Mother’s Day is coming up, and I miss my mom. I changed my Gravatar picture to a photo of her with my baby brother from 1970. I think the thing that hurts the most now is that I was not able to properly grieve her loss at the time. I feel like OCD steals from my life to such an extent that it does not allow me to deal with real problems, forcing me to deal with its made-up false alarms instead. It refuses to let me put things “on the back burner,” so I have to spend all my time thinking about things I do not even want to. I’m better able to control it now, but I really wish I’d been able to properly deal with the loss of my mom. I wish I had been there for her more in the months before her death. I wish I had been there for the other members of my immediate family. I wish I had been able to focus on her loss more than the OCD episodes I was having at the time. I resent OCD for stealing this important time from me, just like so many other important times in my life. Shortly before she died, my dad called a “family meeting” to discuss my mom’s declining health and important developments related to it — and I missed this meeting, not because I wanted to, but because my brain would not let me focus on anything but the relationship problems I was having at that time. I spent this time fighting with my ex-boyfriend over problems that may have been entirely imagined, a result of OCD. Even if the reason we were fighting was not due to my OCD, my inability to stop thinking about any problem in our relationship (no matter how small) would not let me escape. Now that person is out of my life entirely, and I realize I sacrificed an irreplaceable moment with my family for a relationship that would be over in just a few months.
But my mom believed she had OCD, though she was never diagnosed — so ultimately, I think that she would understand.
But remember that, everyone. Remember that if you let it, OCD will take everything from you… it will become the only thing you think about and focus on. It wants to consume your life. Your brain is trying to protect you, telling you there is danger — but with OCD, the only danger is being excessively concerned about danger. Live your life that way, and you will see one day that maybe you avoided getting hurt, but you enjoyed nothing and had no life. Or maybe you are like me, and didn’t avoid getting hurt — in trying to avoid getting hurt, you ended up getting hurt even worse. Your fear of being hurt actually caused more problems for you than it prevented. Or while you were worried about being hurt by one thing, you were so consumed with that you could not see another danger which was right before your eyes, and much more threatening. That is the downside to excessive anxiety. Anxiety has a natural, evolved place in our lives — but like anything else, it is not helpful when taken to an extreme.