The intrusive thoughts that came with OCD were traumatizing. They made me examine myself with a fine-tooth comb and caused me to question everything I had ever said, done, or thought. As hard as it was to have a constant stream of repulsive thoughts, there was one fear that haunted me above the rest…what if this isn’t OCD.
What if I want to think these things?
What if I’ve always secretly been evil?
What if I’m tricking everyone into thinking these thoughts bother me and they really don’t?
What if I end up acting on the thoughts?
What if the professionals are wrong?
What if no one ever really knew me?
What if I don’t know me…
These are the things that kept me up at night. I could handle the thoughts, for the most part, but the sense of dread that came with them was paralyzing. I could make it through the tidal waves of scary thoughts, but what if they never ended? What if every doctor and psychologist I had consulted had pinned me wrong? What if the fact that people with OCD do not act on their thoughts didn’t pertain to me? What if I was some sort of twisted exception? Worse yet, why was I spending so much time trying to prove to myself I was that exception?
Because I had OCD.
OCD will only ever focus on the things someone cares about the most. The fact that I was so terrified of the thoughts meant I wasn’t psychotic. The only thing that you can be sure of with OCD is that it takes what you care about most and puts them in the worst case scenario.
Once I was stuck in this mindset of checking and rechecking my thoughts, I began to lose my grasp on rationality. I was no longer able to decipher automatic, anxious thoughts from purposeful ones. I couldn’t separate real threats from imagined ones, so I instead feared everything. I made everything a threat, myself being the biggest one.
The only way I was ever able to overcome OCD was to completely accept the fact that I had it. You may be thinking that sounds easy, but it wasn’t. Of course, there was that initial relief of having a “diagnosis.” There was this short span of time where my compulsive nature found solace in there being an answer to my problem, but more anxiety soon followed.
Truly forgiving my mind of all of my horrible thoughts and obsessions was one of my most difficult hurdles, my biggest obstacle in recovery. I kept wanting to take responsibility for these horrible thoughts and inspect each of them for viability. If I was going to completely accept this diagnosis, I was going to have to one hundred percent believe that these thoughts were random and caused by anxiety. It was only when I wholeheartedly allowed myself a “pass” on the thoughts, that I was able to recover from them.
Not blaming myself for intrusive thoughts was not making an excuse, it was allowing myself to be human. To have weird thoughts. To stand up for myself and my family. To regain my mental health. To find my voice again. To find myself.
Freedom happened when I gave myself the grace to let go of imperfection.