Are you as bad as you think you are?

A common question in my OCD support group, is how do we know that we really are not as bad as our thoughts say we are? What defines us a good person when our mind is overflowing with intrusive, disgusting, inappropriate thoughts about our loved ones? How can we even think of ourselves as anything other than evil? Well, I’m here to tell you how. This one goes out to me too, because I often analyse how I am still functioning when I have so many intrusive thoughts inside my head. A big worry of an OCD sufferer is whether these thoughts are true or not. I want to shine some light on your situation. Evil people in the world, enjoy being evil. They thrive off it, they don’t care. Hitler wasn’t crying when he ruined the world, he had a smile on his face. Do you ever watch the news and see a convicted murderer smiling at the camera because he loves the attention? I’ve seen it happen so many times. Or, on the other hand, people who don’t seek help for their issues and ending up off the rails, causing them to go ahead and action their thoughts because of drugs or other factors. This is where things start to go bad. OCD sufferers, unfortunately, cop bad intrusive thoughts of the worst possible scenarios, but as the good old saying goes “actions speak louder than words”, consider “actions speak louder than thoughts”. For as long as they are just thoughts, your thoughts are meaningless. I once heard an OCD specialist say, “even if you truly are what you think you are, will you ever act on those thoughts? No. So does it really matter?” This traumatised me. Because for me, it’s not so much the idea of acting on a thought, it’s the idea that I am the thought that tears me apart. But what I soon realised was, that the point of the specialist’s quote, was because the more you tell your mind that you are not something, the stronger the feeling gets. But the more you tell your mind that you couldn’t care less whether you’re that something or not, the lower the volume gets. Of course, this takes time and patience. Because our second biggest fear with OCD, is that if you can hear the thoughts and no longer react to them – essentially the whole aim of therapy – then we must really enjoy them. True? Absolutely not. Hearing the thoughts and not reacting means literally not reacting. It doesn’t mean smiling and enjoying the thoughts as some actual evil people do. It means noticing that they’re there and going about your day. Thoughts do not hurt people. But they definitely hurt yourself. And the more you associate yourself with being a terrible person, the more damage you are only doing to your own health. I know it is hard for those who are uneducated to understand, that is why you should only be talking to people you trust. The last thing you need is somebody judging you even further, causing you to spiral into another depressive episode. You need to remember that you suffer from a condition. It sucks. While everyone has those thoughts, ours seem to latch onto our brains because we’re such good people that we’re repulsed by even thinking those things in the first place. I just want to tell you, that the nausea you’re feeling, the trembling in your hands, the tears in your eyes, they are what define you as a good person. Never forget it.

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