Frankly, it’s been quite a week.
I can’t really remember last Friday but I think…. nope, oh wait, I had a church meeting during the day and went out to ice cream (but ate dried fruit and nuts because health) and the park with my friend and all of our children after school got out. Saturday included a temple trip with some ladies and lots of rain. And then Sunday was ward conference at Church. Monday, of course, I wrote a long rant about the supposed “OCD” test online, which then got published on the Mighty and has since been shared many, many times (thanks everyone!).
The bully in the room
So it’s been a quite a week. I’ve been honestly excited about the level of discussion my post helped begin, even for those who didn’t like it or thought it made things worse somehow. And I don’t want this particular blog post to turn into a rebuttal against naysayers or anything like that. I just want to put out there that I hope our society moves away from stigmatizing mental health issues and those who have them, but also…. we (who have mental health concerns) shouldn’t hold intense grudges or be super bitter towards those who do mistakenly use terminology insensitively or incorrectly. Some might cry, “I can say whatever terms I want! Freedom of speech!” and of course, yes, freedom of speech. Good. But also kindness, understanding, and not bullying. I hope I didn’t come off as a bully towards anyone. I wanted to increase awareness of something people might not have thought about.
That being said, what progress have I made personally in my OCD journey this week? Just more of the same. I’ve heard that the obsessions don’t really go away, it’s just how you handle them—do you engage in compulsions? Do you worry excessively about them? Or when they come, do you simply acknowledge, ponder for a minute about how to react, and then move on with your life? I’m trying to get to that point.
Levels of severity
Something someone commented on my post on the Mighty got me thinking (as well as a part in David Adam’s book, “The Man Who Couldn’t Stop”), and I want to address it a little bit here. The basic gist is that there are differing levels of OCD and it can sometimes be harmful to only focus on the extreme cases because then those who aren’t, say, afraid their family will die if they do/don’t do something, etc. might not think that their level of OCD is worth consideration or treatment. Maybe it’s like people who don’t pray because they know there are bigger problems than theirs, and they don’t want to bother God when He must be very busy already.
Always remember that it’s your life, and if the obsessive compulsive disorder (or other mental health problem) is beginning to overcome you in any way or make you not be able to live your life in the way you should, then get help. Don’t feel like your problem isn’t bad enough. OCD hits where it hurts—you. Your OCD might look nothing like mine. Your obsessions might seem like no big deal to your best friend or parent or spouse. People might think that you don’t fit some special “mold” of what an extreme OCD case should be. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t real and debilitating for you.
One comment from a group session that I appreciated and came to know as true was basically that OCD can enlarge—and wane—rapidly. It’s all about who is in control: you or the OCD. Are you really doing your exposures and work on your cognitive behavioral therapy? Are you fighting back? Or is OCD still calling the shots? I hope all of you are making progress in your battles. Some days are better than others. But just don’t stop.