The average OCD patient deals with endless frightening thoughts a day. But one that is the most frightening, is by far the thought of telling somebody the thoughts that go on in your head. Why? Because you are actually putting a thought into action. You are running the risk of being judged. Recently, in one of my support groups, a lady posted about her terrifying POCD experience, only to come back to numerous comments calling her a pedophile, and many other hurtful names. Amongst the hundred supportive comments, there were only about five or six that were really insulting, and yet this poor victim clung onto those insults, and ended up admitting herself to a psychiatric ward, for fear that she was a danger to her children and family. As humans, it is in our nature to latch onto the things that put us down the most. As the saying goes, “somebody can call you beautiful every single day and you won’t believe it, but if they call you ugly just once, you will”, doesn’t that sound familiar?
Opening up to somebody about your intrusive thoughts can be absolutely crippling. After all, even I, who am fairly open about my mental illness, still refuse to go into depth about the type of disturbing thoughts I have. In my opinion, there are some things you should just keep to yourself. Not necessarily because they will judge you, but just because there are certain things that some people just shouldn’t know. In regards to themes however, I am fairly open about which themes I am battling, and thus, my loved ones can only imagine what types of thoughts I get. But, despite that, I still refuse to ever give them any clarification on whether their opinions are true or not. As I said, some things are just not meant to be shared.
But that’s not saying you should remain isolated and suffer in silence. I strongly believe that opening up to my partner and my best friend about my themes has been life changing – even the really disturbing and taboo ones. The question that remains though, is how do you open up to somebody about such terrifying themes? Well, the first step is to educate. The key for any person’s recovery is education, so you can only imagine how vital it is for their loved ones to also be educated, to ensure that they don’t make their road to recovery any more difficult as it already would be. There are so many websites online or YouTube channels that go into detail about OCD and it’s different sub-types. If your loved ones can understand that this is a disorder and not you, then chances are they will not judge you. Again, educate them as much as you can and then address which themes you relate to the most, based on their understanding of each theme. But, remember to also remain patient. It would really take time for somebody to understand the intricate details of such a complex disorder. Don’t be frustrated if somebody doesn’t understand the first time, keep trying.
I will link some resources that I find the most useful in understanding OCD. The OCD Stories podcast is a huge one as you have the chance to listen to real people tell their real stories. I must admit, it is a lot easier to tell your story through somebody else. So find an episode that relates to you the most and show your loved one. You can find details about the podcast here. If listening to podcast’s isn’t really your thing, The OCD Stories also has posts online of victims sharing their stories. You can find endless amounts of posts here and you can even search key words based on your theme to save you the trouble of reading through every single one. You can find the website here.
Another great website with a large block of information on this debilitating disorder is Intrusive Thoughts. Rose Bretécher, the creator of this organisation, has suffered from OCD herself and has actually written a book called Pure, which is becoming a television show later on this year (hooray for some awareness!) Chrissie Hodges is also an amazing Pure OCD Advocate, who often posts videos on her YouTube Channel about her condition. You can check them out here. One Google search though will help you find exactly what you’re looking for, as there are so many advocates out there who aim to raise awareness about this disorder. Don’t be afraid to go searching, sometimes your loved ones may even decide to search themselves. Just remember to be patient with them and to try and educate them as much as you can, and soon enough they will understand your disorder better than yourself.