Nov 21, 2014

Someone asked me the other day if I recovered completely from my OCD. The following is an excerpt from my book about this question.


I’m delighted and grateful to say that I feel worlds apart from those most awful years when my illness consumed my existence. When my illness had been at its worst, I remember wishing for little other than to simply be free from that nearly continuous torment. I recall hearing others complain about seemingly trivial matters in their seemingly peaceful, privileged, OCD free lives, and I remember bitterly thinking of them as being horribly spoiled and ungrateful. Today, I’m well enough to often catch myself whining and complaining over that which, when I stop and really think about it, is also quite trivial in retrospect! At such moments and also on a regular basis, I feel I have forgotten what it is like to have my life controlled by my illness. This, as opposed to fixating on an exact percentage of OCD-freeness, is perhaps the most accurate way for me to measure the progress that I have made.


At the very same time however, I am quick to point out that I STILL INDEED experience my numerous OCD symptoms on an almost daily basis (In fact shortly before writing the above mentioned positive statements about my progress, I found myself fearful that doing so may somehow trigger a brand new relapse!) I still experience images of bullies from my past and/or of persons I see as being evil, powerful, frightening and intimidating. I still have strong obsessive fears about potentially harming others, about keeping others and myself safe from potential harm and even about germs, contamination and diseases. Given my utter fascination and interest in understanding violent crimes/criminals, I remain obsessive about home security and check my house (and sometimes my parents’ home) for intruders on a regular basis.


Most difficult and frequent of all these, remain my doubts in not feeling able to trust my own basic perceptions (did I just see a gray spec on the right corner of that sheet of paper, did I just see a brown crumb in a certain part of my cereal bowl, etc). Not trusting perceptions also frequently includes when I walk through a crowded parking lot on a hot day, and then I suddenly doubt whether I just saw a helpless baby or animal – through a glass window – locked inside a sweltering car. This naturally happens most during the summertime, and in about half of such cases I make at least one attempt to double check and peek into the particular vehicle in question. But it is the overall lack in severity/frequency of my symptoms in general today, due I believe to my painfully developed ability to reprogram my thinking and face more of my fears, which allows me to feel in control of my life and be able to enjoy things in life to the fullest.


© 2017 - Sumi Mukherjee
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