When I announced I was writing a book about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, my older sister was dubious. “How are you going to write an entire book about that?” she asked. I, however, knew I had an important story to share and hoped it would be of benefit to people suffering with OCD, but also to those who were curious and wanted to read a personal account of living with the disorder.
Two months later, I produced my first draft for her to peruse. Her response was “Wow, I didn’t realize you were such a madwoman!” I guess she had blocked it from her mind, or didn’t realize the scope of how it still affected my daily life. She returned that draft to me with an astonishing number of corrections—no surprise my writing was filled with repetition! She had also jotted colorful commentary in the margins on how I could curtail some of my issues. I just smiled to myself, thanked her for the helpful suggestions but, inwardly, I knew I had already made peace with most of my behaviors.
It felt quite cathartic to write it all down and examine everything from a different perspective—reading about my actions but not actually experiencing them in that moment. Through the course of writing, proofreading, and editing, I must have analyzed each paragraph a thousand times. The words would stick in my head all day, up until I drifted off to sleep, so whenever I started to perform my rituals, they would bubble to the surface and make me instantly aware of what I was doing. It not only made me laugh but kept my repetitive actions to a minimum, which was a rather welcome side effect.
My intent, throughout the telling of my story, is to shine a light on the struggles of dealing with OCD while bringing a smile to the faces of those who need it most.
Has writing or journaling helped you cope with OCD?