Now this question is a tricky one and will most probably elicit a differing answer from every person you ask. For me, I’d say no and the reasoning behind this is not as straightforward as the answer. OCD is a torturous disorder. It infects the mind and has you left feeling like a puppet trapped in a straitjacket of anxiety. It’s something that has had an impact not only on my life but on family and friends too. So you’re probably left wondering if OCD is that bad then why wouldn’t you choose to have never developed it?
Like I said, the answer is not straightforward and it may not make sense or resonate with some of you, but that’s okay. I feel that my fight against OCD has truly shaped me as a person. It has taught me life skills that I probably wouldn’t have known or have been inclined to put to use otherwise. I feel like it has prompted me to grow up a lot faster than I really ever expected. With OCD driven responsibility resting on my shoulders, I had to learn to manage it. Now this could be seen as a negative thing, but I feel like it has allowed me to feel a little more confident with the judgement of my own personal choices given that I’ve had so many adverse factors to take into account that most people my age wouldn’t ever need to think about. As I’ve gotten older, I feel as though I appreciate happiness in much more intense detail than I ever expected to. Possibly due to the dark voids in which my mental health has taken me to at times and maybe it’s also because those moments of happiness are a lot more sparse than most my age.
Additionally, the skills I have learnt in therapy over the years whilst tackling my OCD have had so many benefits in all aspects of my life, not just those specifically OCD or mental health related. A lot of the techniques I’ve learned can be extremely beneficial around exam time or even just in dealing with tricky situations that may arise in life. Which is good because, unfortunately, we can’t stop bad things from happening (no matter how much our OCD tells us we can), we can only learn to deal and process them.
Although relationships are very much put at strain when an individual is struggling with OCD, I feel as though, despite the hardships, my relationships with my family and friends have ultimately strengthened. This is me looking from a wider perspective and as a whole because when in a negative mindset, I am very guilty of feeling as though relationships are continuously breaking down around me even though they’re not. However, due to the intense specificity, it takes to battle certain areas of OCD, you become a lot closer to those helping you in this journey than you probably would have otherwise. The moments I’ve spent with my family, psychologist etc whereby I was in such a raw state due to OCD and other things, it can’t not have impacted on our relationship, but not necessarily in a negative way as you might first think. Those key individuals have seen me at my lowest and at my most vulnerable and that whether expected or not, has created a sense of trust and alliance between us, which is special because I am not someone who will readily show the side to me that’s struggling. On the theme of those special to us, without having struggled with OCD, I wouldn’t have met one of my closest friends. We connected over the fact that we both struggled with OCD and the friendship just blossomed from there and I can honestly say I don’t know what I would do without her.
If you are someone who also battles OCD, you will know that it can be so important, although tricky, to find things that distract you from the constant intrusive thoughts and pangs of anxiety. For me, this was writing and hence this blog was born. I also find that I have quite a lot of patience for meticulous tasks. Maybe this is just the ingrained ‘tolerance’ I have due to having to carry out so many rituals each day, but either way, it can be quite beneficial.
Although I wouldn’t choose to prevent myself from developing OCD, I still would never wish it upon anyone. Ever. Which then again begs the question, so why wouldn’t you have stopped yourself then? And to be truly honest, it’s the fear of not knowing who, what or where I would be without having experienced OCD. Now this is not to say that I am thus defined by my OCD because that is not the case. It’s more the fact that it’s all I’ve ever known. I do not have a poignant memory whereby OCD wasn’t an influence in my life, so rather than to think of what life would be like without OCD (which is almost completely out of my scope) I’ve learnt to extract the positives instead. That’s how I process and cope with it and thus that is why my answer to the title is no.
Now you completely do not have to agree wth my answer to at all, this question is totally subjective on the individuals part, so I’d love to know your opinions below or join the discussion on Twitter.
Hope this was somewhat interesting and that you’re all well!