Why stay in therapy – Peeling back the layers

I haven’t written in so long due to fear.  But fear aside, I’m ready to share the truth.

My OCD is all but alleviated.  I am reminded rarely, but abruptly every so often when I have an “OCD” moment at how life used to be.  I am shocked by these occurrences at how I used to feel every day for years.  It’s easy to forget the mental torture, because really, why would I want to remember?  But, I do in some ways because I’ll never really fit in completely, and I need to know why.  However, I am in the best place I can be for the next part of my life which is to help other people get better and finally become friends with their bullying minds.

On to the fear part of this.  After the OCD was taken out of my brain, there was a shadow of where it was, and my sense of self was shaken.  I self-harmed more than ever and acted out in many self-destructive ways.  I got back into therapy, wondering what the point was of peeling back these layers of my mind only to find more problems underneath.  Here is why I keep going:

  • Whatever issues I now face, I am more equipped to handle now that I have gotten over OCD
  • There will always be challenges in life
  • The problems I have at this point are not as bad as my OCD

So, while I struggle with a whole new set of cards, I would’t trade them in for my past.  As I have said before, we all have a story that will fluctuate with joys and disappointments and we must commit to not quitting and that commitment doesn’t stop no matter how tough or easy things get.  Keep writing your story, and stay strong.

How “Should” Messes Everything Up

We say “should” all the time, but rarely at the appropriate time.  “Should” indicates responsibility in usually a critical way, and with anxiety disorders and depression, this occurs a lot.

“My life shouldn’t be like this.”

This statement hurts because what it really means is that life and who I am are not ok as they are.  I know OCD doesn’t feel ok, but hear me out. It’s that “I’m wrong and that if I made a different choice or acted another way, than everything would be as it should“.  “Should” makes us feel like we messed up, and what’s worse, if we truly have no or little control, then we are beating ourselves up for a crime we didn’t commit.

When I said this, my therapist asked me how my life should be.  Through the tears, I explained how I never thought I’d be this person.  He asked when I made the choice to get OCD, and I said it wasn’t my choice, and he said “exactly.”  He explained how “Should” was a trap.  Who decides what should and should’t be?  It’s when we feel like things should be a certain way, that we fall into it.

Next time you say “should”, think if it’s really appropriate.  It hurt less to say “I want my life to be different.” because this stems from a real emotion, and begs the question, “how can I improve my emotional state?”

Language can really cause us emotional downs, and here’s another:

“I don’t deserve to be happy”

“Deserve” means you have done something worthy enough to receive something else like happiness, for example.  O no.  I’t’s impossible for a psychologist to talk me out of this one.  They always respond to with “but, everyone deserves to be happy.”  Instinctively I know this is not true.  Evil people don’t deserve happiness, while kind people do, right?  What about people who go through insane trauma; did they not deserve happiness?

In short, no, I don’t deserve to be happy, nor do I deserve to be unhappy.

Wait!

The truth is that sometimes I will feel happy and sometimes I won’t, but that doesn’t reflect who I am.  Most of us strive to be descent people and happiness is not a reward system. Happiness is an emotion that stops by sometimes, and though I feel like it’s unfair that I feel anxious more than I want, it doesn’t mean that I deserve to be unhappy and I shouldn’t believe that it does? ;)

Statistics

So often, I am reminded that I am a statistic. Without a diagnosis, it’s easy to feel crazy and wonder what the fuck is wrong, all the while fearing that any clue you accidentally leave behind will lead to an involuntary hospitalization in the dreaded psych ward.

On the other hand, when the questionnaires are finally finished, and the therapist tells you that in fact you are NOT crazy, but there’s a name, it’s liberating. This is where my crusade to label and diagnose everything started.

Trying to find a reason, a name, and simply just an understanding of anything wrong with me seemed a mission worthy of my time, and the relief I felt is something I crave more than sugar. Each time I realized my behavior was “text book”, a statistical characteristic, my identity was both comforted and threatened. Again, relieved to have a name, but now chased with an empty sense of self.

We are more than our mental illness. We have to do more than just say this; we have to do things to remind ourselves we are more than statistics.

It’s difficult to do what I like because I feel guilty for not being productive and working on self improvement, but the ironic thing is that self improvement also comes from participating in activities completely unrelated to mental health.

We are more than statistics.