My friend “C” over at OCD to the nth Degree recently wrote a great post discussing her years lost to OCD:
“So, the lost years were when I was 23-24, up until I was about 25 when I started treatment for this baby. These years were very crucial to my career and educational development. Instead of spending them on those things, with all my focus and energy, I was simply trying to make it to the next day.”
My guess is that many other OCD sufferers can easily relate to this post. So much lost time!
Then again, as with so many things, it all depends on how you look at it. “C” admirably views her years of suffering from a different perspective:
I also am adamant that there will be a greater good from all that suffering during those young years. Maybe the intimate details of my exposures–the things you read about on here that I don’t discuss in detail in my closest relationships–will let someone gain back my lost years. You could call them “the found years”. And then their life will help someone else’s life. And the ripple effect and the pay-it-forward effect happens.
Sometimes we can look back at the adversity in our lives and find some good in the aftermath of our pain, just as “C” has done. When I think of my son Dan’s “lost years,” filled with so much anxiety and terror (for him), and heartache and sadness (for me and my husband), I have to admit I have trouble thinking of many positives. The truth is I wish Dan never had to struggle with severe OCD. In fact, if I had my druthers, I’d wish OCD didn’t exist at all – for anyone.
But, like so many other things in life, this was, and is, out of my control. As the saying goes, “It is what it is,” and Dan (and I) needs to accept his “lost years,” and not dwell on them. This isn’t always easy, especially for those with OCD who can be “experts” on ruminating about the past as well as contemplating the future.
Perhaps some of the positives that have come out of Dan’s “lost years” include the lessons he learned during therapy while fighting his OCD: The past is done with and the future is uncertain and, to a great extent, out of our control. We need to concentrate on the present, the here and now, and make the most of this time. Whether you have OCD or not, I think we all should, as of right now, strive to live the lives we want for ourselves. If we don’t, there is a good chance we might look back at “now” and see it as “lost time.”