What I would like my loved ones to know


It started with red hands. Tapping on a door frame three times before I walked out of a room. Flinching at a hug. Memories of my grandfather telling me about superstitions resurfacing in my mind, cementing themselves as law with a death penalty for defiance.

I didn’t see it coming. It wasn’t a choice.

When my therapist noticed the bleeding fingertips and the skipping words in conversation, she told me I was faking it. I had slyly researched the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder and decided to imitate them for attention.

I was a hostage to my own mind. This wasn’t a game to me.

When I burst into tears of fury when someone trivialised my torture into a quirk with their colour-coded notes, it wasn’t because I was being sensitive. Hormonal. Stupid.

This is a personal hell. It is an excruciating wound to hear it joked about.

When I locked myself in my room, when I hid behind the facade of “I’m fine,” when I used anger and unkindness to push everybody away.

I am so deeply sorry. I suppose I became a monster while trying to kill one.

When I refused to go near my cat, a little black kitten who I loved with every fibre of my being because I was convinced I would brutally murder him.

I was never dangerous. My mind is just sick.

The constant showers, empty soap bottles, changing clothes, throwing away food.

I’m not wasteful. I’m just scared.

Understanding an illness that nobody can see almost seems impossible. It’s difficult to accept that I haven’t descended into madness in which there is no return instead of blaming faulty brain chemistry and a wrongly wired brain.

To my loved ones, I don’t blame you. But please don’t blame me either.

I didn’t choose this. I didn’t choose to hyperventilate over a funny sensation in my stomach which I perceived to be a precursor to imminent death. I didn’t choose to be consumed by terrifying, uncontrollable thoughts every single day. To put my life on hold because anxiety holds me back. To cut my diet to only cereal and bananas because I couldn’t trust anything else not to poison me. To consider leaving education because I couldn’t handle it anymore. To not leave the house for weeks.

I didn’t choose to be poorly.

But I did choose recovery. Therapy. Fighting. I choose that every day but sometimes, healing hurts more than breaking and even though it doesn’t look like it, I am battling every part of this complex illness with everything I have.

Dear loved ones, I am trying my best. I am going to make you proud.

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