When OCD Fears Make You Feel Like You’re Possessed
If you struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. To find help, visit the International OCD Foundation’s website.
An evil person has possessed my body, taken over my life and effectively convinced all of my loved ones that I’m still me and I’m not actually missing. And while this person is living my life and speaking my voice, I can see and hear everything from behind this mask that looks exactly like me, but I can’t speak and I can’t move. I’m back there screaming, hoping just one person will notice it’s not me, that I’m gone, that I need rescuing.
It started small, with just someone else’s thoughts invading my mind — these little evil thoughts of fear and anger that I didn’t recognize. They snuck into my mind and stuck there, gaining more and more power as I gave them more of my attention. Then this stranger’s thoughts became beliefs. And then this stranger became me.
I no longer feel like a human. I am just the host to a scared little monster that compensates for its fear by dragging me in and making their fear mine.
Fear is a powerful tool and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is masterful at wielding it. It’s hard to explain how completely OCD can take over not just your mind but your body as well. Yet another way it takes away your power: by making it almost impossible to put into words what you are experiencing. How life literally feels like a nightmare you have no control over, and no one really hears you because you’re just a figment of your imagination. Because you no longer truly exist as you once did. Instead, you are OCD’s puppet. A shell of who you once were. You now see through its eyes, eyes that used to be yours. And through them, you see how your loved ones look back at you — slightly confused as to why you seem different or if you’re even still there. They recognize you as you on the surface, but you’re not you anymore and they can’t figure out why, because what they can’t see is the stranger who has taken over.
And as OCD pushes you further back into the dark recesses of your mind, it becomes easier for it to convince you that what you think, feel, touch and see is false. Until you can look down at your hands and not recognize them as your own anymore. They seem as disconnected to you as someone else’s hands. So now, you can’t trust your own senses, but you can’t trust your captor’s, effectively isolating you from any sense of reality.
This is what I mean when I say OCD has taken over my life. Not that it’s greatly affecting it, but that it has actually taken it. Every time my hands are washed, I scream and yell because I don’t want to be doing that. I didn’t tell my hands to wash. I know I don’t need to be doing that, but they’re not my hands anymore. And not even I can hear the yelling anymore; not even I can see me fighting back anymore.
There have been times in my two-year battle with OCD that I have been louder than the fear. And there are times when I’m not louder but neither is it. And even during this time when it seems like I will never be heard again, I have my moments when I am able to fight back, when I am able to feel present in my own life. But those moments take a lot out of me and I’m getting tired.
An evil, scared little monster has taken over my body, and the only way to fight back is to beat it at its own game. With fear. Scare it away; do the thing it’s most scared of over and over until it’s lost all power over me. But to do that, I first have to convince myself that its fears are not my fears. They’re just a stranger’s thoughts that have snuck in and I need to show them the way out.
A version of this article was previously published on the author’s blog.
Photo by Alexander Krivitskiy from Pexels