This post first appeared on my blog in July 2013…
As a child, my son Dan never lied to me. Okay, I guess I can’t be 100% sure about that, but he was usually an upfront, truthful boy. Teachers and relatives would comment on his honesty as well, saying things like, “If we want to know what really happened, we ask Dan.”
Enter OCD. Now he’s telling us he didn’t realize there were fingerprints all over the walls, or he was too tired to go here or there, or he just wasn’t hungry. All lies (which worked) to cover up his obsessive-compulsive disorder. Even after he was diagnosed and I’d ask how he was doing, the answer was always “fine,” despite the fact that he was obviously so not fine. He lied about his feelings and about taking his meds. My hunch is he lied to the first few doctors he saw, or at the very least, wasn’t completely honest with them regarding his symptoms.
OCD can turn those with the disorder into liars. Whether it’s the fear of being found out, the fear of what others will think, or a host of other reasons, those with OCD often do whatever they can to cover their tracks. They become sneaky, courtesy of OCD.
What I find ironic is that many of these same people deal with honesty issues as part of their disorder. For example, some with OCD are so afraid of lying they might have to review their entire day in their minds to make sure everything they said was true. Others might even confess to “bad things” they never did, but how do they know for sure they didn’t do them, so the right thing to do is to own up to the wrongdoing. Concerns that revolve around hyper-responsibility often involve being honest and doing the right thing to keep loved ones, or maybe even the whole world, safe. And of course, scrupulosity is all about upstanding moral behavior, which involves telling the truth.
So once again we see the disconnect between what those with OCD strive for and what OCD delivers. People with OCD who value truth and honesty become deceitful. This is just one example of how those with OCD struggle to be certain all is well, but then this insidious disorder goes ahead and makes sure the opposite happens – lives are destroyed.
It is true that OCD can steal what is most important to us all, but only if we let it. Please don’t let it. If you have obsessive-compulsive disorder, you can fight back with ERP Therapy and regain control of your life. Honestly.