Okay here’s the deal, I’m 50 and have had OCD since I was 18. It pretty much came out of nowhere, although looking back it’s obvious I had the predisposition for it. I know I should go in order and introduce myself and tell my story and all that, but today I’m just diving into something that will help me because I am feeling obsessive and anxious today about uncertainty as it relates to life and my well being. Here’s the content of this particular obsession for me: I had a very difficult stomach issue about 3 years ago where I had inflammation of the stomach lining. I was nauseous and had no appetite and felt tired and weak due to it. I also was very depressed because It had just been 4 months since I came off the medicine I was on for OCD that I had been taking for 14 years. I came off way too fast and the PSYCHOLOGIST that was advising me to come off it had no idea what he was doing in this area. He acted like it and because he had helped me so much in our therapy sessions with exposure and cognitive therapy, I believed him and went for it…big mistake.
Once the medicine was 100 percent out of my system, it caused me to feel depressed and I hadn’t done well with depression in the past. Then I started feeling obsessive soon after and now I didn’t have the help of the medicine to help me fight it. In addition to this was my stomach issue, no desire for food or the opposite sex, the inability to enjoy a glass of wine, and the fact that a 4 year relationship I had with a woman had just come to an end. I was really worked over and did not feel good. So I got back on medicine and back in therapy and aggressively started doing exposures. I met the woman of my total dreams, whom I am now married to, and I gradually got better. Furthermore, I started a support group which helped me immensely. I also started a new business. All of this helped in time and I am now doing well. Today, however, I had a visit from the common obsession that goes something like this: “How do you know you won’t go back to feeling bad like you did before?What would you do if the worst happened and you got depressed and nauseous again and had terrible pains in your stomach, and NOTHING could help me, what would you do then? ” I respond in my mind and say , well I could work out and do exposures………and what if that didn’t work? Well I could check myself into the hospital and certainly they could take the pain and anguish away……..but what if they couldn’t and I just remained in pain and anguish and suffering with deep depression and OCD and NOTHING helped, what then? So I tell myself, well there is an end in sight because ultimately I would die and I wouldn’t be in anguish anymore. But what if after I died it carried on forever and ever and anguish and suffering never ended……..what then? Maybe that’s what hell is and maybe I will go there and maybe….and maybe…..and maybe, maybe, maybe….. . Beautiful thought process and concept indeed isn’t it? Just lovely and uplifting and positive!! Right? Wrong.
So here is how I deal with the above. First of all, It sucks. Secondly, I stopped searching for certainty because that is what is feeding this evil villain. “But how can I live with uncertainty?” Honestly, I never knew before and sometimes I get back in that place like I feel the pull is today. So here’s the deal, I don’t have certainty and we don’t on anything. First reaction is that sucks and that I can’t live like that because I’ll go crazy with that kind of fear OR get deeply depressed to where I can’t move and I just sit there and suffer in anguish. So there’s no certainty…ultimately, and anything could happen……ultimately. Okay, that’s reality, that’s it. No that’s not it! You forgot about one thing here….ME. You see last time I checked, I have a choice here, as long as there is breath in my body. So you see, life and reality and afterlife and hell can do whatever it wants to me but I still get to decide what I’m going to do right now…… BIG piece of this, not to be overlooked. So now this is where I take over and I say “AS LONG AS THERE IS BREATH IN MY BODY, I WILL FIGHT THIS AND I WILL SPEND THE REST OF MY LIFE HELPING THOSE WHO ARE SUFFERING WITH THIS.” That’s what I go with. So it’s like, if you’re (OCD) threatening me all of my life that you’re going to destroy me, I don’t know if you will or won’t. What I do know is that I have a CHOICE as to wether I am going to live my life to the best of my ability or whether I am going to spend my precious days on earth worried about whether or not you are going to destroy me. I could spend my days ruminating about what I would do or how I would handle it if that happened. That’s a loser’s game and I get to decide whether I am going to play it or not and SO DO YOU. That whole notion can kiss my ass! As long as I am alive I have a CHOICE and I will CHOOSE the courageous, powerful, sensible, life fulfilling one every time. As long as I have a CHOICE as to whether you take me or not, I WILL exercise it……..EVERY time! CHOOSE TO FIGHT.