I have OCD. It is a fact. A fact that I have learned to live with since the age of four. I am familiar with it's workings. I am not a doctor but I have thirty years of experience. I am aware of how it affects me and never, not once, have I ever been allowed to forget that it is there. Not because other people remind me but because my mind refuses to let me.
I am OCD. I am the face of it, the mind of it, the personality that suffers from it, the woman who cries about it, the blogger who writes about it, the mother that never feels like she is good enough of a mother because of it, the person who cant work from it, the house scrubber because of it, the loyal friend due to it, and the person who is up all night replaying the day's events and worrying over it. I am the odd man out because I am not normal and do not think like normal people do. I am OCD. It is me. There are some that say OCD doesn't define them. I believe that whatever you need to believe to get you through is a good thing. If you believe that it does not define you, then I think that is terrific. I believe it is a personal choice and I totally support that. But for me, my OCD absolutely defines me and everything I do.
To say it doesn't define who I am would be a lie and I never lie. It does define the way I act. It is a constant battle every day. You can not have something in your life growing up everyday as a child and it not form the way you think or change the way you are. That would be impossible.
I love deeply because my OCD made me hate myself for so long.
I am loyal because I am betrayed by my mind.
I am sensitive because I know how bad it feels to hurt.
I laugh because there have been days when all I could do was cry.
I am respectful because I have been stigmatized and ostracized.
I am honest because my mind has lied to me over and over again.
I do not judge because my OCD has judged me and always finds me lacking and I will be damned before I do that to another person.
I am found because I have been lost.
I am strong because I have been weak.
I am loud because I refuse to sit in silence and dwell in this house of pain any longer.
I have cried, struggled, pained, fought, and battled. I have warred against my faulty perceptions. I have fought against the guilt and shame that had ruled my life for so very long. It is an everyday battle and as such I am affected by it each and every day. It affects my relationships, my belief systems, the way I raise my children, the way I feel, the way I react to others, the way I speak to people, the way I physically react to life, the way I think, the way I process, even right down to the way I bathe, eat, and sleep. To say that it has not defined me or shaped me in any would be preposterous.
Do not get me wrong, I have a personality but it is shaped by my OCD. It has to be because I have spent my life avoiding the things that trigger me or forcing myself to go through them to thwart my OCD. It is as much a part of me as my hair color or the shape of my thighs. It is more than a diagnoses or a clothing accessory. It is something I carry with me always. I have had to learn to accept that. I have had to learn to stop shaming myself or giving in to the guilty feelings because I am not like others, or think like others, or see things like others do. I have had to learn to forgive myself for all my many imagined ills and stop blaming myself for what my OCD tells or shows me. I have had to develop new mantras to replace the old childhood ones I used to use. I am not bad. I am not worthless. I am good enough. I can do this.
How can I seriously say that OCD doesn't define who I am when in essence it has shaped every part of who I am?
I no longer allow myself to pretend I am not affected but that doesn't mean I will wallow in shame or ambiguity. I am here and I am opening up the conversation. I am here and I refuse to sit idly by and let OCD just wreck my life anymore. It has shaped me and I am a stronger more fierce person because of it. I don't have to like it but I do have to accept the changes it has made in my life. Good or bad, right or wrong they are my changes and my choices. Because of my mental illness I have had to change so much I am no longer sure where I start and the parasite OCD ends. We are intertwined and that is my cross to bear. I have learned to be accepting of that. I refuse to be upset or scared or sad. I refuse to live my life ashamed and broken. I refuse to sit in the shadows and fade into darkness. I am damaged but healing. I am scarred but beautiful. I am a good person. A kind person. A real person. This is me. OCD is me. Mental Illness is me and those that can not accept that are not worth my precious time or the OCD thoughts I would be wasting on them.
So I have OCD. I don't expect fanfare or balloons and party hats. I don't need a parade of acceptance. I am who I am simply because I am a fighter and I have OCD. I would not be the same person without it and I like who I am now. My name is Nelly and my OCD does define me. I refuse to feel bad about that, so deal with it. The days of me apologizing about it are over. I am not happy to suffer but I will be damned if I allow myself to be chastised for it. I didn't ask for this but I am rocking it. So take it or leave it just don't ask me to fell bad about it anymore. Those days are gone. This is simply me, strong, fierce, caring, beautiful, intelligent, unapologetic, and very OCD.
I am not proud that I suffer from OCD but I refuse to be ashamed of it either.