Since moving back to Texas, it has taken me a long ass time to find a therapist. Part of this is because I was waiting for my new job’s insurance to kick in, the other part was because of depression-induced procrastination (whoops).
Anyway, in April I began seeing an AMAZING, wonderful, bad-ass therapist here in Dallas who has bright purple hair and literally rocks my world. I left my therapist I had been consistent with for a year back in NYC, and I was terrified that I would be unable to find a liberal, helpful therapist here in the bible belt. Well, ladies and gents and all other genders unmentioned, I WAS WRONG! The wonderful woman I have been seeing as of late is incredibly helpful, and specialized in exactly the treatment I need: CBT and OCD therapy.
My therapist tells me I am super self-aware of my issues, which will hopefully assist me in the overall uncomfortable process of treatment and stabilizing myself for the future. Since making progress with her, she has given me some really interesting information about one of my specific conditions, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). I wanted to share some information I’ve learned below in case it is of assistance or interest of others.
- OCD does not always manifest in the same ways among different people, and often can manifest in different ways within the same person. Some people, for example, express OCD through certain ticks or irrational fears. Other people may experience OCD through other fears or obsessions. Moreover, within the same person OCD can change throughout time. When I was very young, before primary school, I exhibited OCD more through ticks and hyperventilating. As time went on, my OCD manifested into habits such as eating disorders and irrational fears stemmed from my past, etc.
- OCD is something you are born with. It ain’t yo’ fault for having OCD!! For me, this was a relief to hear as I have always felt guilty in some way for experiencing mental illness. OCD is something that does not just “go away,” but rather, can be controlled and better managed through proper therapy and medication as needed.
- From present research, most experts in the field understand that OCD is an evolutionary phenomenon stemmed from the basis of human-kind. When man lived in tribes, hunted for food, and protected themselves through more natural measures, somewhere around 20% of the population needed to be “hyper aware” or hyper sensitive to their environment in order to best serve and protect the clan. These traits have been less useful as society advanced. This is problematic because those of us who experience hyper-sensitivity and awareness are affected in less-than-logical or useful ways, hence, OCD.
- On the same note…OCD is kinda-sorta like having a super power. For the average person, their ability to conceptualize potential dangers or worry about anything is within a normal and average range. For those of us with OCD, our brains function with Superman-like speed and agility to understand and potentially obsess and/or worry about events and ordeals that an “average” person would never have thought of in the first place. I mean, lets be real, we have to be pretty freaking amazing to think of ways for a completely unrealistic situation to potentially occur.
There are definitely other cool notes I will need to add in the future, but that can wait for another post. For me, I was actually quite relieved with my diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder and OCD. I know not everyone likes diagnosis because “labels” can often be restrictive and triggering. But in my case, I feel like finally having some answers to my struggles was more comforting than negative.
Regardless of whatever diagnosis you may have, I think it is important to have a therapist or doctor who is able to better explain what this means to you. Outside research is also helpful, so long as it is coming from a reliable source.
Let me know if you found this helpful, funny, or interesting.
Other helpful links:
NIMH Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Washington Post: OCD Nearly Ruined Her Life
The Atlantic: OCD Is Not A Quirk