Dear Anxiety & OCD,
We’ve been together for a while. I’ve been formally diagnosed with you two for a few months now, so I know who and what you are, you can’t hide from me anymore. You’ve been with me for years though, you know you have, I was just very good at hiding it.
In January 2013, you won. You put me into a crisis that changed me. I couldn’t eat or drink for fear of being contaminated. I couldn’t do many things for a few weeks. That’s when I knew that I needed help. I needed help that my family or my partner could not give and that was hard. I was calling up helplines multiple times a day. I had to stop and soon otherwise I wasn’t getting out of this hole that you were pulling me into.
I called my doctor. I was agoraphobic at this point. I didn’t want to go outside and it was your fault. Not mine. You were in my mind, running around and I couldn’t put you back in your cage. At least not on my own.
I started CBT therapy and that didn’t help much. It only made me cry and it made me remember all of those bad things that you put me through day in and day out, relentlessly. You never gave up. I wanted to. I wasn’t the same person anymore and I needed to get better for myself and for my family. You were making my friendships and relationships fall apart in front of me. You are not me. You are something else – a monster. You stopped me going to college. It was all you, none of it was me.
Things didn’t go well with CBT so I took matters into my own hands. I am stronger than you. You are not stronger than me. I started to get better on my own – pushing myself like I had done before. I pushed through the thoughts and the mental pain and torture that you put me through and I was on the road to recovery. I AM on the road to recovery.
Mediation and yoga help put you back in your metaphorical cage inside my head, if only for a little bit. They give me a break from you. You give me racing thoughts and horrible images in my mind and I dislike it. But you don’t stop because that is who you are. But I am not you and you are not me, understand that. I will beat you eventually, not now but in the future. You will not win this time. You won the battle to begin but I will see it to the end and I will win.
I’m not writing this to you because I hate you. I don’t hate you. I don’t dislike you as such. I dislike what you do to me, but through everything you make me feel normal in a way. I’ve grown used to you being there. You are in my mind constantly running around. You are there for the foreseeable future but you won’t be there forever. At least, you won’t be there in strength. You’ll just ebb away and pop up sometimes.
I used to feel abnormal, but I’ve come to understand that you live in many people too. There are people who have monsters in their mind, just like me. And that makes me feel normal. Because there are others like me.
I hope to get rid of you in the near future,