When I started July + August, I chose Authentic as one of my creative values. For me, it meant to allow myself to be alive, honest and vulnerable. It meant to be open to build a fulfilling online experience for myself and to share a real story. It meant reflecting myself as a whole on my blog, the real me without concealing, and to be just the same version of me online as I am in real life.
I started with very honest posts, talked about my blogging experiences and sometimes the strongest emotions I felt when I was overwhelmed with life and work. I think I managed to build an honest persona behind the blog. Then summer hit and I wrote a lot about days off and brunches and easy days. Well, didn't we all? :) But I kind of fell off the wagon with speaking about challenges I actually had in mind when I started the July + August, and at some point it felt like I stopped reflecting myself as a whole here.
Meanwhile, there was always something else that I never mentioned but always hoped I would. Because I wanted to talk about it. I knew it wouldn't be an easy talk, and no, it won't. I'm actually going to cut myself open now, but I feel like now is the time. Why now? Because more light-weight posts started to feel like just a cover-up for what I'm really going through.
I do enjoy writing and creating. I enjoy reading and being on my own. But there is something that sometimes creeps in and spoils the whole experience by throwing me into a terrifying state of being trapped inside my own mind. It's something that scares me a lot. Something that I tried to shake off so many times but it proved so, so terribly hard. Something that you probably wouldn't guess that I'm battling every day if you just meet me and I smile at you happily like I always do.
I'm talking about OCD.
I've been dealing with OCD for years now. At some point it was only a year, then two whole years that felt like hell, and now it's a been a long time. By now I'm so used to it that I don't remember life without it. I hate OCD so much but it feels ordinary in its creepy, twisted way. And I can only imagine what it is never having compulsive thoughts and having never performed any rituals that don't make any sense. Yes, I am rational and I know the rituals don't make sense, they are completely not real and don't affect anything. But that voice in your head... It's insanely hard not to follow. How many times I told myself it would be the last time I wash my hands? How many times I tried to battle it and talk myself down? It works in better times, but in my worse times it doesn't and only fills me with desperation. I consider it a win if I can win myself a few minutes of rationality before it gets me.
I know why this is happening to me; I'm running as hell. From my past experiences and times when I used to be weak and stupid and wasn't able to stand up for myself. From who I used to be. She's like a poisonous wrath; although I feel pity for her since I know how unhappy she was, I still have always hated her. Who knows what I hate more, her or the OCD? She caused it when I started to run away from our lonely and unhappy childhood, from people who saw us weak and used it to their advantage, and from our stupid mistakes. I would happily erase all my memories if only I could. Can I? No, it doesn't work like that. No one has invented a memory eraser just yet.
Yes, you could say that the memories prompted me to do better, but I'd rather I had happier and carefree life. I can't stand the fact that I used to be her, it's just painful. All I want is to forget that I ever did. To distance from it. And this is what I'm trying to accomplish by washing hands, wiping things, avoiding to use certain words, items, names and numbers; it's not about any of it, it's about wiping upsetting memories from my mind. I'm trying to erase. I'm trying to forget. I'm pretending it never happened. I started over.
OCD is hard. It's hard to explain, too. Because it's nonrational and is formed of all those twists in your head that only you can put together into a haunting demon. And, unfortunately, you and only you can defeat.
OCD creeps in our of sudden. Sometimes you're enjoying a nice and creative day. Then in the evening your head becomes filled with thoughts so that you can't do anything other that just lie down because you feel like triggers are everywhere. And when it happens, you've got to get yourself together and battle for your own mind. Or just take a long nap. But mostly, you battle. And this battle is bloody exhausting. As an OCD person, I struggle to remember that rituals don't change any physical attribute of anything. Apart from being dust-free, a book will stay exactly the same, no matter how many times I wipe it. It doesn't become any different. A laptop will stay the same, no matter what words I typed on it; besides, typing doesn't leave any physical trace, so there's nothing to wipe off, even.
But most of the days, I win! I know I've complained a lot about my day job here, but at the end of the day, it puts smile on my face and builds my confidence. It takes my mind off of things just like for others days off do. And I'm thankful for that.
I will heal, I know I will. I'm already doing well, and I'll be even better. I will find a way to stop hurting and to live an OCD-free life.
At the end of the day, I am a brand new person now. I grew up. I smile a lot and I make friends. I succeed at what I do. I enjoy a lot of things. I create. I love my life.
And I know I'm not alone in this world living with OCD or other mental healths disorders. There are awesome resources among fellow lifestyle blogs who write about their experiences (one of my recent discoveries is What Lauren Did Today). The only thing is, many people now speak about depression and anxiety, but fewer do about OCD, even though these symptoms often hit you together. I think we should open up about it more often to spread support, don't we? Sometimes it seems like it's easier to blog about easier things, but it also pays off to have courage to talk in a meaningful and open way.
It's a sad, intense and overwhelming story I'm sharing today, but it's real. This is what's I'm going through. Maybe it's not exactly Beautiful or Positive, but it's being Authentic. And it's the most honest story I've ever told.
Why did I cecide to write a post like this? Well, I wrote it because even though most of the days I wish I could forget I'd ever had OCD once I'll have healed, it is a part of my life experience. I can't pretend it never happened, no matter now bad I want to. And I consider coming to terms with it an essential part of moving on as an adult. Please wish me luck and thank you for taking your time to read this post of you did. <3
Pease note that I'm not an expert on mental health. This post is written based on my experience of dealing with OCD. If you're feeling overwhelmed, please do seek help. Remember that there's always hope to get better.