3 Things OCD Has Taught Me
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Health and Wellness

3 Things OCD Has Taught Me

Every dark cloud has a silver lining. I've never seen a cloud with even a trace of silver, but that's beside the point.

3 Things OCD Has Taught Me

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (n.)- A disorder where a person suffers from excessive thoughts (obsessions) that lead to repetitive behaviors (compulsions)

When I was 13 years old, I was clinically diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. When most people think of OCD, they think of people being meticulously organized or washing their hands religiously. Although these are compulsions that some patients face, mine revolved heavily around counting to a certain number while holding my breath during tasks, having trouble wasting food and throwing things away, and repeating basically everything I did until I felt I did it to my own mind’s satisfaction. It would take me hours to eat a bowl of cereal because I had to chew a particular way a particular number of times. It got to the point where I nearly stopped eating because it was such a chore. I couldn’t sleep because my mind was constantly telling me I needed to get up and turn the light on and off again because I did it wrong the first time. I was exhausted. Thankfully, though, I got help. And now, you probably wouldn't even know I had it unless I were to tell you. After nearly seven years of coping with OCD, I have learned so much. Here are a few things OCD has taught me.

1. I am not crazy.

I will admit it; I was very difficult to be around when my OCD was at its peak. I was anxious and I took forever to get even the simplest tasks done. I was susceptible to breakdowns because I was tired and fed-up with myself. When I finally went to my psychiatrist, he explained to me that I had a chemical imbalance in my brain, and until that imbalance was evened out, there was no way I would be able to function the way I had before I developed OCD. This was comforting to me, because I felt like I had an explanation as to why I was thinking the way I was so suddenly. Sometimes, when I get really stressed or I am not getting enough sleep, my old compulsions and obsessive thoughts will come back, and I will start to feel like I am “crazy” again. But I’m not, and I never was. I have a disorder. And I can get better, because I’ve done it before.

2. I have strength within me.

One thing my psychiatrist told me that has stuck with me for years, is that you have to want to get better. Medicine alone will not cure you. Thankfully, I wanted to get better so badly. I went through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help identify my obsessive thoughts and then find ways to stop or lessen my compulsions. Whenever a little demanding thought would sneak to the front of my mind, I fought with myself to ignore it. There were a few months where it was so difficult, but when I started to see that I could stand up to my thoughts (it sounds weird, doesn’t it?), that I was able to see the strength it took to do so. It surprised me, because I never thought I would have to be in that situation when I was barely 13. But I was, and I was proud that I was getting better and that I had helped myself heal.

3. Complaining won’t get me anywhere.

It’s difficult to have a positive outlook on life when everything going on in your mind is negative. It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself when you are facing adversity in life, but it takes such a toll on you and those around you when all you are exuding is bad vibes. I had an overactive mind, yes, but dwelling on it wasn’t going to get me anywhere. I was bumming my family out when all they were trying to do was help me and try to understand what I was going through. Looking back now, there is no way I would have been able to get to the point I am at now without my family supporting me. It was probably very embarrassing to be in public with someone who wouldn’t dare to step on a crack or walk past a piece of clothing without touching it. But they did, and they didn’t force me to stop, they just simply let me do what I felt I needed to do, and then talked to me about it later. I am so grateful to my family, and I am so thankful that I had the resources I needed to get back to being my usual weird, goofy self.

It’s been over six years since that horrible summer, but I wouldn’t change anything about it. I am thankful for my OCD. I still struggle with it sometimes, and I know I will for the rest of my life, but I also know that I can handle it. My condition does not define who I am, but the way I choose to deal with it does say something about me. So, yeah, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is not exactly a stroll in the park, but it has proven to be a source of abundant lessons for me to learn. I mean, it could be worse. I could be named Toad or something. I doubt there is much to learn from having a name like Toad. I would just have a stupid name.

Alrighty then. I’m getting to the point where I’m just spewing nonsense. I hope this little glimpse into a part of my life has inspired or informed you in some way. Thanks for reading!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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