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To Those Who Question Why I Take Medication For OCD

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I didn’t seek out medication until October 2014, almost two years ago. By that point, I had struggled with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) on my own, no help, for six years. I had been able to cut my two hour showers to 20 minutes, on my own. There is something to be said about will power, but I hit a wall.

I tried therapy for a year. It helped and other triggers dissolved. There is something to be said about therapy, but some triggers still remain. So now it’s therapy with medication.

Nobody likes to talk about mental health. Mental health is this taboo subject everyone tiptoes around and hopes will go away if they just ignore it. As a result, I’ve heard about and even experienced the misconceptions of taking mental health medication.

“Don’t you feel like it will change who you are?”

It does not change my personality, only the amount of one chemical in my brain. If anything, it brings my personality out more because I am not focused on the obsessions!

“Why don’t you just stop thinking these things? Just snap out of it. Everyone has bad days.”

I physically cannot. The is not enough serotonin in my brain. Serotonin, which can affect mood and social behavior, is a possible component of different mental illnesses, like OCD. For example, a person without OCD may suddenly think, “What if I drove the car off the road?” The person shudders at the thought, deems it morbid curiosity and continues driving without thinking about it again. But, the OCD brains would go on the fritz and think it again, again, and again.

“The medication doesn’t seem to be helping, so why take it?”

To answer this question, here’s why:

1. Medications for OCD can take up to three months to be noticeably effective.

There may not be any improvements right away!

2. It can take a while to find the right medication or combination of medications.

Add that to the three months it takes for the medication to take effect, and it very well may seem like it’s not working.

3. The person with OCD is the only one privy to every trigger and obsession and likely the one to notice the improvement.

Unless you are aware of every single trigger or obsession, you may not notice the improvements, but we do. We may have just simply chosen to disclose some triggers and not others.

I’m sure misconceptions about medication and mental illness are not expressed maliciously. It’s the lack of people willing to speak out about it and inform society that OCD is not just something you snap out of. It’s a disorder of the brain, which, like physical disorders, can be treated with medication.

With that being said, medication isn’t for everyone. Some people don’t believe in using them. Others may be allergic to them, but some of us do choose to take them. No matter what our choices or circumstances are, we appreciate your respect and support for our choice.

*Editor’s note: This piece is based on the experience of an individual and should not be taken as medical advice.

This post originally appeared on OCDUCKTHERAPY.

Originally published: July 14, 2016
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