The week after OCD Awareness Week, I am going to be a part of a breakout chapel service at the university where I work. (I am employed by Northwestern College, the most wonderful Christian college in the world … as an alumnus, I’m a little biased. Ha!) I am going to be interviewed by one of the campus therapists, and I am just so eager to tell my story.
I think one of the most helpful things for OCs is to hear their own story on someone else’s lips.
It makes us feel less alone.
I remember my first conversation with another obsessive-compulsive. I was sitting on a dock underneath a sky of summer stars, and as we talked, it was like shrugging off a giant sheath that had separated me from everyone else. I was not alone; this person had the same experiences.
And when I read Kissing Doorknobs by Terri Spencer Hesser, it was like reading my own biography. It stole power from OCD, just reading that, because it showed me how not creative the disorder is … sure, it has a variety of manifestations, but at their core, they are really very similar.
And that is what I am hoping will happen for someone in the audience on October 17th. For that person to say, That sounds just like me! I am not an anomoly.
One of my OCD friends just sent me a message that said: “I have also been reading your blog… ha almost like looking at my own biography.”
It reminded me so much that although OCD tries to make us feel like freaks– like we are the only ones who could think such thoughts– like we are unique in our horrors– it’s not true. All obsessive-compulsives are telling the same story, just with different details. We are wearing the same outfits but have put on different accessories. We are not alone.
OCD wears many masks: scrupulosity, checking, ordering, washing, etc.– but in the end it is a neurological disorder that makes us think unwanted thoughts and then perform actions to give ourselves temporary relief. We are all in the same boat together.
I as a Pure-O can sit with a washer and empathize. We have a common enemy.
For years, I thought I was some kind of anomaly. I’m not. I’m just a girl whose mind has a glitch, and I stand alongside many others who experience the same thing.
Community is important. I felt validated when I discovered that there were others like myself. I remember reading Kissing Doorknobs for the first time. I remember my first conversation with another OC. I remember reading Stop Obsessing! and seeing myself in the pages, just the way my friend is seeing himself in my blog posts. Community matters. And that is one reason that I shout from the rooftops that I have OCD, just in case any other OCs are listening, in case they recognize themselves in me. Then we can sit down, talk, share stories, and realize that ours are both the same.