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My 7 Biggest Takeaways From Living With OCD

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Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) took a great deal of my childhood and teen years and turned them into what felt like a nightmare. However, I think dreams and nightmares have meanings behind them and there are lessons to be learned from them. I also believe as I navigated my way through life with OCD, I have learned quite a bit, as well.

1. I am a very caring and empathetic person.

These are good qualities, except when people take advantage of my kindness.

2. Mental illness helped me find authentic people.

My mental illnesses aren’t fun, but have helped me weed out the people who are genuinely caring from those who are nosey and don’t really care. People are not always going to accept me for who I am and that is OK. I have lost a few friends, but have gained a new perspective on my life.Those who really love me will stay.

3. People do not have to understand me.

Sometimes my thoughts are not logical. (For example, germs cannot be transferred an infinite number of times, regardless of whether or not I think they can.) If people try to understand or show they really care or have a genuine interest, then I can be more open.

4. Sharing really is caring.

I have shared my experiences with others because no one should have to feel as isolated as I once did.

5. I am not my illnesses.

What I mean by this is I am not OCD, or “that depressed girl.” I have OCD. I have depression. They do not define me.

6. Patience will take me far in life.

By the age of 13, I was very isolated by my OCD and I developed depression. I slipped into a dark place and thought it would never get better. It did get better though. My compulsions do not limit me nearly as much as they have in the past.

7. Mental illnesses can lie.

OCD told me so many lies, as did my depression, which often told me I did not deserve to be alive. However, I know now I have a lot to live for. It has taken nearly a decade of recovery to get to this point, but I am glad I began the process when I did.

Originally published: July 13, 2016
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