When I Find Myself Wishing I Didn't Have OCD and Was 'Normal'

conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.

I have bipolar disorder, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). I went through a really rough patch with my mental health at the beginning of this year. My disorders became debilitating. I’m functioning much better now, though, thanks to a new treatment plan with a psychiatrist, but I still struggle sometimes.

I am almost 18 years old, and many people my age know how to drive. Many also have jobs. These are two things I have a lot of fear and anxiety about. My anxiety was so bad I had absolutely no desire to even consider doing these things.

Now that I’m starting college, I actually want to do them. I’ll be commuting to the campus via the bus, which involves multiple transfers. As college nears, I realize I don’t want to have to rely on public transportation all the time and I want to experience the freedom that comes with driving.

I also want to be able to earn my own money for spending. Now that I have a desire to drive and get a job, I am slightly more motivated to push past my fears. Still, it upsets me that my anxiety is holding me back from doing the things I want in life.

Recently, my psychiatrist said he wants to increase my dosage for one of my medications. When he asked how I’m doing, I told him everything is good, but my OCD is still there. It’s definitely better than it was. I’m able to function, but it’s annoying and often times consuming. I get intrusive thoughts rarely now, but I’m still compulsing and engaging in rituals quite frequently.

I wish I didn’t have a fear of contamination. I wish I didn’t use hand sanitizer and wash my hands almost a hundred times a day.

I wish I didn’t have to kiss my arms two times each, several times throughout the day.

I wish I didn’t think about the most improbable, worst-case scenario of everyday situations.

I wish I didn’t doubt and second-guess everything.

I wish I wasn’t held back by my anxiety from doing the things I want to in life.

I wish I didn’t have OCD.

I wish I was normal.

“That’s good,” my psychiatrist says. “But I want to see it gone.”

The thought intrigues me. I’ve already seen huge improvement of my mood and behavior from one of my medications. My psychiatrist wants to increase the dosage of my other medication for OCD. Yet, the idea of a life without OCD seems like a distant dream to me. I’ve had it for as long as I can remember. What would life be like being “normal”? A life free of consuming rituals, compulsions and irrational fears.

However, it’s occurred to me perhaps I’ve had OCD for so long that living with it is my “normal.” Even if my medication does work, I will still have OCD, whether my symptoms are present or not. That’s OK. It is a part of me. While it doesn’t define me, I don’t know who I would be without it. “Normal” is overrated anyway.

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