Things I would like my loved ones to know
Before we get into things, I need to tell you this - I have obsessive-compulsive disorder. No, that's not where I'm terrified of germs. No, that's not where I have to clean things all the time or be scrupulously organised. If you know me at all, you'll know that I'm not the most organised person!
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is so much more than the stigma surrounding it. Unfortunately, every mental health disorder is heavily stigmatised. Don't think so? Let me give you some examples.
Schizophrenia - are "crazy".
Autism Spectrum - are "geniuses".
BPD - are "violent".
Depression - are "lazy".
ADHD - are "attention-seekers".
OCD - are "pernickety".
None of these things are true. It's so much more than that.
There are so many things I'm waiting for you to ask. So many things I'm waiting to tell you. So many things I'm waiting to let go. So many things I'm waiting to understand. So many things I'm waiting... for. I guess there won't ever be a time where you'll ask, I'll tell, let go, or understand, though. So, while I have the chance, here are some really important things I would like - no, need you, to know.
1 - It's not your fault. This is probably the most important thing that you really, really have to understand for me. It's not your fault that I check the door is locked multiple times a day, nor is it your fault that I have to arrange keys in a specific way to feel better. Your support is all I'll ever need. Please, don't blame yourselves - and please, don't blame me.
2 - It's not my fault. I don't shower every day because I want to. I don't brush my teeth for 10 minutes each day because I want to. I definitely don't hate myself for what I did years ago because I want to. What's more, I don't do it for attention. I do it because I feel I need to. I do it to protect myself.
3 - I love all of you - yes, all of you. I don't say it enough. I know. I feel uncomfortable saying it, and a big part of me feels as though you're uncomfortable hearing it. Most of you don't even know that I have OCD, and that's okay. It's not exactly something I like telling people, especially the ones I love the most.
4 - I'm different, and I hope that doesn't change things. I'm the same person you thought I was a few minutes ago, and this is my message, not just to you, but to other people who are in the same position. In my shoes. In the same boat.
5 - You don't need to say anything. You don't need to do anything. Just please understand if ever you see me counting things or tapping my hands. It's not attention-seeking. It's not boredom. It's protection.
If you have questions, I get it. If you don't care, I get it. If you'd prefer to never talk about it, never think about it, never look my way again, that's fine. I get it.
But what I don't get, is why you've never asked. Why you've never questioned my strange behaviour, why you've never questioned my inability to hold a conversation, why you've never questioned the lost look I constantly have on my face. Is it because you're too scared to ask, or because you've truly never noticed?
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