When I look at my hands as they are now; raw, scuffed, bleeding and dry, it’s hard to derive any hope or happiness from them. These hands that have seen and done so much good now look battered, beaten and worn out. “It’s just because it’s getting closer to Winter now, it’s the cold” I hear myself feebly whisper. An all too often used excuse. A cover up. An alibi for my illness.
Living with the type of OCD that I have is incredibly tough. Not only do I have wildly vivid intrusive thoughts at the most inappropriate times (popular topics my brain likes to throw my way are sex, death, anger, sadness, humiliation, jealousy, awkwardness, angst, elation etc) but my imagination runs rabid too, creating stories and situations that will most likely never come to fruition but don’t stop me from wondering, “What if?”. To make matters worse, there are a lot of physical compulsions that run parallel to the thoughts. Compulsions that aren’t easy to hide, explain away or justify as rational behavior. The hardest part is that these don’t just impact me, they spread like a disease and latch onto other people using me as their breeding host. I feel like I’m constantly asking people “Can you quickly do this?” or “Can you just do this for me please” and saying things like “I can’t do that, I’m sorry”.
To make matters worse, there are a lot of physical compulsions that run parallel to the thoughts. Compulsions that aren’t easy to hide, explain away or justify as rational behavior. The hardest part is that these don’t just impact me, they spread like a disease and latch onto other people using me as their breeding host. I feel like I’m constantly asking people “Can you quickly do this?” or “Can you just do this for me please” and saying things like “I can’t do that, I’m sorry” or “Can we do this instead?”.
I’m tired of saying “what if” and “I can’t”. They are words that have limited my world and taken me away from opportunities for so long now. It’s high time I stopped saying no to things through fear, the worry of something possibly going wrong. Doubt, if you let it sink it’s claws in, can kill any motivation that was there beforehand. Well, d’ya know what? Doubt can go fuck itself! And d’ya know what else? Fear can go and fuck itself too! I’m tougher than any thought of fear, doubt or worry that my brain can conjure up to try and knock me down. I’m better than the voice in my head that constantly tells me I’ll never amount to anything. I’m stronger than the compulsions that try and convince me to wash my hands again and again and again.
The challenges I’ve been pushing myself to face over the last month have been a real test of character. There have been victories, defeats and fights I’ve left as a stalemate. And I’m totally okay with that. You can’t win every time, you won’t always hit a home run when you step up to the plate. What I won’t do is give up. I can’t give up. And if I’m not gonna give up on myself, I’m not gonna give up on you either. If you’d have told me a month ago I would be comfortable waking up with a cat on the bed, I’d have said you were bonkers. If you said that I’d be cuddling the lil’ blighter then touching my phone without washing my hands, I’d have said you were certifiably insane! But guess what? It happened. I’m okay. I don’t feel uncomfortable, nothing feels less ‘purrrfect‘ because of it and I am still happy.
It’s easy to forget when you’re mentally ill that you’re fighting against yourself on a daily basis. Constantly trying to out think your own brain is exhausting, tiring and every other word you can think of to describe feeling like you want to give up. But when the good days happen, when those little moments arise and you can see this life for the beautiful gift that it is, when you feel the strength to carry on? That’s why you should keep fighting.
You’re not alone on this journey, and hope is out there. Hold on to it for me, please.