Coping Day to Day · Family & OCD · OCD · Personal

If You Could Prevent Yourself From Developing OCD, Would You?

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!

-Ellen

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18 thoughts on “If You Could Prevent Yourself From Developing OCD, Would You?

  1. It’s funny; I was thinking about this in relation to my own MH battles earlier today. I completely understand what you mean when you say that you wouldn’t change the path your life has taken. I don’t have OCD, but a Personality Disorder, GAD, Depression and an ED. the last ten years have been a constant, uphill struggle, but I wouldn’t have the perspective on life that I do, nor wouldn’t have the sort of relationships that you describe in your post. To recover, we really do have to put our lives under the microscope and be, sometimes quite literally, brutally honest with the people closest to us. Keep writing, and keep fighting,

    Best wishes,

    Louise (@imillnotcrazy) x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post! I have always been adamant that I wouldn’t have my anxiety or my OCD taken away from me for a million dollars. Like it or not they are a product of my personality and who I am and I love who I am. And as you said, I am a thousand times stronger than the girl I was 20 years ago before my disorders erupted. I am independent and confident and strong. Me without OCD and anxiety was insecure and needy with a complete lack of self reliance and faith in myself. It is an easy choice for me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. By the way, I posted to your previous entry about the OCD conference, but it never posted. I had said how incredibly wonderful it is that you will be presenting. Congratuations!! I’ll be at the conference, as well, and I’m presenting on a topic for teens, too. I plan on attending your presentation and look forward to meeting you in person! – Angie 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Really great post. If I was asked the question I would say I wouldnt prevent it. To be honest OCD is what has made my life what it is now and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Like you say I wouldnt wish it on my worst enemy as I know the pain and stugfle of what it is but everyone I know knows I have and stuggle with OCD but they are there for me and I am there for them when they need me. It also defines me as me and for that I wouldnt change it.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Awesome post! Very concise and I like how you explored your reasons for your perspective and what you’ve learned 🙂

    For me, I would say no, too. I lived my first twenty years without OCD which was fun and dandy, and I, too, think I’ve learned a lot of skills and coping strategies that I didn’t have before when I was struggling as a college student. I also think without this gained perspective, I wouldn’t have the understanding I have now for others struggling with mental health issues, and I wouldn’t be able to approach issues like self-harm and suicide in the way I’m able to now. I also think I’ve gotten access to my true identity and being the me I’ve always dreamed of, without all the anxiety and fear that strapped me down from experiencing opportunities before. Plus, punching the OCD in the face is just too fun!! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post Ellen! When I first read the question you posed I immediately answered YES! After reading your article I can definitely say you helped open my mind to how OCD can help shape us and actually help improve our lives in different areas. Very good perspective to have. Lets not let OCD have the control!

    All the best.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I suffered from OCD for nearly 40 years. That’s all OCd gave me: suffering. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy and if I could have waved a magic wand I would have done so in a heartbeat. I didn’t even know what I was experiencing was OCD. All I wanted was for the awful thoughts to stop. So would I have gone back and got rid of OCD? You bet. However, I finally sought help and over time I got better. I found peace, relaxation, confidence through therapy and along my journey. I would have gotten rid of OCD in a heartbeat but I wouldn’t change my journey to wellness one bit. It has made profound changes in who I am. I have now written two books on the subject of OCD and I spend a lot of time at the OCD-UK forum helping sufferers along their journey to wellness. OCD sucks but getting better is wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ellen..Blessings to you for your genuineness and open heart to share from your deepest places.I have a grandson who is 10 with sever OCD and GAD.. his Nana (thats me) shares in both of those issues too..just not as intense as his.Today your blog gave my soul a smile on his behalf.He is struggling daily and at times I get so downcast for him..BUT you Ellen have given me much hope.This is where he needs to be right NOW.This will help him become the person God wants him to be..and you Ellen if you did not have OCD you would not be able to help so many others..You are truly a blessing..I have read other blogs you have posted but this is the first time I have replied.Thanks so very much young lady…xo..thankful nana

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awhh, thank you so so much! Bless you for your heartfelt comment, it has truly made me smile inside. I wish all the best for you and your grandson, the strength you both have for tacking OCD is awesome. I shall keep you two in my thoughts.
      Best wishes x

      Like

  9. At first I didn’t want to leave a comment because I didn’t want to spread negativity. But I can’t forget what you wrote, so I’m writing a comment in the most respectful way.

    Sorry, but it sounds like you got used to feeling miserable. It sounds like you would miss a part of you if your OCD was gone. I used to suffer from OCD (I was diagnosed and got therapy), beat it and now it slowly comes back. And that is scary. Life is difficult enough, so why make it even harder?
    We all think too much. Did ever look at a carefree person and felt envious? Sometimes I don’t want to work on myself, analyze everything I do, talk about everything or have this little voice in my head (OCD). I don’t want to be shaped or influenced by my OCD. It is a like a tumor that needs to be removed. I don’t want to learn to cope with OCD, it simply needs TO GO AWAY.

    So if I could, I would never want to have OCD.

    Like

    1. Hi there, I completely respect and acknowledged your comment. If I’m honest, as more people have replied my view is changing a little and I completely get where you’re coming from.
      I do feel like I am quite entangled by my OCD at the moment, so this post is written quite influenced by it. Inevitably, I really would like my OCD to go away, I really would but I guess just with it being so persistent I end up feeling like it never will and so end up accepting it? Which I guess I shouldn’t do…gah I don’t know. Thank you for your comment though, it wasn’t disrespectful in any way.

      Liked by 1 person

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