I want to be able to go somewhere, to be with people, and still be able to pretend to be who I used to be. It’s the only escape I have left. It’s the only connection to that girl I used to be. It’s my last piece of “normalcy”. But that means that I have to keep a huge part of myself from those people.
So who do I tell? How do I decide who to let into my “now” and who to keep in my “used to be”?
I can categorize my interactions with others into three groups:
- Old friends who don’t know about my OCD. With them I can pretend to be the happy, less-burdened me. But it’s pretend. And no matter how good I am at hiding my fear in those moments, they can tell there is a new wall up. They can tell I’m not giving them all of me. There’s an added strain. And it hurts just a little bit, a dull ache, because I can almost get back to her, I can start to see that girl I used to be. But she’s just out of reach.
- There’s the old friends and family who I have told about my OCD. Now that’s all they see; the girl with OCD. Every interaction we have, every moment we share, even if not overtly, is affected by that knowledge. OCD is sitting between me and them. And there is no space for the me that’s left. And it’s no one’s fault. It’s just that they love me and they’re trying to find me again and they’re trying to fix something that can’t be fixed. I desperately don’t want to be the girl with OCD, so it hurts. Because the look in their eyes reminds me of how far away I am from the girl I used to know.
- And then there’s the new friends I’ve made who have only known me as the me with OCD. It’s a little terrifying, but it’s almost like a breath of fresh air. Because I’m not pretending. I’m not pretending to be the old me, I’m not pretending to be ok with the new me. I’m just me. To them I’m just me. They see me, and they love me.
So maybe it’s time to accept who I am. Maybe it’s time to stop hiding. But that’s easier said than done. Because no matter how determined I am to stop pretending, when I see my old friends, I long to just let them see me as the old me because I want to be her. And when I see my family I long to just let them see me as okay because they can’t fix me and because I want more than anything to be okay. These people are my only escape from this small cage of a world that OCD has created for me.
So I am hoping that eventually this blog will help me stop pretending and accept who I am. This blog scares me. I’m scared every time I click publish. But once I do, I feel a little more hope start to bubble to the surface. Because maybe I can learn how to be me. Maybe I can stop hiding. There’s no going back to who I used to be. But there is a way to go forward and grow into the person that I am now.