An Open Letter To My OCD
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

I Thought OCD Ruined My Life, But Now I'm Changed For The Better

I have a new outlook on life.

I Thought OCD Ruined My Life, But Now I'm Changed For The Better

Content warning: Intrusive thoughts, mention of death

Merriam-Webster defines Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as, "An anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent obsessions or compulsions or both that cause significant distress, are time-consuming or interfere with normal daily functioning, and are recognized by the individual affected as excessive or unreasonable."

I choose to define it as a fire-breathing dragon that I fight every day.

If one year ago someone had asked me what OCD was, I probably would have said something along the lines of "someone who likes to keep things clean, maybe someone who checks to make sure the oven is off more than once." That was about the extent to which I knew. I had no clue what was on the journey ahead of me. If only I knew then what I know now.

May 29, 2020 was the last "normal" day I remember having. I was house-sitting with a friend, it was the beginning of summer and we spent all day in the pool. Life was great. I ordered dinner from a place I loved, spent the day relaxing, and spent a good day with my best friend. Around 6 p.m. when I went to go take a shower, I noticed my anxiety was going up, but I just figured it would pass like usual. Random spikes in my anxiety aren't uncommon for me. Like I said — everything was great until it wasn't.

The next morning, the second I woke up, I vaguely remember having a panic attack. This was unusual for me because I usually don't wake up and immediately panic. I began to have weird thoughts. Thoughts that were the opposite of who I am and I began to panic more. I had no idea what was happening to me. Was I going crazy? (I've come to learn these are called intrusive thoughts). I began to become very anxious and upset and distanced myself from everyone. For the first time in my life, I was terrified of myself.

This continued and progressively got worse throughout the next three to four days. I decided enough was enough and I needed to call my therapist. Thankfully I got into a partial hospitalization program at a behavioral health center in my city the very next day.

Every day was a blur. I had to call my mom on the phone and have her talking and singing through the phone while I took a shower because I couldn't bear to be alone with my thoughts. I'm twenty-three years old and I could barely get myself together to shower. The therapists at my treatment center were fantastic and I thank them for everything they did for me, but I hated them at the time. I hated them for what they were making me do. They were making me confront my worst fears. I had to look them in the eyes and tell them these scary thoughts that were going on inside my head. Thoughts that I thought would get me sent away forever. Thoughts that had me convinced I needed to stay away from my family. I had to trust complete strangers with my life.

Each day was hell. I felt like I was never going to get better.

I felt like I couldn't do the things my treatment team wanted me to do. I had "exposures" I had to do every afternoon and I wasn't doing them. I was too scared. I told myself I couldn't do it. I vividly remember one weekend, telling my parents that I couldn't go on. I couldn't face this every day. I wanted to die. And I meant it.

I did the responsible thing and called my therapist. I'll never forget what she said. She said, "Sara-Anne, you have to want to get better. No one else can fix this for you. You can't just sit there and wish things were back to the way they were. You have to face the fire-breathing dragon. You have to fight back. Don't let the fire-breathing dragon win." That's when things started turning around for me. All of my life I've never had to do much for myself. I've never had to really work for anything. If I messed up financially or really wanted something, I had my family's money to bail me out, a family member got me my first internship (no interview required), and if I was depressed my doctor would just prescribe me a new medicine and I would be on my way. But this was something that someone else couldn't bail me out of. Yes, medication would help, but it wouldn't totally fix the problem.

I had to confront my fears. This was all me.

The very next week I decided, I couldn't live like this anymore. It had been a month and a half of misery. I decided I was going to face my fears. Every day I faced three of the many scary intrusive thoughts I was having. I don't want to get specific, but they were violent. I had to watch videos, look at pictures, and write stories about it. My anxiety was high for the first couple of weeks. Slowly but surely, I found myself getting better. Was this actually working?

By the beginning of August, I was discharged to the IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program) for three weeks. I couldn't believe how far I had come. I still can't. My time in IOP really taught me how to believe in my ability to "be my own therapist" and that I can tolerate uncertainty and anxiety. I can live with the fact that I have scary thoughts sometimes! But I know I'm not defined by them. It doesn't mean I'm going to be a bad person just because I have them. I made my own "panic plan" of sorts for when things start getting hard for me, I have the tools I need to bring myself down and into reality again! I also really began getting into things like guided meditation, 4-7-8 breathing, and going on 30 minute walks with my dog! Having those positive, healthy things to look forward to during the day really makes a difference.

