Shame and OCD

OCD can make us feel self-conscious, embarrassed, depressed, confused, sad, angry and ashamed.  For as long as I can remember, I have felt so much anger toward myself. Anger for thinking my thoughts and for being this OCD girl.  I felt unworthy of the happiness that other people kept saying we all deserved.  I still do sometimes.  I’d say “maybe some people deserve happiness, but I don’t!”

At some point, I started to believe that I didn’t do anything wrong to bring this OCD burden on myself, but I still couldn’t shake the idea that for some reason, I deserved it and I continued to feel so much shame.

The difference between guilt and shame can be most simply distinguished as (guilt-)“I did something bad” vs. (shame-)“I am bad”.  I felt so guilty for having my obsessive thoughts and so ashamed for who I was.  Ashamed to be this girl with this fucked up brain.  And because of this shame, being vulnerable was something I really tried to avoid.  If I couldn’t accept who I was, how could anyone else?

MY OCD symptoms have diminished by a whole lot, but the shame is still there.  A therapist suggested I watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCvmsMzlF7o

It’s TEDTalk on vulnerability by Brene Brown, a researcher who studies shame.  Watch it!  I have seen this now a few times and there are some powerful messages there. 

Letting go of shame is so important.  We need to give ourselves a break and a chance to feel vulnerable.  It’s with vulnerability that we give others a chance to see who we are.  Wait!  Trust me, it’s not without great hesitation that I write this.  Feeling vulnerable is super scary, but learning to accept ourselves is so important. 

Just because we have OCD does not mean we are bad people.  I know, I know, I can say that, but believing it is another thing.  I guess I need to start believing some of this stuff 🙂 

Like in this image that my good friend, Drew Renaud, made.  🙂

Image

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