I Choose To Overcome My OCD Every Day

I Choose To Overcome My OCD Every Day

Avoidance is no way to live.

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, is not about being super neat or double checking if the oven is turned off. It's much more than that, and it can take over your life.

OCD became debilitating my freshman year of college, and I had no idea I was even suffering from it. My previous perception of OCD was someone who kept their apartment spotless and locked the door a couple of times before heading off to bed. I was misinformed and unable to comprehend what was happening to me as a result of it. Yes, there are those who suffer from OCD who fear germ contamination or obsessively want things to be in a specific order, appearing organized. However, OCD can mean a number of other things, such as excessive focus on religious or moral ideas, obsessive attention to superstitions, fear of losing control, fear of the loss of loved ones and their safety, as well as intrusive, unwanted sexual or violent thoughts. All these obsessions range into different aspects of life, but all can be extremely debilitating to the individual with OCD.

My freshman year of college was my rock bottom. The anxiety I experienced felt never-ending, and it tired me to the point of exhaustion. I was scared and depressed and avoided leaving my dorm whenever possible. Most of all, I felt like I would never be the person I was before OCD. I was a happy person, someone who was excited to start the new day with hopes and dreams. My mental illness took that spark out of me, and I felt like a stranger to even myself. I was scared that I would be like this for the rest of my life.

Thankfully, I got the help I needed through special behavioral counseling and learned that avoidance only strengthens the anxiety that OCD held against me. I had decided that enough was enough and that it was time to take action to help myself. It was one of the scariest things I have ever done, but facing my fears helped me get my life back. I took baby steps, and every day was a new challenge for me. At first, it was hard to face my fears and accept that the scary things I obsessed over were out of my control. But eventually, the anxiety decreased, and I wasn't really afraid anymore.

Even though I am in a much better place in my life than I was freshman year, OCD is something I will deal with for the rest of my life. I tend to have new fears once I get over another fear, and choosing to stop avoiding the fear is something that never gets easier—but once I do it, I am able to overcome it little by little.

Some days are better than others, but I'm myself again—and for that, I'm grateful.

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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You Should Never Be Ashamed Of Not Being OK

No storm lasts forever but it's perfectly fine for it to rain...

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It's okay not to be okay. What's not okay, is feeling sorry for it. We all have a right to, not be okay from time to time, but if those time to times become every day; it's still okay. Please just remember to always seek help, whether it may be a friend, family member, your favorite customer, a teacher, or even professional help. It's okay to vent and it's okay to tell someone you're not okay; we don't always expect you to be.

People live different lives of all type of scenarios and obstacles. You could be a billionaire and still not be okay. You could still be mourning over the loss of a loved one or a bad breakup. And no matter what your age, it's perfectly fine to be hurt over a breakup. Never are you too young to have feelings or too young to love. So never let anyone tell you that. Teenage love is just as real as adult love, and sometimes even purer. Your day or life could be going perfect and then tragedy hits and suddenly it's no longer perfect and you're not okay. That's okay, you will be again.

Even if you "have no reason to be sad" you still have a right to be and it is alright for you to have those feelings. Sometimes sadness is random but you need no justification for it. Usually, this indicates depression but it is human and fine to feel this way, many of us do too. Negative feelings are just as okay as positive feelings, no matter who says otherwise.

My best advice is to find something you love. Take interests in the little things. Want to know what helps me and has kept me alive and keeps me doing okay? I live for sunsets and travel. My funds don't always grant me the opportunity to travel but it's free to look out your window or take a walk outside. Sunsets are a daily promise to us and it's something I live to capture in my free time. Every day I can look forward to a sunset. They all might not be breathtaking and picture worthy, but they're still there. Find your sunset in life and never let go. It could be your morning coffee or the neighborhood dog that always walks past your house at noon with its owner. The one that works for most is music because there will always be more and there are already trillions of songs out there for you. Music is a great escape and is the best for putting what we fail to say into words. A great to start with is Leona Lewis' throwback of "Better In Time" because she reminds us that through the struggles and pain "it'll all get better in time" or Logic's "1-800-273-8255" which is also our National Suicide Hotline number in America and the song offers a great message. Just find your peace and stick with it.

Also, if you feel you the need to hide the fact that you're not okay from a person then please remove them from your life. You only need people around that are going to be there for you and let you vent. What you don't need is people telling you your feelings are wrong and to just snap out of it. They're jerks for that and you NEED to let them go, I don't care if it's the last person you have left or your best friend of 10 years or even your mother. LET THEM GO and make a new supportive friend. We all need someone to run to at the end of the day or when times get too hard.


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What I want you to know is happiness is not something that just comes every day to everyone, it's something that needs to be worked at. It's okay not to always be happy and I think people forget that. Expecting to be happy every single day of your life is an unrealistic expectation and will only set you up for failure. As long as you're content with your day and what you're doing, that's all that matters.

The most important thing to remember is that this won't last forever. Some days are going to be tougher than others, as some storms are more powerful, but I PROMISE YOU that it'll get better. Every storm has its rainbow and your storm will have its. Sunnier days are yet to come so please ride out the storm and find yourself along the way. Once you find your "sunset" I promise you it'll get easier. Always remember that YOU MATTER, it's okay to admit you're not okay and you're not weak for doing so, and it can't possibly rain forever.

Love,

A girl that says she's fine but isn't

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