Most of all, I want to say thank you to my OCD.

Not only have I matured, but I also have a new outlook on life. By no means is my OCD gone. It probably never will be, but I can accept that! I can accept the fact that nothing is certain. I may have scary thoughts and they may give me anxiety, but I don't have to stop my life and let it tear me apart from the people I love! I am a strong woman and anxiety doesn't run my life anymore. I have more power and self-confidence than I ever thought I could. I don't run from fear anymore, I face it. And you can, too.

Report this Content

A new month means new music! Like each month, I've collected my top 10 new songs or discoveries into a playlist. This November didn't have too many new releases, however, I did find a few and a couple of new discoveries.

Keep Reading... Show less

7 Christmas Ideas For Couples That You Can Still Do In The Middle Of A Global Pandemic

The holidays are such a fun time to celebrate with loved ones; here are a few activities to consider being a part of during this Christmas season.

Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

Whether it is a night in at home baking sweet Christmas themed goodies for Santa, or a night out exploring lit up neighborhoods, the holiday season should always be taken advantage of for cute activities!

Keep Reading... Show less

Every Track On Ariana Grande's 'Positions' Album Ranked

Ariana Grande has achieved major success with her new album and we're ranking every track.


Ariana Grande surprised fans in October, tweeting that her new album was being released. What followed was yet another number one peak on the Billboard 200 albums chart. The album's title track and lead single, "Positions," also hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

With "Positions," Grande took a much more light-hearted approach than the confessional nature of its predecessor, "Thank U, Next." It was a welcome and refreshing change of pace. Now that the album has been out for a solid month, it's the perfect time to see how the songs rank.

Keep Reading... Show less

In the four Christmas' that I have spent with my boyfriend, I have realized one thing: boys are hard to shop for. Each year I have to rack my brain for gift ideas because when I ask my boyfriend what he wants for Christmas, he always says something along the lines of "nothing," which as a girl is hard to fathom since I literally give him a list each year before Black Friday.

After hours each year scouring the internet for the perfect Christmas gifts to get my boyfriend, I have come up with a pretty long and inclusive list. To help those girlfriends going through the same thing, I decided to put together some of the best gifts I have come across.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

10 Ways You Can Safely Enjoy The Holidays During The Pandemic

Even with a pandemic, there are still ways to celebrate.


It's almost December, which means that it's almost time for the biggest holiday season to arrive! However, it doesn't mean that COVID-19 has decided to disappear. According to the CDC, 147,840 new cases of COVID have been recorded in the last seven days.

States such as Kentucky have closed all of their restaurants, schools, and businesses until December. Some governors have started to advise caution when celebrating the holidays, too. You may be thinking, 'is there any way to really enjoy Christmas during the pandemic?' In fact, there are ways to still celebrate the holiday safely. Here are 10 ways that you can still enjoy the holiday season without canceling any of your plans.

Keep Reading... Show less

The 5 Things We ALL Want For Christmas In Mariah Carey's New Special

The Queen of Christmas is back and bringing festive moments to an all-new special premiering December 4!


Mariah Carey is saving 2020 by bringing an all-new Christmas special to Apple TV+ starting December 4. It will feature guest stars, festive moments, and musical performances. The all-star cast includes Tiffany Haddish, Billy Eichner, and Snoop Dogg. Carey's twins will also make a special appearance.

A festive special is certainly what we all need right now. There are lots of information about the upcoming special that has many fans excited. Here are the five things from the special we're most looking forward to.

Keep Reading... Show less

10 Things You Need From Target If You Want To Take Your Christmas Decor Game To A Whole New Level

No one wants to talk about 2020, but these decor pieces will give everyone something worth talking about.

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

It's no secret that for a majority of people, Christmas season is the happiest time of year.

There are people that put their trees up before Halloween even begins and those that calmly wait until Thanksgiving is over. No matter which group you fall in, there's a good chance that this year has been a tough one, so why not treat yourself to a few new pieces that will spark joy in your heart every single time you catch a glimpse of them.

Keep Reading... Show less

How The 'Friends' Theme Song Is Actually Describing 2020 — And It Couldn't BE More Accurate

This isn't our day, our week, our month, and definitely not our year...


Everyone knows the iconic Friends theme song and although we may have joked in previous years how relatable it is, here's a breakdown of the lyrics and how they are so 2020, we might never be able to listen to it again after 2020.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments