I am 24 since 18

I am from Macao, currently living in the Netherlands. I am 24. I was diagnosed with OCD and anxiety in the first year of college in 2017. I encountered lot of things which caused this issue, I will summarise below.

As part of my yearly goal that I would like to achieve, I would like to reach out to those who have similar stories as me.

I was not feeling calm and was anxious all the time, I constantly washed hands and checked whether my doors were closed or not. I couldn’t stop my mind and had thousands of days of bad sleep (from 2017 to 2019). I was sent to hospital for checks (stomachache, heartache, and something was wrong with my urinary system), which affected my daily life. I have been sabotaging myself by little bites every day, doubting myself every day. Unfortunately, I had to act strong to take care of my family no matter how sick I was. Also, I was a toxic lover for my partner.

I was abandoned by my mother at the age of 2. She had never called me since I was 10. During the last call we had, she only wanted to talk to my older brother, or I’d say that she never wanted me, she never wanted a second child, and felt more attached to my brother. I was raised by my grandmother and lots of baby sitters (caregivers were changed from time to time). My dad came back to me when I was 8, which made me feel a lack of stability in my life. Since then, I had been living with my father and we had been sharing the same room until I was 21. I had been used to it, which made me feel that I did not have my own spaces. This led us to develop a toxic family relationship, I had a bond with my dad, which felt like I were his twin. In those years, I worried that my father would leave me or even die, so that I started to check his location as long as he was not out for work, keeping him safe in my mind, and I needed to know that he was alive and would not leave me again through the worries and GPS App.

Speaking of my brother, his life was also ruined by our family, who was also a victim of my family and did not really wake up from the lies. He had been a toxic family member for 15 years, which was why I was sad. He had been irresponsible for his behavior, because he expected that I would take care of him, who put all his stress and feeling on me. To make it clear, my role in the family wasn’t just a “son”, and I had been taken the roles of “a mum”, which also made me feel like I were the reason why he was a loser in school.

During my growing up journey, I have been bullied for 12 years. Of course, at the same time I bullied those who were worse than me. I ended all the bullies by moving to a new school, and completed my schooling in Macau in 2016. I got sexual harassed by two teachers at my former school. I told myself that I was cute and attractive enough to get raped at the age of 22. I really had thought it as a cool behavior.
In my relationship, I felt like I were a home-wrecker and control freak. I was not aware that I would be sick, and all I wanted was to occupy my partner, I wanted to him to delete some of his friends, not allowing him to go out at night, and he would update me every 20 minutes, because I worried if he would “dump” me over new people he met, I worried constantly if he was cheating, and I worried that I was gonna lose him. Just like my mum did, just like my father did, and just like everyone did. Thanks to his support, I stopped being the toxic one in 2021.

I was a travel lover, I visited lot of countries and met a lot of people. In 2020, I was in Budapest, where I started to feel something wrong about myself. I hated my ethnicity, I hated being an Asian, and I hated my language, because I felt like I were worse than other people like Westerns. I had thoughts like “people do not have to pay attention to me” “people should not even talk to me”, “I do not deserve nice greetings from people, because I am not even a human being” and “I am jealous seeing people being confident for being an Asian and just talking to foreigners without pressure, which I am unable to”.

But I learned that there was always a way out. I changed to another therapist who understood me and would like to help me get out of this cycle, who did not just wanted to give me advice on anything I encountered. We discussed on being independent, that is, getting out of the deformed bond with my father, getting out even from the toxic family and having proper medication as an independent human being. Now I am able to live without checking on my dad, not playing the role of “mum” in the family to make myself better, I am able to live my life, I respect myself as a human, I stop being a toxic partner in my relationship in the mid-2021, I have better sleep, I work regularly, I live and breathe, and I have inner peace.

My take-home messages are: There’s always a way out. Yes, even if we are sick, we are still a normal human being, it’s equal. We are all the same, we have the same right to live and speak. Be open to therapies, it’s not just a talk. It takes time, do not expect to be cured over a few sessions. It’s not for sick people, but for everyone, healthy people go too, just like other illnesses, which we could prevent from getting worse.

Also, finding the right one is important, and you can feel if a person really cares about you or not. Stay strong and speak more to your therapist as it is a team work. Just to write it down helps when you feel overwhelmed.