How My OCD Defines Me and Why That's OK

Whenever I think about obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), I think about the intrusive thoughts that take up more space in my day than I’d like to allow. I think about the sleepless nights wondering if I’m a bad person, wondering if going to sleep would mean never waking up.

That’s because the first thing I treated when diagnosed with OCD is the bad thoughts. I had to learn to disown them. I wouldn’t choose to get caught up in wondering if my food had been poisoned or if my headache is something much more sinister. These thoughts happen to me, not with me.

However, I’m starting to recognize that having lived with this disorder for so long, my coping mechanisms have made me a much more obsessive person in general.

I dive headlong into everything.

I can spend hours thinking about the last time my boyfriend kissed me, or talking about how much I miss him. It might take a person two or three times to get my attention if I’m wrapped up in a show. I’ll stay up all night reading a book if I allow myself.

This doesn’t sound like OCD, but it’s a part of my obsessive personality.

I’ve had to learn to allow my mental illness to be a part of what defines me. It’s not everything that I am, but it’s a good chunk. That’s OK.

I remember the first time I watched this spoken word piece on OCD. I’d been dumped not too long before, and everything that was said rang loud and true to me. I hadn’t realized that part of me was obsessed with my ex. I never knew that OCD could latch onto my “real life.”

It took me years to move on from my ex. I only just did when I met my current boyfriend, so OCD has latched onto him instead. But I’m OK with being this attached to him. I’m OK with missing him so much. It’s part of what makes me who I am.

I’m not saying I love my OCD. I really don’t, trust me. I’ve lost too many hours being afraid to live my life. But I’ve found something so very good to latch onto. And this part of me that copes by feeling too hard and too fast has allowed me to love in a way I haven’t before. I’m thankful to be aware of this part of myself.

So much of mental illness actually sucks, but we as people are so much bigger than that sucky-ness. It’s nice to know that even in my darkest moments, I’ve created my own light.

Follow this journey on the author’s blog.

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Thinkstock photo via demaerre

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