2008-2012: Letting the world in on my "crazy?" NOPE. NAH. NO THANKS. Why would I volunteer to share my seemingly crazy, abnormal, out of this world, taboo thoughts with anyone other than my therapist?
2013-2016: *Cracks the code that the illusion of my obsessions are total BS and my compulsions have NO effect on reality. NONE. And neither do yours.
2017: I have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and I'm no longer afraid to shout it from the rooftops. Why the sudden change? A little something I’m in called OCD Recovery. It took me years, but I finally can say I have successfully overcome the worst of OCD. I turned the bastard back on itself through Exposure and Response Prevention and serious commitment. OCD doesn't own me anymore - but I will admit at one point it absolutely did.
Since persevering in and out of hell, a spark has ignited in me. A spark that I haven't felt since before my car accident that led me to fall off the face of the earth through OCD. I hate OCD so much that I have now dedicated my life to proving to others how they too can start to see real progress against their obsessive thoughts. I felt like I lived in a hole underground for years; it was so dark, so lonely. But that hole no longer swallows the best parts of me - those parts of me are now engrossed in lending a hand down to my fellow obsessive outsiders who remain in that hole.
I’ve now written a book. I’ve started an author website and a blog. I’ve had articles published. I’ve done interviews, booked speeches, collaborate with industry experts and every single time someone asks me what I do for a living – I use the opportunity to break the stigma and educate on OCD. It’s what I do. It’s called advocacy, and it’s the only way to break a stigma we don’t deserve.
The shock on people's faces when I explain what my OCD is really like continues to show me how completely uneducated the world has become on OCD - not to their faults - to the fault of the stigma and media that has become bigger than us. Becoming an OCDvocate has been such a rewarding venture. You don't have to have OCD to be an OCDvocate, you just have to acknowledge OCD is so much more extensive than the stigma portrays and stand up for it. How can the stigma begin to crack open when so many of us sparingly use our voices? If you have a mental disorder, finding your voice should be your priority, because someone out there will listen and learn from YOU. Don't underestimate the power of your network. Don't underestimate the power of your voice. Don't underestimate the beauty of being broken.
I didn’t want my OCD to get the credit of ruining my life for so many of my adolescent years and that be the end of it. So I no longer credit it to ruining my life. I credit my OCD to being the core part of me that makes me so unique, I credit my OCD to kick starting my fulfilling career, and I credit my OCD for being the little devil that gets me out of bed every morning for the satisfaction to prove wrong time and time again.
If you’re not ready to show your crazy, I’ll do it for the both of us.