Before I start my story, I want to tell you the ending. There’s hope! If you suffer from OCD, you can still learn to live a full and meaningful life. Nicole does, and she experiences lots of happy moments.
One of my favorite quotes is, “Life isn’t perfect, but it has perfect moments.” I personally have lived with a troubled mind and depression on and off throughout my life. The things that we live through mold and shape us, and similar to OCD, some things in our minds remain there in the background to surface and torment us. But once we learn what to do with those thoughts, we can experience relief and freedom. I have used Cognitive Behavioral Therapy on my mind and have worked through past baggage and various issues and have not experienced depression in many years. You can truly change the way your mind processes things whether it’s anxiety, depression or OCD.
As the parent of someone with OCD, I have suffered right along with Nicole! My heart breaks for her pain and distress. Her dad and I have spent endless hours through the years comforting her and trying to help her. Unfortunately, we gave in to her reassurance seeking (which was one of her compulsions), not knowing at the time that this was not helpful. It may help for a few minutes, but it actually encourages more obsessing!
I’ve since learned that as parents of OCD sufferers, we should be there for our loved ones and listen to their thoughts and fears, but we shouldn’t reassure them or play a part in their compulsions. Instead, we should learn all we can about OCD so we can help them implement the correct strategies for standing up to OCD.
OCD is almost impossible to understand for people who don’t have it. To us, the obsessive person’s worry is not even logical. I have read the following explanation and it has helped me understand OCD better. Sometimes, when a person with OCD gets a thought or concern, their brain sends along with it a distress signal that makes that person feel anxious. Their brain misfires and sends out anxiety when they don’t need to feel anxious. And it continues to get worse the more they think about it. They then do compulsions to try to relieve the anxiety.
Reading about and studying OCD has really helped me understand what the OCD mind is doing and makes me feel better able to help Nicole during her weak moments. OCD is horrible and complicated, but there is so much that can be done to enable the sufferer to live a meaningful life filled with wonderful experiences.
If you think you might have OCD, please get help! We have a list of resources that you can use to learn more about OCD and how to handle it. Relief and freedom are within your grasp. Live your life, don’t let OCD steal it from you!
If you are a parent or loved one of someone with OCD, try to stay patient, positive, and loving. This is not their fault at all, it is a biological disorder. Educate yourself and support them as much as possible. Encourage them to get help and you will find relief as they do. Life will get better!