Do I have OCD?

Author: Josh Brown, Unchained Brain Executive

Do I have OCD?

Sometimes, it feels like the entire weight of the world is being held up by the assumption that the answer to that question is yes. If the answer turned out to be no, everything would collapse. If that were the case, the monsters inside my head wouldn’t just be the product of a mental illness, they would be who I really am. 

Do I have OCD?

Sure, my psychiatrist has said that I have it, as had my therapist. I’ve taken online tests several times to try and figure it out, and every time they have told me I have it. I have done hours upon hours of research into the subject, and my symptoms seem to match up very closely with what people with OCD often experience. But yet…how can I be sure? What if I tricked my psychiatrist and therapist and parents and friends into believing I have OCD so they don’t see me as the psychopathic sicko I really am? For that matter, what if I tricked myself? What if when I took the test I didn’t answer the questions honestly? I better go take it again. Actually, some of the intrusive thoughts that I have don’t seem to be very similar to what a lot of other people with OCD have experienced. In fact, a lot of my bad thoughts don’t even fit into any of the subtypes I have researched…I better go find some more information. I’ll probably spend a few hours scrolling through the OCD subreddit to see if anybody else is having these same exact intrusive thoughts. If not, that’s a very bad sign. 

Do I have OCD?

That mistake that I made, that thing that I did, I’m probably just blowing it way out of proportion, right? I mean, that’s what OCD does, after all. It makes everything seem 50 times worse than it really is. But what if I don’t really have OCD? What if that thing really is as bad as I feel like it is, or even worse? Everytime I seek reassurance from my parents, or my friends, and I tell them about what happened, they always tell me it’s nothing I need to worry about. But, then again, I haven’t told them about this specific thing. What if this is different from all the other stuff? What if this is actually a lot worse than everything else that I’ve worried about before? What if all of the “OCD” symptoms that I’ve had are all just something that I’ve fabricated within myself to avoid having to feel guilty about this one thing? I need to go talk to someone about this. I have no idea how they will react, but at least I’ll feel a little bit better.

Do I have OCD?

Yes. Yes I do. I feel so much better now. I talked to my dad, and then to my friend, and told them exactly what I had been obsessing about. They both said that I was fine, and that I had nothing to worry about. They told me that this was just something my OCD was latching on to and that I was blowing it way out of proportion. They told me I’m not a bad person. In fact, that went as far as to say I’m a good person. Seems a bit far fetched. Why would they say that? Remember that scene in the final episode of Season 1 of “You” when Joe has Beck locked in the glass cage because she found out that he’s a stalker and a serial killer? When she was trapped in there, she told Joe that he was a good person, and a good boyfriend, but she was lying. The only reason she told him that was because she was terrified of him, and she didn’t want him to hurt her. After he let her out, she locked him in the cage and made a break for it. What if this was a similar situation? My friend was probably horrified and disgusted by me, and the only reason he told me I was a good person was because he was afraid I would harm him if he said otherwise. Right now, he’s probably out telling everybody how much of a sicko and a freak I am. I bet the police are going to bust in here any moment to take me to jail. That’s probably where I belong. At least if that happened, I wouldn’t have to worry that I am going unpunished for something that I deserve to be punished for. 

Do I have OCD?

I have been sitting here for hours now doing nothing but trying to figure this all out, so I would assume so. I mean, people who don’t have OCD don’t do that, right? People have told me that horrible people don’t worry about whether or not they are horrible, and I worry a lot about being horrible. That must be a good sign, right? I guess even if I have conducted myself like a terrible person up until this point, the fact that I feel so guilty means that I’m not irredeemable. Sociopaths don’t feel remorse for their actions. And I’ve done a lot of research about sociopathy, so I would know. I guess maybe I’m not so terrible a person after all. I’m just suffering from a mental disorder.

Do I have OCD?

Actually, maybe not anymore. It feels like it’s gotten a lot better. I no longer walk around feeling guilty all the time, and I don’t feel the need to ruminate about every little mistake that I make. 

