Graphic by Eva Reid.
OCD. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. The Doubting Disorder.
I have suffered with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder for years and I will tell you this: it is one of the most stigmatized mental illnesses out there.
Most people think OCD is just about keeping things orderly, and yes that is true, but there is so much more to it than just that. Instead of saying Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder people say Obsessive-Cupcake Disorder. It is debilitating.
Cut the shit.
Lately, OCD has been described in the media as “beneficial” and “a blessing.”
To be 100% clear, OCD isn’t beneficial.
It’s not a good thing to have and nothing good comes of it. It’s a mental health illness, which has previously been ranked as “one of the top 10 most disabling illnesses of all time by the WHO,” shared Zoë Wilson of OCD-UK.
When I was nine, I told my dad that I started to perform actions multiple times because it just “didn’t feel right.” I remember walking back and forth to my kitchen multiple times — doing God knows what — just so I would put my mind at ease that my whole family and I would not die if I did not perform this action.
When I was a bit older, I was convinced that every little pain I had in my body was some deadly disease that would kill me or make me super sick. I would sit on Google for hours just to reassure myself I was fine.
Years passed and I did not think much of any of this, until this past winter when I finally realized this was in fact OCD.
Disclaimer: I am fully diagnosed and went to get my diagnosis soon after my suspicions.
In the last couple of years, all I could think about was how I felt like all my friends would leave me and that I was a bad friend. Everything I did and said felt wrong. It was so tiring.
That subtype of OCD passed and in December, I started feeling like I was a harmful person who could harm others. I have called myself an “attempted murderer,” “scum of the earth,” “murderer” and an individual who deserves absolutely nothing in life.
As I sit in bed contemplating my life wondering if I was a harmful person, I have always been told “There has never been proof.” After all the reassurance in the world, I have never felt like I “solved the puzzle” inside my head.
It all felt and continues to feel real.
I learned that there are multiple subtypes of OCD.
Whether it be Relationship OCD, Contamination OCD, Pedophilia OCD and Harm OCD, OCD makes you question your worth as a human being. It makes you feel like you deserve nothing.
OCD is f****** tiring. The sleepless nights, the panic attacks, the dread, the hospital visits.
My friend Carlos always told me to look at OCD as if it is an annoying sibling who will not leave you alone. Tell it to go away and stop bothering you.
I worked with a team of multiple therapists who specialized in working with OCD and helped me fight my OCD with ERP (Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy.)
Treating OCD is difficult, but it is possible. The best ways to treat OCD are completing ERP therapy, joining support groups and, for me personally, joining the NOCD app where I have met a lot of my friends who also suffer from OCD.
Holly Hoyt uses the NOCD app and has suffered from OCD since she was eight years old.
“It makes me sad that other mental illnesses aren’t portrayed as jokes but OCD is,” shared Hoyt.
Hoyt has suffered from various subtypes such as scrupulosity, sexual, perfectionism and harm OCD.
Slice of Culture asked Hoyt her best tips to deal with OCD.
“It is hard to follow this rule, but to not internalize what OCD says. To treat intrusive thoughts like alarm bells and embrace the uncertainty,” said Hoyt.
I may sound like a broken record here, but OCD is not a joke.
ERP changed my life and so did my therapists. They have educated me so much on OCD and I do not know where I would have been without them.
But that is not all, my boyfriend, parents and my friends on the NOCD app have truly supported me so much and I am so thankful for them all.