Imagine being so scared of "contamination" that your clothes couldn't be washed with others', and the washer itself had to be washed before your clothes could go in.
That's how bad Michelle LeClair's Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) got in 2008. In 2009, LeClair, then 13, was one of three children profiled in ABC "Primetime's" journey into the world of OCD.
At that time LeClair described her fear and isolation in an online journal. In conjunction with ABC News' revisiting of OCD on "My Extreme Affliction" this Saturday, LeClair offered the following diary entry from the weeks after the show originally aired.
LeClair, now 17, is doing much better. Whereas once it was a struggle to enter a classroom and sit at a desk, now LeClair is a high school junior taking Advanced Placement classes and playing volleyball. She goes to movies and the mall with friends. LeClair still suffers from depression and OCD, for which she takes Lexapro.
A page from the diary of Michelle LeClair:
I'm not sure how I feel about today. It was a day of conflicting emotions. Mom and I went shopping at the mall. I have been doing it lately, feeling more confident each time, going into more stores, trying on clothes, buying some things and not having any OCD thoughts. Today, though, was different.
A girl came up to me in one of the stores and ask me if I had been on TV. She recognized me! I froze! My body tightened up, my heart started racing. I started feeling very anxious and looked to the door for an escape. First she touched me and then she said she saw the ABC Primetime show and then she thanked me! Why? I wondered. Then she told me she had OCD. We started talking and she shared with me her OCD obsessions and compulsions.
They were so different from mine, but I understood them. I looked at her and realized -- she is just like me and there are others that have OCD too. I could see and understand the pain in her eyes. I had that pain, too. She told me how seeing how I worked through my therapy and how honest and open I was on TV made her realize there was hope.
She called me "brave." Me, "brave" -- that's a laugh, I thought. She told me she thought I was brave because I bared my soul (on TV, no less), so that others could understand it and get help -- like she was now doing. She was getting help because she saw me as a success and I gave her hope.
I walked away with uncomfortable memories of my OCD that day, and yet a feeling of power over it. I felt satisfaction that just maybe it was all worth it -- not only for me but maybe I helped some else, too!
I never felt like a success. I struggle with my OCD every day, some days more than others. I know I will live with my life with OCD forever but I also know I have the tools to help me, and if I falter I can always ask for help. Take that, OCD!
Watch the full story on the "20/20" special "My Extreme Affliction" Saturday at 9 p.m. ET.