I have struggled with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), trichotillomania, and post-traumatic stress disorder since I was a child.
As a child, I was bullied in school, abused at home, and had friends that made fun of me behind my back. I always felt so painfully alone.
At the age of 5, I was put on Prozac and Zoloft. In middle school, I stopped taking the medications. I felt embarrassed that I had to take medication and wanted only to feel normal. The medications made me feel strange; I would often blurt out whatever I happened to be thinking. I knew if I did that in middle school, I would be bullied. After stopping the medication, I continued to see a therapist for several years.
I became very depressed in my teens; I struggled with alcohol addiction and tried to take my life a few times; I ended up in hospital due to self-harm. Hurting myself became so exhausting. I decided that I wanted to be kind to myself; I wanted to be my own friend. Having spent so much of my life feeling sad and angry, I wanted to increase my confidence and live a more vibrant life. I began to change the way I spoke to myself. Instead of saying: “You’re so stupid” I began to say: “That was silly!” After years of perseverance (I am now 20 years old), I am able to speak more kindly to myself. While I still have a lot more work to do, for the first time in my life, I am excited about the journey of becoming my own best friend. Being able to rely on myself is so important.
There have been times when my OCD has made me feel that I should give up believing that I can live a normal life. It is especially difficult as OCD can be hard for others to understand. To anyone who feels like they can’t go any further, or wishes they could just be “normal” – don’t give up. If you start making small changes in your life, you will see results in the long term. You must fight for who you are and no longer allow this illness to stop you from living your life to the fullest. If I can do it, so can you; stay strong, for there is good in the world and there is in good in you. You deserve to finally be happy and to finally be able to depend on yourself for the love you’re looking for.
My best friend, who passed away in 2016, always seemed to be happy despite the difficulties in his life. He believed that no matter how hard life is, we should always be kind to others as it will make us and others happier. I think he is right.
Michelle is 20-year-old art student.