I am a mom afflicted with a psychological disorder, one that I have had even before I met my husband or had my son. It is something that I have lived with since I was a young.
I live each day with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
When you think of Obsessive Compulsive disorder, you may think of people obsessively washing their hands or checking their locks on their doors. But there is another form of OCD, one that is less often talked about because the shame felt by those who suffer with it. It is something called "purely obsessional OCD". The primary symptom of it is being affected by obsessive thoughts, thoughts that just won't quit. Scenes continually play out in the mind with no reprieve.
This began for me when I was a teenager. After my father had passed away, I had found myself plagued with thoughts of wanting to harm myself or the others around me. The thoughts scared me something fierce, and they just wouldn't stop. I began to doubt myself. What kind of person has these thoughts?
Come on, surely I am crazy and belong locked away. This is what I told myself each and every day I had these thoughts.
Throughout the years I was put on many
different medications in hopes of something toning the thoughts down to at least a dull roar. But it never helped. In 2008, I eventually checked myself into an inpatient facility to get some help. I came out of it not much worse for the wear, but hoping the thoughts would begin to subside. 2008 was the same year I met the man who would soon become my husband. I eventually ended up telling him about these horrible thoughts, thinking he would be out the door before I finished telling him. But instead, the whole time I was talking, he held my hand with tears in his eyes and called me brave.
In December of 2009, we had found out that we were pregnant! What joy and excitement there was the day we found out! But soon reality began sinking in for me: what kind of mother am I going to be? With these thoughts, what if I have them about my son? Why can't they just stop? I just wanted them to stop.
Sure enough, the thoughts were there after my son was born, in addition to having post-partum depression. The thoughts played out in my mind, and scared me. I told myself that I was the worst mother
in the world. The same year that my son was born, I had attempted suicide. I felt that my son was better of without me. What a better mother he would have! He shouldn't have to deal with a mother like me.
I was brought to the ER, where they gave me charcoal, and everything was okay. I was again admitted to inpatient behavioral health and was started on a strict regimen of new medications. While I was there, I realized just how much I had missed my son. A week later, I came out with a whole new lease on life. I was put in a day program, too.
Each and every day is still a constant struggle, but instead of wanting to die, I want to live. I want to tell my story. I want to be there for my little boy, to see him grow up. Most of all, I tell myself the thoughts are just that. Thoughts. Nothing more.