How many times have you heard someone casually say “I’m so OCD?” Or you see a picture on social media with the hashtag OCD showing colors coordinated or organized spaces. It is one of the most misunderstood disorders. While it comes in many forms, this couldn’t be further from the representation of what OCD is to me.
I was diagnosed when I was eight years old. OCD or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a mental disorder in which people experience unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, or images and engage in behaviors or mental compulsions in response. Usually the person carries out the compulsion to temporarily relieve themselves of the obsessions. Not doing the compulsion comes with mental consequences. For me it was always in my head that if I didn’t do the compulsion something bad was going to happen to me or my family. Sometimes it would take me ten minutes to leave the room because my hand needed to hit the light switch a certain way. I had so many rituals and had to tap things a certain amount of times it started to become noticeable to people around me. It started to take over my life.
Baseball seemed to be the only medicine that worked. A safe place that I didn’t feel “weird”. After working with multiple therapists’ and having such a good distraction on the field, things became manageable for a while. Until this past September, I had an OCD spike that I wasn’t ready for. One that robbed me of six months of my life. After being on five different medications in the span of two months, being in the mental hospital for six days, a partial program for two weeks, and experiencing false memory OCD for the first time, I felt like I was losing my mind. I was losing hope and for the first time in my life I didn’t want to keep going. I just wanted to feel normal. It was so hard to be a CEO when I didn’t even want to be awake.
I never gave up. Eventually, I found OCD Recovery Coach Ali Greymond’s YouTube channel. Ali beat OCD ten years ago and has been helping people suffering ever since. I always said Ali was an angel. Without her, I’m not sure I would still be here. She saved my life. I think one of the toughest things was that, for my entire life, I was never getting help from someone that knew what I was going through. They knew what they learned a few days in medical school but couldn’t relate to me. So, when the medicine they prescribed me didn’t solve the problem, they didn’t know what to tell me.
After many one on one sessions with Ali, my OCD was under control. What was holding me back every day for six months, now, had no control over me. I no longer take medicine and feel like it’s my responsibility to be the voice of those suffering with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I hate OCD and wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but who would have known my curse could be my blessing? Perspective is everything. I know I went through this in order to help and relate to more people. I wouldn’t change my story up for anything. I never stopped pushing and made it to the other side. I’m living proof that you can make it too. Sometimes you just need to go for it.
I took a leap of faith and moved down 1,271 miles from Allentown, Pennsylvania to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It was the best decision I’ve ever made. Sometimes the most beautiful things line up when we step outside of our comfort zone. I’m so grateful for my second chance at life and to be surrounded by such an amazing support system. My personal growth has been shocking, even to me. I’m actually proud of myself and who I’m becoming. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I’m happy. I’m writing this for the person who is currently in a storm. When you’re going through it, you’re going to feel like it’s not possible and that there is no light at the end of the tunnel, but I assure you better days are coming. Without the storm, we would never bloom into who we’re meant to become. Embrace your story and grow through the pain. One day you’ll look back and see how far you’ve come. Trust the process, get a little better each day and challenge yourself to step outside your comfort zone. It can change your life, it’s changed mine.