At 6 years old, I realized I cared more about the number of times the windshield wipers moved back and forth than I did about the thunderstorm. At 7, I understood germs to be more prevalent than air. At 8, I found it impossible to focus on anything religious because I was counting the number of vowels in a church-talk, tapping my knee in sets of three in order to stave off a serious illness or a catastrophic event that I believed would wipe away my family, and blinking (alternating left and right eyes) seven times when I saw the color black. My rituals each morning sometimes took up to two hours or more, and I often showered at least five times a day, washing my hands a minimum of 100 times per day. But it wouldn’t be until years later that I would be diagnosed with OCD.
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