. I used lay in bed and talk to my oldest sister–she was the most calm and “put together” one to me. I remember always telling her that I wished I had a mind that thought like hers. She has always amazed me with her ability to handle things. I treasured the times we stayed up talking at night. You know, as I’m writing these things down, I realize I am revealing extremely personal thoughts that up to this time very few people knew. I think it is the right time to do this. I believe the risk of embarrassment is worth it if someone else sees that they are not alone in their struggles.