Who Am I Without My Ocd?

First off I want to say that some of this I posted as a reply to a story I just read. The context of that story however reminded me of something I have been thinking about lately. The story is called "I'm scared that I don't want to change" if you are interested in seeing what lead to this.

I've been on and off prozac and between doctors for a few years now. Recently when I joined this site I made a decision to really look at the reasons behind why I can't ever seem to stick with something. I realized that when I am on medication I'm happier and less stressed but to me it comes off like being high. It feels fake, like I'm in control of my OCD but not really in control of me. A large part of the fear and stress that OCD causes (at least this is what I get from the people I have talked to) comes from a fear of oneself being lost or taken over and so when medication or therapy create a similar aspect it's no wonder many people stop or can't continue.

I think this is a genuine feeling and one we all have a right to. Change in any form is scary and there comes a point where you have dealt with OCD for so long or become so used to it that you can't easily see yourself without it. It's a catch 22. You want to be free but freedom begs the question of "who am I without OCD?" At least this is how I feel. I want to change but I feel like I already lost myself once when I developed OCD and though I'm not totally happy or comfortable with who I am with it, at least it is an identity I know and understand. I think I need to change but I also understand this feeling of reluctance and where it comes from.

I love to write. Short stories and poems are my hobby and darker ideas and themes are my preferred genre. On medication however I find that I can't tap into that more melancholy part of my mind. It seems tied somehow to my OCD, and in a way this makes sense. I also feel that part of the reason is the medication I'm on. It blocks not only the OCD but the depression and stress the OCD causes. However there is a reverse to this for when this aspect is blocked from me I am also blocked from it. I'm not emo and I'm not goth (not that there is anything wrong with being either or anything similar, some of my best friends are) but I feel that the understanding I get from tapping into this side of me is a critical aspect that makes me who I am.

So again it begs several questions. "Who was I really before OCD was a player in my life?" "What aspects of me came about or developed more fully because I have had my life experiences colored by OCD." "If the medicine that blocks the OCD also blocks these aspects are they really me?" and once more "Who am I really then without OCD? (and what if I find I don't like her as much?"

The first question I cannot really answer except from impressions and stories given to me by family members. Still I developed OCD around age 10 so I wasn't really much of anyone and if I was I wasn't that person long enough for it to be of any real help. Kids are many different things at many different times. We all change, some faster and some more than others around that age and on into our adult years. To be fair I can't answer the first part of question two either as I can no more really recall aspects of myself from that age any more than I can really remember who I was. I know what I liked, I know how I acted, but except to say I was probably more honest and morally innocent than I am now I can't really say anything about it. I can hazzard guesses at the remaining questions but this post isn't really about me, myself, and I, as it is about the concept of how much of ourselves do we identify with our OCD and the other questions this poses, thus I will leave this part of the post here.

The fact of the matter is it is almost impossible to really answer any of these questions without prevailing over OCD. Fear however is a strong motivator and it is difficult to feel yourself changing and not know if the change is releasing the real you or merely putting in place another crutch or presence like OCD. We can never know unless we fully embrace a method that blocks OCD from running amok but as it would probably take months or years for us to get to know ourselves, become comfortable with ourselves freed from OCD it could very well to late for us to realize we might not like who we are now. We could be better, we could be worse, we would however be different. There is no getting around this and it is this difference no matter how miniscule or monumental that is the scary thing. At least this is how I feel.

Now I am not decrying anyone who has manged to reign in their OCD. I am not saying you have become an alien presence or a fake. I am also not trying to scare anyone away from doing what they feel is necessary to achieve control over their life. I do not denounce medication or therapy. I in fact encourage people to try both these things (especially if OCD is new or has gained momentum in daily life) and then to decide for themselves. I am merely putting down on a paper like medium my thoughts on this matter and the questions that cause me to keep faltering on my path to mastering my OCD. I would very much like to master it, and perhaps given enough time I would find that separating parts of myself from the OCD (such as my melancholy aspects and motivations) will become possible even natural as time passes. However it is finding the courage to give the time that may be needed, to believe that an actual me does exist beyond the OCD still, or that I can become a new me I respect and like, that is the hard part. To me it is like standing at the precipice of a tall cliff looking down at an area lost in concealing fog. Jumping might lead to me spreading my wings and flying again or leave me broken on the rocks below. One day maybe I will be able to finally take that leap.

Ok to anyone reading this who made it this far my thanks. I know I tend to write like I'm trying to fill volumes. As I said before this is only how I feel and my attempts to answer why it is hard for me and others to stick to a program that relieve OCD symptoms. I am still trying to answer the questions I posed and if you think of different questions or have ideas or answers regarding the ones I posed I would love to hear them. If this seemed to much like talking about myself I am sorry, I meant only to use my experiences and prose as a way to get the ideas I was trying to present across. You could very well feel totally different from me and that is fine too, let me know if you do. I wish everyone the best of luck with their OCD in any way they choose to tackle it. Stay strong guys and gals.
Chaoslover Chaoslover
Dec 6, 2012