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 true that having OCD makes me doubt absolutely everything.

In fact, one aspect of my OCD I can be certain about — ironically — is when I am doubting, I know it must be OCD.

Just imagine this for a minute. You are in treatment for your OCD and the night before your weekly session, a wave of anxiety comes washing over you. You think to yourself, I can’t go. I just can’t. Why can’t you go? OCD might tell you if you go, you could be taking advantage of a service you don’t really need. Maybe it says if you go, it must mean you are a terrible liar who is manipulating everyone around you into thinking you have OCD, but you really do not. OCD might say if you go, you are heading into a session that costs more than it’s worth and more than what you deserve. It might say if you go, you are pretending your OCD is really bad enough to even be there (if you even have it at all). You crawl into the fetal position and let the tears roll down your cheeks. How can you believe what anyone is telling you? You can’t trust anyone. They are either lying to you or you are deceiving them into thinking you have something maybe you do not really have! How do they know if you have OCD or not? There is no brain scan to identify your obsessive-compulsive disorder. They can’t see inside your head, so how can they possibly know? And how can you even know for that matter? Because at this point you are too confused to sort through anything.

This is what the doubting disease is like. This is what OCD feels like. In fact, I am taking a big risk in writing this because even saying the words “I have obsessive compulsive disorder” heightens my anxiety. Because I still worry if it is true. I battle my brain in this way every day. OCD takes the most important aspects of my life — the things that mean the most to me — and plays this “what if” game and makes me question it all. From my morals and my faith to my character to whether or not I even have OCD. It causes me to question every little thing. It is isolating. It is like a bully who never leaves me alone. It is never as simple as, “I have OCD because the professionals tell me I do, and I can recognize it in myself.” Rather, I think What if they are wrong? What if I am a faker? What if I am looking for attention? How do they know it’s OCD? Where is the proof?

But even with proof, I still question. I still doubt. I still ask the same questions over and over. My fears and doubts are recurring. I have been given proof of my medical conditions, tests that came back positive. One would think this would shut the OCD up. Yet, I still doubt whether or not I am really sick. What if those tests are wrong? What if…

The “what ifs” accompany the doubt and the constant worry and second guessing makes for a perfect storm, leading me into crying spells or anxiety attacks. But the one thing that seems to be able to pull me back to reality for a brief instant is knowing this debilitating worry and never ending doubt is the very essence of what OCD is.

The doubting disease.

This knowledge does not make it any easier to deal with, but knowing this isn’t me, it’s OCD, can give me a little peace of mind during an attack. I remind myself I must have it, because I am going in circles.

When this realization eases my mind, it never lasts, because I know those same fears will arise again and the doubt will overwhelm me. And this is what keeps me going to therapy, even when I do not want to. There is still a lot of work to be done because I am in the beginning stages. I will keep trying because I do not want to live my life in constant doubt and disbelief.

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

Thinkstock photo via bruniewska.

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

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 [...]
Sad woman looking through a car window

The Therapy Session in the Passenger Seat of My Doctor's SUV

I sobbed in the passenger seat of a parked navy SUV, while someone I met 40 minutes before sat in the driver’s seat, in front of a brick office building with a blaring alarm in suburban Western New York. My concerned mother handed me a tissue. She listened from the back seat and did her [...]