First a bit of context. I am getting treatment for OCD after a long journey to accepting that I couldn’t continue to give in to compulsions. The intervention of my partner, advice from a friend with the condition, charity support, and a podcast which gave me a likely name for what I was experiencing were all key to me reaching this milestone.
I had made great progress in reducing the impact OCD had on my life prior to lockdown and have successfully avoided developing new compulsions since beginning to shield for my partner – something that was a big fear for me in the early days of the pandemic.
The biggest challenge has been grieving for my identity pre-OCD – I was lucky enough to be very confident and I felt like anything I set my mind to could be possible. I worried that OCD might now be a barrier. Stepping out of that identity and feeling more vulnerable has pushed me to begin to become bolder in asking for what I need and shielding during lockdown has made forming relationships something that can’t be put off for a more confident time. I feel empowered and valuable in a way that I didn’t when I was my ‘confident’ self.
The new me won’t fit around other people, be excessively grateful, or quietly endure things which feel wrong (including when my OCD is imposing limits). This empowerment will be the basis of a better me whether I always have OCD or recover fully. Most importantly I am not my OCD. It is just a part of me which is tied to my conscientious and caring nature and is a daily reminder of my inner strength. This new me isn’t there every day but I’m working on that and I have hope for the future!