The 8 Biggest Lies OCD Told Me
1. “I am here to protect you, I am your friend. I will protect you, look out for you and keep your family safe.”
When obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) took over my life at a young age, I was adamant that working with OCD would bring me peace and happiness. In reality, it has brought me the opposite. The more I listened and gave into its demands, the worse I became over time. Instead of being friends with OCD, I am now battling against it to live a happier life.
2. “You are a bad person for thinking these thoughts. You thought it so you’re going to act on it.”
I experience intrusive thoughts every single day. I have tried to control them over the years, but I cannot stop them from coming in. Having these thoughts does not make me a bad person and I would never act upon them. I allow the thoughts to flow freely through my mind while keeping myself calm and distracted.
3. “Rituals will keep you and your family safe. I promise that if you tap the wall your family will be safe. Keep tapping, you are responsible for everything that happens to the people you love. “
There are several rituals I had at the onset of my diagnosis that I still have today. Some rituals come and go, and they differ in shape, size and importance. As I am writing this, I know that no matter what I do, I cannot predict the future or have absolute certainty that everything is going to be OK. However, in an hours time, that will not be case. When OCD takes the upper hand, I lose sense of the knowledge I have acquired. I tell myself it will be OK regardless of what OCD tells me, but in that moment it is extremely difficult.
4. “You will feel better after receiving reassurance. You need certainty. It will make you feel so much better. If you don’t get what you’re looking for from your mum, ask your dad. Ask your brother, your partner, your friends… keep seeking reassurance and in time your anxiety will pass.”
Seeking reassurance is a compulsion. It provides short-term relief for me, and in the long run I feel much worse. By seeking reassurance I am giving in to OCD’s demands and heightening my anxiety.
5. “Just one more time. Just do it one more time and I promise everything will be OK.”
It never is. The more I give, the more OCD takes. This is how I get caught up in the vicious cycle. I believe that by engaging in a ritual just one more time, my anxiety will decrease, and it does — for a short time. But it comes back strong and it takes every ounce of energy to ignore it.
6. “You can not tell anyone. What will they think of you? They will think you are a terrible person, they will take you away, you will be all alone.”
For a long time, I believed this. Until recently, the only person I could talk to was my mum. I struggled talking in therapy and isolated myself from social groups. Adding to this, the stigma surrounding mental illness made me feel like I couldn’t talk about my experience — until now. My support network is my greatest tool in the battle against OCD, and I am so glad I’m able to discuss my disorder with my loved ones, and that I have finally found the courage to write about it.
7. “It’s all your fault. All you had to do was tap the wall. Now look what happened. It’s all your fault.”
One of the first times I managed to fully resist a compulsion, something bad happened the next day. This led to agonising guilt and OCD really took control of me for a few weeks to follow. Somehow, I managed to tell myself that it was not my fault, and no matter what OCD told me, there is no way I could have had any impact on the event whatsoever.
8. “You will never get better. I am bigger than you, stronger than you, and I have power over you. Just keep doing what I say and eventually things will work out.”
I have always believed OCD would reign power over me forever. I have recently found a few ways I can manage it. I have started mindfulness and together with writing, I am finding an outlet. When I use the techniques given to me in therapy, it makes me feel worse. Whenever I try to ignore OCD I am exhausted. However I know that this is only short term, and I am on the right path for recovery.
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