Announcing… part four of “My OCD Life Story, So Far”: Early Marriage/Late Twenties

click here for part three, here for part two, and here for part one

After my mission, I did the boring, wonderful, and expected: I got a job, got my own place to live, and got married. We lived in Utah and eventually bought a house and got pregnant. And I decided to go off my medication “just in case” it might cause harmful side effects to my baby.

At this time, I was working as an adjunct faculty member teaching in the communications department of a local university. I loved the act of teaching. But then I started to worry about the things I said, the articles I assigned the students to read, the things I taught, and the grades I gave. What if I wasn’t obeying copyright laws somehow? What if I didn’t properly attribute an idea to the right person when I brought something up in class? What if I wasn’t being totally fair in my grading? What if I gave someone a final grade of a “B” when they should really have gotten an “A” or maybe even a “C”?

And eventually I had to deal with plagiarism from my students and at least one student who was having a hard time passing the class but wanted to graduate. How lenient should I be? What was fair to the other students? Was my grading too harsh in the first place? These questions would torment me, and I couldn’t seem to figure them out or get reassurance to calm my fears. Eventually I stopped teaching altogether.

I had my son and then later, my daughter, and moved from worrying about grades and teaching to taking care of children and church callings. I was called to be primary president and then got to stress out about the weight of that responsibility and the need to be there every Sunday: don’t get sick! Get better by Sunday! I have to teach sharing time! Etc. etc.
But really, I could handle things relatively well at that point. I was lucky, I guess. I didn’t realize I had OCD and thought that by quitting the things (like teaching and grading) that caused me anxiety, I could run away from them. But I didn’t realize that OCD can go into remission for a time and then come back with a vengeance, in new and different ways. And that was what was coming next.