Two nights ago, I told my dad about my OCD. It was one of the most intense emotional experiences of my entire life. As I said in my first blog post, I've gone my entire adult life without confiding in any of my friends or family. My dad is only the second person I've confided in, other than mental health professionals and one friend who I told several weeks ago.

When I confided in my dad, I had no idea how he would react. I did not expect a positive reaction, nor did I expect a negative reaction. It was impossible for me to imagine how he'd react because it was completely inconceivable that I would ever open up to him.

Before I told him about my OCD, I was trying to tell him in vague, general terms about having anxiety. His reaction was not very positive. He mocked me a little bit at some points. At other points, he insisted that he "understood completely" even though I was only speaking in general terms.I started getting frustrated because I knew he would never grasp the depths of my anxiety unless I told him about having OCD.

At this point, I made a conscious decisionto open up completely. I started telling him about how I was scared that people might die if I didn't perform certain compulsions. I told him about howI almost became homeless because of my OCD. I told him about how I'd been scared of getting kicked out of college because my OCD made me so non-functional. Within minutes, I was crying. It was the first time I've cried in maybe seven or eight years. Bear in mind that I HAD NO IDEA WHAT HIS REACTION WOULD BE as I was saying all this. I was not comfortable telling him about the recent manifestations of my OCD, so I mostly told him about how OCD affected me back when I was in college. Back then, I had more compulsions. Nowadays my OCD is mostly obsessions.

Anyway, he did not react with much emotion. He asked questions and made comments, but he did so without showing much feeling. He did not even show surprise, nor did he say something along the lines of, "I always knew something was wrong." At the end of the conversation, I asked him if he had any thoughts about it, and he seemed surprised by the question. Then he said he was sad and that he understood my anxiety better. Overall, I'm happy with his reaction because at least he took me seriously and didn't tell me to "just get over it." He may not have acted sad, but at least he said that he was sad.

Thank you very, very, very much for reading all this; I hope some of you can identify with me. If you're comfortable talking about it, Iwould love to hear people's thoughts about my experience or about their own stories of confiding in people.Thanks for reading.

  1. laurzaffle 10 years ago

    I remember telling my mom. I was having a breakdown I was ready to commit myself to a hospital or commit suicide. She was and still is very understanding about everything but she also likes to tell me all about OCD now, and she has no idea what she is talking about. Example she will be like oh my gosh my friends house is always clean she has such bad OCD. I tell her that's not OCD but she keeps going. I'm glad she understands because my OCD is mostly obsessions and she didn't judge me for them but I hate that she makes it into everyone has OCD. I'm happy for you stay strong 🙂

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  2. telknit23 10 years ago

    Good for you…I admire your courage.  I I've been toying with coming clean with people, but I really don't want to answer all their questions.  It's easier to just call it anxiety, although you still get people who say "what do you have to be anxious about?"  So maybe spelling it out would help.  I hope it works that way for you.  Let us know if your father seems to "get it" more clearly as time goes on.  And welcome to the tribe.  

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  3. ancientgeekcrone 10 years ago

    It took a lot of courage. I am glad you did it. It must have taken a big burden from you.

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  4. Dent838 10 years ago

    That's great that you told your dad.  It's a big step.  For the few people I've told, it was something I rehearsed over and over, balked a few hundred times… and then it just sort of came out when I didn't even plan it.  That's life though, the best things happen when you don't expect it.  (The worst things too!)

    I've found that the reaction is always a reflection of the person you tell.  I tell it the same way, but it speaks volumes about the person you're telling it to.  My mom was totally befuddled, then read several articles online and sent them all to me.  That's her – she's doesn't understand it exactly, but she means well and wants to fix things.  My sister was incredibly sympathetic at first… then spent the next 8 years busting my balls about it.  In a fun way though – hell, she was busting my balls before I had any.

    In the end, if they love you, they'll support you.  They don't have to get it, and they never really will, but it's nice to know they care. 

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