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. 🙂