No One Said It Was Gonna Be Easy

I wish getting my life back was simple. But it’s not. I have to fight so hard. Some days, it’s worse than others. Some days, the obsessions take hold, and I give in more because I can’t handle it. Some days are good and I’m fine. But on the bad days, it’s so hard to keep fighting.

I’m writing this on a Sunday. It’s been one week since I left the conference. I haven’t taken my Prozac in a few days because I keep forgetting and because I’m running low and hate to go to the pharmacy for a refill. I’m really not supposed to miss any doses of Prozac because my anxiety starts to soar again and the obsessions become harder to fight. Today is a hard day.

I know today is hard in part because the Prozac isn’t running as strong in my system anymore. It’s hard because I’m not around all the other people with OCD who are fighting alongside me. But it’s also hard because my OCD habits are so ingrained.

I’ve been washing my hands more than once at each wash since I was eighteen. I’m twenty-eight now. Ten years of intense washing. A week will not break that habit completely. I’ve been doing much better. But I’ve also given in a few times. And today, my brain won’t stop trying to convince me I have not washed my hands, even though logic says I did.

It sucks. I sit here and try to focus on relaxing. I play a game, read a book. Flip through a magazine. Look at articles online. Text friends. And all my mind will come back to is, “Did you wash your hands after using the restroom? We know you went back and washed again, but what about that first time? And you’re still touching stuff. It could all be contaminated. You’re disgusting. Can you remember washing?” I try to replay the image of me washing, but the obsession blocks it out. It doesn’t want me to remember. Then it would lose its power.

But damn it, I keep trying to remember. The more I try, the more the obsession takes hold. The angrier I get. The sadder I get. I can’t focus. All I want to do is remember so I can shut the obsession up, even though I know that won’t really work.

I keep telling myself to just sit with it. It’s okay to be anxious. It will go away. But my mind doesn’t want to. It’s like I can feel my brain wriggling in discomfort. It doesn’t like this. My brain just wants to give in. It looks easier.

But I know giving in is not easier. It just causes more pain.

I don’t want to go back to where I was. I want to get better. These hard days make it difficult to keep fighting.

It’s hard to accept that the obsessions will never completely go away. Right now, I can’t even begin to picture what the future would be like. I don’t know what to expect. I don’t know how to fight later. I hear others’ stories and know it’s possible, and that gives me hope, but when I’m in the depths of despair (if you catch my reference, you should know I think you’re awesome), it’s hard to hold on to hope. It’s such an intangible thing.

I’m a Christian, so I understand faith. Faith and patience have never been easy for me. Remarkably, I’ve had people tell me I am patient. And perhaps I am better at being patient with others. But I suck at being patient for myself. I always want to know. Dr. Grayson said there is no such thing as certainty. And that’s true. Everything is in God’s hands. I have no control. If God wants something to happen to me, it will happen to me. But right now, I am wrestling with faith, with believing that someday I will know how to fight the obsessions that creep back in.

All I know is that today is hard. Maybe tomorrow will be easier. Maybe tomorrow will still be hard. I’ll keep using exposure therapy. I will not stop. I will push forward. I will not let momentary setbacks derail me. I will embrace my anger at OCD, and I will keep trying.

How do you push through on those hard days? If you’re willing, share your advice!

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