Wait a minute, why don’t I feel guilty anymore? Why don’t I feel anxious anymore? Why am I not worried that I’m a bad person? Before, the only way to prove to myself definitively that I wasn’t a sociopath was to point to the fact that i was worried about it. But now I’m not worried about it anymore! I haven’t been meticulously examining the ethical implications of every decision that I make, like how I used to! I don’t feel awful anymore about the really bad things that I did years ago! I’m not recovering from OCD, I’m becoming a worse person! I’m growing callous to the things that used to make me feel horrible inside! I have heard it said about serial killers that the first murder they commit is usually the hardest, and that it gets easier from there. What if that’s similar to the situation I’m in? What if all the things I used to obsess about weren’t just minor mistakes and intrusive thoughts I was blowing out of proportion, like what my therapist said, but heinous crimes that only a psycho like me would ever commit, and the only reason I reacted with guilt and anxiety to them initially was because I didn’t have experience with them yet? Now, if I were to do, or think, or say, or feel the same thing, I don’t think I would feel nearly as anxious. That can’t be a good sign. I’m on a highway to Hell. Speaking of Hell, I haven’t been reading my Bible or praying very much lately at all. Plus I’ve been having a lot of blasphemous thoughts about God, but they haven’t even caused me any distress or anxiety! Now Matthew chapter 12 verse 31 is popping into my head. “And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.” Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit used to be the main thing I obsessed about. Usually it was offered to me as reassurance that those who are worried that have blasphemed the Holy Spirit have not blasphemed the Holy Spirit, since doing so puts someone in a spiritual state where they don’t have any fear of God. So the fact that in recent weeks I haven’t been worrying about this, or about other religious matters, is probably a very bad sign for my eternal destiny. I better go get down on my knees and pray to God that he will restore my heart to a holy state. Now, I’m praying and I don’t feel anything. I don’t feel any affection for God. There is a nagging voice in my head telling me that I should live for my own glory, and that God is a tyrant for telling me I need to glorify him. Wait, is that a thought, or a feeling? I think it was probably just an intrusive thought. But, then again, I feel as if I felt some anger toward God as well. Is there such a thing as intrusive feelings? Well, regardless, if it came upon me against my will, I guess God won’t hold that against me. Wait, but did it though? I think I might have had that thought on purpose. I just blasphemed the Holy Spirit. Wait, I already did that. So I blasphemed Him for a second time? Double blasphemy? Now the fire in Hell is gonna burn extra hot for me. I give up. I guess I’m one of the reprobates. There’s no way I’m not going to Hell. Wait a minute, I can’t say that. Despair (believing salvation to be impossible) is one of the unforgivable sins according to catholoc theology. Looks like I blasphemed the Spirit 3 times. Wait, I’m not catholic though. The Catholic Church used to sell indulgences, which I know is not Biblical, so I guess they are probably wrong about the unforgivable sin as well. Whew. That’s a relief. I guess I might get to go to Heaven after all! Now I just have to say the sinner’s prayer again. Oh shoot, what about the first two times I committed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? Doesn’t that mean it is now impossible for me to genuinely repent and accept Jesus into my heart? I could say the right words pretty easily, but John Piper says it’s about more than the words. He says it’s about the state of the heart, the affection that one feels for Jesus. Do I love Jesus? I hope so. I don’t feel like I do right now, though. But, then again, feelings aren’t everything. Sometimes, can’t you tell someone loves Jesus by the way they treat others and live their lives? I guess. But then again, just because I’m doing the right actions doesn’t mean I’m doing it for the right reasons. I would volunteer at Wheeler Mission again like I did over Christmas break, or maybe try and get more involved with students in action, but first I have to make sure my heart is in the right place. After all, even if I am doing things that help others, it doesn’t matter if my motivations are corrupt. I need to get those straight. Maybe if I spend enough time sitting here and imagining different scenarios in which everyone else becomes much happier besides me I will eventually become fond of that! After all, I should care more about everyone else’s well-being more than I care about my own. I could go out and put others first with my actions, but first I need to make sure I am a good person.

Do I have OCD?

If I do, it has cost me quite a bit of time and energy. I literally spent 1 and a half hours with my Bible open in front of me trying to make myself feel the right way. Ugh. This is exhausting. I feel like I’m wasting so much of my life. Am I really wasting it, though? I feel like I need to figure this out. It’s probably the best way I could be spending my timed.

Do I have OCD?

I have arrived at the conclusion that I do. Now I can finally move on and get some work done. I haven’t checked skyward in a while; I’ll do that first. OH SHOOT. I have 3 missing assignments??? My grades just went down. I need to get on canvas and submit those for late credit. Wait, where’s my laptop? Shoot, I think I left it at school. Dang it, this OCD is really distracting me from what I should be doing. But wait a minute… I thought people with OCD were supposed to be perfectionists! That’s what everyone says! So does this mean I don’t actually have OCD! Someone who did wouldn’t make this many mistakes! Aaahhhhhhhhh.

Do I have OCD?

It’s 11:00 pm. I’m exhausted. I want to go to bed. I don’t have any more mental energy to spend on trying to figure this out. As soon as my head hits the pillow, I’m sure I’ll start getting blasted with intrusive thoughts, but I feel too tired to ruminate about them. They’ll probably manifest themselves in my dreams.

Do I have OCD?

As I wake up, this is the first thing that pops into my mind. It feels like a question that demands an immediate answer. It feels like something I can’t just brush to the side.

Do I have OCD?

My alarm clock is blaring. My dad comes into my room and tells me that there are scrambled eggs on the stove. I have to leave for school in 40 minutes. I should really go shower and get dressed.

Do I have OCD?

As I get ready to leave for school, these words repeat themselves like a broken record in my head. I want so bad to turn it off, to answer the question definitively, once and for all, but I know that is going to require evidence. If I want to answer it, I am going to have to persuade myself one way or the other. I need to leave in 2 minutes now. I’m walking out to my car. My parents say not to obsess about anything while I’m driving, which is definitely wise considering inadvertently running people over is something I often worry about. I’m going to have to make a decision before I start driving.

Do I have OCD?

I’m sitting in front of the wheel now. I turn  my headlights on, and the question continues to nag at me.

Do I have OCD?

I take a deep breath, clench my fists, grit my teeth, and prepare to answer this question for the last time. I don’t want to waste any more of my life in on trial with my own mind acting as both the prosecutor and the defense attorney. So what’s it gonna be? Yes or no?

Do I have OCD?

I don’t know.

As these three little words escape my mouth, I feel empowered in a way that I never have before. The question is still playing over and over again in my head, and I still feel rather anxious, but I for some reason feel like I am breaking free. 

Do I have OCD?

I don’t know.

These words come out of my lips again. I put the car into drive and begin my commute to school. 

Do I have OCD?

Maybe so. Maybe no. I have no clue. I need to focus on the chemistry test I am about to take, and I won’t be able to do that if I am using all of my mental energy to debate myself. 

Do I have OCD?

This question continues to repeat itself in the back of my mind, but it is getting quieter, less disruptive. I’m being more productive today than I have been in a long time?

Do I have OCD?

It’s barely audible now, only a faint whisper, but this continues to repeat itself in my head. I still feel a slight urge to respond with a definitive answer, to put to rest, but I refuse. I won’t.

Do I have OCD?

I don’t know.

Uncertainty is bliss. 

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