THAT is OCD
When people ask me why I am on this journey, I often say to encourage, educate and make change.
Educating has been a huge part of my mission since I started, I mean, I am a teacher after all, but some days it’s just difficult.
People often ask me what to do if their loved ones don’t want help. I usually say, love them, and offer opportunities, but if they don’t want help, they are not going to follow through even if you get them started. It’s one thing with kids, but adults have the right to make poor choices.
Unless they are suicidal.
If someone is suicidal, get them to the hospital. They lose their right to make choices for at least 72 hours and hopefully will get leveled out. Unfortunately, once they go home, if they don’t want help, they’re not going to get it.
I am happy to answer questions. I am happy to give examples. I am happy to tell stories.
I am not happy to deal with bigotry.
Today I had an appointment with someone who didn’t know any truth about mental illness. She told me many times that people with bipolar are narcissistic. It is possible to have narcissistic personality disorder AND bipolar, but one does not mean the other. I am pretty much the opposite of narcissistic and I most definitely have bipolar.
She went on and on and didn’t give me any opportunities to speak at all, so I didn’t even have the opportunity to educate. PLUS, she was so far off that I didn’t know where to start. I was stuffing in every emotion I had and trying to get through…and then she was like, wow, you have a very stoic personality. Nope! Not if you really knew me! I am pretty much the exact opposite of stoic!
But then it was too much.
She had been going on and on about how she likes things to be so neat and it just makes her feel better when things are neat and tidy.
“I mean, all of us have a little OCD in us, am I right?”
No. You are not right. OCD is a debilitating illness. I have not been able to drive for two years, and it was a HUGE victory that I was able to get here by myself. I can only eat at 10, 2, and 7, so since I’m not going to be leaving until 2:05 I may have to skip lunch.* (Just so you know, I did an exposure and forced myself to have a smoothie at 2:20.) My dad died on January 7, at the age of 46, so I spend hours, days, years worrying about the fact that I am going to die on the exact day when I am 46. THAT…and so much more…is OCD. It has a HUGE effect on my day-to-day living and I would do anything to just want my house to be neat.
Oh….so you believe these things even though you know they are irrational?
No. I do not know that they are irrational. They are VERY real to me, and I am certain that if I do something wrong, something terrible is going to happen. It is overwhelming.
I may have educated her a bit, but similar to what I said earlier, if you don’t want help, there’s nothing I can do.
It is so frustrating. I want to teach, but when people say uneducated things, it can be incredibly hurtful and make my emotions flare. It doesn’t mean I’ll give up, but today was a bad day. And you can BET that I have relived the entire appointment in my head at least 30 times at this point. THAT is OCD.