I am not a hostile person. In fact, I have rarely, if ever, used the word hate in reference to a person. But from the beginning, I have hated OCD. I have seen how this disorder can affect those who suffer from it, as well as their loved ones. Obsessive-compulsive disorder has the potential to destroy lives. It is the enemy, and needs to be battled fiercely.
But being hateful doesn’t come naturally to me. And to tell the truth, even though I say I hate OCD, I’m not sure hate is the right word. Fear, maybe? I’m not sure; I haven’t found the words that feel completely right to me. I mean, my son has OCD and it is part of who he is. Surely, I don’t hate my son or any aspect of his being. Maybe I should rethink how I truly feel about obsessive-compulsive disorder?
What about the millions of people out there who are living with OCD? While I constantly refer to the disorder as “the enemy,” is that how everyone with OCD feels? Is it healthy to feel that a part of you is the enemy that needs to be taken down? Or is it better to be able to accept the disorder for what it is, while still seeking out the best ways to manage it? I guess my question is, “Is hate really the way to go?”
My friend Tina “talks” to her OCD in a recent post on Bringing Along OCD:
I don’t want to think of myself as at war with you. But we’re going to make peace, and it’s going to be on my terms. I am going to stop giving you my time, my effort, my tears, my feelings, my life. I will give you nothing…
To me, this statement is very powerful and makes a lot of sense. Hate takes time and energy. Time and energy that can be much better spent living the life you choose for yourself. Maybe OCD doesn’t have to be the enemy, but might be looked at more as an unwanted guest. You know, someone who has the power to ruin your good time, if you let them.
During this week of Thanksgiving, I am incredibly thankful that I am now in the position to step back and reconsider my, and Dan’s, relationship with OCD. I am letting go of the hate and fear, or whatever that very strong emotion is I’ve had for so long, and am seeing OCD for what it is: an unwanted guest who my son, when he needs to, can throw out of the party.