“Obsession” is a word that tends to get thrown around a lot. “OMG, I’m obsessed with Ariana Grande’s new song!” or “I have a Hunger Games obsession.” It’s come to mean you really, really like something. And while being passionate is great, it’s not quite the same as being obsessed. Or at least not for everyone.
Meet Julia Jarvis — a 17-year-old who has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, a severe anxiety disorder that affects her everyday life. As she explains in her Teen Flaunt essay, obsessive takes on a whole new meaning for her. It’s more than just an adjective — it has become her lifestyle.
She opens up about how she’s been teased about her OCD. When she compulsively washes her hands, she’s met with these responses: “Oh, she is such a germaphobe.” “So if I poked you, would you wash your arm?” “What if I hugged you? Would you have to take a shower?” Even though others may not undesrtand, she explains her actions:
When I feel contaminated, I think that washing will help. It seldom does, but the thing is, the monster in my head is telling me that if I don’t scrub every little corner of my hands, I will get violently sick. It’s telling me, ‘You missed a spot,’ while seemingly laughing at my insecurity. This monster picks at these things because he knows he will win.
She also touches on the frequent misuse of the phrase “OCD.” It bothers her when others casually say, “I need to clean my desk. I’m so OCD.” She writes, “OCD is not synonymous with concerned. It is an actual chronic illness. And my disorder is not an adjective. I am not an adjective.”
Despite the obstacles it brings, Julia isn’t ashamed of her OCD. And she shouldn’t be! To read more of her insightful and inspiring essay, head over to Teen Flaunt’s site.
If you would like to have your teenager or student (age 13-18) write a “Teen Flaunt” that could potentially be published on the Teen Flaunt page, please submit the proposed essay (no longer than 700 words) to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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P.S. Did you know there’s a health and well-being magazine for teens that features inspiring stories every month? Subscribe to Choices, and check out our past pieces about Ashlyn, who feels no pain, and Georgia, who was born deaf.