I was diagnosed with OCD with high anxiety when I was a child. At first, I was put on medications which didn’t fully help with the anxiety, but it did stop the obsessive thoughts for the most part. It also made me feel like I was in a fog. So, I stopped taking them. I tried therapy, but their techniques didn’t help. So I decided to take matters into my own hands. As a kid, whenever anything bad happened or I was scared, I would tell myself that one day, long after I had survived it, I would look back at that moment and realize that it was just that. A moment. So, I decided to use that method, but alter it. I mentally step out of what is going on and remind myself that this is just that, a moment. This moment will pass and I will survive it. Sometimes, I have to convince myself that the scenarios that are running through my head are of things that will never happen.
For example, my daughter loves to sleep over at her friends house. This causes me to have trouble sleeping. So many horrific scenarios run through my head. All of them ending with her dying on my porch after crawling or limping home after suffering some kind of attack from an intruder or an accidental house fire or a roof collapse. My OCD tells me that I need to be awake to hear her or she will die. When I go on long road trips, my OCD tells me that every car I am near is going to crash into us and I actually see multiple horrible ways of us crashing and dying.
So, I tell myself that the next day my daughter will come home and will tell me how much fun she had, and she always does. I tell myself that we will make it to our destination and enjoy our time. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t always work. There are days where just running to the gas station or taking my daughter to school or going to work can cause a panic. Some days I have no symptoms, and those days are amazing. Dealing with the bad days is exhausting. It takes so much out of me. There are few people who know that I have OCD. For my husband, he doesn’t fully understand yet he is learning. There are days I can’t eat. Days I am erratic or on edge. My daughter knows but I haven’t disclosed all of the aspects of OCD since she is only 11 years old.
Let me make this clear, I DO NOT allow my thoughts to control my emotions. I also have learned to compromise with my OCD over certain aspects of my life. When I was a kid, I used to have trouble sleeping because my room was all wrong. I couldn’t fully explain why it was wrong but it had to be set up another way. So in the middle of the night I would rearrange my entire room the way it was supposed to be. Well, I don’t do things in the middle of the night, except for maybe scrub the floor from time to time; but I do have my routines and rituals that I follow no matter what.
I am hoping that this blog can help someone going through the same experiences and help people feel like they are not alone. OCD can be very isolating. For those who have people in their lives who don’t fully understand what you are going through or you are too scared to tell them (like me with my family), any bit of connection that makes you feel “normal” helps.