In my last post I talked about my struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It is so much more than what I wrote. One reason I started this blog was in the hope of helping other people come to understand what mental illness is and what it does. So I have to say even more about OCD.
One of the other things that consumes my mind, that I obsess about, is bad things happening. This is something I’ve heard others with OCD say happens to them, as well. I often fear the worst case scenario. Any time something out of the ordinary happens, I just know it’s going to end up in some horrible way. I have often let fear drive decisions in my life because of this. It’s something I have gotten better at controlling lately, better at recognizing, but it still flies into my mind and makes it hard to make a rational decision.
A recent example was from back in September. I was going out of town to visit a friend for a few days, so my ex-husband took the kids. He decided to take them to Southern Utah (about a 4-5 hour drive from the city we both live in) for a fun little adventure. At first I thought it was a great idea. But as time went by I kept getting these images in my head of bad things that could happen. I imagined them getting in a horrific car wreck where my kids died, my ex died or they all died. I imagined my son slipping and falling in the lava tubes they were going to visit at Snow Canyon State Park and cracking his head open. I imagined a shooter coming to a restaurant they might go to and shooting them. I finally decided I needed to tell my ex that he couldn’t take the kids, that if it meant me canceling my trip to keep them safe, I would do it. Luckily, by this point, I can usually recognize when it’s my OCD as opposed to reality. I calmed myself down, told myself that everything would be fine and didn’t mention a word of it to my ex. I went on my trip, they went on theirs, and we all came back safe and sound.
In the past, I would have given in. I would have gone to extreme measures to stay in control of these thoughts I’d had. This shows you what OCD can do to a person’s life. But it also shows you that there is hope. OCD doesn’t have to control every second of every day of your life. Like many things in life, it can be extremely difficult, but like I always say, you can do hard things.