Sunday, December 4, 2011

Why not tell?

Why is it so hard to reveal to anyone else—medical professionals, family, friends—that we have OCD?
In writing, in very broad strokes, about my own early journey to treatment, I realized how many times I missed the chance to share my struggles with doctors.
Part of the reason I kept my symptoms to myself was the embarrassment I felt. Think about it. How strange does this sound?
“I stood in my kitchen for five hours the other night checking my stove to make sure it was off,” I tell my doctor. “My hands are so red because I used a bottle and a half of Lysol to clean my small bathroom. Oh, and I was late for my appointment today because I had to drive up and down the street outside to make sure I hadn’t hit someone with my car.”
How would the doctor react? I was afraid to find out.
I think another reason I didn’t tell my doctors was because I didn’t want anyone thinking I was crazy, weak, someone to be pitied, not to be trusted.
Knowing what I know now, and with the experience I have, the only kind of doctor I would have is one who would treat me with understanding and respect.
What I have gained in getting help from medical professionals far out ways any embarrassment I felt as I revealed my problems.
I have had the benefit of understanding doctors and therapists who encouraged me and told me I would feel better even when I didn’t believe it.
I have had the benefit of medications that have helped me deal with OCD, depression and anxiety.
I have learned ways to think about myself less negatively and more realistically.
I can live a good life with my various disorders, and knowing that is a gift.
It’s not my fault I have OCD. It’s not my fault that I have depression. It’s not my fault that I have anxiety.
And it’s not your fault either.


  1. Lovely post. I didn't tell any doctors until just under two years ago for exactly the reasons you listed.

    It is hard for me to remember that all this stuff is not my fault-- especially when I'm in the thick of an OCD attack.

  2. Excellent post! I think that's why it is so important to advocate for OCD awareness. The more we talk about OCD the more people will understand and instead of being embarrassed about the types of symptoms you mention, sufferers (and everyone for that matter) will just realize that that's "what OCD does."


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