(**TW**: Self-harm and suicidality depicted in this post)
This may work out well for me, as I was just replying to a comment of a comment I had made on someone’s OCD story and I wanted to make a post about the topic the other day, but was too involved in it to get the chance to–which is good because I wouldn’t have been clear-headed about it, and because I had to leave to go out with a friend for a fun evening. So, overall, this works out.
My recovery, as well as anyone else’s out in this large, beautiful world, is a work in progress. I believe that recovery is a journey, not a destination and that I can always grow and achieve more, yet also be satisfied alongside of that journey (rather than just running after something that never fills whole and is ultimately unattainable). One of the things I’ve recently discovered about recovery that makes it pretty tantalizing is the bragging rights that come out of doing and being well. Even when I’m struggling, because hey, I still made it this far. And that, always, is a victory (especially on difficult days where it seems like a mistake).
So for this reason, what I feel today may not be what I feel three years from now. Or, even, tomorrow, or in the next moment. Feelings are temporary, like that. There is always more for me to learn and as I continue living there will be added facets to my story. Which, ultimately, is pretty damn exciting.
But for right now, I’d like to discuss this internal … conflict I’ve noticed within myself when it comes to OTHER people’s OCD struggles. And how yesterday I came to a better understanding of where that vine connects to the roots. And how lovely that fits into today’s prompt. Especially since I’ve neglected a few other prompts this past week. Carrying on, though!
It’s not news to me that I react so adversely to other people’s OCD. I’ve been reacting in this manner for at least 6-8 months, if I had to stick a number to it. I thought before I’d go to the OCD-Institute that I’d be sooooo angry there. I thought I would feel the same in the OCD support groups in Belmont, MA. I definitely knew I’d feel that way with Youtube videos and other stories that I just came across, either accidentally or purposefully.
You see, when I read or hear or see other people struggling with their OCD, as it tears them apart and into smaller, indistinguishable pieces, I just get this internal rage. It simply just completely pisses me OFF.
I’m filled with: “What-what are you doing? No! Punch that OCD in the face! Don’t let it boss you around like that! It has no right! Fight back! Why are you listening to it? You don’t deserve this. How can’t you see that the compulsions you are doing is just contributing to the problem? Exposure, bro, exposure! Treatment! Recovery!”
That’s the best example I can come up with on the spot, at least. It’s this blindingly bright sense of utter RAGE and I’m so passionate about that rage, I just can’t understand how others can be pulled under their OCD and can STAND for it.
Yet, maybe they’re not standing for it. They’re just struggling and don’t know any other way but what they’ve done to handle it or, in terms of compulsions, “handle it” in the past.
I’ve met people who have suffered YEARS of the OCD torture. Where they suffered either unknowingly or knowingly with OCD and have had their life stripped away from them day by day as the compulsions, obsessions and distress became utterly crippling. It is still mind boggling to me, and I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to be empathetic in understanding that. I can’t imagine living like that. It doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t know if it ever WILL.
And I think this is due to the nature of my own OCD symptoms. We don’t choose what topic the OCD focuses on, as long as it can get a response or a reaction out of us, it will go after that topic. Something we deeply, truly care about.
For me, that’s my life. So I deal with self-harm and suicide obsessions.
And I’ll be honest, the line really blurs between suffering with OCD primarily and suffering with secondary depression. I believe that combination influences my vision in being empathetic to others struggles with their long-term OCD symptoms. Because I may not just be viewing it from the perspective of the OCD itself, but rather this confusing blob of OCD AND depression. Although, it’s not uncommon to find those who suffer with OCD also suffer with depression.
But my point is, and it’s horrible to think this but, when I find out people have spent YEARS struggling with this horrible condition known as OCD, I genuinely wonder to myself how they didn’t kill themselves.
Let that just sink in for a minute, okay?
It genuinely makes no sense to me. Because if I had to suffer from the OCD for say ten years like that? Nope, I’d be trying to kill myself every chance I got. I wouldn’t be able to do it. I couldn’t even stand four MONTHS like that. Once the depression set in, it took me only six DAYS to try and kill myself.
And this is not easy to admit. Because this is text, and the sentences flow one into the other, it may seem easy, but this is difficult shit.
I remember what it was like ‘living’ like that, living with constant compulsions and obsessions over self-harm and suicide, and it was NOT living. The hardest part was holding onto that piece of possibility that one day things would be better, that the storm wouldn’t crash so loudly, that the waves would part and that calm and peace would be found again…. That FREEDOM could be found again.
Because as bad as it is to say, it felt for me that living like that wasn’t worth living at all. (the catch here of course is that it’s not permanent and again, feelings change and I’m here today NOT having to deal with that to THAT degree anymore).
So, in part, I get very angry, and I also get jealous. Because I wish I could be someone who could live through that pain. Rather than heading the other direction.
I wish I had that strength, that perseverance and resiliency to still continue to live for a decade under the power of the OCD. Because if I had a decade to live under the OCD, I wouldn’t put up with it. I’d rather be dead, and that sucks, because after the ten years of living under it, you CAN still recover and you can get BETTER, but if I died in that span of ten years, well, I’d still be pretty dead after those ten years, wouldn’t I? Yeah, because death is permanent.
So although my perspective may not be a common perspective on the matter, it’s for the moment how I believe. Again, this will likely change in the future. I just remember a part of myself stepping down her foot and saying “No, OCD, I REFUSE to give up years of my life to you. I REFUSE.” I wouldn’t stand for it. Whether that’s the best most helpful approach or the most damaging, I’m not sure. But luckily for me, I didn’t have to deal with ten years of OCD plaguing me. That’s…some solace, I suppose.
Other reasons for my feelings of rage I believe stem from the dance I do trying to balance positivity with the notion that struggles and with that, lapses and relapses will occur. I want to deny that there will be bad days, yet, that’s not how recovery is defined. Recovery IS about relapses and lapses. It IS a bumpy road. But it’s how you bounce back from them and how you cope with them, that matters most. Not that there was a fault, but how you dealt with that fault.
So there are of course times where I come along a concept I’ve had to deal with in the OCD journey that I find someone else may or may not be dealing with (projection is a bitch). For instance, I always cringe at the notion of “my OCD” It leaves a pile of disgust in my belly. I get a knot in my throat and I just want to wipe the phrase away and go on a lecture about how one shouldn’t identify as a disorder.
Yet, I’ve also been able to recognize that just because I struggled with that issue, does NOT mean everybody else out there is. And that, if the phrase empowers THEM that’s all that matters. (And if it doesn’t, then I can raise my points/beliefs on the matter).
This is in no way a simple issue. Facing this intense reaction tends to spiral off my own OCD and then I have to go deal with THAT mess, *rolls eyes* greeeeaaaat. Sometimes I have to just avoid the issue. Because one minute I’ll be angry then the next I’ll wind up sobbing remembering the past and the things that happened with me, and being afraid and concerned that’s where this other person is headed. I don’t wonder how the other person didn’t kill themselves because I wish suicidality upon them– I wonder because that’s ALL I could ever think about. …there was nothing other than suicidality and self-harm. a whole pit of darkness.
But I think I’ve wrapped up my points on this. The story is unfinished and with time I can expose myself to these intense reactions, since that’s the best way I’m going to work through it, and more times to NOT engage in compulsions, the better in the long run. Makes the short run a pain in the ass, but the long run will be better. For now though, I’ll slink away to my hiding spot and wait out the storm. As the beginning says…
The saga continues…..