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OCD Made Me Feel Like A Bad Person And I Almost Believed It

What happens when you can’t accept a diagnosis as true?

Escrito por Alice Di Domenico

OCD Made Me Feel Like A Bad Person And I Almost Believed It

01 Alice has dealt with multiple subtypes of OCD throughout her life, including intrusive thoughts about health, religion and more.

02 Meta OCD has been particularly challenging, making her question if she truly has OCD and is a bad person.

03 While she still struggles today, going to therapy and understanding her condition has helped make life more manageable.

When I think about my childhood, I remember behaviors I used to pass off as “just part of my weird personality.”

Since the age of 10, I’ve suffered from panic attacks. I remember growing up, constantly worrying about illnesses and checking my body everyday. When I was in high school, I started ruminating on my dreams. I thought that if I kissed someone in them, it was some sort of sign that meant I liked that person. 

I used to test myself to see if I actually liked my weird thoughts. When the reassurance wouldn’t come, it was over. I remember spending my days crying and looking for reassurance everywhere, confessing everything to my parents even when it was embarrassing. I needed people to know I didn’t “like” the thoughts in my head. 

If I started thinking about people that went to jail because they did something bad, then I had to prove to myself that I didn’t think like those people. I had to imagine myself in situations where I might act “like” them and see if I could accept or “like” their behaviors. I’d analyze my sensations after these thoughts. I felt normal, calm, and not disgusted. I would go to my parents and tell them that I was a bad person because I approved of bad things.

When I decided to see a therapist and start cognitive behavioral therapy (the other therapies that I have tried in the past were with psychotherapists), I finally understood I had OCD. I wasn’t crazy. I didn’t actually like all those weird thoughts. If only I knew I had OCD, all those years of suffering could have been prevented.

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I’m not saying that when I reached diagnosis all my struggles disappeared, because they didn’t. I was relieved but still scared. Every day a new topic would arrive and trigger my anxiety again. I was a prisoner inside my own brain. It felt like I was in hell. I still hated myself, even when I knew it was OCD’s fault. 

I still sought out reassurance from my therapist. My brain used to tell me, “She’s a professional. If she doesn’t think you’re crazy, you’re gonna be able to calm down.” But you can’t call your therapist every time you feel scared, because then you would be calling every day. 

Meanwhile, I was struggling with health anxiety and my OCD made it even worse. I had to check myself constantly and call my doctor everyday, or else bad things would happen. If my doctor wasn’t worried about my symptoms, my OCD would make me think, “What if I forgot something important? The doctor wouldn’t be so calm knowing that I also have a headache.” 

But you can’t call your therapist every time you feel scared, because then you would be calling every day.

OCD loves to contradict my values. For example, I have an obsession with making sure I haven’t done something illegal. If I post on Instagram, then I might think, “What if I wrote something wrong about an important topic? I could be sued.” Even when everyone says I’ve done something fine and am safe, I still have to check to make sure it isn’t illegal and I didn’t hurt anyone — physically or emotionally. 

I think that I’ve had every possible topic that a person with OCD could have. I’ve thought that I was a bad girlfriend, a bad daughter, a bad friend. I thought I was possibly suicidal, and someone that doesn’t care about other people’s suffering. I don’t have enough space to write down all the themes I’ve experienced.

I still suffer sometimes, but I know I'm not a bad person. With the right amount of time, and a lot of mindfulness and therapy, things started to get better. Sometimes I think about that little girl who was always crying, convinced that she was a bad person. I want to hug her and tell her, "Don't worry, it's all gonna be clear one day. You'll be okay."

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