A woman on her phone

The First Time I Felt Hope After Silently Struggling With Intrusive Thoughts


Eleven years ago I went to New York City to celebrate a long St. Patrick’s Day weekend with friends, and I was miserable the entire time. From the outside looking in, nothing was out of place: My boyfriend had booked a unique hotel for us, and my friend was the perfect guide to her city. We went to Irish pubs, shopped, hung out on a rooftop and had delicious dinners out. I should have been having the time of my life, wishing the weekend would never end.

But all I wanted to do was lie down and sleep. I’d been struggling with ugly, immoral intrusive thoughts for months, and by the time we left for our much-anticipated trip, I’d lost almost all hope that I’d ever feel like myself again.

By the end of our long weekend, I’d been brought to my knees, desperate for help. The day my boyfriend and I got back to Minneapolis, I called a psychology clinic to make an appointment with someone who could prescribe antidepressants. It took an unbelievable amount of courage to dial the number and tell a stranger a small piece of my story – and I was met with an emotionless, “We’re booked for the next three months.” Click.

I sat on the edge of my bed and cried. I knew it. I knew no one could help me. I pulled myself together. I couldn’t live like this any longer. I had to at least try. So I called my gynecologist’s office of all places, and told that small piece of my story again: I need help, I’m feeling really depressed. I think I need to go on an antidepressant. This time the voice on the other end of the line was understanding, and when we hung up I had an appointment for that very afternoon.

A few weeks later a psychiatrist diagnosed me with OCD. Although the antidepressants had already started to work, the day I was diagnosed was the first day I felt hope. Real hope. For so long — years and years — I’d thought I was the only person in the whole world who’d ever felt like I had, who’d struggled with the same intrusive thoughts I had. Convinced I was a monster, I’d walked through life feeling hopeless and alone. If only I’d had the courage to tell someone sooner.

The day I called the psychology clinic and eked out a sentence of my life story, I never would have imagined I’d be where I am today. I’ve told roomfuls of people about my most shameful and embarrassing obsessions. People I’ve never met know details of my life that actually make me blush. I’m spreading hope, and it’s all because I got hope first.

You don’t have to wait as long as I did for hope. You don’t even have to tell anyone your story if you’re not ready. Just go to Project Hope Exchange and listen to messages of hope left by other individuals with OCD as well as therapists and family members affected by OCD. And if you have some inspiration to share, call 1-855-975-HOPE and leave a 30-second message of hope for individuals with OCD. It could be the push they need to move forward in their recovery.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinktock photo via Halfpoint

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

watercolor woman

The One Aspect of My OCD I Am Certain About

Editor’s note: If you struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. To find help visit International OCD Foundation’s website. The “doubting disease.” This is what obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is sometimes called. I have found it to be completely [...]
A young boy sitting and reading

Watching My 12-Year-Old Son Grow Up With OCD

Editor’s note: If you struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. To find help visit International OCD Foundation’s website. I watched my son from across the room, waiting for an answer to my question about his day at [...]
multiple reflections of woman in a mirror

My Response to 8 Ridiculous Things People Have Said About My OCD

1. “Everyone is a bit OCD though, aren’t they?” This has been said to me more times than I care to remember, and it always sounds more like a statement than a question. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is one of the most misunderstood, stigmatized mental illnesses, and I think this is one of the things people [...]

Why My Recovery Inspired the Reading of an Unorthodox Gospel at Our Wedding

When attending wedding ceremonies, people generally expect the theme of the readings to be about love and life, rainbows and butterflies. These speeches are known for eloquently explaining why the bride and groom have come together in unity to live a lifetime filled with love, hope, happiness and compassion. While I have grown up a Catholic [...]