Joshua Novak and Carrie Caulder were two teenagers, both 18, who had much in common. They both grew up in the working class town of Birchwood, NC. Their fathers both worked in the Birchwood Factory owned by, of course, the Birchwoods, the richest family in town. They both loved their families and were taught good moral values. They were taught to put God first, treat others with respect, and never forget who they are and where they came from. They were both the quintessential good-kids that every parent would be proud of. They both made decent grades. In fact, Carrie has always been on the honor roll. Joshua wanted to join the Army after graduating from high school, just like his father, and his grandfather before him. He wanted to be the 3rd generation Novak to join the US Army. His great-grandfather came to this country from Eastern Europe over a century ago. He arrived as a little boy with his parents and his 5 brothers. His grandfather talked about their beginnings and how they managed to make it in this country through hard times. However, Joshua could never see that happening because of his medical issues.
Carrie Caulder and her family moved from the tiny town of Mills, SC to Birchwood, NC five years
ago because her father, Mitchell James Caulder, got a job offer to work as a Supervisor at the
plant. Also, her mother's side of the family was originally from Birchwood and she wanted to
explore her roots. Her mother, Stephanie Miller, and her father married 20 years ago and have
been a loving and caring couple ever since. Carrie was a bright and happy young child. Her
hopes and dreams involved writing and having her writings published and read by many. She
always wanted to write, ever since she was younger. Writing has helped her to cope with much
in her life, from her father uprooting her family, to her mother's roots, to her illness.
Both Joshua and Carrie both suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Their illness is
characterized by disturbing, unwanted, and distressing thoughts that are highly exaggerated,
distorted, and seem so real. It may have a basis in reality, but because they are so real, it causes
them much distress. For both Joshua and Carrie, it has become so severe that they had to be
hospitalized or at least considered hospitalization.
Joshua has a form called Relationship OCD,
or ROCD for short. Joshua has a fear of being in a relationship. He and his ex-girlfriend, Kayly,
were in a relationship for over a year, and he found out she cheated on him with his best friend
and two other guys. For that reason, they broke up. Since then, he has had this fear that any girl
would cheat on him.
Carrie, on the other hand, has had fears of catching a disease if she doesn't keep her room, and
the rest of the house for that matter, clean. So she spends hours constantly cleaning her room
especially and checking to see if it in particular had no germs. She has disturbing thoughts of
catching a disease or even dying if she doesn't think her room is clean enough. She is especially
fearful if she has a cut on her hands, so she often wears a glove or opens a door with a cloth or
towel. She spends hours daily thinking and fighting and writing about those thoughts. The
writings bring temporary relief, only for the obsessive thoughts and the compulsions to occur
again. The cycle just seems never-ending.
To the both of them, it is like there is no hope sometimes. They both have amazing insight into
their problems yet it seems that they are alone because they know no one else like them. Until
now. Both of them, like many teenagers, are avid internet users. When they are not in school,
doing homework, or hanging out with their friends, or spending time with their families they spend
a lot of time alone on the internet in their own little worlds.
Carrie even has her own myspace
page. Yet she doesn't list herself as having Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Instead she goes
on a forum for young people who have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. That way, she at least
has someone who can relate to her. Like with Joshua, both of her parents worry that she spends
too much time on the internet and not enough time with her family.
Joshua's parents began to worry not only about his time on the internet, but about his overall
health after the breakup. His parents had to constantly monitor him in case he was suicidal.
Joshua at one point had even become a different person due to the breakup. He had even begun
to hang out with a different crowd and become dark and more depressed. He began to lash out
at anyone including his parents to the point where his father had to restrain him. His mother
called the emergency room because of this. Soon after, Joshua was hospitalized. That was over
a year ago. Since then, his condition has improved, yet has suffered through a cycle of unwanted
thoughts, triggers, and endless research and investigation about infidelity. He knows the
thoughts are not real and are not based on his real life, but they frustrate him. Sometimes, they
are just too much to bear.
Even though his parents are concerned about him going on the
internet, they have seen how much he has improved from the last year. Joshua does not have a
myspace page like Carrie, but he does go on the chat rooms and read comments on the forums.
Then he came across a message from a poster who has OCD, so he clicked on that one, but that
page did not interest him.
However, Joshua "googled" OCD for teens and many links came up, but one in particular caught
his interest. He was lonely concerning his problems and was looking for someone to chat with, or
at least to write to. So he looked through the site, read the posts on the message boards, and
looked through the rules and regulations on the site. He decided to register his information with
the website and entered his information. A few seconds later, he began to check his email and
clicked on the link to activate his account.
And as soon as he activated his account, he went on
to introduce himself to the rest of the teen forum, logging in as jnov223.
jnov223: I'm honestly don't know where to begin. I am 18 years old and I am suffering from an
endless cycle of obsessive thoughts, fears, doubts, and investigations that either end up nowhere
or at best, calm my fears, if only for a moment. I have been hospitalized for depression, but for
the past year, I have been having these thougths. I have improved, but I still have to deal with
these thougths. I have thougths about being cheated on. That is why I am afraid to ask a girl out.
My last girlfriend of a year cheated on me with three other guys. Since then, I have been
depressed and hospitalized because I lashed out at my family one night. I cannot look at a
picture of a hot chick without having thoughts that she might cheat, thinking about cheating, or is
cheating on her significant other. I often ask if she has a significant other? Is she cheating on
him? How many guys is she cheating on him with? Why is cheating on him? I have had
thoughts of women in general and my thoughts are the opposite of who I am. I was raised to
respect women, but since I broke up with my ex, I have had negative thoughts about women in
general. I don't like having these thoughts, but sometimes I wonder if they are true.