In my (ongoing) recovery from OCD, aside from medication and therapy, the single most important thing for me has been to build a support network of friends and other people who, even if they don’t suffer from or fully understand OCD themselves, are willing to listen and try to empathise without judgement.
To be honest, this goes for people with any mental health condition, and really is true in general: we all need friends. We all need love. We all need to know that there are people who will listen to us with kindness.
Here are some of the things I have done to help with this:
1. Joined a support group that meets each week for people struggling with emotional issues. The guy who set up the group actually moved to a different town, so I took on the responsibility of organising the meetings.
2. Joined an online group for people dealing specifically with OCD. The group is on Facebook and it’s called Intrusive Thoughts, for anyone interested.
3. Started this blog, partly to educate people who might not know much about OCD, partly to help others going through similar things, and partly to give myself the platform to be open and honest about my struggles.
4. Told a few close friends what is going on with me.
5. Tried to express my needs to important people in my life (for example my parents) who were perhaps unsure how to respond or how best to help.
None of these things have been easy to do, but I feel more supported and connected than I previously have.
It’s incredibly easy to isolate yourself when you’re having emotional or psychological difficulties, or pretend that you’re fine when you’re really, really not. But one of the best things you can do for your mental health and general well-being is to be honest with people you trust.
Just knowing that there are people who accept you the way you are is half the battle.
So, thanks to those people in my life. You’ve helped me a lot. ❤