Guest blogger: Broken

If you follow my blog, then you’ve already been introduced to my roommate Desiree.  She is a wonderful woman of God and one of my very favorite people.  Because we have lived together for five years, she is one of the people who has seen me at my very, very worst, OCD-wise.  I asked her to write a guest post about living with an obsessive-compulsive.  Here it is:

by Desiree Wood

I don’t know how to describe what it’s like to live with someone with OCD, but you all know.

I’m sure Jackie told me that she had OCD while I was in college. She told me how hard it was—about thinking friends were demons or that she was destined for Hell, about sharing her struggles at camp the previous summer—but it just didn’t register. She hid it well for the first year or two that we were friends and roommates, an impressive feat.

And then came the day that I realized this was a problem. Jackie had talked through some other obsessions before, but this one was big. We had been on a retreat with the youth group we volunteered with for the weekend, and on the bus ride home, one of the teens dropped a bomb on Jackie about something he had done. I’m a teacher, so it takes a lot for an experience to blow me out of the water, but what this kid shared did just that! I was shocked when Jackie slid into the bus seat next to me and shared the news. And at that moment, I pleaded with God, “Why?” Why would He allow it to be Jackie who had to shoulder this news? Why the one with OCD triggered by thoughts of guilt? It was so much pressure figuring out what to do with this information. As she sobbed and we tried to work through the news at home that night, my heart broke for her. I felt completely lost and helpless.

To be honest, that’s how I’ve felt through most of this journey through OCD—through the changing meds and different reactions, triggers that come out of nowhere and take days or weeks or months to move past, through the CBT techniques that I felt really unsure about—it’s all a bit lost on me whose mind can just let go of thoughts as I choose. Looking back, I kind of like that I was so lost and helpless, because even though OCD has been hard to deal with for me and a million times harder for Jackie, I know that it has ultimately pushed us both closer to Christ. I love that He redeems the brokenness in our lives.

We all know what it’s like to live with someone with OCD because we are all broken people. Whether you live with family, friends, or a spouse, you battle the brokenness. We’ve all got our issues, sickness, and sin to overcome, and the people around us have to be our support. I pray that I continue to learn how to do that for Jackie.

Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”  I am blessed to live with Jackie—to have seen her struggle through OCD with Jesus, to have learned from her, and to have her in my corner as I battle my own issues.

What are your experiences with friends or family with OCD?

Me (bottom right) and Des (beside me) BEFORE we were roommates … she had no idea what she was about to get herself into!

my roommate Desiree

I’ve been blessed to live with Desiree for five years this May.  She is incredible: a woman of deep faith in Christ who sincerely loves people.  As an obsessive-compulsive, I have been incredibly grateful to have a roommate like Des, who reminds me of the truth and who lifts me up in prayer.

Des is a math teacher, and it is so refreshing to see someone who is enraptured with mathematics and who intensely cares about the kids she teaches.  Des is a thinker, a student of the Word, but she can also be crazy-silly.  When, like me, you have lived with someone you adore for this long, you begin to think so similarly that you have inside jokes of which you can barely remember the origin.  I love that.

Here is how Desiree and I ended up living together.  I love telling this story.

Des was the leader of a club at the college where I recruit, and I was the advisor, so we ended up meeting from time to time to talk about “club business”– which usually meant a couple minutes on club business and then catching up the rest of the time.  After I’d known her for a couple years, my living situation was about to change, and I was intrigued when I realized that I wanted her to be my roommate.

I didn’t know what she would think of this idea.  After all, she was a college student, and I was on staff at her school.  I decided I’d sneakily broach the subject during our next coffee date.

Des walked into Caribou that night, and the first thing she said was, “I’m living with you next year.”

Yes, you read that right.

“Funny you should say that …” I said.  The rest is history.

Thank you, God.

Photo credit: Ryan Murray