In case you missed it, there was an incredibly open piece in The Mirror yesterday. If you haven’t had time to read, it’s about a 23-year-old man named Richard Taylor whose OCD imprisoned him for months–causing him to lose 3.5 stone (roughly 50 pounds, if you’re an American unfamiliar with that unit of measurement) and remain upstairs in his house without venturing outside. I strongly recommend reading it, if only because he’s quite candid about what OCD did to him and the help he received. It’s a short read.
While this story caused little more than a blip in my non-OCD circles, I found it to be incredibly important, and here’s why:
There are people still out there in the dark. People who don’t know why they do the things they do or have the intrusive thoughts they have. They don’t know that there is a name for the torment they are experiencing and perhaps most important, they don’t know there is a life beyond the illness. They haven’t seen examples of people who have gotten treatment and been able to live their lives more fully and peacefully.
How do I know this? Because not 4 months ago, I was one of those people. I thought I was a monster. I thought I was criminally insane and I was desperately searching for answers. I thought I was an unfit mother. I thought my family would be better off without me. I brainstormed ways I could run away from them, pump, and drop off breastmilk without ever seeing my children because I was so afraid something terrible would happen if I was near them. I was afraid to hold my children, sometimes afraid to even look at my children. I begged God to kill me. I was terrified.
If not for the brave pioneers who first shared their stories and the incredibly talented mental health professionals who worked with me, I would still be in darkness. I know I wouldn’t be able to be the mother my children need or the partner my husband deserves.
We must share our stories. People need to know that they are not their thoughts and that there is a life beyond OCD.
This is why I blog. People need to know that it is absolutely possible to be a fantastic parent who happens to have OCD. I know this because I am one, and I hope to show the world that. If only so I can inspire someone else in their journey.
So, I’ll end with some marching orders: If someone’s story has inspired you, pay it forward and be an inspiration to someone else. If you’re not ready to share your story yet, share that story that inspired you. Maybe it will help someone else.
Love and peace to all,
P.S. I’ve “met” Rich in the Twitterverse and find him to be an entirely lovely, honest, and encouraging individual. Occasionally, I’ll post about a struggle I’m having and/or a ritual I really want to perform and he takes the time to remind me that I am stronger than OCD. If you’re not already following him– look him up @richtaylormusic or follow his blog.