I was in therapy today talking about the variety of symptoms of the shit I deal with. My therapist was patiently listening to me and all of a sudden she said, “based on what you’re telling me I think you have OCD.” It was if fireworks exploded over my head. Everything made sense. I never thought I had OCD because I don’t have compulsions. OCD doesn’t have to manifest as handwashing, stove-checking and making sure you locked the door. OCD can be many things. The way it shows up for me is I obsess about my health. I have tremendous anxiety about there being something wrong with my body. Things feel like they are a danger signal when in reality, it’s my anxiety being a dick.
Hearing her tell me I had OCD was such a fucking relief. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it just made so much sense. It actually relieved my anxiety in a funny way. My therapist is generally behaviorally focused, but at times it does feel like Client-Centered Therapy because I talk a lot. Whatever she’s doing, I hope she knows how awesome she is. She’s not afraid to call me out on my shit and she helps me see things differently.
Anyway, hearing I had OCD gave me clarity and allowed me to realize that I’ve been suffering from these oppressive obsessions over my health and not knowing how to describe them. Now that I understand that they’re OCD type thoughts she and I can work together to develop a behavioral plan to work with them.
OCD is considered an anxiety disorder, which makes sense because I am extremely anxious. I didn’t realize that my repetitive intrusive thoughts were actually OCD thoughts. It does make perfect sense though. My friend Evan was telling me that his OCD keeps him up at night because it’s so persistent. I can relate to his struggle because I sometimes have trouble falling asleep due to the fact that I’m obsessing over something that I do not need to be thinking about in bed or at all. Sometimes random phrases or words get stuck in my head and I don’t know why.
I’ve dealt with intrusive thoughts for as long as I can remember, I just don’t know what to do with them. They are irritating and make it hard to focus on other things. Sometimes I just want to relax and there’s no relaxing when an extremely loud thought is telling you that you’re dying. It’s upsetting to hear that in your head over and over again. Even typing it makes me uncomfortable, but I also know that that’s an obsessive thought.
OCD is a misunderstood condition that I’ve spoken about before. People with OCD aren’t neurotic, they are dealing with a real neurological condition that makes it difficult to let go of concepts and behaviors. It isn’t funny or quirky to have OCD. It’s difficult and sometimes heartbreaking to try to wrestle with your brain when it doesn’t want to behave.
I’m learning more about how OCD impacts my life and I’ll report back if I have any ideas that might help others who have it as well.