This is my follow-up to the article, “Dear Loved Ones: A Letter of Things We Wish You Knew (When We Were in The Trenches of OCD).”
Dear loved ones,
I want to thank you for being by my side through one of the hardest times in my life. I know that there will likely always be ups and downs with OCD, and I know that it may be a lifelong disorder that I will always have in one way or another. But if you are reading this, I also know that you stuck with me through the thick of it. You have seen me at my worst. And yet, you chose to stay. You chose to support me and be by my side.
I want you to know that I am grateful—many people might have run away. They may have been scared off by this disorder. But not you. You were by my side when I figured out I could no longer go on living the life that I was living and that I needed treatment. You chose to support me in this decision and encourage me to get the right treatment. You did this in a loving manner and didn’t make me feel weak or ill.
You normalized treatment and understood the importance of getting the care I needed. You allowed me to choose the pace at which I wanted to work. You didn’t push, and at the same time, you didn’t allow me to give up when the going got tough—and it did at times.
Thank you for educating yourself and supporting me
You helped me research and educate myself about this giant I was facing. Together, we found hope. We realized that there is a whole community of people out there with this condition. This monster that has consumed so much of my time and energy actually had a name, and there were many other people who got “stuck” on the same thoughts that I did.
When I was afraid to start exposure and response prevention (ERP) treatment because it seemed scary, you encouraged me. You helped give me the extra push I needed to do the hard work that it required. You taught me that I could do this. You learned to not give me reassurance or accommodate my OCD—to show me love by letting me go through anxiety and distress for a short time, while I worked towards long-term recovery. It was terrifying at first, but it was necessary for my recovery. And ERP treatment changed my life.
You learned how to recognize when I was trying to rope you into a compulsion or sneakily confess to you in an attempt to get reassurance. You became an OCD sleuth for me, to help me. You became part of my team.
You are one of the reasons that I was able to keep going. Your love, support, and encouragement helped me to face my fears head-on, step outside of my comfort zone, and ultimately grow.
What I want you to know now that I’m feeling better
Finding an OCD specialist trained in ERP was life-changing for me, and it might have been for you, too. I know that when you love someone with OCD, you can sometimes be impacted by their struggles. I am grateful that even though you have seen me at my worst, you can now see me at my best.
You get to see me being the person I was meant to be, apart from OCD. Because I’m not my OCD. You get to see me do things that I never thought I could do. You get to see me be afraid and do it anyway. You get to watch me take big risks and have even bigger payoffs.
I hope you are able to see how much I have changed, and how hard I have worked to live this new life full of freedom. I still have doubts and worries, but I can keep going. I can keep moving forward. I hope that you can see just how much your support helped me get here, and how much it continues to help me through my struggles with this disorder.
I hope that I am more present, more available to you, and more active in your life and the lives of everyone that I love. Please know I am forever grateful that you didn’t give up on me, and that you stuck by my side.
Someone in recovery from OCD
If you’re struggling with OCD, please know that there’s hope. I’ve been where you have been, and I know from my own experience that you can get better.
Our team at NOCD is here for you, and we can help you on your path to recovery. Our licensed therapists deeply understand OCD and are specialty-trained in treating OCD with exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy. We work side-by-side with the OCD experts and researchers who designed some of the world’s top OCD treatment programs – and that means the best care for our members. You can book a free 15-minute call with our team to get matched with one and get started with OCD treatment.