This spring I’ve written about the joy that I’ve gotten from my foray into vegetable gardening.
My joy goes beyond my pleasure in watching things grow and the solace it brings my soul to dig in the dirt and interact with nature.
My gardening is also a sign of a victory over OCD.
One of the ways my OCD has manifested itself is through contamination fears. Basically, I feared germs because of the possibility of spreading them to others and making them ill.
One of the ways I dealt with my obsessions over germs was to wash my hands compulsively. I’ve written about how red and raw my hands and wrists became because I washed them over and over in hot water and soap.
Another way I dealt with my fears over germs was to avoid situations and activities where I was sure to get my hands dirty. Like putting my hands in dirt, on purpose.
Over the years, I have experienced many victories over contamination fears. When I first started treatment for OCD and depression, I was able to start having houseplants. And I’ve had flower gardens sporadically through the years.
But this is my first full gardening experience.
It feels good to know that OCD is not stopping me from doing something that I enjoy.
The journey to overcome my contamination obsessions and compulsions has not been short or easy. I’ve taken medication that has side effects and costs money that I would love spend elsewhere. I’ve taken therapy. I’ve read books and put new ways of thinking and reacting into practice.
I’m not saying that I am no longer affected by my OCD. Each day brings its challenges, some big, some small. But I can more easily deal with the challenges, more easily turn back to what I was doing before the OCD interfered.
If you have OCD, I encourage you to get treatment, to do the things—and it will probably be a variety of things—that will enable you to overcome the stifling effects of OCD.
And for all of us who struggle with issues—maybe issues that no one knows about—let’s hold hope and do the work that we need to do to remember the joy that can be a part of any life.
It’s been worth every penny and every struggle to stand in front of my garden and look at those lovely little plants beginning their own journey.
What are you now enjoying in life that once seemed out of reach?