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When Living With OCD Is Like Fighting an Internal War

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I first realized something was happening I didn’t have control over when I was overseas in my early 20s. It was supposed to be the start of the greatest, eye-opening and life-changing trip. I had just finished my university degree and I was free. Free to run through parks in Paris, free to meet people from different places, from different experiences. What actually happened was life-changing and eye-opening, but it was also the start of the biggest, scariest battle for my freedom I would ever face.

At the time, I thought it was the side effects of drinking and enjoying life too much in my young 20s. I didn’t really understand what the thoughts were in my head. I just knew I didn’t want them there. It seemed one day my mind was mine and I was enjoying the idea of being a solo traveler exploring the world for myself and then the next day… boom! I was a part of a war against myself.

Wars are very dehumanizing. They take away the good in people and make you feel like a shell of yourself. To rid the memories and images after the war has been fought requires time, patience and continued persistence. Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a war! The thoughts and images are like bombs going off or machine guns shooting. They aim for your loved ones, your success, your intimate moments, your sleep. And they want them all to be gone, blown to smithereens.

So “Pure O” as they call it is like an eternal war. Yes, it does subside and at times it seems like peace talks are being written and agreed upon but just when it seems like the treaties are ready to be signed, something happens, life changes, the thoughts come back thick and strong and harder to fight. And then it’s all men back to their battle stations.

I have kept my war silent for many years now. I have felt ashamed and scared and worthless about the places my mind has taken me for too long. And I know, I truly know I could end the fight, but I don’t want to give up on myself. I will continue to fight in the war. I have learned living without control is OK. It is manageable. Yes I do wish I was my careless self I was in the times where OCD had taken a break behind the enemy lines. I wish I was not plagued by the darkness because it controls more than just my mind. It controls all of me.

What I need to do now is put down the line in the sand between where my troops are and where OCD can line its up. I will fight for my side and I will be kind to my soldiers and feed them and help them rest and with this they will grow stronger and stronger still.

The war will not be won by either side but maybe just maybe one day, all can live truly in peace!

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Image via Thinkstock

Originally published: January 28, 2017
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