I have been hearing from so many OCs lately who are so utterly exhausted from battling their own thoughts. One person told me she has no fight left in her. Another told me he is at the end of his rope, that he cannot survive one more spike in his obsessions. This post is for them and others like them.
There is hope.
Please hear what I am saying. There. Is. Hope.
I mean that. I wish that I could take your face into my hands right now, lean in close, and say this to you: There is hope.
I have been where you are. I have been through the mania, when anxiety was clawing through my nerves like a high-pitched dissonant chord. I have been through the disgust, when the thoughts I’ve had in my head have made me feel like a monster, feel sick to my stomach, feel certain that I was the absolute worst person on earth. I have been through the battles, when my compulsions were firing about 10 times each second in the search for some relief. I have been in the pit, when I was too fargone into the darkness of depression to be able to lift my face. I have been hopeless, feeling confident that I would never not feel this sickness, this wrongness, this terror, and this shame.
But I’m not there anymore.
Oh, I still have OCD. For most of us, it’s a lifelong disorder. But, get this, I am in control of it– it does not control me. My intrusive thoughts are rare, my obsessions manageable, and I can resist my compulsions. I am happy again. I don’t spend all day every day worried and sick over the what ifs. I have a healthy relationship with uncertainty. I’d always thought it was my enemy, but it never was.
OCD was– and is– the enemy. If you know the name of your enemy, you can fight it. OCD is an illness, a medical condition, and just like a broken bone, there are options you can reach to for healing.
1) Cognitive-behavioral therapy, specifically exposure and response prevention (ERP). This is the preferred method of treatment for OCD and the most effective when done right. ERP is not the same as talk therapy. ERP has homework. Hard homework. But the reward is freedom!
2) Medication. This, when combined with ERP, can be highly effective. Finding the right medication is hard. But worth it.
3) Jesus Christ. My Great Physician rescued not just my mind and my body but also my soul. Do you know him?
Listen to me again: There is hope.
Take deep breaths. Your thoughts are only thoughts. And, let’s be honest, with OCD in the mix, they’re probably not even your thoughts … they belong to your disorder. Calm your breathing. Cry until you can’t cry anymore. Try your best to get a good night’s rest. Tomorrow you will begin your search for a cognitive-behavioral therapist.
Tomorrow is your first day on your journey toward freedom.