In my head last New Years (2017), I thought, “This is going to be a great year, I just feel it!” I was specifically expecting that my mental health would greatly improve and I’d be a new woman! Well…by mid spring, my tune was quickly changing because my anxiety started acting like a rabid dog and took a chunk out of my arm. However, through avenues that I am hoping were God-ordained (because I do try my best to believe He’s working ALL things together for a solid reason), I found Ariel’s “Whole New World” of mental health and took a detour that I think makes a big difference for my little brain.
After over a decade of traditional counseling and years of an ebb and flow pattern, I just felt deep in my gut that I shouldn’t be feeling so awful and that there’s got to be a different strategy. While casually talking to a friend (that I’d talked anxiety struggles with in the past), she mentioned that I should talk to a friend of hers. A phone call later, a tiny light was peeking through the crevice and I followed it. Over the river and through the woods, it led to an evaluation and diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
When most think OCD, we think, “OMG, I’m so OCD!” Or you imagine people washing their hands a million times a day. Although there are people struggling deeply with what is called Contamination OCD, millions of others suffer internally and silently with other themes. In my beginning research, I learned that it’s an average of 14 years before a correct diagnosis is given! That blew my mind and in a strange way, was a comfort to me. I finally knew what was wrong and why I think the way I do! I’m still in the thick of the battle, but it is such a gift to know why and what I can do.
OCD is also known as the “doubting disease” and the key is being able to practice and eventually accepting uncertainty in life; not being able to prove 100% that something may not happen or that a thought doesn’t mean something you fear it means. There are many categories and I have my own personal cocktail of several different ones.
A friend and I were discussing how often one should share personal things like this, especially on a public forum such as this blog. I hesitated, as I do very often, before posting. In the end I decided that although I would never want this to define me or be what someone thinks of immediately when I come to mind, but I do know that finding the help I did came from someone sharing that they had the same struggles. Life is short and if I can be a lifeline to someone wallowing in confusion and discouragement, then I’m willing to share. I won’t blab it to the world, have my Mom make me a personalized button, or publicly share the details of my OCD struggles, but I can