Do you feel guilty about your past mistakes?
You are definitely not alone with that. It is a perfectly human thing to blame ourselves for things we think we have done wrong. However, if you have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, this feeling of guilt can easily turn your life into a living hell.
Two of the main features of OCD are doubt and guilt. And in today’s post, I will talk about guilt. If you’re suffering from this terrifying mental disorder, you’re likely to feel guilty about a lot of different things. Like, many people with OCD have intrusive thoughts about harming their loved ones. And if such a terrible thought comes into your mind, what will be your first reaction? You’ll be scared to death but then, you will think that you are a horrible person and you will start feeling guilty. Because only a truly evil person has such thoughts, right?
But this is not the only type of guilt. There’s another one which is exactly as dangerous – or maybe even more:
Feeling guilty for having OCD
I have always thought that OCD was pretty similar to obstacle racing. You manage to overcome one obstacle, but another one will soon appear. For me, one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome was the feeling of guilt. And by this feeling of guilt, I do not mean that I was feeling guilty for having intrusive thoughts but something even worse:
I felt guilty for having OCD and I did not want to let go of it, because I thought that I was guilty for wasting so many years of my life on my obsessions and that I would not deserve to live without having terrifying thoughts and time consuming compulsions.
Sounds totally crazy, does it not?
Now, I know it does. But I did not always use to know. Simply because most of the articles on the internet will talk about people with OCD who feel guilty for having unacceptable thoughts and urges, but they will rarely talk about people who actually feel guilty for wasting their life on their OCD. In a way, this is also a kind of guilt about unacceptable thoughts, but it took me much longer to realize that this was just another face of the OCD monster. And a very dark one.
So yes, I used to feel guilty for having OCD. And I do not even remember how this whole obsession started but one day, I started to blame myself for not enjoying my life enough. And then, I started to recall all my beautiful past memories and told myself that I had been a terrible person because instead of having fun, I was spending all of my time on useless obsessions. But the story is still not over. Because OCD is much more creative than anyone would ever imagine. This demon (I think it is a demon at the end of the day, and it is worse than the demons from Hollywood movies – because you can not even run away from it) told me something that actually made me its prisoner for a few more years:
What if my life will get worse if I let go of my OCD?
This feeling will be pretty difficult to describe especially because I am not sure if any of you have ever felt the same way. So, I did not actually think that OCD was a fun thing to have but what I used to believe was that God would punish me if I let go of my OCD.
Do not get me wrong, I did not think that God was evil and he would want me to suffer. But I thought that wasting so many years on OCD meant that I was a terrible person. A sinner, who was not able to enjoy his life. Someone who was not grateful enough for the wonderful life he had – and let’s admit, I have always been pretty privileged. We may even say that I am a spoiled kid. And I really believed that if I find to escape from my OCD, I will be punished and God will take everything away from me: my family, my friends, my job, my house – everything!
So you see how evil OCD can be: it actually made me believe that I would be punished if I ever managed to get a way from it.
Read more: Magical Thinking OCD
Breaking out of prison
So, how did I actually break out of this prison?
It would be a lie if I told you it was easy. And it would be a lie if I told you I had done it by myself. One thing that helped me a lot was learning more about OCD because it made me realize that this feeling of guilt and the superstitious fear of getting punished had something to do with it.
And then, time heals all wounds. As time went by, it was getting better and better. And nowadays, I do not feel guilty anymore. Life is a precious gift and we should not spend it suffering. When I was a teen, I would have never thought that one day, I would be able to enjoy myself without worrying about irrational thoughts and weird urges. But then, here I am: I do not say that my OCD is totally gone, but I can enjoy my life without feeling guilty about things that I couldn’t possible control.
As you know, there’s one thing that I love more than writing my stories: reading yours. Please share your experiences in the comment section! 🙂