Last week I started struggling. I was crying on and off for 3 days straight and I was feeling hopeless. I wanted to give up, I wanted my parents to ship me off somewhere. I felt like I was in the way and felt that I had messed up not only my life but my family’s life as well. I know that’s not true but that is how I felt. I may seem put together on the outside. I’ve gotten pretty good and downplaying how lost I feel sometimes, but the truth is I hadn’t accepted that I had OCD until this week.
Ever since I was in 9th grade I was told by all my doctors that I had severe anxiety. I convinced myself that it was something I could fix if I just took some meds. I thought that if I served a mission and got away from my family that maybe I was just too attached. And then I thought hair school was the solution. Maybe I needed a career and to live on my own to really move past it. I kept trying to find a solution.
2 years ago, I went and met a doctor who introduced OCD. He said that he believed I had a mild form. To my knowledge I didn’t really have compulsions as much as obsessive thoughts. After that I saw a psychologist for 2 years who was teaching me how to overcome anxiety. The more things I did the more stressed I got; it didn’t make any sense. Why do I keep doing these tools when they make me feel like crap? Sure, on the outside I was looking like I was moving forward but for the majority of it all, I felt empty. I felt like I wasn’t in charge of my life at all, I was a puppet.
As you know from my earlier post, I came to accept that I had OCD a month or two ago, but this week was the week that I not only accepted it, I owned it.
I didn’t realize however, that by accepting that I have OCD, I was going to have to start living life different. I was going to have to accept things that I didn’t want to. I was going to have to accept that I am turning 26 and I have to live with my parents. I had to accept that while I am in the early stages of recovery, I won’t be able to work. It’s really hard to have to limit yourself, but I know that it’s what’s best for me.
The cool thing about this discovery, is that I actually have a desire to do things now. I think it’s because I now feel safe to improve. I see the world in black and white, which is something I am currently working on in therapy. So, to me, I was afraid that if I showed improvement that meant that I had to be perfect. If I started cooking for myself, that automatically meant that I was ready to move out. If I looked on the job sites, that meant I was getting a job. But, it doesn’t.
As I thought about what to include in this blog post I thought of the popular song from The Greatest Showman, ‘This is Me’.
“I am not a stranger to the dark
Hide away, they say
Cause we don’t want your broken parts
I’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars
Run away, they say
No one’ll love you as you are…”
I felt ashamed of the way my mind worked for so long that I just kept running away from the thoughts and from people. I felt broken. But each day I start to see that my scars make me who I am. Maybe I was born with this to bring awareness. Maybe someone will read this post and go, ‘I am not alone.’ I have met some amazing people through my twitter account and if they had been afraid to share their stories, I wouldn’t have made these connections. And would still feel quite alone in way I do things.
This month is mental health awareness month. I really hope that we can all take a second to recognize that mental health is just as real as physical health. I used to judge people and wonder why they didn’t go to church or why people acted the way they did. I have been humbled. I get it now. I know that God is with us in our challenges. Sometimes He backs off because He knows that we are strong enough to work through it. And sometimes He is there right when you call out.
“Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me.”
I’m not going to hide my OCD anymore. I might have to use a cane when I walk, I might have to sit in the hall at public events and I might just learn the right tools to be able to do everything I want. Life throws curve balls, but you have to keep pushing past the hard stuff and try to find hope. I know it’s a lot easier said then done. But it’s possible. As always remember, You Got This!