Even Steven

By David G. (age 10)

“There is a loose tile on our kitchen floor which I always need to straighten. I used to be afraid that a volcano would come if I didn't straighten it.”

What OCD is like for me: My sneakers drove me crazy, because I couldn't move my toes, and if they were in a position I didn't like, I would have to take my sneakers off. Also, they had Velcro on them, and I felt that the Velcro had to be exactly even. If it was warm out I wore sandals; otherwise I wore my boots.

I felt that my clothes had to be even and straight—I still have that—and tags are very annoying, even when they're cut off.

I have magnet sets with bars and balls, and Legos and K'nex. When I build something, it has to be color-coded. For example, if I can't find two wings of the same color, I won't build it.

There is a loose tile on our kitchen floor which I always need to straighten. I used to be afraid that a volcano would come if I didn't straighten it.

I had to avoid thresholds because I felt that each foot had to touch it for the same amount of time in the same place, and if it didn't, I had to start over.

I have to scratch things evenly, for example, both ears, even if the other side doesn't itch. When someone else does something to do with my OCD, it drives me crazy, because I can't say, "please scratch your other side." It helps to not look at them.

My work with M. (a behavior therapist) helped me to get over the problem with my sneakers. She had me just do things that bothered me when I was with her, and eventually I got used to it. (From Mom: No more threshold problems either. Whew!)

My advice to you if you have OCD is to picture something that reminds you of OCD and pretend that you are using an arsenal of weapons to destroy it. Or if you love video games like I do, pretend OCD is a boss that you have to destroy.

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