Being Present

“Only I can hand over the control to OCD, and only I can take it back.”

OCD makes it hard to be present, to give my undivided attention to what’s happening around me. Making me feel isolated not only from the people and events in my life, but also from myself. From my own life. Even in the moments that I want so badly to be a part of, even in the moments I know I wouldn’t want to miss, I have to fight to feel present. I have to push back the fear and the nagging thoughts of OCD that are desperately vying for my attention.

Last weekend I had to drive back home to say goodbye to my sweet kitty who had been with me through all of my ups and downs since I was in elementary school. But for the past month, just getting out of the house for something as simple as going out to dinner has been exhaustingly difficult and sometimes impossible. In the past month, I’ve only successfully gotten out a handful of times. And each time my thoughts were consumed by OCD. I wasn’t present. And now I needed to drive for hours, go back into a house I had practically run from in fear. Even if I could get myself there, I had no idea if I could get through the doors, let alone be present enough to say goodbye.

In the face of all that, I did it. At least the best that I could. I did more than I thought possible, and I got to say goodbye. But even in those last moments, as I’m trying to honor a friend who was so much more than a pet, who always loved me no matter what, who was one of my last connections to home, OCD still found a way into my thoughts and pulled me back, even if just a little. I had to consciously fight to not allow OCD into the room and let it taint everyone else’s experience. As I was stroking her head and saying goodbye, OCD was telling me how to stand, what to avoid, to watch what I was touching. In this moment, one in which I should have been totally present for, I wasn’t. She deserved all of me, and I couldn’t give it.

I am proud of what I was able to give, as it was no small feat, but it wasn’t as it should have been. And after I finally got home, I was flooded with anger. I am so mad at OCD for yet again taking something from me. And I felt so angry and guilty for allowing OCD to change that moment for me. To take that from me.

Maybe something can come from this. Maybe this anger can drive me to fight, maybe it’s what I need. Because the truth is, only I can hand over the control to OCD, and only I can take it back.

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