Support groups are often helpful for people. Whether you are dealing with a disease or disorder, or have experienced tragedy or trauma, there is nothing quite like connecting with others who are, or have been, in a similar situation. Why is this? I think one of the main reasons is because those in your support group simply know how it feels. While family, friends, and health professionals can support you and even possibly understand what you are going through, they will never truly know what it feels like.
When Dan was dealing with severe OCD, I wanted to know what it felt like. I knew he had constant agonizing intrusive thoughts, but how did he actually feel? If I could feel what he was feeling, then maybe I could somehow take away some of his pain. That doesn’t make much sense to me now, but for some reason it did back then. It wasn’t something we talked about a lot, as Dan had more pressing things to deal with than trying to describe his OCD to his mother.
Over the past few years, I have come across some OCD sufferer’s descriptions of what their anxiety from OCD feels like. The ones I remember are, not surprisingly, the ones I can personally relate to:
* You have that feeling you get when someone scratches their fingers down a blackboard.
* You have that feeling you get after swerving to avoid a potentially fatal car accident.
* You have that feeling you get when you take your eyes off of your child in a store for one minute, and then he/she is gone.
With the above examples, your physical and mental distress dissipates once the blackboard scratching stops, you avoid the accident, or you’ve located your child. But try to imagine having those feelings of intense anxiety repeatedly, perhaps hundreds of times a day. That is what some sufferers say life with severe OCD feels like.
I can imagine what it is like to have OCD all I want, but like I said before I will never really know how it feels. And instead of wishing I knew how Dan felt, I now wish that he, and all OCD sufferers, never had to feel that way to begin with.