When Your OCD Comes Creeping Back

The hardest part about obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) – or any mental illness, for that matter – is that it’s never really gone forever. Medication and therapy make it manageable, but ultimately it is still a part of you. This is something I am working to accept. It’s not easy, that’s for sure. But I’m trying to come to terms with it.

This past week has been really hard for me, because many of my OCD symptoms popped up again, seemingly out of the blue. Suddenly, the intrusive thoughts feel fresh, and somehow more terrifying than before. Suddenly, getting out of bed in the morning has become more difficult. Suddenly I feel trapped. Overwhelmed. Scared. Uncomfortable. Suddenly, I am plagued by doubts and worries, wondering if I will ever truly be “OK” again.

I’m trying to apply all of the healthy coping mechanisms I worked on in counseling. I’m trying to refrain from compulsions and negative thinking patterns – which I know give the disease more power than it deserves. But this week it’s been hard. And there are times when I haven’t been as successful as I would like.

I have to remember that having a few bad days or weeks does not make me a failure. It doesn’t mean I should give up, or stop trying. Because this illness never really goes away. It goes into hibernation, sure. But it never permanently disappears. Sometimes, it creeps back into your life. Sometimes it wakes up from its slumber, regardless of how long or short it has gone into hiding. When this happens, everything starts to feel impossibly hard and scary. It doesn’t make sense, logically speaking. But if you have been plagued by symptoms of OCD, you know that nothing about this disease makes sense.

I have an appointment with a therapist later this week. It’s someone I haven’t seen before, which is already making me incredibly anxious. But, at the same time, despite the discomfort, I am cautiously optimistic. I know that trying to manage this on my own isn’t working. I know that I need someone else in my corner. I hope that with more counseling, I can find my way back to being “OK.” I’ve seen the other side before. I know what that looks like. And as much as my brain tries to tell me that getting back there is impossible, I have to remind myself that I can. I have to remind myself that I will. I will manage this. I will be “OK.”

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